Friday, 25 September 2009

Unit war diaries of the First World War

Ninety four years ago today, allied forces attacked the German lines at Loos and in diversionary attacks further north. By the end of the day, nearly ten thousand British troops lay dead.

There's an increasing appetite for all things WW1; an appetite that will surely continue to increase as we approach the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of war, the 100th anniversary of Mons, of Festubert, Neuve Chapelle etc.

The majority of our work is concerned with First World War soldiers and even though, thanks to a 1940 bombing raid on London's docklands, the majority of service records for Other Ranks no longer survive, it's still possible in many cases to make assumptions about a soldier's service based on his medal index card (if he has one) and the war diary of the unit to which he belonged.

War diaries often provide a treasure trove of information and are really the primary sources of information (along with Brigade and Divisional diaries) when it comes to the day to day routines of a particular battalion or battery or other army unit.

So if your ancestor's service records went up in flames in 1940, don't despair. Get in touch with us and who knows, you may find him mentioned in a war diary.

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