16 January 2010

My Newest Blog

A bit of self-promotion today. I've recently started a new blog, "Colonel Edwards' Army: A History of the 38th Battalion, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914 to 1919". It's no secret that I've been researching and writing a full-length history of the 38th for some years now and already have another blog, "Soldiers of the 38th", concerned with the individual members of the unit.

That said, I've been increasingly interested of late in the concept of "live-blogging", i.e. blogging the description of an historical event at the pace at which it originally unfolded. In this case, my intention is to do so ninety-five years after the fact (1915 in 2010, 1916 in 2011, etc., for example, 9 April 1917 on 9 April 2012). In the case of my new project, I've already posted an introduction and information for the December 1914 history of the 38th. During the next couple of weeks I'll post on January 1915. Essentially, this is a distribution of the text I've researched and written for the book in blog form as a type of working history. Initially, the 95-year gap won't be covered daily, but weekly or monthly. Until the battalion actually reached France and Flanders it isn't really possible to write about its history on a daily basis. Expect the history from January 1915 through mid-August 1916 (when the 38th arrives in France) to be issued as a weekly post, after that daily.

Why do this? First of all, because I'm eager to have the results of my research and writing get out there. Is a published book some years from now the only means to do this? I don't think so. Do I hope to have the final product published in the future? Absolutely. My second reason is my conviction that a retelling of the 38th's story on a daily basis (from 13 August 1916 / 13 August 2011) will add a totally different dimension to the story. CEF units did not spend their entire "lives" in the front line trenches. There were periods of sheer boredom, never-ending training, and attempts to rest, recover and reinforce - periods far more numerous in days spent than the nightmare that was combat during the war.

Sure, it's an experiment. And I hope it works. Let me know what you think.

1 comment:

Bradley Shoebottom said...

Interesting experiment, in developing a basic time line narrative of a battalion history. This type of history is a bit out of vogue now (analytical is in), but it is useful if there is no published record of the basic time line. I say go for it. As for not doing it on a daily basis, my not have a short blog even if its about new members being taken on strength (and list their names), those on leave, off to hospital, or just resting in the rear (with a link to a google map or historic map.
I just discovered my GReat Grandfather was in the 116th Bn. His service record is a bit sparse so I am going to have to rely on the 1921 history (http://bradleyshoebottom.wordpress.com/) and the war diaries. His personal letters were chewed up by a mouse about 10 years ago. (And the mouse escaped his just dues for that heinous act.)