Category Archives: Life Stories

‘From Little Towns in a Far Land’

Julian Cornelius Brook was an aspiring young lawyer from the North Island of New Zealand, but now lies buried in the Adanac Military Cemetery, on the Somme battlefields of France. He is one of more than 18,000 New Zealanders killed in the … Continue reading

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Every Plaque Tells a Story

Pause as you view the Lochnagar Crater from the wooden walkway. Beneath your feet, you’ll find many small plaques bearing names. Each name was a husband, son, brother, father or uncle, or – in rare cases – a daughter, mother, wife, … Continue reading

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Shrapnel Monday: The first Royal Artillery Victoria Cross of the Great War

The Victoria Cross is Britain’s highest award for gallantry. Of the 628 awarded to British and Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and airmen during the Great War, 18 were won by men of the Royal Regiment of Artillery. The very first gunner VC of the … Continue reading

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‘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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