Harry Drinkwater's WWI diary paints vivid and visceral picture
"This is not war it's slaughter. No man, however brave, can advance against a sheet of bullets from the front and a shower of shells from overhead - it appears to me that the side who will win will be the one who can supply the last man." That bitter assessment of WWI was written in pencil by Harry Drinkwater in a pocketbook he kept in his tunic pocket. He joined the Birmingham Pals Battalion as a Private at the outbreak of the war, and served as a front-line soldier all through the conflict, becoming an officer and winning the Military Cross. He won the medal in 1918 after he continued to lead a trench raid despite being badly wounded in his leg.
WW1 postcard shows Hitler wanted return to frontlines after being injured
The newly uncovered postcard was written by Hitler as he recovered from a war wound in a Munich hospital in 1916. The postcard surfaced at a family history roadshow almost a century after being sent to Karl Lanzhammer. It shows that Hitler was keen to return to the front line after being injured in the Battle of the Somme. From his hospital bed in Munich Hitler wrote of his intention to "report voluntarily for the field immediately". Dr Thomas Weber said: "What's clear is Hitler desperately wants to return to the front and that's rather unusual, even for soldiers who were generally willing to fight in the war and thought Germany's cause was a just one."
Somewhere in Blood Soaked France: The Diary of Corporal Angus Mackay, Royal Scots, Machine Gun Corps, 1914-1917 (book review)
The early 20th century was filled with `war and rumours of wars` and, like many young men of his day, Angus enlisted in the Territorial Army, joining the 5th Battalion of (Queen`s Edinburgh Rifles) Royal Scots. Angus caught measles just before his battalion embarked for the Middle East and therefore he missed the initial deployment to the Dardanelles and did not rejoin his compatriots until May 26, 1915. With a thousand men killed or wounded for every hundred yards of Turkish land captured, it was soon apparent there would be no easy way to knock Turkey out of the war and, on January 1, 1916, the High Command initiated a complete withdrawal from Gallipoli. Through all this Angus kept a diary.
Over 4,000 secret WW1 documents surface at flea market in Turkish capital
4,221 documents from the First World War era have been found at a flea market in Ankara. Some of the documents bore the mark "secret" on them while others were entirely encrypted. The most prominent finds among the documents were ones belonging to Herbert Hoover, who later became the 31st president of the United States, and Spanish King Alphonso XIII.
WW1 diaries of one of Britain's first black soldiers unearthed in a dusty Scottish attic
WWI diaries of one of Britain's first black soldiers have been unearthed in a Scottish attic. Private Arthur William David Roberts, who served with the King's Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB), described coming face-to-face with death in the trenches. He survived the Battle of Passchendaele and once escaped unscathed when a German shell killed a dozen men around him. But despite being among just a handful of British-born black soldiers at a time when racism was rife, Roberts was popular with his comrades. Now historians are trying to track down surviving family of Private Roberts as they put his memoirs on show to the public for the first time.
Everyday stories and memorabilia from the First World War preserved in massive European archive
With the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War approaching, a European project is digitally documenting personal memorabilia before it is lost forever to time and indifference.
Oxford University military historian Everett Sharp explains: "The main aim of the project is to look at the awfulness of war and its effects on families. What strikes me is that in 1915 both British and German soldiers were writing home from the front saying 'I hope this war is over soon.'"
WW1 diaries of captain discovered after being hidden in wardrobe for 40 years
The diaries of a First World War captain whose company was massacred on the Western Front have been discovered after remaining hidden in a wardrobe for 40 years. The journal of Captain Edwin Vaughan, detailing the Battle of Ypres in 1917 in which his band of 90 men were annihilated to just 15, has been published (Some Desperate Glory), revealing the battlefield grim battlefield realities.
"From the darkness on all sides came the groans and wails of wounded men; faint, long, sobbing moans of agony and despairing shrieks. It was too horribly obvious that dozens of men with serious wounds must have crawled for safety into new shell-holes and now the water was rising about them and powerless to move they were slowly drowning."
The First World War diary of German author Ernst Jünger to be published for the first time
Ernst Jünger saw action in Somme and Ypres, winning the Iron Cross and Prussia's highest military award, the "Pour le Merite." On August 28, 1916, he wrote: "This area was... forests and cornfields... There's nothing left of it, nothing at all."
