Other Soldiers' Websites

It has been so rewarding to find that others have been sufficiently inspired by Harry's blog to use similar stashes of letters or diaries to produce their own web sites.

It occurs to me that some of my readers may be interested in investigating one or two of these others.

Quite early on, Florence Kaplow from the States contacted me. She had her husband's letters from World War 2 and wanted some advice on how to do something with them - similar to my efforts with Harry's letters. I explained how the system had worked for me. Wisely, Florence ignored everything I said and got some local help to prepare what has the makings of a superb website.

http://www.benkaplow.com is still "work in progress", but is a mighty impressive collection of letters from World War 2.

Sgt Sam Avery has followed Harry's lead. A doughboy's letters from the Great War follow Harry's, a year behind. So he is currently in July 1918, on the Western Front, heading towards the Armistice. His author has made many comments on Harry's website with the persona of Sam. You can find his blog at http://worldwar1letters.wordpress.com

I've recently been contacted by a German contributor who is about to start posting a blog, following Harry's format, of the Diary of Dieter Finzen, a German infantryman who served on the Western Front from 1916 to 1918. The blog will timeshift 93 years, starting to post in September 1916 (2009). The website can be found at http://dieter-finzen.blogspot.com/
I find the opportunity of following a soldier on the "other side" fascinating. I have just read a translation of Ernst J√ľnger's book: "Storm of Steel". I found it quite disturbing to be looking from the "enemies'" point of view, finding it indistinguishable from those of men on the "our" side. I also had some problems with the spatial configuration of the Western Front. Fixed in my head is a front line that runs from top to bottom with the offensive taking place from left to right. I couldn't adjust, mentally, to the German viewpoint, attacking from right to left. Very strange.

dieter-finzen.blogspot.com will find the introduction to this blog.

In addition, the author, Sven Janke, has assembled an enormous collection of websites containing diaries and letters from the Great War. I don't know how many, if any, were stimulated to appear by Harry's efforts! I believe that there are currently 170 entries with an estimated ultimate target of 300. Quite a collection of material.

The links to the third party sites are at www.war-diary.com

Well here it is, on sale.

I called in the local Waterstones bookshop in Truro, Cornwall as I'd signed a load of copies there last week.
They'd promised a display in the shop entrance. I'm very proud to see it there.

I'm still sending out signed, dedicated copies from this website. They make an ideal, personally dedicated present!

Click on the picture to enlarge. BL