I was thrilled to hear the announcement a couple of days ago that The National Archives have digitized the first batch of World War One unit war diaries to mark the First World War Centenary. This will open up more than 1.5 million pages of real lives to the amateur historian, general inquisitor or the writer, globally. (Operation War Diary)
None of the novels that I’m working on right now have any links with the First World One, but if they did (or may do) then this is a virtual treasure trove of information that I can’t wait to get my hands on.
Hopefully, in time more and more first-hand accounts such as these at various times and settings in history will be made available to any one who wants it. Instead of being limited to the few who have the time and not to mention the money to (in the case of the UK) to keep travelling down to London to the National Archives or to the British Library.
And I’m not just excited as a writer for this but as a historian and a Brit as well. It’s wonderful to see that the lives of ordinary men on the front line during the First World War will be having their voices heard.