New First World War Digital Archive launches

3 November, 2021

The Royal Artillery Museum is delighted to be part of a major national initiative for First World War archives which launches this week.  

Following a four-year project funded by a LIBOR grant from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Army Museums Ogilby Trust (AMOT) is launching The Ogilby Muster (TOM). TOM is an online platform which provides access to the First World War archives held in Regimental Museums across the UK. Launching during Remembrance month, TOM has preserved the experiences and memories of those who served in the First World War for future generations.  

With over 75 participating collections, and more set to join in 2022, TOM will eventually hold over two million items including some never-before-seen material. Covering the period 1900 to 1929, the platform contains documents, photographs, letters, diaries and more, all related to the British Army and the men and women who served.   The Royal Artillery Museum Archive has had most of our WWI records digitised as part of this project, over 300,000 in total. This includes official records and personal accounts, letters from the trenches of Flanders and diaries and photos of peace-time Army service. TOM will also feature photographs and documents from across the world, emphasising that the Royal Artillery’s motto: ‘Ubique’ (Everywhere).  

TOM will be an essential tool for anyone interested in military, social or family history, and especially for regiments and batteries which wish to research their histories. With all material digitised, users can search the database quickly and easily, and view the results. If any extra assistance or guidance is needed, users will be able to contact the Royal Artillery Museum Archivist for advice. It will be free to search, but there will be a charge for downloading the images.  

Commenting on the launch The Hon. Mrs Katherine Swinfen Eady, Trustee of the Army Museums Ogilby Trust, said: “With the opening of the TOM Platform we are given a wonderful key to unlock history. As historians this is an invaluable gift, as family members researching their beloved lost relatives, it is equally as important. TOM allows us to piece together the truth left behind by the subjects, to build up that wonderful pattern of a jigsaw and find the missing fragments of information. It is especially important as it will help us all further our knowledge and understanding of not just the military side of the First World War, but the social aspect of an event in history that affected and shaped this country and the world.”  

Lt Col James Gower MBE, Trustee of the Royal Artillery Historical Trust, added: "The digitisation of over 300,0000 WW1 documents and photographs from the Royal Artillery Museum’s archives will provide a massive leap forward in giving easier access to a unique regimental collection for our veterans’ families, their descendants and family historians.”   

Maj Gen Nick Eeles, Chair of the Royal Artillery Museum, commented: “I am extremely grateful for the work which the Army Museums Ogilby Trust has undertaken to deliver this exceptionally valuable project. It will fundamentally change the way in which the public, historians and our people can research the Royal Regiment’s First World War history.”  

You can access The Ogilby Muster here