Monday, 15 December 2008

This blog is now closed

The First World War Poetry Digital Archive was released on November 11th 2008 where all the images on this blog and many more can be found.

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Monday, 6 October 2008

Wilfred Owen's last letter from "The Smokey Cellar"

Wilfred Owen's last letter home written from 'The Smoky Cellar of the Forester's House' near Ors, France on 31st October 1918. Owen was killed in action at the Battle of the Sambre, just one week before the war ended on 11th November 1918. This is one of Owen's letters that has been digitised for inclusion in the First World War Poetry Digital Archive.

Image copyright: Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre, University of Texas at Austin / The Wilfred Owen Literary Estate.

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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

A core collection within the First World War Poetry Digital Archive will be the contextual items (audio, photographs and film) digitised from the Imperial War Museum. These items will serve t place the poetry of the first world war within a historical and social context, widening the site's appear to an array of other subjects (History, Media Studies, Women's Studies, Local History and much more). One focus within this collection is that of "Women in War" and the part they played at home and abroad. The photograph pictured here is of a woman war worker fixing nose clips on to gas masks at a factory in Bermondsey, London.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Robert Graves: "I hope you haven't been taking the casualty lists seriously again!"

At the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Robert Graves enlisted almost immediately, taking a commission in the Royal Welch Fusiliers (RWF). At the Battle of the Somme he was so badly wounded he was expected to die, and indeed was officially reported as died of wounds. In this letter to his close friend and fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon, Graves talks in jest of the reports of his death, writing that he died on his 21st birthday so he "can never grow up now". This is one of a number of letters and poetry manuscripts digitised by the project from the Robert Graves archive in the Berg Collection, New York Public Library.

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Tuesday, 4 March 2008

The Great War Archive

Not only the poets have a story to tell about the Great War.

On March 3rd the First World War Poetry Digital Archive launched "The Great War Archive". The aim of this site is to collect together digital surrogates of material related to the First World War held by members of the public.

The image above is one of many images from a sketch book belonging to Percy Matthews. Matthews trained at the Ramsgate School of Art and during World War I he served on the Western Front as a Private in the Kentish Buffs, and later in Salonika as a Lieutenant in the Middlesex Regiment. It was in Salonika that he produced his remarkable sketches of scenes and characters from military and civilian life. These images were submitted to the GWA by Elizabeth Masterman on behalf of Peter, his son. These sketches have now been donated to the Imperial War Museum in 2007, where they are currently undergoing conservation.

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Wednesday, 30 January 2008

'Daughters of War' by Isaac Rosenberg

More than with most poets, the manuscripts of Isaac Rosenberg tell us much about the conditions that the First World War soldier lived and worked under. In Rosenberg's writing the immediacy of the trench experience echoes, not only through his words, but also through the condition of many of the manuscripts. His work was written on poor quality paper and was carried around in a wet khaki pocket, and to this day contains dustings of mud and water stains that reverberate the War. This manuscript, written on printed Salvation Army paper, folded in 8, torn and stained with mud, contains a pencil draft with opening lines related to the poem 'Daughters of War'. This is one of over 200 items from the Rosenberg Collection at the Imperial War Museum being digitised for inclusion in the First World War Poetry Digital Archive.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

'Perhaps' by Vera Brittain

During the First World War Vera Brittain served as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D) nursing wounded soldiers in England, France and in Malta. During the war she lost a number people she loved dearly including her fiance Roland Leighton, and her brother Edward. After the war she became strongly - and famously - associated with the peace movement, to which she was committed for the rest of her life.

'Perhaps' by Vera Brittain is a poem filled with the grief she felt when her fiance Roland Leighton was killed. The First World War Poetry Archive are working with McMaster University Archives to digitise a selection of Vera Brittain's poems, letters and diary extracts as well as material by Roland Leighton.

Image copyright: The Vera Brittain Literary Estate, non commercial use only