The digital collection British Soldier’s Wills is a project of the UK government in which some 280,000 soldier’s wills between 1850 and 1996 have been digitized. These wills are part of a general database for probate search in the United Kingdom. The Original wills are kept by Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS). In the simple search mode you can search for name and year of death. The advance search mode adds the possibilty to search also for first names, the day and month of death, and regimental number. You have to register to view the digitized wills, but you can search without registration. The interface of this database is in English.
The digital collection Three Pilots – One War is the fruit of a partnership between the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr (Berlin-Gatow), the Royal Air Force Museum (London) and the Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace in Le Bourget. You can follow the First World War through the letters of three pilots, the Frenchman Jean Chaput, the Englishman Bernard Rice – who had served earlier as a messenger – and the German Peter Falkenstein. The letters are published here in day-to-day order exactly 100 years after they were written. Historical comments accompany each letter. The three museums will organize exhibitions between 2014 and 2019 to highlight aspects of the aircraft warfare during the First World War. You can view this collection in English, French and German.
The digitized collection of the Fairbank Papers is part of the Cambridge Digital Library. (Harold Arthur) Thomas Fairbank was born in 1876. He became the first English orthopaedic surgeon working at Charing Cross Hospital in London. In 1914 he was commissioned in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He served in Flanders (Ypres, Loos), France and Macedonia, and he advised also the British Salonika Force. The Fairbank Papers (GB0012 Add 10082/1 to 100082/10) consist of diaries, photographic albums and glass plate negatives. His diaries and photographs show the horrors of the First World War, but there was also space for moments of recreation, playing in pantomimes.
The portal The Battle of Jutland Centenary Initiative has been created to commemorate in 2016 the naval battle of May 31-June 1, 1916 between the British Royal Navy and the German Hochseeflotte off the Danish coast. At its center are a 25 minute animation video showing the actual battle, its background and impact, and the new study by Nick Jellicoe, grandson of the British naval commander admiral Jellicoe. The portal has databases on the ships and their crews. There are maps, teaching materials and sources, and a detailed web directory for the naval history of the First World War. In a crowdsourcing project the public is asked to help decipher and translate fragile German books dealing with the Battle of Jutland printed with the Fraktur type. The website can only be viewed in English.
The digital collection Lions led by donkeys has been created by John Bourne at the Centre for War Studies, University of Birmingham. The collection contains concise biographies of British officers with the rank of brigadier-general or higher who served with the British Expeditionary Force at the Western Front between August 5, 1914 and November 11, 1918. Its aim is to show the wide variety in personal and professional qualities of British generals beyond the famous and infamous among them. At present 1,257 biographies can be consulted. You can access them using seven preset sections in alphabetical order. There is also a list of British generals.
The Centre for War Studies has a valuable links section concerning the First World War with much attention for British army units; its variety makes it into a concise web directory.
The digital collection First World War Volunteers British Red Cross has been created in 2016 by the British Red Cross with the help of the general public. The database contains the records of some 90,000 volunteers who served in the United Kingdom and on the European continent. You can search the database for individuals using their forenames, last names, locations and hospitals, duties and/or roles. There are special pages for famous volunteers, and some aspects of the work volunteers did is highlighted, too, for example sending food parcels to British prisoners of war. You can contribute to the database with new or corrected information. The interface of this database is English.
The digital collection Chansons et musique de la Première Guerre Mondiale [Songs and music of the First World War] has been created by the Bibliothèque nationale de France as a part of Gallica, its digital portal. The recordings of songs, sometimes accompanied by illustrations, are presented in seven categories, starting with songs written between 1871 and 1914 in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian war with pleas for a revanche, combat songs, patriotic hymns, soldiers’ songs about the life at the front, songs from the home front about daily life, a selection of English songs, and songs about the armistice. Interestingly you can often listen to different versions of a particular song. You can also browse the entire set of collections. However, there is no search possibility. As for now the collection can only be viewed using an interface in French.