Soldiers' diaries from First World War now online for public

More than 300,000 pages of the diaries of British troops serving in France and Flanders during the First World War, have been published online by the National Archives.

Live updates

  1. National

First World War diaries 'to humanise' historical battle

The online publication of thousands of pages of diary entries from the First World War will allow "allows people across the world to discover daily activities, stories and battles of each unit for themselves", author and military records specialist William Spencer said.

The dairies are the most popular records held from the National Archives First World War collection. Credit: Press Association

The diaries are the most popular records from The National Archives' First World War collection and are being digitised as part of the organisation's centenary programme.

Mr Spencer said he hopes the publication of the diaries will enable people to learn more about the First World War, and shed some light on the thoughts and feelings of the men who fought it. He said:

"It's interesting because it's humanising it. War is a de-humanising thing."


  1. National

Diaries 'allow us to hear voices of WW1 soldiers'

The publication of thousands of diaries from servicemen who fought in the First World War will enable their voices to heard, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said.

Read: First World War diaries digitised for 'citizen historians'

Speaking ahead of the publication of the extracts today, she said:

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.

  1. National

First World War diaries digitised for 'citizen historians'

Hundreds of thousands of pages of diaries from units from the First World War have been digitised and will be available to read online today.

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

Around 300,000 pages of First World War unit Credit: Press Association

The organisation is hoping that "citizen historians" will read the diaries to unearth new discoveries about life at war.

Back to top

Latest ITV News reports