Glasgow University's Great War Project


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Words of WW1: Preserving the voices of Great War poets

By Xavier Weiss, Project leader, Words of WW1 Project.

Words of WW1 Poster

A little under four months ago, ‘Words of WW1’ – a student-run project at the University of Glasgow – was launched. Concerned by the abstract and impersonal focus of many war memorials and casualty lists, this project seeks to take a different approach and concentrate on the individual experience of WW1 soldiers. To do so, we are revisiting one of the most powerful forms of expression available to them – their poetry. Unlike today, with our blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, those living through the War had only pen and paper as an outlet. For many, poetry was where they could begin to process some of the moral trepidation, physical horror and psychological trauma the war evoked.




Wings to War: Glasgow and the Centenary of the Royal Air Force

By Jesper Ericsson, Curatorial Assistant, The Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery.


Today, 1 April 2018, marks the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Royal Air Force. A new special exhibition in the University of Glasgow Memorial Chapel, Wings to War: Glasgow and the Centenary of the Royal Air Force, explores the remarkable connections between the RAF and the University and city of Glasgow, from the age of fragile biplanes to fast jets, highlighting the contributions and sacrifice made by University staff and alumni. Artworks by former Director of The Glasgow School of Art, distinguished artist and designer Dugald Cameron, support the display.


The Bowman Letters: Letters From A Prisoner of War

By Petros Aronis, Student in History of Art, University of Glasgow.

Heading Bowman

DC77/5/4/3 Collection of Letters to and from A. A. Bowman c.1918.

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the start of the German Spring Offensive, known in German as ‘Die Kaiserslacht’ or the ‘Kaiser’s Battle’ which took place on the Western Front during the First World War. University of Glasgow Archives and Special Collections have created an Instagram account to honor a very important graduate and lecturer of University of Glasgow: Archibald Allan Bowman.  During the Spring Offensive, Bowman was captured by Germans and wrote dozens of letters home to his wife while living in a prisoner of war camp in Germany. These letters give a great insight into the struggles of prisoners and how their families were affected during the difficult time of war. The Archives have decided to publish these letters on the Instagram account @lettersfromaprisonerofwar on the 100th anniversary of the day they were sent. The first letter will be published on the 5th of April 2018 and the last on the 20th of December 2018. This blog post serves as an introduction to the project and elaborates on Bowman’s life before the War and the incredible circumstances of his capture.


German Film in the First World War

By Christian Huttel, student of Library and Information Management at Stuttgart Media University, Semester Intern, University of Glasgow Library.

German-Turkish Review

German Field Marshal von Mackensen reviews an honour guard of Turkish soldiers during a 1916 Newsreel. Bundesarchiv. Watch the full video online here.

My Internship

As part of my studies at Stuttgart Media University, I was required to undertake one semester’s internship with a library service. While many of my colleagues chose to stay in Germany, I took the opportunity to apply to Libraries in Scotland and was offered a place at the University of Glasgow.   After an overview of the vast amount of places, teams and services working within the University, I had the chance to work on topics such as Open Access and reading lists, or accompanying several colleagues to induction talks with student groups. While these were great experiences on a number of levels, after two months I had the opportunity to work on a long-term project with Archives and Special Collections. This project required someone with an interest in film, history and profound knowledge in the German language; since I met all those criteria, I became part of the team working on the University’s Great War Project.


1917 in Review: The Cost of Arras and Passchendaele

By Euan Loarridge, Blog Editor, University of Glasgow Great War Project


The University of Glasgow Memorial Garden. The Arras section can be seen in the back left of the plot, while the Passchendaele section is in the far back right.

On May 16th 2017, the one hundred year anniversary of the end of the Battle of Arras, the University of Glasgow hosted an evening of talks discussing the events and impact of the battle. The keynote was delivered by Professor Tony Pollard of the University’s Centre for Battlefield Archaeology and the principal investigator for the Great War Project. Professor Pollard’s talk focused on the impact of the battle on the University community, featuring a statistical analysis of the university’s casualties. This statistical analysis was repeated later in the year for the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele). This blog post focuses on these statistics and what they tell us about the University’s contribution to the major battles of 1917.


Gunner Herbert Briggs D.C.M.

By Euan Loarridge, Blog Editor, University of Glasgow Great War Project


Italian Bronze Medal of Military Valour Awarded to Gunner Herbert Briggs for actions on the 11th of December 1917

Today, the 11th of December 2017, marks the 100th anniversary of an extraordinary act, carried out by a relatively ordinary individual. On the battlefields of the Piave River in North-East Italy, Gunner Herbert Briggs of 352 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery, risked his own life to help drag a wounded Italian soldier from a crippled tank. During this rescue, Herbert himself was wounded in three places.


The Physiology of Flight

By Declan Irwin, Final Year Undergraduate in Physiology, University of Glasgow.

A French Salmson 2 Reconnaissance Biplane c.1918. Wikipedia Commons.

“If men were meant to fly they would have been given wings”