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World War I soldier's diary and papers

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: ViU-2020-0019

Content Description

A concisely written diary documenting the realities of life on the Western Front as experienced by chemical warfare soldiers in the British Army. The diarist makes his first proper entry upon being transferred from the Machine Gun Section to the Chemical Section in September 1915, only a few weeks before the first British mobilization of chemical weapons during the Battle of Loos. Following his month-long training at Helfaut, he is attached to the 15th section of the 187th Company, first entering the trenches on December 17, where for the next year and a half he would manage the supply, disposal, and potential bombardment of gas shells. The diary ends suddenly on April 15, 1917, after a series of hurried entries referring to the diarist's work with the advancing artillery in the Somme Offensive. It is not known if the diarist lived to see the final Armistice in 1918. Preserved within the book's rear inside sleeve, five wartime currency notes (issued from the war Front towns of d'Amiens, Bethune, Havre, St.Omer, and Treport), one reinforced clipping of an overly patriotic WWI poem by Harold Begbie ("Fall in!"), and a gelatin silver print, presumably depicting the diarist, in uniform, on a dispatch motorcycle

Acquisition Type



Purchased 18 June 2019.

Restrictions Apply



  • Creation: 1915-09 - 1917-04


0.03 Cubic Feet (1 folder)