On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, a ceasefire was declared on the Western Front which marked the end of the First World War. Commemorations are held annually around Europe to remember those who fought and lost their lives in the line of duty.
The Letters of 1916 collection holds a diverse range of rarely seen sources relating to World War One. Our collection contains over 200 letters written during the Great War including letters from Prisoners of War writing to request care packages from Lady Clonbrock; letters from Marie Martin to her mother while she served as a VAD on the Western Front; Christmas cards from sailor Lawrence Brown to his family as well as official correspondence such as this letter the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, Lord Wimborne, which is awaiting transcription on the site.
The Irish diaspora made an important contribution to the Great War. This post about Alfred Crofton’s letter to his aunt, the aforementioned, Lady Augusta Clonbrock, details the story of an Irish emigrant in Canada and his reasons for enlisting in the Canadian Army.
In another featured post, Hannah Healy explores Marie Martin’s role as a VAD at the Battle of the Somme. Marie Martin’s letters are an invaluable source brimming with information and exposing the realities of everyday life at the front for a young Irish nurse. They reveal the adventurous spirit that war service inspired and record the darker side of home sickness and depression that could accompany extended service overseas. Similarly, Marie’s letters provide us with glimpses into the lives of the soldiers she cared for. GuardianWitness has also started to highlight the wartime contributions of women in Women during WW1 – readers’ stories: ‘I can’t do the work if the men won’t listen to me’.