Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War
Introducing an unparalleled archival collection of rare magazines
Gain invaluable insight with access to more than 1,500 periodicals, published between 1914 and the end of 1919.
By and for servicemen and women
This exceptional collection contains magazines written and illustrated by and for servicemen and women of the armed forces and associated welfare organizations of every involved nation.
From major libraries and research collections
To create the largest digitized collection of trench journals available, ProQuest is working with world renowned archives including those of the Imperial War Museums and the British Library.
The magazines are scanned cover-to-cover, in full color or gray scale, with granular indexing of all articles and specialist indexing of publications. Upon completion, ProQuest seeks to produce a resource of around 35,000 individual journal issues amounting to roughly 500,000 pages.
A library of 'lost voices'—an essential counterpoint
These unique, though little-known, journals provide an essential counterpoint to the official histories of the First World War. Indeed, the unit magazines constitute a library of 'lost voices' from the early 20th century, touching all aspects of life and culture in the pre-1919 period. Therefore, this collection is a vital source for research and teaching across disciplines, including:
"These anecdotes recounted over and over again in dug-outs and during the tedious hours of rest in camp should be saved from oblivion […] It is the duty of our comrades of all ranks to record their experiences for their brother soldiers and to history."
—From Poil et Plume (May 1916), magazine of the French 81st Infantry Regiment
Explore the common soldier's experience
Produced, mostly unofficially, by every type of unit engaged in the war, the publications were principally distributed only to the members of the unit. The magazines were written and illustrated by the soldiers serving in a huge variety of units of all combatant nations including America, Britain, Canada, France, Australia, and New Zealand. Although the majority of journals that have survived originate from units based on the Western Front in France, there are also magazines from units serving on the Eastern Front, in Gallipoli, Palestine, Egypt, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, Britain and America.
"[The purpose of this magazine is] to show the good folk at home what we are thinking and doing … [for] we can’t tell them much in our letters and one leave a year."
—Editorial from The Dagger, or London in the Line (November 1918), trench journal of the 56th London Division
Each journal is a reflection of its unit
The magazines contain poems, sketches, short stories, jokes, plays and articles contributed, mostly anonymously, by servicemen, which serve to create an invaluable insight into the attitudes of servicemen and women to the war and their part in it.