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spof

First Tranche of New Digitised War Diaries Online

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Guest

Hopefully, that means that the old ones they have pulled were re-done along the line and the quality will have improved.

Phil

The quality is certainly very good. £3.36 for clear, sharp colour version of London Scottish 4/8/1914-31/1/1916 That's pretty good value for money?

Mike

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spof

Hopefully, that means that the old ones they have pulled were re-done along the line and the quality will have improved.

Phil

Phil

I certainly hope so. It is rather confusing reading about the battalions in 61st Division preparing for the Attack on Fromelles to suddenly find random diary entries from a KRRC battalion in 1918 in amongst them.

TNA really does deserve to take a bow. They got volunteers in and sorted out the papers and made sure everything was in order. By Mike's account the quality is good and the information is accurate. Well done TNA.

Glen

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David_Underdown

The war diaries that were previously online were black and white direct from previous microfilming. They were missing appendices and maps, and you couldn't get the higher formation diaries online at all. Now every paper in every box has been scanned in full colour, with all appendices, with higher formation diaries and supporting units.

The Treasury still regard the online publishing as a value-added activity so we are required to operate it on a cost recovery basis. Producing 1.4 million plus images does not come cheap and we've tried to divide everything up as equitably as possible, but it's not been an easy process, and not entirely scientific. It's sometimes been far from obvious how to divide material up so it remains in a reasonably sensible organisation, while also ensuring that download times remain workable.

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Phil Evans

Thank you David,

Phil

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Jim Hastings

Thanks David,

Its nice to have all of 2nd Bde 1st Div available to download now,1st Northants were a crucial gap, and I am going to download the 2nd Sussex WD again to get the 'updated' version.

Great news

Cheers Jim

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ss002d6252

The war diaries that were previously online were black and white direct from previous microfilming. They were missing appendices and maps, and you couldn't get the higher formation diaries online at all. Now every paper in every box has been scanned in full colour, with all appendices, with higher formation diaries and supporting units.

Will there be any obvious way to find out what (if any) extra pages have been included in a diary with the new scanning compared the 'old' version of the diary or will it be pot luck ?.

Craig

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Guest

I have downloaded the 1st Black Watch Diary and there are quite a variety of colours. There are even a couple of negative images, but that may have been all that was available? The clarity is sharp and it looks more professional. Not sure yet if there are any extra pages? The October 1914 entry is still missing :whistle:

Mike

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Derek Black

Mike

The October 1914 entry is still missing :whistle:

That old chestnut eh? ha ha

t'was filleted ;)

I may have to purchase again the one or two war daries i already had then now they're better quality and organised.

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Guest

That old chestnut eh? ha ha

t'was filleted Misplaced, along with October 1915 Fife & Forfar Yeomanry :rolleyes:

I may have to purchase again the one or two war daries i already had then now they're better quality and organised. Might be worth it?

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David_Underdown

I have downloaded the 1st Black Watch Diary and there are quite a variety of colours. There are even a couple of negative images, but that may have been all that was available? The clarity is sharp and it looks more professional. Not sure yet if there are any extra pages? The October 1914 entry is still missing :whistle:

Mike

Could you report things like negative images please, it sounds like something may have gone wrong in the conversion from the master image files to the jpegs that are distributed online (the masters are just too big). There's been quite a lot of QA checking, but we won't have viewed every image. I think using this link http://nationalarchives.gov.uk/contact/contactform.asp?id=19 would be the best way (I'll check once I get to my desk), please give the full catalogue reference and the filename of the image (and as belt and braces, the dates covered in the image would be useful to have as a cross reference)

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Guest

OK David, will do. Will have a bit more time later.

I have downloaded three diaries so far, and all excellent. The Black Watch one is the only one where I noticed any unusual scans.

Mike

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David_Underdown

Thanks,

We've invested a fair amount of effort in doing technical checks on our preservation masters, but less on the presentation copies (though these will be viewed as things have been recatalogued). The scanning contractor originally produced large tiff files in 24 bit colour at 300 ppi resolution (for a standard foolscap page, this works out at about 27mb for a single image). Form this they prepared the JPEG presentation copies that are downloadable from Discovery, and also the preservation copies which will be stored in our long-term preservation system (which is what I work on). The preservation copies are in JPEG2000 format (which uses entirely different compression routines to the JPEG most people are familiar with), and use the lossless compression algorithm within JPEG2000, this approximately halves the file size (which with 1.4 million images makes quite a difference to the amount of storage required).

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Guest

David, I have forwarded this to the address you gave.

1st Battalion The Black Watch (Royal Highlanders)

WO 95/1263/3

pdf 1

Quite a number of the first 100 pages appear to be black and white. They are very clear, and may be a faithful reproduction of the original. An example of the black and white image I mean is page 25 of 160; as I said, this may be the original colour?

