Walk In Your Ances­tors’ Foot­steps

Cus­tomise your bat­tle­field visit us­ing on­line re­sources, apps and free trench maps

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - ANCESTORS WW1 -

There are plenty of dig­i­tal re­sources to help you make the most of a bat­tle­field trip. If you have pin­pointed where your an­ces­tor fought us­ing War Diaries ( na­tion­alarchives.gov.uk/ first-world-war/cen­te­nary-unit-war-diaries) and trench maps, or know where he fell ( www. cwgc.org), then you can trace his move­ments in per­son. The Na­tional Li­brary of Scot­land has digi­tised trench maps and placed them as over­lays on satel­lite images ( maps.nls. uk/ww1/trenches), while an ever-in­creas­ing num­ber of apps of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties to visit places where a rel­a­tive fought. Many use GPS to po­si­tion you on the right spot. Remember that sol­diers spent the ma­jor­ity of their time in the trenches be­cause it was safer, so try peek­ing out of a ditch or a sunken road to get a feel for what it was like. Most land is pri­vate (“Privée”), so stick to roads and tracks. Us­ing metal detectors is il­le­gal, and peo­ple still get killed fid­dling with left­over ord­nance.

Ypres’ In Flan­ders Fields Mu­seum of­fers a free iOS and An­droid app that guides you along the front line ( in­flan­der­s­fields.be/en/land­schap/ypres-salient-1914-1918), while the com­pany Great War Dig­i­tal ( great­wardig­i­tal.com) sells a much wider range of maps in its Li­nesMan series.

Bri­tish troops at the Bat­tle of Mons, 1914

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