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WO95 War Diaries - does anyone know if a date has been set to start charging again?


barratt_sab
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For me, one of the few good things that has resulted from the events of the last few years has been the WO95 war diaries being available for free download.  I know about (and understand the reasons for) the download limits, but whereas before I would only have purchased the regimental diary I was interested in, I can now to go up the command chain and across to other battalions in the brigade to try to find more context, and the results have been transformative.  I would never have bought a hospital diary on the slim chance that a particular man's arrival or departure was noted, but now can look and see, with the only potential cost being to have to wait a bit longer to download a diary for the next man I'm looking for.

Ancestry has some diaries, but it is the breadth available from TNA that, for me, makes them so valuable.

I understand that TNA has to recoup the costs of digitization, but aren't these documents the property of the nation anyway?  If I lived in London, I could go look for nothing - I'm only 90 minutes away from Kew, but that's not a free journey; what about researchers who are much further away?

Does anyone know whether a decision has been taken as to when to start charging again?

Does anyone else feel that WO95 being available for limited free downloads has been a real revolution in terms of researching men and units?

Should we try to petition to keep free access to these records?

[please don't shout at me]

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Personally speaking, I’ve found the free access invaluable. I couldn’t have afforded to access as many diaries as I have ( I’ve not gone mad, but have to look after my pension!) they are a valuable tool when researching. 

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2 hours ago, barratt_sab said:

For me, one of the few good things that has resulted from the events of the last few years has been the WO95 war diaries being available for free download.  I know about (and understand the reasons for) the download limits, but whereas before I would only have purchased the regimental diary I was interested in, I can now to go up the command chain and across to other battalions in the brigade to try to find more context, and the results have been transformative.  I would never have bought a hospital diary on the slim chance that a particular man's arrival or departure was noted, but now can look and see, with the only potential cost being to have to wait a bit longer to download a diary for the next man I'm looking for.

Ancestry has some diaries, but it is the breadth available from TNA that, for me, makes them so valuable.

I understand that TNA has to recoup the costs of digitization, but aren't these documents the property of the nation anyway?  If I lived in London, I could go look for nothing - I'm only 90 minutes away from Kew, but that's not a free journey; what about researchers who are much further away?

Does anyone know whether a decision has been taken as to when to start charging again?

Does anyone else feel that WO95 being available for limited free downloads has been a real revolution in terms of researching men and units?

Should we try to petition to keep free access to these records?

[please don't shout at me]

Do nothing. Say nothing. Don’t give them ideas.

 

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

Do nothing. Say nothing. Don’t give them ideas.

😂
The free downloads have certainly been a great help with research. 

Unfortunately many of those I’d like to download have not yet been digitised. 

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If and when they do, I hope I don't receive a bill for all the downloads I have had. I agree with Gareth.

Brian

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15 hours ago, Gareth Davies said:

Do nothing. Say nothing. Don’t give them ideas.

Silence is golden perhaps?:whistle:

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16 hours ago, Gareth Davies said:

Do nothing. Say nothing. Don’t give them ideas.

 

 

 

Ha!  Good plan :)

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I have downloaded some of the war diaries that I have an interest in for various levels of research. I am thankful that these were/are free to download and I have stayed within the rules and only downloaded what I require. I live some 250 miles from Kew so it is not practical for me to jump on a train, should any be running of course, and pop down to Kew for a look myself.

As for hiring a ‘local’ researcher to go on my behalf then I might as well pay Kew for a scan anyway.

Well done to Kew during the lock down for understanding that there was still an interest and requirement for us with an interest in such things and making the diaries free download. Also please remember that not all of us live within a short bus ride and can just pop in when passing.

 

Regards

Peter

 

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It's a 500 mile round trip for me too from Blackpool. My Reader's Ticket expired last year so I checked with TNA who told me that I could still download as long as I had set up an account.

Brian

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I only started in lockdown and the free access has  been brilliant. Revolutionary id say to many hundreds of people. It’s allowed WW1 history to be within the reach of those without the means or time to visit Kew. Their  download numbers must have skyrocketed. They should flag it as an immense success. 
 

That said I’ve been to Kew twice to view documents not yet digitised.  I make a point of donating and having a good spend in their  excellent shop. 
 

Andy

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19 minutes ago, AndrewSid said:

has  been brilliant. Revolutionary id say to many hundreds of people. It’s allowed WW1 history to be within the reach of those without the means or time to visit Kew.

