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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Heroes of World War One

As 2014 gets underway so do events to commemorate those who lost their lives during Worrld War One. The Times reports on one such event, the on-line publication of army war diaries and other documents by the National Archives.

The paper says that more than 1.5 million pages of unit war diaries from France and Flanders are being put online. The National Archives is also teaming up with the Imperial War Museum and Zooniverse, a citizen science web portal, to launch Operation War Diary, which aims to use contributions of amateur historians and other members of the public to get the most out of the material contained in the diaries.

This is a fascinating exercise that will greatly enhance our understanding of this conflict and possibly provide new persepectives on it.
Will it really add to our understanding? Don't you mean stir up jingoistic sentiment and pride in British militarism? i wonder how much time will be devoted to the crimes of Kitchener in the Boer war? how indeed can we have a butcher responsible for the deaths of thousands of women and children on our coins? Might we also expect a study of the appalling treatment of Indian soldiers whose experience was so traumatic that the brits refused to send them home on leave in case they led a rebellion in India? maybe a discussion about the Welsh soldiers who fought for the freedom of every country but their own? I won't hold my breath. More guff about British military might and being'better together' i expect.
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