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Scope of the Collections for British Military History, 1801-1945

As the national archive in the United Kingdom for British and overseas newspapers, British Library Newspapers holds copies of most local and national newspapers published in the British Isles for the period 1801-1945. The scope of the collections also extends to specialist, non-newspaper publications of particular interest to military history researchers. A select listing only of some of the more important publications is given below.

 Shelfmarks are listed, where relevant.

Official Military Publications | Long-Standing Armed Services Publications | Shorter Runs of War-Time Army and Unit Periodicals | General War-Time Periodicals | Miscellaneous Journals, Magazines, and Garrison and Unit Periodicals | Other Sources | Further Information

Official Military Publications:

  • Volunteer Service Gazette and Military Dispatch
    London
    26 October 1859 - 27 February 1903 : Nos. 1-2261
  • Continued as: The Volunteer Service and Imperial Yeomanry Chronicle
    6 May 1903 - 25 March 1908 : Nos. 2262-2526
  • Continued as: The Territorial Service Gazette
    1 April 1908 - 16 May 1925 : Nos. 2527-3339
    The official organ of the Territorial Force and of the National Rifle Association and the Civilian Rifle Club Movement
    Discontinued.
  • War Office Times and Naval Review:
  • The Semi-Official Journal of the Army and Navy
    London
    5 January 1893 - 1 February 1894; October 1904 - 30 April 1916 : Nos. 81-137; [New series] nos. 1-139
    Discontinued.
  • War Office Weekly Casualty List
  • London
    7 August 1917 - 2 July 1918 : Nos. 1-48
  • Continued as: Weekly Casualty List (War Office & Air Ministry)
    9 July 1918 - 4 March 1919 : Nos. 49-83.

Long-Standing Armed Services Publications:

  • Army and Navy Gazette: Journal of the Militia and Volunteer Forces
  • London
    7 January 1860 - 26 November 1921 : Nos. 1-3227
  • Continued as: Army, Navy and Air Force Gazette
    3 December 1921 - 12 November 1936 : Nos. 3228-4008
  • Continued as: The United Services Review
    19 November 1936 - 28 September 1939; February 1942 - April 1947 : New series nos. 4009-4158; 4161-4295
    Not published between 28 September 1939 and February 1942
  • Continued as: United Services and Empire Review
    May 1947 - December 1954
    Published in Croydon from April 1949 onwards
  • Continued as: The United Services & Home Defence Review
    February 1955 - August/September 1957
    Discontinued.
  • Blighty
    London
    21 October 1939 - 29 November 1958 : New series nos. 1-996
  • Continued as: Blighty Parade
    6 December 1958 - 7 November 1959 : Nos. 997-1039
  • Continued as: Parade and Blighty
    14 November 1959 - 26 December 1959 : Nos. 1040-1046
    Issues from January 1960 onwards are held in the main British Library at St Pancras at their shelfmark Cup.806.ee.5:
    2 January 1960 - 26 November 1960 : Nos. 1047-1094
  • Continued as: Parade
    3 December 1960 - December 1976/June 1977 : No. 1095 - [New series] vol. 3 no. 7.
  • The Broad Arrow: A Paper for the Services
    London
    1 July 1868 - 25 December 1869; 7 January 1871 - 18 April 1917: Nos. 1-78; 132-2547
    Incorporated with the Army and Navy Gazette.
  • The Civil & Military Gazette
    Lahore, Pakistan
    3 November 1906 - 30 April 1940; 24 January 1941 - 31 October 1947; 1 January 1948 - 12 May 1949; 14 August 1949 - 15 June 1950; 24 November 1950 - 31 October 1951; 26 March 1954 - 4 September 1963
    Includes The Civil & Military Gazette: New Era Souvenir issue for 15 August 1947
    Issues for 1951-1963 are held on microfilm; issues for 1954 are imperfect.
    C.1182 (for 1906-1950): M.C.1182 (for 1951-1963)
    Discontinued.
  • The Fleet: An Illustrated Journal of the Navy and the Nation
    London
    May 1905 - December 1950 : Nos. 1-550
    With registration issues dated January and March 1905
    Discontinued.
  • The Naval & Military Gazette and Weekly Chronicle of the United Service
    London
    9 February 1833 - 9 December 1874, 6 October 1875 - 17 February 1886: Nos. 1-2774
    Not published between 9 December 1874 and 6 October 1875
    Held on microfilm
    Incorporated with The Broad Arrow.
  • The Naval & Military Record and Royal Dockyards Gazette
    Plymouth
    15 April 1886 - 12 November 1936 : Vol. 1 no. 1 - vol. 54 no. 46
    The issues for 1893 are on microfilm only
    Amalgamated with the Army, Navy and Air Force Gazette.
  • The United Service Gazette and Naval and Military Chronicle
    London
    9 February 1833 - 29 December 1921 : Nos. 1-4595.

Shorter Runs of War-Time Army and Unit Publications:

  • Ceylon Review: A Weekly Journal for the Services in Ceylon
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    3 October 1942 - 30 January 1943; 1 September 1945 : Nos. 1-18; Vol. 7 no. 9
    Published by the Chief Public Relations Officer, Commander-in-Chief's Office, Ceylon
    A.F.15.
  • The Cross and Swords
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    16 December 1944; 22, 23, 25 January, 26 February, 25, 27 March, 2 May 1945 : Nos. 64,100,101,103,135,162,164,200
    A daily news sheet published by Garrison Education Branch, 21 Army Group, B.A.O.R.
    A.F.23.
  • The Crusader: Eighth Army Weekly
    [Armed Forces Publication], England
    2 May 1942 - 21 June 1943; 2 April 1944 - 26 May 1946 : Nos. 1-60, 96-208
    Wanting nos. 5, 9, 23, 38, 98, 103, and 152
    A.F.42.
  • The Kangaroo Out of His Element
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], Australia
    19 October - 30 November 1914 : Nos. 1-26
    Wanting nos. 14, 16, 18, and 19
    The representative newspaper of the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force, 1st Battalion, published on board the troopship, Afric.
    A.F.161.
  • The Ladysmith Bombshell
    Ladysmith, Natal, South Africa
    2, 19, 16, and 23 December 1899 : [Nos. 3-6]
    Issued during the Boer War siege of Ladysmith
    A full set of facsimiles of nos. 1-8 (18 November 1899 - 8 January 1900), printed in 1900 as a souvenir of the siege, is also held at the same shelfmark
    C.1548.
  • The Mafeking Mail: Special Siege Slip
    Mafeking, Cape Province, South Africa
    1 November 1899 - 15 June 1900 : Nos. 1-165
    C.1486.
  • The Morogoro News
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    16 September, 14 October - 11 November 1916 : Vol. 1 nos. 1, 3-5
    Published by members of the East African Expeditionary Forces
    A.F.23.
  • The Palestine News
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    7 March 1918 - 10 April 1919 : