Happy Valentine's Day

Edelweiss card
(This post by Alun Edwards originally appeared in 2013)
My Angel last night I received a letter from you. I learned how strong was the pain on the day we had to separate. Do you remember those beautiful kisses? Do you remember the last one we gave each other between the tears. You did not dare to say a word. The tears were suffocating you. While passing by you were at the window. The [train] guard also told me that. I didn't see you. I almost thought you didn't keep the promise made. I didn't dare to watch more than once. My poor heart was suffocated not by tears, but by a strong passion that I couldn't resist. You knew what my beliefs were. Also having to leave you again, what a pain... By the end of the year we hope this will end... Greetings and kisses Giuseppe. Enjoy this souvenir from me. In these rough mountains you can find these flowers.

This moving love letter was sent by Sergeant Major Giuseppe Castellani, to his wife Antonia at home in Fossato di Vico, while he was away serving in the Italian army during the First World War. All her life Antonia cherished this edelweiss card, which was contributed online to Europeana 1914-1918 by their grandson Manuel Castellani. You may also contribute your family's stories from the Great War.

Reverse of Edelweiss card
Images: "Memory of our glorious Alps" sent 19 September 1917, and reverse

View the full story and the images here.

Words by Alun Edwards and Monica Rossi, University of Oxford


Dec 25. The Christmas Truce

Sergeant Bernard Brookes
Sergeant Bernard Brookes was a signaller who spent ten months in Flanders in the beginning of the War before he suffered shellshock and was invalided out of active service. During his convalescence he wrote up the notes he had made during his service, giving a personal, unsentimental account of the appalling conditions in the trenches as well as humorous exploits on and off duty.

Here are two short extracts relating to the famous Christmas Truce 1914:
24 December 1914: "An officer went out (after we had stood at our posts with rifles loaded in case of treachery) and arrangements were made that between 10.00am and noon, and from 2.00pm to 4.00pm tomorrow, intercourse between the Germs [sic] and ourselves should take place. It was a beautiful night and a sharp frost set in, and when we awoke in the morning the ground was covered with a white raiment. It was indeed an ideal Christmas, and the spirit of peace and goodwill was very striking in comparison with the hatred and death-dealing of the past few months."

German signatures and addresses collected
by Brookes during the Christmas Truce at Chappelle d'Armentières
25 December 1914: "The Germs [sic] wanted to continue a partial truce until the New Year, for as some of them said, they were heartily sick of the War and did not want to fight, but as we were leaving the trenches early next morning and naturally did not want them to know, we insisted on the truce ending at midnight, at which time our artillery sent over to them four shells of small calibre to let them know that the truce, at which the whole World would wonder, was ended and in its place, death and bloodshed would once more reign supreme."

You can read more of Sergeant Bernard Brookes’s story on the Europeana 1914-1918 site. These have been shared by his daughter, Una Barrie, under a CC SA-BY licence.


This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 24. Ce spectacle écoeurant...

Michel Toudy
A series of unofficial ceasefires took place along the Western Front over Christmas 1914, but not every soldier in the trenches was happy. "They celebrate Christmas in our ruins ["Dixmude"]... This disgusting spectacle continued for 15 hours..."*  writes an outraged Michel Toudy in his diary. Michel was a Belgian officer in the grenadiers (6de divisie) serving in the trenches in Diksmuide. He describes in detail the fraternization of his Belgian comrades with the German troops they were intent on killing just days before. Exasperated, he writes "Where are we heading? Everywhere, except to Berlin!"

This story was shared by Jos Bamps at a collection day run by Erfgoedplus.be, it is licensed as CC BY-SA.

To read Michel's diary entries for Christmas 1914 in full and see further pictures, go to http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/5883 and remember you can use the tools on the site to translate the story.

* "Ils fêtent le Noël, dans nos ruines... Ce spectacle écoeurant cesse enfin verse 15 heures..."
** "Où allons nous? Partout, sauf à Berlin!"

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 23. Far, forgetting land

On this day in 1915, the poet Roland Leighton died of his wounds, aged only twenty, in the Casualty Clearing Station at Louvencourt, France. He had been shot through the stomach by a sniper while inspecting wire in the trenches at Hébuterne. Leighton is famous for his love of Vera Brittain, also a poet - a love which blooms in their prolific and intimate correspondence. For her he wrote the poem Vilanelle about "Violets from Plug Street Wood". His poetry and their love story inspires visitors to leave violets in his memory on his grave in the military cemetery at Louvencourt, near Doullens, France. Their correspondence and Roland's poetry is a commentary on life for those serving at the front, and how their tribulations could not be comprehended by those at home - "Violets from oversea, To your dear, far, forgetting land".
This item is from The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, University of Oxford (www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit); © The Vera Brittain Fonds, McMaster University Library / The Roland Leighton Literary Estate
An online curated pathway Women in the War - Vera Brittain, written by Alisa Miller, provides a fascinating introduction to their correspondence and their poems in The First World War Poetry Digital Archive.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec 22. The Christmas Truce seen through French eyes.

Letter from Léon Pothie, Christmas 1914
Léon Pothie served in the French army on the Western Front in the First World War. Among the many letters that his family still have is a particularly moving account of the fraternization between French and German soldiers at Christmas 1914 (the Christmas Truce). Pothie describes how the soldiers sang and exchanged cigars and sweets and he comments that: “it was Christmas for us and for them too” (C’était noël pour nous et pour eux aussi). He concludes by observing that “War is funny. In a few hours we will be shooting at each other!” (C’est drôle la guerre dans quelques heures on tirera les uns sur les autres!).
Léon Pothie ‘died for France’ on the 14th of 1916 at Tahure (Marne). His grand-daughter, Mme Marie-Thérèse Duval, shared his story and made his Christmas letter available under a CC BY-SA licence. To read the original story (in French) and see the rest of the letter, visit the Europeana 1914-1918 site.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec 21. Christmas in British POW camp

Programme from Christmas concert in Handforth POW camp
Wilhelm Jansen Joerde (1896-1982), from Dohr/Reydt was drafted into the German army in the middle of the War. He fought at the Somme in 1917 and was badly wounded, so badly that his leg had to be amputated with haste. Later that same year, he was taken prisoner and moved to the Handforth prisoner of war camp in Cheshire, UK. He spent about two years in the camp, and saved a number of documents from that time. Among his papers are programmes from plays and concerts put on by the prisoners, including events held at Christmas 1917. 

The story of Wilhelm Jansen Joerde was shared by Brigitte Hensen under a CC BY-SA licence. To read the original story (in German) and see the collection of 50 documents, go to the Europeana 1914-1918 site.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 20. Princess Mary Christmas Fund Gift Tin

Christmas tin with contents.
From The Great War Archive, University of Oxford
(www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwa); © Lewis Trickey
The then Princess Mary (and others!) thought the war would be over by Christmas 1914, so wished to send a gift to all the currently serving forces. The money for the gift was raised by charity collection.

The tins contained either (for a smoker) cigarettes and pipe tobacco, or (for non-smokers) sweets. Other gifts included spices for Indian troops etc. With the main contents other items were also included, such as, e.g. a bullet pencil or pipe. Most tins included a Christmas card and photograph.

This example was shared by Lewis Trickey through The Great War Archive in 2008. It contains the bullet pencil, Christmas Card, photograph, and packet of opened cigarettes. The Gospel of St. John was not given as a gift by the Christmas fund, but was found in the tin.

See this and other contributions made by Lewis Trickey in The Great War Archive.
There are many similar examples in Europeana 1914-1918, e.g. Patrick Casey and Lillian Devitt Brayshaw.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas. 


Dec. 19. Which medal is which?

Lieutenant Philip Neame of the Royal Engineers won the Victoria Cross on this day in 1914 at Neuve Chapelle. In the face of very heavy fire, he engaged the Germans in a single-handed bombing attack. He was able to check the enemy advance for enough time "to rescue all the wounded men whom it was possible to move" (source: The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29074. p. 1700. 16 February 1916). It is possible the bombs he used were the Engineers' own design of empty jam tins filled with loose metal. His medal ribbons provide a wonderful test of identification. For example, during the First World War, Neame won further awards: getting Mentioned in Dispatches (MiD, four times - the oak leaf spray on his Victory medal ribbon) and receiving the Distinguished Service Order; he was honoured by the French government with the Legion d'honneur (Croix de Chevalier) and the Croix de guerre, as well as the Belgian Croix de guerre. The Museum of Liverpool has an online interactive guide to many of these medals and their ribbons.
Philip Neame's Medal Ribbons
Neame's battledress from later in his career has been shared on Europeana 1914-1918 (with a license of CC-BY-SA) by the Royal Engineers Museum, Library and Archive. He had a similarly adventurous Second World War, and - according to Wikipedia - Neame remains the only Victoria Cross recipient who has won an Olympic Gold Medal (Paris 1924, for shooting). Lieutenant General Sir Philip Neame's VC and his other medals are at the Imperial War Museum, London.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas. 


Dec. 18. For Christmas: send a cheese (if not too heavy)

Carlo Barbieri, painter and soldier
In December 1915 Carlo Barbieri writes to his parents about his efforts to secure a suitable position in the military so he should not be called-up for service at the front. He apologises because he will not be home for Christmas - but perhaps they could send him a cheese? ["...un formaggio (che non so se si potrebbe) fino a non oltrepassare / il peso, ne avrei piacere"]. He had taught at l'Istituto di Belle Arti di Urbino before the War, and his grandchildren including Charles Inzerillo have contributed to Europeana 1914-1918 some of his paintings, a charcoal drawing of Barbieri by another artist and some photos, as well as a few of his letters - which have been transcribed. These have been shared under a license CC-BY-SA. Unable to avoid his call-up Carlo served as a machine-gunner (possibly with 9a Compagnia di Complemento del 33 Fanteria). His letters say little more of his misfortune, and concentrate on other matters - probably for the sake of his parents. In 1917 he contracted TB in the appalling conditions at the front. He was evacuated to l'Ospedale Militare di Bologna but appears to have been abandoned without attentive care, as his condition was incurable. His parents had to travel to Bologna to rescue him, and Carlo died at their home. He was 26 years old. Carlo Barbieri's artistic potential was never achieved and most of his works have been lost, save these few being shared online.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 17. A Christmas letter

Shared by Helge Hemme under a CC BY-SA licence
This Christmas letter was sent by Oswin Arthur Ellrich to his three daughters in Paunsdorf, near Leipzigin in 1915. Only two months later, he was killed in Douaumont, France.

This is only one of many similar stories about loved ones who are lost. To read the letter (in German), go to http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/2589. This story was shared by Helge Hemme who has also made other stories and pictures related to Oswin Arthur Ellrich available.


This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 16. 1914: Raid on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby

On this day in 1914, the German navy attacked the British seaport towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, West Hartlepool, and Whitby (pictured).
Whitby Abbey after the German naval bombardment of December 1914
This item is from The First World War Poetry Digital Archive, University of Oxford © The Imperial War MuseumWikipedia summarizes the events, and the subsequent ammunition for recruiters and propaganda writers, about this attack on civilians - like this poster (from Wikimedia):
British recruiting poster picturing damage from German naval artillery to a civilian house
This outrage resulted in over 100 deaths and nearly 600 wounded, and was in violation of the 1907 Hague Convention which prohibited naval bombardments of undefended towns without warning. Europeana 1914-1918 would love to discover stories from either side of this engagement, or the further attacks on British ports in 1916. The excellent Daily Telegraph series Inside the First World War includes War letters home: I never want to see such a thing again, "When war came to Britain on a cold winter's night, the nation found itself unprepared... one letter home from a VAD nurse glimpses at the shockwave that rippled in the aftermath of attack". Indeed, again from The First World War Poetry Digital Archive you can read how Vera Brittain, a VAD nurse based in Buxton in the north of England, reacted to reports in The Times newspaper, writing in her diary for that week, for example: "...The [Times] writer thinks that [the Germans] would not attempt to land troops because the difficulty of escape would be so much greater..."

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 15. A Christmas gift for 50 years

Image licensed as CC BY-SA by Dr Anthony D Barber
"... for over 50 years I sent him £1 every year to drink my health".
Those are the words of Lieutenant Vince, rendered in a newspaper article published on his 100th birthday. The recipient of the £1 was Walter James Barber, and he was also given a silver cigarette case with an inscription. It was this inscription that helped Walter's grandson trace the relatives of Lt Vince and learn more about the story behind the case and the annual Christmas gift of one pound.
In April 1918, Walter, Lt Vince and three others spent four days and four nights together retreating from the Ypres salient under what must surely have been horrendous circumstances. It is believed that it was Walter's good sense of direction that helped them find their way to safety. That the others were grateful can be assumed. An annual Christmas gift, given for over 50 years, bears witness of that.

To read the whole story, shared by Dr Anthony D Barber, please go to http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/3980.


This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec 14. Christmas and birthday greetings

This card is one of several sent to Andreas Schuppe around Christmas and New Year 1914. Schuppe had sold his farm to be able to live a carefree life with his young wife, but not being tied to the land, he was drafted and sent to war in 1914. As he was born on the 31 December, he not only received Christmas cards but also a number of birthday greetings at around the same time. Some of these are transcribed and shared by Bodo A. W. Müller under a CC BY-SA licence. To see them and read the original story (in German) go to http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/2455.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.
Bodo A. W. Müller
Andreas Schuppe


Dec 13. With a sad heart - five Christmases apart

Five Christmases in a row did Georg Holub's sister send a Christmas card to her brother at the front. On the 13th of December 1917 she writes: "Dearest Georg, with a sad heart I write a few lines again. Still no post from you. ... I yearn for a few lines from you".

The five Christmas cards and other documents relating to Georg Holub were shared by Karl Tröstl under a CC-BY-SA licence. From the collection we can not only gather that Georg Holub survived the war but we can also learn more about him and his war service. To see all the documents relating to Georg, go to the Europeana 1914-1918 site.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.
Karl Tröstl
Georg Holub
Georg Holub
Georg Holub


Dec 12. On the frozen river Main

This picture shows a mother and her son on the frozen river Main in Frankfurt. The picture was taken some time in the winter 1916/1917. Although the scene may look idyllic with the skaters and the cathedral in the background, there is a sad note to it. The Schuster family had left their home for the perceived security in Frankfurt. However, life there was hard and many people died of disease, starvation and cold. Some time after the picture was taken, the family had to flee again to get away from the war.

This picture and story was shared by Franziska Bandur, the great-grand-daughter of the woman in the picture. It is made available under a CC BY-Sa licence. To read the original story (in German) and see one more picture, go to http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/6867.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.
Franziska Bandur
The Schuster familyThe Sch


Dec. 11. Short trousers

When Private Alvin Whiteley was serving with "The Legion of Frontiersmen" (that's the 25th Batt. Royal Fusiliers) in Africa, he sent these fragments of cloth back home to his family in Yorkshire as Christmas greetings in 1916. They're cut from his trousers! He wrote an account of his time at Korogwe, at Maktau, and at Gaveta in German East Africa. The family has also transcribed his many letters, which runs to over 250 A4 pages.

This story was shared by James Burnett Hewitt, and is licensed as CC BY-SA.

To read the whole story and see pictures of Alvin and his family, go to http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/search?q=Alvin+Whiteley.

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 10. Walking in a winter wonderland

Winter on the Eastern Front, 1916
I've just finished reading a book about winter warfare tactics by our colleague from Lancashire Museums, Stephen Bull, and was pleased to discover this photo among the 350 photos taken by Max Jacoby during the First World War. He was a Jewish doctor from Pollnow, a small town in Pomerania who served as a member of the German Medical Corps and was stationed on the Eastern front in 1916-1918. He adds descriptions to most of his photos, many of which are from Darovo and Baranovichi Belarus. The albums have been passed through the family - Max died in the 1930s, he committed suicide to escape persecution by the Nazis. They have been shared on Europeana 1914-1918 in memory of Max, and because of the interesting and diverse contents.

This story was shared by Bob Hammon, and is licensed as CC BY-SA. To read the whole story, go to http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/search?q=Max+Jacoby.


This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 9. The Feasting Party - Salonika

"We all tried to look as though we'd drank not wisely but too much"
From a collection relating to William Waterworth from Preston who served with the British army on the Macedonian Front in Salonika, during the Great War. William is seated (centre) holding the bottle, Christmas 1917. On the back of this photo of his motley crew, (the title and the caption are his), William has scribbled in pencil "Rotten Attempt!". It is just one of many fascinating contributions to Europeana 1914-1918 from across the European powers fighting there in Greece of letters, postcards, and candid photographs from a front which is relatively forgotten.

This story was shared by Terry Casey, and is licensed as CC BY-SA.

To read the whole story and see pictures of William and his friends, go to http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/3231.


This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 8. Wartime Christmas 1917

"Being at war for over three years has left clear traces in the soldiers' faces"
This comment is made by Rolf Kranz, who shares this picture of Josef Schnitzius (middle row, 2nd left) among his comrades at Christmas 1917.

To see the original posting (in German) go to http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/4181 . Shared by Rolf Kranz, licensed as CC BY-SA.
This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 7. The grandfather he never knew

With only a few old photograph as a starting point, Dave Player researched the history of Andrew Neill, the grandfather he never knew. The story is presented as a Christmas present for the rest of his family.

Read the story and see more pictures at on the Europeana 1914-1918 site: http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/4270

Story and pictures contributed by Dave Player. Pictures licensed as CC BY-SA. 


This post is part of our Advent Calendar. New stories are added every day.


Dec 6. Hospital Christmas

Unknown people around a Christmas tree
Nothing is known about this photograph of eight men and a nurse by a Christmas tree. Who were they? Where were they? What happened to them? A picture may say more than a thousand words, but sometimes it would be useful to also have a few words.
The picture was contributed by W. Holscher, licensed as CC BY-SA, and you can see it at http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/2452

This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec 5. A Christmas tragedy

Card sent from Eugene to Nellie
In December 1916, Eugene Marshall sent a Christmas card to his wife with the text: "from Gene in the trenches with love to Nellie." He was killed on December 21st, leaving behind not only a wife but also four daughters. When his fifth daughter was born in early 1917 she was named Eugenia after her father.

This story was shared by Ian Birchenough, and the pictures are licensed as CC BY-SA.

To read the whole story and see pictures of Eugene and Nellie, go to http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/3999.


This post is part of our Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas.


Dec. 4. Flowers from the front

Blumenstrauß aus dem Felde zu Weihnachten 1914 

For Christmas 1914, Ernst Hünnebeck sent a bouquet of flowers to his wife and children. He was deployed on the Balkan front in Montenegro, and perhaps he picked the flowers there himself. That the gift was treasured cannot be doubted as the the bouquet is still preserved, nearly a hundred years later.

Read the original post (in German) and see more pictures at on the Europeana 1914-1918 site:  http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/6629

Story and pictures contributed by Ekkehard Piclum, licensed as  CC BY-SA. 


This post is part of our Great War Archiive Advent Calendar. New stories are added every day.


Dec 3. Easter card for Christmas

Easter card for Christmas

This card was sent to Mathilde Oeckermann in Gr. Mackenstedt for Christmas 1917. Presumably the sender could not get hold of a suitable seasonal card but 'adapted' one by crossing out the printed Easter greeting.

See the original contribution by W. Holscher at http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/4848, licensed as CC BY-SA.


This post is part of our Great War Archiive Advent calendar. New stories are published every day from Dec 1 until Christmas. 


Dec 2. A Driver's War

James Mapeley, photo taken in 1916

"We managed to be fairly comfortable during Christmas and New Year 1915". The story about James Mapeley contains many interesting details about his experiences as a driver, working with horses, during the war. He sees three Christmases before he is sent home injured. Read more about James Mapeley on the Europeana 1914-1918 site. 

Story and related photographs were contributed by David Mapeley and are licensed as CC BY-SA http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/4884


This post is part of our Great War Archiive Advent calendar. More stories are shared every day.


Dec 1. Made it home for Christmas

Image of Cpt Jo Morgans
Jo Morgans

Cpl Joseph Henry Morgans was wounded and left to die on the battlefield in December 1917. German surgeons saved his life and he spent the remainder of the war in a prisoner of war camp together with a large number of Russian prisoners. After the war, he walked to Denmark and eventually managed to return to his family in time for Christmas 1918.
Read more about Jo Morgans on the Europeana 1914-1918 site.

Story and pictures contributed by Kim Morgans, licensed as CC BY-SA http://europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/4891


This post is part of our Great War Archive Advent Calendar. New stories are added every day.



Le Lusitania [paquebot britannique coulé le 7 mai 1915] : [photographie de presse] / [Agence Rol]
Lusitania. Source: gallica.bnf.fr
On May 7th 1915, the British ocean liner RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine. The sinking of Lusitania and the loss of nearly 1,200 civilian lives caused an international outcry. Germany argued that the ship was a legitimate military target as it was carrying ammunition and military goods and travelling through what was declared a 'war zone'. Right or wrong, read more about Lusitania, the events on May 7th, and the aftermath in Wikipedia. You can find Lusitania pictures and stories shared by archives and private contributors in the Great War Archive, First World War Poetry Digital Archive and Europeana 1914-1918 collections.


Gallipoli: first-hand account

100 years has passed since the landing at Gallipoli. While the media is showing how the event is remembered we stop to read a first-hand account from the landing, written one hundred years ago today.

The diary of 494 Sergeant Joseph Cecil Thompson of the 9th Battalion AIF contains his account of the landing and the days following it. Thompson was the band leader for the 9th Battalion, and in charge of the stretcher bearers at Gallipoli.

Image of page in diary
Page from Sgt Thompson's diary describing the landing at Gallipoli.
This item is from The Great War Archive, University of Oxford
(www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwa); © Ellen Thompson 
"Sunday 25 April
We commenced our action against the Turks, by landing on Gallipoli Pen[insula]. We embarked onto a destroyer at 12 pm, and landed in boats at daylight. Our chaps soon had the Turks on the run and chased them from their trenches. Severe fighting all day, and our men severely felt the want of artillery. Turks knew this and started to counter attack at about 1pm. Shrapnel fire very destructive. Two batteries of mountain guns, worked by Indians did first class work, but were compelled to retire late in the afternoon. Our wounded began to come in in large numbers and a falling back along our whole front began. Wounds are very severe owing to the sharp pointed bullets used by the Turks. Five of the S. B. [stretcher bearers] wounded up till about six o'clock. Firing continues all night after a heavy bombardment by the [gun]ships in the afternoon.[Casua]lties very heavy."

Read Sgt Thompson's diary and explore other documents in the Great War Archive http://www.thegreatwararchive.org


International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women’s Day, an event that is celebrated in some parts of the World and virtually unknown in others. We would like to mark the occasion by pointing to a small sample of stories in the Europeana 1914-1918 collection. The format of the ‘stories’ varies – some are long, detailed, and richly illustrated while others are brief and may consist of only one image and a line or two of text. What they have in common though is that they all tell us something about women’s life during the time of the First World War. All the material is shared by members of the public who have added them to the archive either online or at a collection event. To see these stories, and many, many more, visit the http://europeana1914-1918.eu/ website.

Maria Mohr. Lost so much.

Maria Mohr, Red Cross nurse
Maria Mohr (nee Steiner) was born in Silesia in 1888. In 1911 she married the actor and director Ludwig Mohr from Bohemia and thus became a citizen of the Habsburg monarchy. Shortly after the birth and death of their son, Ludwig Mohr was drafted to the army. He was killed in Drenovac, Serbia in October 1914. Maria worked as a Red Cross nurse in the war hospital Grinzing, Vienna from 1916. 
Between May 1918 to September 1919 she managed a girl’s home for the Army with about 50-60 girls. She got engaged to an officer in 1918, but he died and was buried in Levico.
Maria returned to Silesia in 1919, after the war. Through her work in the hospital she had contracted tuberculosis, and she spent some time in a clinic recovering. She then lived with her father, kept house for him and worked as an accountant. After the Second World War, when Silesia became Polish, Maria fled to Emsland to the family of her niece Elfriede, where she lived until her death in 1954.

To read the whole story (in German) and see all the accompanying images and documents, go to the Europeana 1914-1918 site: http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/13965 Contributed by Erika Brieske CC BY-SA.

Women’s correspondence with secret codes

Card w cartoon
Sally McIntosh has shared a story relating to her great, great aunt:
"Whilst the men were away fighting a number of my great, great aunt’s friends, who were all young women between 18 and 25 years of age, corresponded with one another by postcard, many of which show contemporary cartoons. They sent them for birthdays and to cheer one another up as well as to discuss every day life. The messages they wrote on the postcards were very basic and said very little, but I understand they developed a code to share messages, for example about news they had from soldiers overseas, or about other matters they did not want either the postman or the censor to see".

To read the whole story, and see more cards, go to http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/4317 Contributed by Sally McIntosh CC BY-SA.

Hulda Framers – grieving fiancée

Hulda Framers
This picture shows Hulda Framers. Around her neck is a chain on which she carries an engagement ring and an iron cross, presumably those of her fallen fiancée.
Shared by Andreas Bruehl under a CC BY-SA licence.  http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/12730


8,000 and counting

The Europeana 1914-1918 collection now has over 8,000 live stories, contributed by members of the public from across the world! All the stories and accompanying images can be explored for free at http://europeana1914-1918.eu.

Here is an extract from the 8001st story to go live:

Joseph Lee, No 50042/1023907 Dublin
By Peter Lee, http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/14008

Joseph Lee in Bangalore, India prior to WW1 
By Peter Lee  CC BY-SA
My Grandfather, Joseph Lee was born in Chapelizod, Co Dublin in 1886. Orphaned at a young age he served an apprenticeship as a shoeing smith with the Donnelly family of Portmarnock.
In March 1908, Joseph joined the Royal Field Artillery of the British Army. He served in India from 1909 until the outbreak of war in 1914, when as part of the 7th Meerut Division, Indian Expedition Force, he was sent to France/Flanders. Here, The 7th Meerut fought in the battles of La Bassee, Messines, Armentieres, Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Festubert and Loos.
Then in the early 1916 Joseph and the 7th Meerut were sent to Mesopotamia.
To read the rest of the story and see what happend to Joseph, go to http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/14008.