In the first eight weeks since the launch of TNA's Operation War Diary project - which is being jointly run with Imperial War Museums and web portal Zooniverse, more than 10,000 people across the world have volunteered to tag names, places and other key details in the diary. For more information on the project or to register to volunteer, visit the website at www.operationwardiary.org.
Now The National Archives has released the second batch of its WW1 unit war diaries, comprising almost 4,000 diaries which relate to the last of the Cavalry and the 8-33 Infantry Divisions deployed to the Western Front in the First World War. It also covers the period of the units’ involvement in France and Belgium, from their arrival on the front, to their departure at the end of the Great War.
“This second batch of unit war diaries provides detailed accounts of the actions of the next troops to arrive on the Western Front,” explained William Spencer, author and military specialist at TNA. “They show advancements in technology that made it the world’s first industrialised war with many mounted troops going into battle, at first with swords on horseback before ending the war with machine guns and tanks.”
Data gathered through Operation War Diary will be used for three main purposes:
- to enrich The National Archives' catalogue descriptions for the unit war diaries,
- to provide evidence about the experience of named individuals in IWM's Lives of the First World War project
- to present academics with large amounts of accurate data to help them gain a better understanding of how the war was fought
All of the data produced by Operation War Diary will eventually be available to everyone free of charge- a lasting legacy and a rich and valuable introduction to the world of the War Diaries.