Page 4 of 160, negative image, 4/8/1914-8/8/1914

Page 26 of 160 negative image, last page of 14/9/1914

Mike

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Chris_Baker

David, you probably won't be able to answer but I shall ask anyway! Where along the line did the news about this entirely laudable project get turned into the nonsense we heard from the BBC yesterday? They seem to have had the impression that these were personal soldier's diaries, and from email and internet traffic it seems that they have managed to confuse most people. I can't imagine that any TNA news release or briefing would not make clear what these things are ... in which case it is the Beeb ... or am I wrong in that assumption?

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Bernard_Lewis

Got to agree that BBC coverage was very confused.

Bernard

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Hywyn

It's the BBC. Why are people surprised.

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Stephen Nulty

Could you report things like negative images please,

David

Not sure to what extent you wish to have "issues" reported to you via GWF, but I have downloaded 2 South Lancs Aug14 to Oct15, and interspersed with the May 1915 handwritten diary pages is a series of sheets of 1917 correspondence about supplies in Mespot, which don't appear to have anyhting to do with 2/SLR.

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Guest

BBC 14/1/2014

A private war diary kept by one of the First Battalion's soldiers, Captain James Paterson, has also been digitised. Captain Paterson died on 1 November, some six weeks after an entry said the scenes he witnessed were "beyond description".

"Trenches, bits of equipment, clothing (probably blood-stained), ammunition, tools, caps, etc, etc, everywhere. Poor fellows shot dead are lying in all directions. Some of ours," he said. "Everywhere the same hard, grim, pitiless sign of battle and war. I have had a belly full of it."

This certainly gives the impression that personal diaries are available. Are these letters that were in with the battalion diary, and do they appear in the download. If not, where would one view Capt Paterson's personal diary?

Mike

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spof

Mike

In the first few months of the war, several war diaries were lost in the chaos and a couple of units have included personal diaries as substitutes. Capt Paterson was in 1 SWB and his diary for October 1914 is the only thing remaining for them for that month. I can't recall the other units I have seen using personal diaries off hand.

I kept hearing his name mentioned when the diaries were discussed on the radio but didn't really pay much attention. No wonder they picked up on this and got it completely out of context.

Glen

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Guest

Many thanks Glen. The 1st Black Watch also uses letters to make up for the loss of the October 1914 Diary. Unfortunately, there are no such letters for the missing October 1915 Diary of the Fife & Forfar Yeomanry. :(

Mike

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David_Underdown

David, you probably won't be able to answer but I shall ask anyway! Where along the line did the news about this entirely laudable project get turned into the nonsense we heard from the BBC yesterday? They seem to have had the impression that these were personal soldier's diaries, and from email and internet traffic it seems that they have managed to confuse most people. I can't imagine that any TNA news release or briefing would not make clear what these things are ... in which case it is the Beeb ... or am I wrong in that assumption?

The only thing I've seen is a photo of what was apparently the release sent to BBC local radio stations. That did contain a statement that they were unit diaries, but also talked about them helping to understand individual experience. There was also a press day at Kew on Monday, which I would imagine would have included a briefing and a look at sample records. I do have access to a set of FAQs (which MAY have been issued to the media at the same time), which goes so far as to include extracts from Field Service Regulations setting out the purpose of war diaries and what should be in them.

David

Not sure to what extent you wish to have "issues" reported to you via GWF, but I have downloaded 2 South Lancs Aug14 to Oct15, and interspersed with the May 1915 handwritten diary pages is a series of sheets of 1917 correspondence about supplies in Mespot, which don't appear to have anyhting to do with 2/SLR.

It's best to use the link I gave above, but I'll make sue the project manager is aware of the things that have been highlighted so far too.

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Chris_Baker

Thanks, David. Many a slip between cup and lip!

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David_Underdown

BBC 14/1/2014

A private war diary kept by one of the First Battalion's soldiers, Captain James Paterson, has also been digitised. Captain Paterson died on 1 November, some six weeks after an entry said the scenes he witnessed were "beyond description".

"Trenches, bits of equipment, clothing (probably blood-stained), ammunition, tools, caps, etc, etc, everywhere. Poor fellows shot dead are lying in all directions. Some of ours," he said. "Everywhere the same hard, grim, pitiless sign of battle and war. I have had a belly full of it."

This certainly gives the impression that personal diaries are available. Are these letters that were in with the battalion diary, and do they appear in the download. If not, where would one view Capt Paterson's personal diary?

Mike

Paterson's personal diary is included in the SWB war diary: September is there as an appendix; and the October material is in lieu of the official diary. See WO 95/1280/3, pdf file WO-95-1280-3_1.pdf (Part 1

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Guest

Thanks David, and well done regarding all your hard work on the diaries. There are bound to be the odd mistake, but the diaries look very good, and professionally done. :thumbsup:

Mike

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