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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Prisoner of War diary...


Tim200

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My first post so if this is not the best board please let me know. I am in possession of my Grandfathers diary that he kept whilst a prisoner of war. It is hand written in ink and pencil and to me 95% illegible.  The ink pages I have found someone from a local history society to “decipher”. He found it relatively easy. The pencil pages have faded quite badly. The local History Society are going to speak with colleagues in St. Albans to see if they can help. Have any of you any experience of this and can offer up some suggestions or help? Many thanks. Tim ps just to be clear the first few pages are quite easy to read. The third picture not so and these pages get worse. The 4th page is a translation.

B17365D9-B6EE-493C-8780-980C052BBAAF.jpeg

E85AB5B9-9BC6-4D1F-9930-D612278417D4.jpeg

508B624B-F3F9-4FE7-85CC-B98E37D32861.jpeg

3D23EF18-D502-4CD3-B05E-7E5BA8CF56BF.png

Edited by Tim200
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Try viewing as a negative, your photo software on your computer should be able to change the image to this. Some programs also have othe various settings, sepia etc. I usually find that if you play around with image long enough then writing that is almost invisible usually becomes visible, but not always legible, that depends on the  writers hand. 

Good luck

Gareth

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This is with the levels changed in Photoshop. It makes it a bit easier although this test is limited by the resolution of the image, higher res the better. Scans are often better than photos.

 

If you know anyone with a UV light as used to test for forged banknotes, that may yield useful results.

 

Howard

 

 

pagetest.jpg

Edited by Howard
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Hi Tim and welcome to the Forum.

 

You've already received some good advice so the only tip I can add is to take a photo of each page and not both of them and get as close in as possible so we can see as much of the page as possible.

 

Glen

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Thanks for the advice. Computers not my speciality 😊 So I will see where I get with the local history people. Here is one page if someone is up for a challenge 😊

0CC96AD4-6BF4-46A4-ABEF-5716F65120FE.jpeg

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Hi Tim

 

I'm sure that the Portsmouth Archive service would be delighted to receive such an item, and I can put you in touch with them.  Whatever you decide  In any event I would be interested in a scan of the diary and there may eventually be the possibility of getting the whole diary transcribed.  Obviously there are also the national museums, IWM and the NAM, but maybe an item like this would be lost in the mass of their holdings. Others might have views on that.  The Regimental Museum might also be interested. Really the decision is for you, but I am sure that the local Archive service would be very pleased to receive this for their collections, and can assure you that they operate professional standards of storage.

 

Keith

 

 

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3 hours ago, Tim200 said:

Another question, if I wanted to leave/give to a museum which is the best one? His family have strong links with Portsmouth where my cousin still lives.

Not the IWM, they will most likely lose it.

 

Howard

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7 hours ago, keithmroberts said:

Hi Tim

 

I'm sure that the Portsmouth Archive service would be delighted to receive such an item, and I can put you in touch with them.  Whatever you decide  In any event I would be interested in a scan of the diary and there may eventually be the possibility of getting the whole diary transcribed.  Obviously there are also the national museums, IWM and the NAM, but maybe an item like this would be lost in the mass of their holdings. Others might have views on that.  The Regimental Museum might also be interested. Really the decision is for you, but I am sure that the local Archive service would be very pleased to receive this for their collections, and can assure you that they operate professional standards of storage.

 

Keith

 

 

 

Hi Keith, I was born in Southsea. My mother’s family were coal merchants in Portsmouth J E Smith and my great grandfather was Mayor. They had strong links with the Salvation Army. My cousin still lives there which is why returning the diary to Portsmouth is a possibility although I am keen to get it transcribed first. Do feel free to contact me and if you prefer my email is   xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Do you have an interest in WW2?

Edited by keithmroberts
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11 hours ago, Tim200 said:

Here is one page if someone is up for a challenge

Tim,

The top half is much more difficult to read than the bottom half, which is relatively straight forward. I think the difference in contrast is the lighting you have used in that the shadow on the bottom half is not just on the diary but across the background? Maybe put onto a flatbed scanner would be better?

 

Anyway to me it  reads:

 

Oct 20th Started away from [G ?]   ?     9am for a new billet a [Herson?] about 12 kilometres away & we arrived there about 2pm  & feeling none the worse for the march. Set about squaring up the comfortable billets as soon as arrived. Fairly  good billet just outside of the town itself. Proper prisoners camp. Huts to sleep in.

 

Oct ??  Quiet day. taking things easy not very much to do. Have lent my pen to the chap in the office so carrying on my diary with pencil.

 

Oct 27th brings happy memories of 1915.Sent another card home.Things very quiet.

 

Oct 28th to 31st  Rumours that we are soon going to Germany.Good news from the front. Sent a map which showed that we had advanced all along the line.

 

Charlie

 

 

Edited by charlie962
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Hi Tim

 

I have edited your post to remove the email address for your privacy. We can communicate using the GWF messaging system, and as a MOD I am one of only six people who can see email addresses.

 

I do think that transcribing the diary is an excellent idea, and perhaps either you or your cousin would like to contact the archive service direct if you decide to offer the diary to the Portsmouth History Centre. . I will email the contact information to you, but am happy to assist as I have had quite a lot of contact with the team during a recent project.

 

Edit: My main historical interest is in in the Great War, and while I am some sort of history buff in general, my knowledge relating to WW2 is very limited .

 

Keith

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14 hours ago, charlie962 said:

Tim,

The top half is much more difficult to read than the bottom half, which is relatively straight forward. I think the difference in contrast is the lighting you have used in that the shadow on the bottom half is not just on the diary but across the background? Maybe put onto a flatbed scanner would be better?

 

Anyway to me it  reads:

 

Oct 20th Started away from [G ?]   ?     9am for a new billet a [Herson?] about 12 kilometres away & we arrived there about 2pm  & feeling none the worse for the march. Set about squaring up the comfortable billets as soon as arrived. Fairly  good billet just outside of the town itself. Proper prisoners camp. Huts to sleep in.

 

Oct ??  Quiet day. taking things easy not very much to do. Have lent my pen to the chap in the office so carrying on my diary with pencil.

 

Oct 27th brings happy memories of 1915.Sent another card home.Things very quiet.

 

Oct 28th to 31st  Rumours that we are soon going to Germany.Good news from the front. Sent a map which showed that we had advanced all along the line.

 

Charlie

 

 

Appreciate you doing this Charlie. I’ll try and get the pages scanned, for some reason mine is not working. Tim

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  • 1 month later...

I’ve not forgotten this post, but have a few health issues that I need to manage to get motivated and also waiting for local history soc to respond to an email. Appreciate help given. Keith I have struggled to open your cd you kindly sent but yet to try pc. Tim

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Hi Tim,

 

Its a data dvd so you will only be able to access it on the computer.

I hope you manage to win on the transcription and that your treatment goes well

 

Keith

 

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