The First World War Collections at the University of Victoria Libraries

Diaries 11 items

Between fighting and “fatigues”, a soldier had little leisure time for diary writing, however, the archives is fortunate to have a number of war diaries that provide documentary evidence of a soldier’s day-to-day life and the challenges he faced. The series of diaries that we have digitized here represent the perspectives of two officers—Archie Wills and Joseph Badenoch Clearihue. Wills’ diary is in a journalistic style: and includes dialogue from conversations overheard and descriptions of events. He writes about the humorous-absurd side of war as well as the difficult living conditions at the Front—discomfort, cold, lack of food. Clearihue’s diaries offer quite a different perspective. As a higher ranking officer, his experience and living conditions were better and, unlike the enlisted men, he had the assistance of a servant or “batman”. A batman was responsible for collecting supplies and food, carrying gear from one battle site to the next, and setting up camp.

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