Earlier this year, the First World War Archives Project was at the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Museum in Halifax continuing to scan material from their collection.
In a stroke of luck the project’s first visit to the museum occurred just after a suitcase brimming with material had been deposited by a member of the public. Looking through the suitcase it was found to contain the amazingly detailed personal archive of Major Tom Goodall. The papers and memorabilia follow Goodall from his enlistment in 1914 as 2nd Lieutenant in the 2/5 Battalion (Territorials) Duke of Wellingtons Regiment, all the way through the first world war and his time as Major in the Home Guard during the second world war.
Goodall’s collection is a goldmine of information comprising of his personal journals, trench maps, aerial photographs, battalion orders, medals, certificates, press cuttings, items captured from German Trenches and other ephemera. The collection is an invaluable new resource into the history of the 2/5 Battalion, in particular ‘D’ Coy, and the day to day running of the British Forces.
A personal favourite from the collection has to be this note found pinned at the Entrance to a German Dugout near Achiet-Le-Petit 17th March 1917.
‘Good Neight Tommy! Auf Wiedersehen!’
Can you read Shorthand or German? If you can then we need your skills!
Tom Goodall’s Archive contains 4 small diaries written primarily in shorthand along with a few bits of correspondence also in shorthand. We would welcome volunteers who would be willing to transcribe these diaries for us so that we can make this resource accessible to all.
The archive also contains a book captured from a German trench which appears to contain a list of code names and some sort of journal or company diary. This is a fascinating item and would be an exciting transcription project for a volunteer.
Volunteers do not need to live in West Yorkshire and anyone interested should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ll leave you with a few examples of the Battalion Orders which made the British Army the pride of the empire. Each one is a genuine order issued to the 2/5 Duke of Wellingtons Regiment during their time on the Western Front.
Battalion Order 293: Each company having been issued with a Flat Iron, Officers commanding companies will arrange that ironing of the seams of S.D. Clothing is carried out once a week and will forward certificate to Orderly Room every Saturday by 9 am stating that this has been done.
Battalion Order 294: Companies will arrange to inspect their sick before coming down to hospital and see that their men are properly washed and shaved.
Battalion Order 397: The practice of cutting down trousers to turn them into ‘shorts’ is prohibited. ‘Shorts’ are not to be worn in the VI Corps Area. (Vide. C.R.O. 2486 of 8-8-17)
Battalion Order 686: Companies will ensure that Haircutting is carried out as quickly as possible. All men must be completed by 9am 8-12-17.