Who Do You Think You Are?

Digital archive tells the story of British soldiers in WW1

- Rosemary Collins reports on data releases and genealogy news

More than two million historic documents from First World War regiments are free to search on The Ogilby Muster (TOM; theogilbym­uster.com).

The new website was launched by the Army Museums Ogilby Trust ( armymuseum­s.org.

uk), which represents the regimental and corps museums of the British Army, on 3 November.

The site already holds records, photograph­s, letters and diaries from 75 collection­s, and more are scheduled to join in 2022.

The Hon Mrs Katherine Swinfen Eady, one of the trustees of the trust, commented, “With the opening of the TOM platform, we are given a wonderful key to unlock history. As historians this is an invaluable gift, and as family members researchin­g their beloved lost relatives it is equally as important. TOM allows us to piece together the truth left behind by the subjects, to build up that wonderful pattern of a jigsaw and find the missing fragments of informatio­n. It is especially important as it will help us all to further our knowledge and understand­ing of not just the military side of the First World War, but the social aspect of an event in history that a"ected and shaped this country and the world.”

Lieutenant general Sir Philip Trousdell, a former chairman of the trust, added, “The

Army A Museums Ogilby Trust T has created an enormously powerful research tool for

students, s family researcher­s, r historians and a those with even a casual interest in the t First World War. This T project honours the memories and

experience­s e of those who served in the Army in the ‘War to End All Wars’, their families and their communitie­s.”

The documents on TOM can be searched for free. They date from 1900 to 1929, but the focus is on the ordinary men and women who served in the Army during the First World War. Images are available to buy as well, with a typical fee of £4 if the use is noncommerc­ial. The website took four years to create, and has been funded by a £5 million grant from the chancellor of the exchequer.

In an article published on the trust’s website ( armymuseum­s.org.uk/my-darling-madeline), Dot Boughton, the documents, records and metadata o!cer for the Fusilier Museum, Bury, describes one collection of documents that is now available – a series of letters written by Captain Thomas Gordon Gribble of the Lancashire Fusiliers to his wife Madeline.

A poignant letter (pictured) written four days after the start of the Battle of the Somme in July 1916 gives a sense of the scale of the conflict. Gribble writes, “Things have been very busy here of late and of course the papers are full. I am the only o!cer left in my company now and I have lost all my chums in the recent fighting.”

This project honours the memories and experience­s of those who served

 ?? ?? This photo of Black Watch soldiers in the First World War is available online via TOM
This photo of Black Watch soldiers in the First World War is available online via TOM
 ?? ?? whodoyouth­inkyouarem­agazine.com

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