Category Archives: Life Stories

‘My toast – to the day of peace’ – remembering William Arthur Donald Kirk

  In a letter to his sister Agnes in May 1917, Private William Arthur Donald Kirk of the Royal Fusiliers wrote: “I am optimistic enough to believe I shall see [home] again. So I will say ‘au revoir’. My toast … Continue reading

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Wilfred Owen – The truth of war

    11 November 1918; a day of jubilation for many, but a day of heartbreak for others. The mother of Wilfred Owen, one of the most prominent First World War poets, was not informed of his death until Armistice … Continue reading

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A tragic case of mistaken identity

On 15 October 1918 HM Submarine J6 was sunk in October 1918 by ‘friendly fire’ when British Q ship Cymric mistook her for the German submarine U6. Sixteen of the crew of the J6 lost their lives. In this guest … Continue reading

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My Research – Wilfred Owen’s legacy a hundred years on

  On National Poetry Day, and just weeks from the centenary of his death, it seems only fitting to reflect on the legacy of one of the most notable poets produced by the First World War: Wilfred Owen.  During her student summer … Continue reading

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My Research – Spanish Flu: The Unseen Enemy

In the final year of the First World War, an unseen deadly killer was sweeping around the globe. The Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-19 was one of the most deadly pandemics in human history. In a little over a year, it … Continue reading

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Charles Sidney Woplin: Family, War and Imperial War Museums

In this guest blog post, Imperial War Museum (IWM) Intern Charlie Knight shares stories from his family history, with a special connection to the museum itself. Charlie’s ancestors the Woplin family were affected by both world wars and his great-great … Continue reading

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Gassed: creativity out of destruction

John Singer Sargent’s painting Gassed is amongst the most well known in the Imperial War Museums’ art collection. Measuring over 2 x 6 metres (7 ft x 20 ft), this vast artwork depicts the horrific effects of mustard gas on the body, which often caused … Continue reading

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The Big Stunt – escape in the First World War

A German prisoner of war camp. A tunnel. A plan for a mass breakout. If you think this is a familiar story you’d be right – but this isn’t the ‘Great Escape’. This was the Big Stunt, when 10 Allied … Continue reading

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The Second Ostend Raid

On 9-10 May 1918 the Royal Navy attacked the German held port of Ostend for the second time in less than a month. In his previous blog post, Lives of the First World War Volunteer Trevor Torkington explained why the first attack on Ostend … Continue reading

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Behind Every Photograph Lies a Story: The Rogue and the Mystery Man

In this guest blog post, Paul Bourton of the Unknown Soldier Military Archive & Soldier Research Service shares the latest instalment of his series revealing the stories behind a pre-war photograph of thirteen men of 119 Battery Royal Field Artillery. He … Continue reading

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