York Castle Museum calls for help to translate World War I diaries which have baffled curators

By Culture24 Reporter | 12 January 2014

The stories within two World War I diaries will be unlocked if York Castle Museum can enlist a shorthand expert

A photo of a small diary of a World War I soldier full of ink scribblings from March 1918
York Castle Museum aims to find out more about two World War I diaries© Mike Linstead
Two indecipherable diaries, written in shorthand almost a century ago and donated by a local Old Comrades Association, have led organisers at York Castle Museum to make a public appeal for translators to interpret the mottled texts.

Wass Reader, of the 1st East Riding Yeomanry C Squadron, is thought to have filled the books with scribblings during the Palestine Campaign. They date from 1917 and 1918, but the museum says it has found "very little" accompanying information about them.

“This is such a fascinating project," said Alison Bodley, the Curator of History.

"We have in our possession two diaries from nearly 100 years ago, but we can’t understand what has been written in them.

"It would be fantastic if volunteers from the public could give us any insight as to the content of the diaries and tell us more about the shorthand itself."

The journals will go on public display as part of the museum's wide-ranging 1914: When the World Changed Forever exhibition, which will open a century to the day of Archduke Franz Ferdinand's assassination, on June 28.

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