First World War cov­er­age

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Wartime re­portage is in­valu­able for flesh­ing out a ser­vice­man’s his­tory and un­earthing pho­to­graphs. Pro­vin­cial news­pa­pers pub­lished short bi­ogra­phies of fallen men from their lo­cal­ity, whilst sto­ries about acts of hero­ism lifted read­ers’ spir­its.

The Great War’s mov­ing ac­count of ‘How Cap­tain McCuaig Died’ de­tails his fi­nal mo­ments ly­ing se­ri­ously wounded in a hastily dug trench, re­fus­ing to let his men carry him out. Rather than slow down their re­treat he asked for two loaded re­volvers so that he might keep the first line of Ger­mans at bay, buy­ing them some time. This and other news­pa­pers in­clud­ing War Il­lus­trated, The Il­lus­trated War News and Wipers Times can be searched at the­ge­neal­o­gist.co.uk, and it’s not just men serv­ing over­seas that are rep­re­sented. The Il­lus­trated War News in Au­gust 1916 fea­tured women work­ers, with a photo of farmer’s

The Il­lus­trated Lon­don News are freely avail­able on­line at il­lus­trat­ed­first­world­war. com. Even if your an­ces­tor isn’t found by name, search­ing for a bat­tle or their reg­i­ment may yield im­ages and en­hance your un­der­stand­ing of their ex­pe­ri­ences. Read in con­junc­tion with war di­aries, news­pa­per re­ports can paint a vivid pic­ture, though many jour­nal­ists ex­er­cised artis­tic li­cence since re­li­able news from the front was slow to reach civil­ian ears. The few jour­nal­ists au­tho­rised to re­port di­rect from the war­zone were heav­ily cen­sored in the na­tional press, but some of their writ­ings will be found in the UKPressOn­line ar­chive com­pris­ing the Daily Mir­ror, Daily Ex­press, Church Times and other ti­tles at ukpresson­line.co.uk/ukpresson­line.

News­pa­pers re­port a Zep­pelin raid in 1916

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