World War 1 – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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Tragedy and triumph in Warwick Davis’ family tree

  “I won’t be embarrassed by what I discover, bring it on! Let’s have an adventure.” – Warwick Davis In last night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? we joined Warwick Davis, best known for his acting career, as he uncovered a few family secrets including bigamy and multiple marriages on his mother’s side of the family, as well as tragedy and another successful performer on his father’s side. Searching for a Local Pub Warwick wanted to find out

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The Battle of Jutland: A message from Admiral Jellicoe

After the Battle of Jutland, Admiral Jellicoe sent this message to his Fleet, as recorded in the Cornishman on the 15th June 1916: “I desire to express to the flag officers, captains, officers and men of the Grand Fleet my very high appreciation of the manner in which the ships fought during the action of May 31, 1916. At this stage, when full information is not available, it is not possible to enter into details, but quite sufficient is already

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“Wherefore art thou, Romeo?” Shakespeare’s missing men of 1916

Countless celebrations are taking place across the country to commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. Wherever you live, you’ll find parades, talks and performances of all kinds paying homage to the Bard’s work, but it was a very different story 100 years ago. Search the newspapers On the tercentenary of Shakespeare’s death in 1916, Britain had found itself in the middle of one of the most horrific battles in history. While the odd commemorative event took place in

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Using newspapers to research WW1 shell shock

Suzie Grogan used The British Newspaper Archive extensively while researching her book, Shell Shocked Britain: The First World War’s legacy for Britain’s mental health. She got in touch to show us the heart-breaking story she found about her own ancestors and some of the terrible accounts about life during World War One.   **************   My book is the product of two years of intensive research into the trauma of the Great War and its aftermath. But it was a chance

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The story of the 1914 Christmas Truce, as reported by WW1 newspapers

After watching Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, Kate Cole was inspired to research the real story behind WW1’s Christmas Truce. She used The British Newspaper Archive to unearth the experiences of soldiers on the Western Front in 1914.   **************   In December 1914, during first year of World War One, a remarkable event known as the Christmas Day Truce occurred in small pockets along the Western Front. 100 years later, one of Britain’s largest grocery shops has released a Christmas advert re-enacting

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WW1 recipes found in copies of old newspapers

You can search more than 390,000 newspaper pages from 1914-1918 at The British Newspaper Archive, with more being added all the time. Juliet Greenwood got in touch to explain how she used the collection to research World War One recipes for her novel, We That Are Left.   **************   When I first began writing a novel set during the First World War, I knew I wanted to focus on the experience of women and civilians. For Elin, the heroine

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11 unusual tales of terror from historical newspapers

The British Newspaper Archive is full of grisly stories about the unusual and the unexplained. We’ve selected some of the oddest tales, including a description of a monster with the head of a sea lion and a rumour that Germany was turning dead soldiers into explosives during WW1. Let us know if you’ve found a story to rival these. You can comment below or post on our Facebook page. 1) 1877: A bizarre 70-foot beast A very strange creature was sighted

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The Manchester Courier takes a different view of World War One

The Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, like other British newspapers, reported that Britain joined the First World War on 4 August 1914. The Courier makes for especially fascinating reading because it reported the news in a very different way.   Manchester Courier: ‘Keep your country out of a wicked and stupid war’ Many newspapers included an advert encouraging unmarried men between 18 and 30 years old to join the Army on 5 August 1914. This example is taken from another

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The start of WW1: Austria-Hungary declares war

World War One officially started on 28 July 1914 when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. There are currently 25 newspapers from 28 July 1914 available to view online at The British Newspaper Archive. You’ll find clippings from some of these newspapers below, showing how the start of the war was reported.   Explore newspapers from 1914   Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war starts WW1 The Serbian Prime Minister received a telegram at 12.30pm on 28 July 1914. It stated that ‘Austria-Hungary…

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A WW1 letter from Gallipoli

The WW1 Gallipoli Campaign began on 25 April 1915, resulting in the loss of approximately 50,000 men from Australia, Britain, France and New Zealand. A poignant letter from an attending nurse was sent to an Australian woman living in London and printed in the Tamworth Herald.   ‘It breaks my heart to see them’ The letter describes the nurse’s work at the Dardanelles during World War One and includes this incredibly moving comment: ‘It’s a sad time for us all,

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