Private Bert Camp`s WW1 diaries other wartime mementos fetched £1,400 (Extracts)
Private Bert Camp's diaries along with other wartime memorabilia, sold for £1,400 - hundreds of pounds over the estimate - to a trade buyer at an auction in Bristol. The diaries reveal the true horrors of some of the bloodiest WW1 battles. Militaria expert Malcolm Claridge at auctioneers Dreweatts said: "These sorts of items have been gaining value in recent years... because of the centenary coming up in 2014." The diary describes Bert's frontline action - he was a gun carriage driver with the Royal Horse Artillery - from Ypres to Paschendaele, Neuve Chapelle and the Somme in matter-of-fact detail.
WW1 Royal Navy logbooks used to reconstruct past weather patterns - Volunteers wanted
A project aims to use old Royal Navy logbooks to build a more accurate picture of how our climate has changed. Online volunteers are being called upon to re-trace the routes taken by 280 Royal Navy ships including historic vessels. Volunteers transcribe information from images of ships' logbooks - rising through the ranks from cadet to captain of a particular ship. The project also fills in gaps in the knowledge of British history. "Naval logbooks contain an amazing treasure trove of information but because the entries are handwritten they are incredibly difficult for a computer to read," explained Dr Chris Lintott. [project website]
WW1 tank operator's diary, with amazing paintings and drawings, discovered (photos)
A diary offering an insight into the life of the 1/21 Battn London Regt Tank Corps has been discovered. Lieutenant Kenneth Wootton's 120-page diary, which includes amazing sketches and paintings, brings to life the major WWI battles, and even includes detailed ink drawings of tanks and battle movements. Wootton, who was granted the MC for gallantry and devotion to duty, kept a diary 1915-1917, even describing the Christmas truce between the British and German soldiers in 1916. The historic document, which will be auctioned off, emerged after Wootton's great granddaughter inherited a collection of old books.
Public's first view of Siegfried Sassoon's personal papers at Cambridge University Library
Siegfried Sassoon's account of the first day of the Battle of the Somme has gone on display at Cambridge University Library. It is just one of many personal documents, never before seen by the public, and purchased by Cambridge University Library for £1.25 million. The archive includes the first draft of his 1917 statement, protesting at the continuation of the war. Sassoon was one of the best known WWI poets but, unlike Wilfred Owen or Rupert Brooke, he survived. He joined up as soon as he could, and was commissioned into the Royal Welch Fusiliers as a Second Lieutenant and sent to the Western front in 1915.
The diary of a World War I artilleryman who saw action at the Somme and Ypres
Clarence Percy Ahier served as an artilleryman at the Somme and Ypres in World War One. Many of those serving during the war recorded their memories - in spite of such act being a court martial offence. Some accounts became famous, and others were locked away in attics. Ahier's WW1 diary - donated to the Societe Jersiaise - falls into the second category. It tells his story from enlisting in 1915 through to the return to Jersey in 1919. Returning home in 1917 on leave, he was amazed how little people knew of the war: "It struck me very forcibly how little people over here realised what war was really like."
Lance Corporal William Walker's World War I diary printed in a book
A journal detailing a soldier's life in World War One trenches has been unearthed in immaculate condition. The First World War writings of Lance Corporal William Walker have now been printed in a book "My Experiences in the Great War" after it was found in his daughter's loft. He served in the Highland Light Infantry in France 1915-1917. "It tells of the great battles and the awful conditions but there are also light-hearted moments and a few laughs. It's easy to forget that these were young men. The camaraderie and humour got a lot of them through the war," explained William's grandson Peter Northey.
WWI diaries of the Royal Surrey Regiment placed online
Journals kept by Surrey soldiers on the frontline during the Great War are now online - uploaded by the Royal Surrey Regiment Association. The stress of days spent on standby for action, sudden death and the evacuation of injured soldiers are just some of the events recorded in the official war diaries of battalions in The Queen's Royal (West Surrey) and the East Surrey Regiments. Colonel Tony Ward says the digital volume is a good research tool for local historians. The diaries also complement the regimental memorabilia (including medals, uniform and weaponry) on display in the Queen's Royal Surrey Regiment Museum at Clandon Park.
