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.

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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.

We've published more digitised unit war diaries on Discovery.

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.

Explore top secret MI5 files on suspected spies and double agents as well as organisations and famous individuals that were under surveillance during the First World War.

These files are part of the wider security service personal file series (KV 2) held by The National Archives.

Events calendar

Nationwide centenary activity

2014 marks 100 years since the start of the First World War. Events will be taking place across the UK throughout the year.

My Tommy's War: Joseph Harry Green

When I first sat down to write this, it began as the story of one man serving his country but as I began to recheck my facts, I realised that for one woman, this was actually the story of her family...

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.

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.

In this videoconference students can share one hour in the life of a soldier from a Pals Battalion, Private Henry Fairhurst, played by a costumed actor, as he talks about why he joined up and what life is like in the trenches.

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