Fully agree. I have been able to undertake research, write blog entries, and help with requests on the Forum. Previously one had to be very selective about downloading a War Diary or MIC, often curtailing an avenue of research. 

On 19/01/2023 at 17:59, barratt_sab said:

Does anyone else feel that WO95 being available for limited free downloads has been a real revolution in terms of researching men and units?

To answer the original question... Yes.

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Am I allowed to have a little bit of a humble brag? I was an energetic agitator and campaigner to get the digitised files available for free to all back in 2020. I lobbied the NA, DCMS, my MP, and a number of the NA’s senior leadership team. I like to think that this activity helped get the files available to all.

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2 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

Am I allowed to have a little bit of a humble brag? I was an energetic agitator and campaigner to get the digitised files available for free to all back in 2020. I lobbied the NA, DCMS, my MP, and a number of the NA’s senior leadership team. I like to think that this activity helped get the files available to all.

A tremendous job and an excellent contribution to the GWF.

Next honours list ?

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6 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

Am I allowed to have a little bit of a humble brag? 

If you must!

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1 minute ago, GWF1967 said:

If you must!

It took me 3 days to decide whether or not I should say anything. 

3 minutes ago, ianjonesncl said:

A tremendous job and an excellent contribution to the GWF.

Next honours list ?

Ha. I’m a bit of a cynic about the honours system. I’m with Groucho and clubs. 

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10 minutes ago, Gareth Davies said:

It took me 3 days to decide whether or not I should say anything. 

In all seriousness, your efforts are greatly appreciated. 

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9 minutes ago, GWF1967 said:

In all seriousness, your efforts are greatly appreciated. 

Thank you. I suspect that I was just one of many who got them to do this. 

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14 hours ago, GWF1967 said:

In all seriousness, your efforts are greatly appreciated. 

Seconded!! :thumbsup:

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25 minutes ago, Allan1892 said:

Seconded!! :thumbsup:

and obviously much appreciation from me too!

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This makes me appreciate all the more the free access we get to all the digitized Australian records -

Australian War Memorial (war diaries, wounded & missing files, and honours & awards files etc)

Australian National Archives (pers files, numerous Standing Orders etc)

National Library via Trove (newspapers, journals etc)

I don’t see the point of having records if they aren’t made easily available to everyone, though there are always funding issues in connection with maintaining their sites (except for the AWM which is never short of cash).


Dan

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100% agree with Fromelles here. We are lucky that we have a lot of records for the AIF digitised however, there is still a LOT more tucked away in Melbourne and Sydney that has not been and would be very interesting if it were to be.

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On 19/01/2023 at 17:59, barratt_sab said:

For me, one of the few good things that has resulted from the events of the last few years has been the WO95 war diaries being available for free download.  I know about (and understand the reasons for) the download limits, but whereas before I would only have purchased the regimental diary I was interested in, I can now to go up the command chain and across to other battalions in the brigade to try to find more context, and the results have been transformative.  I would never have bought a hospital diary on the slim chance that a particular man's arrival or departure was noted, but now can look and see, with the only potential cost being to have to wait a bit longer to download a diary for the next man I'm looking for.

Ancestry has some diaries, but it is the breadth available from TNA that, for me, makes them so valuable.

I understand that TNA has to recoup the costs of digitization, but aren't these documents the property of the nation anyway?  If I lived in London, I could go look for nothing - I'm only 90 minutes away from Kew, but that's not a free journey; what about researchers who are much further away?

Does anyone know whether a decision has been taken as to when to start charging again?

Does anyone else feel that WO95 being available for limited free downloads has been a real revolution in terms of researching men and units?

Should we try to petition to keep free access to these records?

[please don't shout at me]

Hi

I have found it all very useful as it has allowed me to go through a large number of WDs to find relatively few documents that were of interest in my research on Contact and Counter Attack Patrols and air/ground signalling.  Without the free downloads it would have been impossible to do so much investigation, as the cost of going to the PRO and the time it would have taken to go through as many WDs there would have been immense.  All I have to do know is put all the evidence gathered together into a series of articles. 

Well done PRO and all involved in getting these WO95 downloads available.

Mike

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I agree wholeheatedly that it has been hugely beneficial to have these downloads available free of charge. When I began researching in 2020 I had no idea what information was available online, or what sort of thing I was likely to find useful Even now, it is still impossible to know whether a document will turn out to have something of interest in it until you have looked at it. Although £3.50 per document does not sound a lot, it soon adds up, especially if you find yourself going down a blind alley. So I echo everyone else's thanks to those who have made free downloads possible.

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