13 March 2014. Today The National Archives is making the second batch of 3,987 digitised First World War unit war diaries from France and Flanders available online via its First World War 100 portal.
It contains records relating to the last of the Cavalry and numbers 8-33 Infantry Divisions deployed to the Western Front in the First World War. They cover the entire period of the units' involvement in France and Belgium, from their arrival on the front to their departure at the end of the war.
William Spencer, author and military records specialist at The National Archives said: 'This second batch of unit war diaries provides detailed accounts of the actions of the next troops to arrive on the Western Front. They show the advances in technology that made it the world's first industrialised war with many mounted troops going into battle at first with swords on horseback and ending the war with machine guns and tanks.'
Overwhelming response to Operation War DiaryIn the first eight weeks since the launch of Operation War Diary, a joint project between The National Archives, Imperial War Museums and Zooniverse, over 10,000 people across the globe have volunteered to tag names, places and other details in the diaries. Initial reports show that there have been 260,096 tags relating to named individuals, 332,484 tags relating to places and nearly 300,000 tags relating to activities. This is the equivalent of one person working 40 hours a week for four years.
With over 200 diaries already tagged and verified, this innovative crowdsourcing project goes one step further than traditional transcription by using the data to digitally map and analyse patterns and trends in the unit war diaries, offering new perspectives on the First World War.
Go straight to the website to take part in Operation War Diary now.