Military Newspapers | The British Newspaper Archive Blog


Military Newspapers

As we explored in our other blog post, military topics and history can be found in every newspaper in The Archive. We also hold a range of specialist military titles.  These titles fall into three broad categories: newspapers aimed at the volunteer and military services, newspapers from towns which had large military or naval bases, and newspapers published during the course of a conflict.

Click on each paper’s title to be brought to its Title Page in the table below.  On the Title Page you will find more information on the years we hold, a sample issue of the paper, and a search box to search only that title.

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Volunteer Services & Forces Newspapers

Newspapers aimed at the volunteer services and regular army and navy flourished in the nineteenth century.  In 1859 a new corps of volunteers was formed to supplement both the militia and the regular army in case of invasion.  These rifle brigades attracted members from those able to afford to purchase their own uniform and rifle, which could amount to £8-£12.   Newspaper proprietors responded to this wave of patriotism by creating newspapers to disseminate news of the military and the volunteer forces.  Issues of the Volunteer Service Gazette carried reports on the various volunteer units, including descriptions of their uniforms and the progress of their drill and weapons training.

These papers also included news of the movements and engagements of the regular army and navy.  The posting of officers and the movement of troops are treated in great detail.   These papers will tell you where a regiment was on a given date, at home or abroad.

Military Towns

An influx of military personnel into a town could increase the population of the area dramatically and have a huge influence on the social and economic environment.  Aldershot became the home of the British Army in the 1850s and brought thousands to live where previously there had been less than 1000.  Portsmouth has had a long association with the navy, but also saw a dramatic increase in population in the mid 1800s.  In response to these population booms local newspapers with a military or naval focus sprang up which emphasised military and naval matters alongside regular news and advertising.

Newspapers at War

Newspapers were essential to disseminating news about the progress and effects of war.  While war often brought paper shortages which could see regular newspapers reduce in size it also produced specialist titles.

The Illustrated War News is a lavishly illustrated publication which touches on both the theatre of war during the First World War and the home front, particularly in the form of advertisements.  Especially valuable for the photographs of enlisted men complete with names, the paper is also ideal for researching uniforms, vehicles and equipment from all armies involved in the conflict.

During the Second World War a unique collaboration between The Daily Mirror and the Royal Navy resulted in Good Morning: The Daily Paper of the Submarine BranchThe paper brought light hearted entertainment and news of family to submariners cut-off from life above the waves for weeks on end.  Journalists from the paper visited the families’ of the submariners and published photographs of wives, children, parents and girlfriends, a real treat for the men.

One of the more poignant titles we hold in the collection is the Weekly Casualty List of the First World War.  Published weekly this paper listed all of those known to be wounded, died of wounds, killed in battle, missing and taken prisoner.  Officers and enlisted men are listed separately, and privates are listed under the name of the regiment in which they served.  These lists are valuable both for discovering the fate of individuals and documenting the losses of particular regiments.

Aldershot Military Gazette 1859-1870, 1872-1873, 1875-1887, 1889-1890, 1918
Army and Navy Gazette 1860-1871, 1884-1918, 1920-1921
Good Morning: The Daily Paper of the Submarine Branch 1943-1945
Illustrated War News 1914-1918, 1939
Military Register 1818, 1819, 1814
Naval & Military Gazette and Weekly Chronicle of the United Service 1833-1846, 1860-1886
Portsmouth Times and Naval Gazette 1850-1871
Volunteer Service Gazette and Military Dispatch 1859-1869, 1871-1877, 1879-1880, 1882-1903
Weekly Casualty List (War Office & Air Ministry ) 1917-1918

We have blogged about a variety wartime and military subjects, read them by clicking here.

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