1. ITV Report

Siegfried Sassoon's war diaries published online

Siegfried Sassoon was one of the greatest war poets of WWI. Photo: Topham Picturepoint/Press Association Images

The diaries of war poet Siegfried Sassoon have been published online almost 100 years since Britain declared war on Germany.

Around 4,100 pages of his personal archive, some still bearing traces of mud from the Somme, have been digitalised for the Cambridge University Library project, which aims to highlight the horrors of the First World War.

They include draft copies of his Soldier's Declaration as well as poetry, prose and sketches and previously unseen material, including an early version of one of his most famous poems The Dug-Out.

An early draft of Sassoon's poem 'The Dug-Out.' Credit: Cambridge University Library/PA

In the journals, Sassoon describes the first day of the Somme as a "sunlit picture of hell." He also records the moment he was shot by a sniper at the Battle of Arras.

A drawing of a soldier entitled 'The Soul of an Officer.' Credit: Cambridge University Library/PA

Cambridge University librarian Anne Jarvis said: "From his Soldier's Declaration to his eyewitness accounts of the first day of battle on the Somme, the Sassoon archive is a collection of towering importance, not just to historians, but to anyone seeking to understand the horror, bravery and futility of the First World War as experienced by those on the front lines and in the trenches."

Sassoon's account of the first day of The Battle of the Somme. Credit: Cambridge University Library/PA

The archive can be viewed at cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk

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