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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Stretcher bearer & despatch rider: his diaries, mapped


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A local man's diary was digitised and transcribed by our state library. I experimented first with transforming that raw text into something that could be read more easily; here is one of the five notebooks (it features Allsop's experience of Fromelles) in my diary browser: http://mosman1914-1918.net/project/allsop-browser-03/MLMSS-1606_Item2_view03.html

I used a text parser (Python) to automate chunking the transcriptions into entries, and so it was easy then to move the 676 entries into a spreadsheet. With two other volunteers, we picked a place for each entry (it got difficult in 1917 when as a despatch rider he might mention seven or eight locations in a day) and ran the spreadsheet through a geocoder.

Here, then, are his diaries, mapped: https://batchgeo.com/map/15cfa40eb27e3447bdab556b373516bf

Not perfect, and I didn't go to the extent of mapping to trench level, the geocoder needed streets or towns at a minimum. Also not much use for reading the entries in sequence, but it's something different. Imagine when all the trench maps, aerial photographs, war diaries, etc are locked to their time and space what it will be like to browse France and Flanders on a map...

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