Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War


This collection includes 1500 unit magazines and journals that were written and illustrated by soldiers, medical workers, prisoners of war, and members of civilian and charitable organizations during the First World War. The collection features cover-to-cover scans in full color or gray scale, with granular indexing at the article level.

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 the United States, 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.

These unique 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. Issues contain poems, sketches, short stories, jokes, plays and articles that were often contributed anonymously. The collection is applicable for research and teaching across several disciplines, including:

  • History
  • Literature
  • War Studies/Military History
  • Cultural and Gender Studies

Coverage includes:

  • Infantry: Regimental magazines from British, American, Dominion, French and German units training at home and based abroad including The Dead Horse Corner Gazette, The Howling Howitzer and The Kit-Bag.
  • Medical: Magazines from hospitals and hospital ships based in the UK, France, America and the Dominions written by doctors, nurses and patients, such as The Iodine Chronicle and Happy Though Wounded—including poems, stories and sketches by nurses and women ambulance drivers of all the combatant nations.
  • Prisoners of War: Internment camp magazines written by Allied troops in Germany and by German troops in Britain and France, including Prisoner's Pie and Knockaloe Lager-Zeitung.
  • Associated Civilian Organizations: Magazines from charitable organizations such as the Y.M.C.A. and the Church Army and independent civilian organizations such as the Soldiers’ Wives and Mothers' League.
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