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Posted on Monday January 4, 2016

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

First World War trench journals held by the British Library

This collection of digital items brings together more than 200 titles of trench journals from the First World War.

Including for instance 'Le Soleil d'Or …riant', a rare example of a trench newspaper, written on the Eastern Front by the soldiers of the Sixth Division of the 148th Infantry East Army. Created by soldiers for soldiers, trench newspapers were written at the front or close to it. Often marked by dark humour, they aimed to lift the morale of the troops. Only a few copies were produced; they were handwritten and mimeographed (a cheap and quick form of printing). They generally had a short run, although a few titles such as Le Poilu reached 30,000 copies.

These publications are in many respects a rare and moving testimony of the psychology of World War One soldiers.