Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Archive for the tag “world war i”

Searches I Get: public domain images first world war military

British cavalry passing the ruins of Albert cathedral, France, during World War I
British cavalry passing the ruins of Albert cathedral, France, during World War I

Peering through the list of searches that bring people to this website, I find that the second most popular search in the past 30 days has been “public domain images first world war military”

Generally speaking, any image published before 1923 is in the public domain. Additionally, any photographs taken by US government employees, including soldiers and sailors, in the course of their work is also public domain.

As a result, any images you find my entries tagged World War I ought to have some public domain photos.  Some of the resources here most useful for getting images are:

Another approach would be to go to the Flickr Commons and search “World War I.” That’s what I did to get the picture at the top of this blog entry.

Searches I Get: Operation War Diary [WWI]

TL:DR – You are looking for the World War I Zooniverse/National Archive (UK) project Operation War Diary. You’re welcome. 

Now that significant  numbers of people are using this site, I’m starting to see popular search terms. Your privacy is assured (with me, anyway) because my stats package only tells me WHAT is being searched for and not WHO is searching. In these days of mass surveillance I cannot categorically say that the NSA is NOT getting your search history, but I am not.

When I see a topic in this site’s search terms that is both popular and interesting to me personally, I’ll blog about it.

For the past four days or so, one of the searches that has led people here is some variant of “Operation War Diary.” Doing some of my own searching I think what you are looking for is Operation War Diary, a new citizen science project on the Zooniverse platform for the UK National Archive and the Imperial War Museum.

The project is enlisting volunteers to look though large numbers of war diaries of British soldiers who fought in World War I. As described in the project’s tutorial, the diaries have an incredible wealth of detail waiting to be classified and tagged. Here’s a more general description of the diaries from the project’s about page:

THE UNIT WAR DIARIES

War diaries were kept for two reasons: to provide an accurate record of operations for preparing the official history of the war, and to collect information that would help make improvements in preparing the army for war.

The war diaries contain a wealth of information of far greater interest than the army could ever have predicted. They provide unrivalled insight into daily events on the front line, and are full of fascinating detail about the decisions that were made and the activities that resulted from them.

The National Archives has digitised the war diaries of the units under the command of the British and Indian cavalry and infantry divisions on the Western Front. The war diaries are made up of a variety of different types of pages, including cover pages, title pages, orders, signals, maps, narrative reports and the main diary pages themselves. They are catalogued by theatre of operations, unit and the date range covered, but we don’t know much more about the content of the diaries beyond this.

It seems like these diaries would be a godsend to writer of stories of World War I or a science fiction writer wanting to set a general tone of army life. 

While this project is focused on getting people to classify and tag individual diary pages, according to the Operation War Diary site, “Whole war diaries are available from Discovery, The National Archives’ catalogue, where they can be searched free of charge and downloaded for a small fee.”

Hope this helps anyone searching for Operation War Diary.

Office of Medical History (Army)

Office of Medical History (Army) – http://history.amedd.army.mil

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What were some preventative measures taken by the US Army in the American Revolution?
  • When were US soldiers first vaccinated for smallpox?
  • What was considered typical care during the Civil War?
  • What were World War I base camp hospitals like?

Description:

This site is divided into a number of sections, but the most helpful will be:

Books and Documents – materials from Revolutionary times to the the Iraq War. Some representative titles are:

  • The Evolution of Preventive Medicine in the United States Army, 1607-1939
  • Medical Men in the American Revolution, 1775-1783 by Louis C. Duncun
  • Thesis: A Study of the Medical Support to the Union and Confederate Armies During the Battle of Chickamauga: Lessons and Implications for Today’s U.S. Army Medical Department Leaders by David A. Rubenstein
  • The U.S. Army Medical Department in the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906
  • Women in the Army Medical Department in World War II
  • Battle Casualties in Korea: Studies of the Surgical Research Team, Volume II, Tools for Resuscitation
  • In Their Own Words: The 498th Air Ambulance Company in Iraq, 2003

Historical Art Work – Captioned images and photographs from WWI through the Iraq War. The Office of Medical History discourages the use of this imagery for commercial or partisan publications, but does not disclose their authority for prohibiting these uses.

Medal of Honor recipients – Short citations of medical personnel awarded the Medal of Honor.

AMEDD Unit Patches and Lineage – Patches and organization histories from Army Medical units.

As you might gather from the title of this resource, it will be most helpful in determining what level of field medicine is available to your military characters in a given period of time.

The Whirlwind War: The United States Army in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM

The Whirlwind War: The United States Army in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM – http://www.history.army.mil/books/www/WWINDX.HTM

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What were the disposition of Iraqi forces in September 1990?
  • How were Patriot batteries used against SCUD missiles?
  • What were the specifications of Iraqi and US armament during the First Gulf War?

