Tag Archives: United Kingdom

First World War: Royal Flying Corps

Banner WW1: Royal Flying Corps

The digital collection First World War: Royal Flying Corps is part of the digitized Special Collections at Wichita State University, Fairmont, KS. This digital collection contains papers from the English brigade general R.M. Groves, notes about the RFC, two albums with aerial photographs showing the region in Flanders around Messines and Passchendaele before and after the battles in 1917, and aerial photographs with a report on a bomb raid on Vienna in 1918 led by the Italian poet Gabriele d’Annunzio.  In the accompanying finding aid the materials (three boxes) are concisely described. You can browse this collection, use the free text field search or the advanced search mode.

Wichita State University has also a small general First World War collection, a collection on operations and intelligence of the British First and Second Armies, and twenty letters from British soldiers serving at different fronts.

First World War: Royal Flying Corps

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WW1 Centenary University of Oxford

The portal WW1 Centenary University of Oxford has been created by the University of Oxford to offer an easy point of access to its activities and resources concerning the centenary commemorations of the First World War. There are four main sections on the portal, for peoples, places, Oxford First World War resources, and videos and podcasts. The section People shows letters from undergraduates and staff at Oxford, among them J.R.R. Tolkien. The section Places looks at several colleges, at Oxford University Press, Oxford University Officers’ Training Corps, the role of the Morris factory at Cowley, Port Meadow which became the training camp of the Royal Flying Corps, and Didcot, the Central Ordnance Depot.

In the section WW1 Oxford Resources you can find research projects, some of them well-known, for example the First World War Poetry Digital Archive and the contributions of Oxford to the digital portal Europeana 1914-1918. The digital collection Oxford at War 1914-1918 is a crowdsourcing project to collect stories, images and documents. The Bodleian Libraries are the main force in the Oxford World War I Centenary Programme to preserve and digitize materials. To all these riches one can add the WW1 Primary Resources Guide of the Bodleian.

WW1 Centenary University of Oxford

British Soldier’s Wills

Start screen "Find a will"

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.

British Soldier’s Wills

Three pilots – One War

Header Three Pilots - One War

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.

Three Pilots – One War

Fairbank Papers

Photograph of Thomas Fairbank - Cambridge University LibraryThe 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.

Fairbank Papers

The Battle of Jutland Centenary Initiative

Logo Jutland 1916The 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 Battle of Jutland Centenary Initiative

Lions led by donkeys

Banner Lions led by donkeysThe 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.

Lions led by donkeys