Calling WWI military historians

By Judith Phillips

I’ve been constantly amazed at the range and depth of knowledge about all aspects of WWI military history that some people have, and also their generosity about sharing it.  I have to admit it’s not my strong point, so I’m even more grateful for any hep in this area.  The project website here includes the Roll of Honour database.  If you check any entry (a Smith will do!), you’ll see that there is a field for Battles and Campaigns.  At the moment, most entries will be blank.  There are two ways in which you can help us.

Can you help us identify the battles/campaigns a soldier (or sailor) would have been involved with if we have his unit and date of service (often this is the date of death)?  I believe that war diaries might be a useful source and lots of these are now available on line – you probably know the details far better than I do.  You can probably do a lot of this research at home and send us the results if you live at a distance or find it difficult to come into the museum.  But don’t forget that we have access to Ancestry’s range of online records at the museum.

And printed works about the war will also be useful.  In the Reference Library in the museum, there are some publications about the DLI’s WWI service, and I have no doubt there are lots of other useful publications.  We don’t have unit and dates information for all the entries on the Roll of Honour database but, where we do have them, it would be good to be able to add additional information.

The other way to help would be to write a short description of the battles and campaigns we can identify as ones where Teesdale people were involved.  The Roll of Honour database setup means that a link is made between a named battle/campaign in a roll of Honour entry to a brief description.  And, at the moment, we only have a few battle descriptions that were added at the very beginning of the project as demonstration entries.  So we would really like more.  I know it won’t necessarily be easy to write a short description – you probably know everything there is to know – but a general overview is what’s needed, plus perhaps suggestions of publications and websites that anyone interested in knowing more could access.

If you’ve got any ideas, suggestions or offers of help about this, I’d love to hear from you (Judith.phillips@thebowesmuseum.org.uk).