Description:

This work begins with a general background to Iraq and the Persian Gulf region from WWI to the time the book was written.

Then there are a set of chronological chapters taking the reader through the buildup (Desert Shield) and the actual war (Desert Storm). The narrative section is followed by three appendices on the Patriot missile system and specifications for American and Iraqi equipment used during the war. The online work concludes with lists of tables, maps, charts and illustrations.

Initial Selection of Candidates for Pilot, Bombardier, and Navigator Training (WWII)

Initial Selection of Candidates for Pilot, Bombardier, and Navigator Training, by Robert L. Thompson (1943). 66 pages. – http://www.afhra.af.mil/Portals/16/documents/Studies/1-50/AFD-090602-023.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Were 28 year olds less likely to graduate from flight school than younger students?
  • When did the Army Air Forces start pilot training for African Americans?
  • What were the three aptitude tests pilot cadets had to pass before being accepted into training prior to 1942?
  • What was an example of a reading comprehension question required by the Aviation Cadet Qualifying Examination?

Description:

The PDF file for this work is mostly blank up until page 13, where you will find the table of contents. The first part of the book covers World War I and the interwar years. Material pertaining to World War II will be mostly found in two chapters:

  • IV – The Aviation Cadet Qualifying Examination, 1942-1943
  • V – Other significant changes in the initial selection procedures, 1941-1943

The work also contains a bibliography, a glossary of Abbreviations and an index.

World War I Era Transports — Organized by Type ( Naval History and Heritage Command)

World War I Era Transports — Organized by Type ( Naval History and Heritage Command)

https://web.archive.org/web/20141008171716/http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/usnshtp/ap/w1ap-t.htm

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • Where can I find a passenger steamship impressed into troop service?
  • Where can I find a crew picture of the USS Canonicus?
  • Where can I find World War I ships that were both transports and mine layers?

Description:

From the introduction:

This page features a list of World War I era U.S. Navy transport groups, defined by ships’ physical characteristics, with links to pages dedicated to each group of ships. Those pages provide further links to the individual ships in each group. Representative photographs are also presented for ship groups and for individual vessels.

The major groupings here are:

  • Passenger liner type transports (75 ships)
  • Former mine layers employed as transports (4 ships)
  • Freighters converted to transports (45 ships)
  • Former coastal and river passenger steamers (21 ships)
  • Combat warships employed as transports (25 ships)

United States Coast Guard Roll of Honor, April 6, 1917 – – November 30, 1918

United States Coast Guard Roll of Honor, April 6, 1917 – – November 30, 1918 – http://www.uscg.mil/history/docs/USCG_RollofHonor1918.pdf

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • How many US Coast Guard members died from Pneumonia during World War I?
  • Where can I find an act of personal bravery in Coast Guard service during World War I?
  • Where can I find people with no next of kin who died during World War I?

Description:

From the introduction: ”A list of officers and men who were killed in action or otherwise perished during the war and those decorated during the war — a supplement to the Report of the Secretary of the Navy, 1919.”

This work is subdivided as follows:

  • List of Officers and Men
  • Killed in Combat with the Enemy – Entries list rank, date and place of death along with name and address of next of kin.
  • Died as Result of Accident, Collison, Drowning, etc – Entries list rank, type of death, sometimes with a sentence or two on how. Also includes name and address of next of kin.
  • Died from Natural Causes – Entries list rank, date and place of death along with name and address of next of kin.
  • List of Officers and Men Commended – All of the entries in the subsections below list list name, rank, assignment and date of action. Also includes comments regarding commendation that range from a sentence to a paragraph.
  • For Courageous and Heroic Action
  • For Efficient and Noteworthy Action
  • For Acts of Personal Bravery

Each section above is preceded by statistics on the number of officers and enlisted men in that area.

World War I Online Bookshelf (Center of Military History)

World War I Online Bookshelf (Center of Military History) – http://www.history.army.mil/html/bookshelves/resmat/WWI.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What role did the 82nd play in the first World War?
  • Where can I learn more about the US Army’s role in World War I?
  • Who were the commanders of the US 2nd Division?

Description:

Links to published and archival material related to World War I, including capsule histories of the war prior to US entry and a summary of US actions during the war. Will be more useful for setting the stage for stories of that era than gaining character back story. May be useful for finding names in use during the early 20th Century.

World War I Era Posters (Center of Military History)

World War I Era Posters (Center of Military History) – http://www.history.army.mil/art/Posters/WWI/WWI.htm

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What images were invoked to induce people to contribute to the war effort?
  • Were horses still important in World War I?
  • Where can I find an example of a children’s prayer for a deployed relative in World War I?

Description:

A set of 30 posters in use during World War I.Variety of literary and historical images. Useful to writers in knowing what sorts of images were likely to stir up feeling on the home front.

These posters are freely reproducible public domain materials.

 

Post Navigation