George Petersen's Gallipoli diary sells for $20,000
A New Zealand soldier's Gallipoli journal has fetched $20,000 at an auction. Private George Petersen's diary gives a day-by-day account from the April 25 Anzac landings in 1915 until his departure 5 months into the 8-month campaign. --- In early June: "Heavy bomb throwing from Turks, one bomb went off next to me, had a narrow escape, it killing one and wounding another..." And 3 days later: "At present we are fighting for dear life. About 100 prisoners were captured during night. We do not know what moment we may be blown up by land mines."
Soldier's First World War diary released - Leonard Wentworth Stafford
On 21st March 1918 L/Cpl Leonard Wentworth Stafford was captured in the trenches of northern France as the German Army began a huge offensive to secure the Western Front and end the Great War. German guns bombarded his position with 1 million artillery shells in 5 hours, after that came an attack by elite storm troopers and Stafford was one of 21,000 British soldiers taken POW on the first day. Now Stafford's family has given Chad exclusive access to his WW1 diary. The diary describes the miserable conditions as POWs were put to work fixing roads and laying railway for the German war effort.
For King and Country: Voices from the First World War
There have been eyewitness collections like this with those who endured the Western Front. But this one is special. It may be the selection Brian MacArthur has made. There is nothing here that is not memorably written. It may be the unexpectedness of the details. Some of it is hard to read without shuddering yet being compelled to read on. Much of it is also impossible to read without a feeling of astonished humbleness before so much proof of the spirit of humanity, where you would expect only hatred. It was a war that made men write poetry, and ordinary soldiers were moved to write poetry too.
Battle Orders of Billy Mitchell - First Army Headquarters, American Expeditionary Forces
On Sept. 11, 1918, Colonel William Mitchell was finishing his plan for air operations in the WWI Battle of St. Mihiel in France. It was to be the world`s first major air offensive, and Mitchell was its "air boss" - the world`s first joint force air component commander. Positive that they all understood his plan, he then issued his written battle orders. With his all-capitalized admonition for airmen to "take the offensive at all points," he had summed up the tenor of his command and created an instant classic of military history.
Tommy's War -The diaries of a man who wrote about WW1-era life in Glasgow
The diaries of an obscure Glasgow clerk who lived through the First World War and the Depression are set to become a publishing hit. Tommy's War contains the musings of Thomas Cairns Livingstone, a working class man who set up home in Govanhill in 1913. Spanning 20 years, he wrote his journal in a copperplate, and illustrated it with drawings. His entries tell of the everyday life - However, they are also a unique historical document: a record of the build-up to the war and the way it affected the homefront. His writing went unnoticed until in 2007, his diaries were taken onto Antique Roadshow for valuation.
A World War One blogger - Experiences of Private Harry Lamin
The story of a World War I soldier is holding thousands around the world on tenterhooks after his account of life in the trenches was turned into a blog. Letters of Private Harry Lamin, who served with the York and Lancasters, are being posted as an online diary, with each published 90 years to the day after it was originally written. Now thousands who have become hooked on Private Lamin's story are waiting to see whether he survived or died in battle. Issuing the stories in real time was the idea of Private Lamin's grandson, Bill Lamin, who put together the remnants of his grandfather's war-time correspondence.
World War I memoirs of a trench soldier reveal 'Blackadder' humour
The humorous memoirs of Captain Alexander Stewart (the 3rd Scottish Rifles) who survived the horrors of trench warfare during WWI have been published for the first time. His diary describes the grim reality of the Somme with a wry sense of humour similar to Captain Blackadder in the BBC comedy. Among accounts of his comrades being ripped apart by shells, he jokes about nearly losing his life and describes his annoyance at having to stop smoking to shoot a German who had gained entry to the trench. He was sent home in 1917 with serious injuries caused by the bomb blast. He then wrote his war memoirs "The Experiences of a Very Unimportant Officer".
World War I diaries of Staff Sergeant James Moore found - Extracts
The diaries of World War 1 hero Staff Sergeant James Moore have been unearthed more than 80 years after his death. His pencil-written account of life in the trenches provides an insight into the horrors of WWI, like revealing how he managed to repair his force's only gun as they came under enemy fire. The 4 plain pocket diaries record his experiences on the Western Front and they will be auctioned in Surrey. The journals cover a period of fighting in the fields of France 1915-1918, taking in battles at Ypres, Morval and Mons. Staff Sgt Moore suffered constant artillery bombardment, gas attacks, and the deaths of friends and loved ones.
