Kerry Farmer gave an excellent overview of WWI family history resources at Mosman Library this week. You can download the handout here:
Recently I’ve spoken to a number of people involved in projects researching those who enlisted for military service in World War 1. As the centenary of WW1 approaches, there seem to be many commemoration projects underway and these projects seem to be running largely in isolation. What other projects are you aware of?
A few weeks ago I joined in the Mosman Library Buildathon to see what a local council library might get up to in starting up their own digital humanities project. This post reports on the experience of a small team (2 of us! Virginia – a freelance historian, and myself, an information professional) trawling through online databases to ‘see what we could see’.
The five diaries of stretcher bearer and despatch rider W.J.A. “Allan” Allsop at the Mitchell Library, collected in 1919 and now scanned and transcribed, are a fantastic resource. But they’re somewhat hidden within the State Library of NSW website and the viewing experience is not the best. See, for example, the album view and transcript of Item 4 on the SLNSW website. How can we bring the diary contents to life?
On arriving at the firing line grim sights confronted us. Dead & wounded lay in heaps behind the parapet and worn-out Australians crouched close under cover. The looks in their faces and on the faces of those lying on the ground greatly impressed me. Chaos and weird noises like thousands of iron foundries, deafening and dreadful, coupled with the roar of high explosives or coal-boxes as they ripped the earth out of the parapet, prevailed as we crept along seeking first of all the serious cases of wounded. Backwards & forwards we travelled between the firing line and the R.A.P. [Regimental Aid Post] with knuckles torn and bleeding due to the narrow passage ways. “Cold sweat”, not perspiration, dripped from our faces and our breath came only in gasps.
W.J.A. Allsop, diary entry on the Battle of Fromelles