What to call the war

The first hurdle when searching for records relating to the First World War, or The Great War, is what to call it. Our records containing First World War information were created during or shortly after the war of 1914–1918. Recordkeepers of the day simply used the term their department was using when they registered, bundled and described records. It makes sense that we couldn’t foresee another world war starting again in just 21 years.

Extract from the publication “European War: Correspondence regarding gifts from the oversea dominions and colonies” highlighting the contributions from Queensland, December 1914

And so, here’s what the war is referred to in our records:

  • The Great War
  • The European War
  • War.

Batches of letters or memos could be labelled with terms such as:

  • Australian Imperial Force
  • Expeditionary Force
  • War council
  • Anzac
  • Aliens
  • Enemy aliens
  • Conscription
  • Anti-conscription
  • Military
  • Patriotic Fund
  • Memorial
  • Associations
  • Companies.

Searching the war

We’ve been digitising First World War records in the lead up to these centenary commemoration years 2014–2018.

To find digitised First World War material, use Image Queensland and search the terms mentioned above. Digitised material from Image Queensland can also be found in Virtual Exhibitions where we’ll add more items and exhibitions throughout the next four years.

What other First World War search terms have you found handy in your research?

About Queensland State Archives

For more information about Queensland State Archives visit www.archives.qld.gov.au.

1 Response

Leave a Reply