Tuesday, December 10, 2013

World War 1 Diary

At the beginning of 1918 George Kellett,  a soldier born in Wakefield, received a Christmas parcel which contained a Christmas cake, parkin, a few apples and a diary. George then recorded his year as a World War 1 soldier. His family donated his diary to Wakefield Museums.
The diary details George’s life as a soldier - letters from home, pay arrangements, games of draughts, getting ready for draft, working on a rifle range, digging trenches.

From January 2014 we will be tweeting George’s Diary entries.  Over the year this will build up a picture of what his experience was.  Follow the tweets at @WW1_Diary on Twitter.  We will also post a monthly digest of the diary entries on this blog.

George Kellett
We don’t know a great deal about George Kellett.  We have recently been in contact with his great niece and nephew, who have very kindly provided us with some photographs of George and his family.  We will be using these photos alongside the diary entries.  Over the next 12 months we hope to find out more about George and will be working with Wakefield Libraries Local Studies to this end.   

We do know that George was born in 1894, and at the time of the 1911 census he was living at 4 Bowman Street, Sandal. He apprenticed in 1909 as a joiner and married after he returned from war. 

George Kellett's wife

The diary has been transcribed by museum staff (a big thank you to Kathryn Groom), and has sometimes proved difficult to read!  Especially place names in France.  We are working to find out more information about places and details George mentions.

We hope that this project will provide an idea of what daily life was like for a First World War soldier. From the details about pay to how George spent his spare time, and from family news to the tasks of a soldier, this story will be a fascinating glimpse into the First World War.
There will be a further programme of activity to commemorate 100 years since the First World War, including an exhibition at Pontefract Museum. Follow this link for more info on The Great War Inspires

Follow George Kellett’s diary entries at @WW1_Diary on Twitter

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