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Read extracts from First World War diaries

The diaries reveal the experiences of soldiers during the First World War Photo: PA

Diaries from British soldiers describing life during the First World War have been digitised and can now be read online.

The National Archives is publishing the first batch of unit diaries from France and Flanders as part of the organisations centenary programme.

ITV News Correspondent Nina Nannar reports:

One of the entries from the 4th Division, 1 Battalion Somerset Light Infantry in 1917 tells of one soldier's experience of conflict: "The Germans quickly got their artillery into position, and a considerable amount of shelling was experienced. Our casualties in this engagement were slight."

In one diary, Captain CJ Paterson, one of the First Battalion's soldiers writes: "As I say all should be nice and peaceful and pretty. What it actually is is beyond description.

"Trenches, bits of equipment, clothing (probably blood-stained), ammunition, tools, caps, etc., etc., everywhere.

"Poor fellows shot dead are lying in all directions. Some of ours."

He goes on: "Everywhere the same hard, grim, pitiless sign of battle and war. I have had a belly full of it."

The diaries offer a mix of personal and operational experiences of life during World War One Credit: National Archive

Other extracts tell a more humorous tale, like that of the "boxing clergyman" Captain Mazzini Tron: "A German officer rushed at the Rev Tron and nearly tore his coat from off his back. The padre who is a bit of a boxer, repeatedly struck the German in the face until they broke apart.

"Unslinging his glasses the German thrust them into the hands of the astonished clergyman, and tendered his surrender."

Excerpt from the 4th Division, 1 Battalion Somerset Light Infantry Credit: National Archive

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said the publication of these diaries will enable the voices of those who fought during World War 1 to be heard: "The National Archives' digitised First World War unit diaries will allow us to hear the voices of those that sacrificed their lives and is even more poignant now there are no living veterans who can speak directly about the events of the war.

"This new online vehicle gives a very public voice to some of these soldiers, through which we will be able to hear their thoughts and feelings."