WW1 diary by an unknown soldier brings horror back to life
A rare diary, giving an insight into life in World War I's trenches, has been transcribed by history student Hassan Adam for public use. An unknown soldier is responsible for the log, which gives an account of life on the Western Front 1917-1918 and is held at Blackburn's Central Library. The 40-page diary was kept by a soldier from the Royal Field Artillery's 330 Brigade A Battery. For reasons which have become lost in time, the diary ends suddenly, just weeks before Armstice Day. "The soldier was very conscientious to have kept such a detailed diary but his name will always remain a mystery."
History project honors vets with The Great War
The Veterans History Project, a program of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, presents "The Great War," a tribute to World War One veterans, in a new section of its site at www.loc.gov/vets. Rich in photographs, journals and letters, "The Great War" provides a virtual tour of some of the most compelling collections in the Veterans History Project archives and features stories of two dozen men and women who served in WWI. "In the Trenches" leads off the series of narratives and takes to the front lines of the first mass war fought with modern weaponry.
Medic's World War I Western Front diaries for sale
The unpublished WWI journals of Sgt Hubert Harding, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, will be put up for auction after diaries surfaced in a descendant's basement. Journals run through from April 1915 until 1919 and describe how he risked his life at Loos, the Somme, Passchendaele, Vimy Ridge and Cambrai. On the first day of the Somme offensive, July 1, 1916 he wrote: "Lovely morning. Many aeroplanes about. Great offensive starts... Very good results obtained so far." But by the following day his mood had changed: "Commence collecting [casualties] at 6am. Very busy morning with bad stretcher cases. Find out that 8th Div very badly cut up yesterday."
The frontline diary of a WW I Digger Rupert Baldwin
Rupert Baldwin's diary entries have been brought to life by his great-grandson Matt Pike. Collating the diary entries with photos and maps into an online presentation, Pike was amazed by the difficulties his relative experienced. "When I first read the diary, I couldn't put it down because it was so gripping. It gave me a really good sense of what hardships he must have gone through." Baldwin joined the 9th Light Horse Regiment, then the 27th Battalion Infantry. "Fritz has gone mad again, he is shelling everything he can see, he had blown the trenches all along our front," Baldwin wrote on May 4, 1916.
Soldier's diary recalls horror of the Somme - Sold for £7,360
For almost a century, historians have struggled to describe the carnage of July 1 1916, the bloodiest day in the history of the British army. Personal tales are lost amid the colossal death toll of the first day of the battle of the Somme. Of the 120,000 British soldiers who scrambled out of the trenches to march into a wall of fire, 20,000 died. But a blunt account of the initial offensive by a grocer, which sold for £7,360, goes some way to explaining what it was like to be there that day. Not a lot is known about Walter Hutchinson, a stretcher-bearer in the 10th Battalion, York & Lancaster Regiment, who wrote the diary.
6,000 Belfast First World War fatalities (Article no longer available from the original source)
A lost Lives-style history of Ulstermen who perished in World War 1 can help the whole healing process between former foes today. That's the view of the man in charge of the Belfast Book of Honour initiative, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield. Research for the book, a planned record of the thousands of Belfast men who lost their lives in the Great War, is being carried out by historian Derek Smyth. Inspired by books of honour for the war dead of Donegal and Dublin, Sir Kenneth and an ad hoc committee have been campaigning since 2003 to pay tribute to Ulster's war dead. Mr Smyth has gathered information on 6,000 Belfast WWI fatalities.
Forgotten diary captures horror of the Somme in 1916
A British soldier's pocket diary of life in the trenches during the Battle of the Somme have been made public for the first time. Pte Walter Hutchinson's, 10th Battalion, York and Lancaster Regiment, record of the battle includes an account of the first day during which 62,000 comrades died. His account gives a story of his own survival as wave after wave of soldiers went "over the top" only to be cut down by German fire. He had to scramble over the bodies of 3 soldiers he knew, lying with their heads blown apart. They had to "dig in" to trenches overnight, and they went 3 days without food while living in trenches with water up to their waists.
First World War Australian Army war diaries
First World War Australian Army war diaries. 1st - 15th Australian Light Horse Brigade, 1st ANZAC Mounted Troops, Light Horse Training Depot, Tidworth. The digital images are provided as PDF files.
