First World War

Explore our collection of First World War records

We hold the official UK government records of the First World War, including a vast collection of letters, diaries, maps and photographs.

We will be marking the centenary of the war with an extensive programme, spanning a five-year period between 2014 and 2019.

If you want to explore our First World War records and are new to researching at The National Archives, you can start your research here or chat to one of our reader advisors online.

Stay updated

To ensure you keep up-to-date with all our centenary activity you can sign up to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter and join us on Facebook.

Unit war diaries

We've published more digitised unit war diaries on Discovery, including Indian infantry diaries.

Help us to tag our diaries

Operation War Diary is an exciting new crowdsourcing project – help us to unlock the data in our war diaries.

Find out more about crowdsourcing and Operation War Diary or simply go to the website and start tagging.

Interactive global First World War map

Explore the global impact of the First World War through our new online map, which highlights key events and figures in the conflict from our records.

The map aims to go beyond the trenches of the Western Front and shows how the war affected different parts of the world.

Events calendar

Nationwide centenary activity

First World War centenary events will be taking place across the UK over the next four years.

My Tommy's War

My Tommy’s War: Construction and destruction with the Royal Engineers

My Tommy is my Born in Newport, South Wales, on 16 June, 1894, William Alfred Bale was the eldest child of dock worker William Humphrey Bale and his wife Mary...


First World War nurses

From the beginning of the First World War, a range of women volunteered as nurses working close to the front line. Read their stories, touching, funny, and harrowing by turns.

Podcasts and videos

Use our podcasts and videos to help you explore our records of the First World War, from tracing battalions of the British Army to the Women's Land Army.


Join us on our blog to read and discuss various themes around the First World War.

Telling Tommies' tales

View the winning entries for our First World War competition.

Voices of Armistice

This podcast series brings alive individual experiences of those who served in the First World War.