The British National Archives has announced that in this 100th year anniversary of the beginning of WW I, (August), that official journals, required to be kept by each unit, will be put on-line as they are digitized. These are not personal diaries which, if available, are at the Imperial War Museum, but those kept by officers and adjutants per orders. It is fascinating, therefore, to see direct, unexpurgated descriptions of the events and conditions. It looks like they are not browseable as yet. Searches can be done by unit name or number and much of the work is being done buy crowd-sourcing so by volunteering to categorize you can read through the section you are assigned. Those I can see are more like ships’ logs, lists of events and observations day by day. The one excerpt quoted in several newspapers gives a misleading idea of what will be found, as it is in fact a private diary kept by Capt. James Paterson, First Battalion South Wales Borderers.

“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.”

“One is very likely to kill one’s own men, and from wounds I have seen since, I am sure some of them were hit like this.”

BBC and NYTimes and the Times of India WW I Photo cover Steven Erlanger mentions three recent histories of the war — with many more to come:

The three most prominent books so far have been by Christopher Clark, “The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914,” which was quoted at a summit meeting by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany; Margaret MacMillan, “The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914”; and Max Hastings, “Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War.” But this is just an early skirmish: Publishers plan many more, including novels and the reissuing of classics like Barbara Tuchman’s “The Guns of August” and Erich Maria Remarque’s “All Quiet on the Western Front.”