Scots soldier's diary of hell in the trenches
A scots soldier's diary of the hell of World War 1 is due to be sold at auction. Jimmy Beatson, who served with the Royal Scots, recorded his experiences in the trenches during 1915. Later, he was killed in the Battle of the Somme. He began writing after finding the lost diary of a German officer in a trench. He came to regard the author Heinrich, as a friend, and addressed many of his own diary entries to him: "Are you dead Heinrich? Fate has labelled you a Prussian and me British..." --- "We saw the hideous ruins, the result of the last bombardment. Words haven't been coined to describe the desolation."
Books of the battleground - Great War novels republished (Article no longer available from the original source)
They languished in obscurity for more than 70 years, but books by 3 World War I veterans are about to get new life. The 3 novels, republished by University of South Carolina Press, will be out in paperback. The authors were of different nationalities, fought different battles and returned home to different fates. The books, complete with new introductions and afterwords, are: "Plumes," by the late American author Laurence Stallings; "Zero Hour," by the German author and philosophy professor Georg Grabenhorst; and "The Somme," by British author A.D. Gristwood.
1914-1918: Diaries and letters from soldiers in the trenches
Boy`s Christmas Truce letter was sold for £14,400, after Chris de Burgh trumped 14 rival bidders. Letters from the trenches are now commanding "Titanic prices", as one WW1 historian told me. The Imperial War Museum has built up its unparalleled collection of original manuscripts from the Great War, relying on donations. The expanding market in World War 1 letters means that these are likely to pass, for sums beyond the reach of museums, into private hands. The Great War forged a greater literature than any other conflict, for this was the first war in history in which the majority of combatants were men of letters.
One soldier's story: A missive from the Western Front
The diary of Private James Beatson offers an insight into life in the trenches during the World War 1. Diary of a young Scottish soldier, caught in some of the worst days of WW1, has resurfaced to provide an account of the hardship suffered by lower ranks. It will be sold next month. --- Thursday, 23 March: Last night, while a few of us were carrying rations to D Company in the reserve trenches, young Bennet fell, hit in the forehead, two paces in front of me. Just a flutter and another gone west. I'm in easy times with death but it's damnable to be hit in the dark by a sniping cur. God pity us.
Medic's diary reveals the Western Front horrors in World War 1
Soldier recorded the savagery of life on the Western Front in World War 1. There is an entry in the First World War diary of field medic William Alchorne which gives a snapshot of the brutality of trench warfare. He describes how some infantry soldiers came across a kitten pinned with a bayonet to a wooden door in a deserted German dug-out. One soldier began removing it, only for the booby-trapped carcass to explode and maim him. It is of particular value historically as during the Great War any soldier found keeping a diary faced a court martial. Military top brass would only allow censored letters to be sent from the frontline in a propaganda bid to preserve morale.
World War I diaries - A soldier in the 401st Telegraph Battalion (Article no longer available from the original source)
Pfc. Roscoe Herbert Gray was trained at Camp Devens 1917-1918 and was involved in World War I. A soldier in the 401st Telegraph Battalion, his voice reveals a human experience in the "Great War." Among Gray Collection of artifacts sent to the museum are his WWI uniform, helmet, gas mask with its special bag, a few photographs taken in the U.S. and in France and his dog tags. Gray's 1918 diary shows Army life at Camp Devens during winter training. To prepare for combat conditions, the unit learned to carry out signal work with gas masks on. They went into trenches where materials had been drenched with gas.
Telegram that brought US into Great War is found
An original typescript of the deciphered Zimmerman Telegram, one of the greatest coups mounted by Britain's intelligence services, has been discovered. The document is believed to be the actual telegram shown to the American ambassador in London in 1917 that proved Germany's hostility to the US and guaranteed President Woodrow Wilson's entry into the WW1. Historians say no single piece of paper did more to guarantee victory in the Great War for Britain and her allies. It was intercepted and deciphered by Room 40, a predecessor of GCHQ, the Government's top secret listening post, in January 1917.
Cartoon by Old Bill creator is found in an old box at museum
A long lost cartoon by an artist, whose work raised the morale of troops during the Great War, has been discovered by chance in a Scottish museum. The work by Bruce Bairnsfather, the creator of the cartoon character Old Bill, was found by a curator in an old box at Dunfermline Museum. The picture depicts a soldier in an embrace with a girl. Both of them are wearing anti-gas goggles. It was published in London in Bystander magazine on December 4, 1918, and later in a book called Fragments from France. The picture, a monochrome watercolour, went missing after it was sold at an exhibition of the cartoonist's work in 1919.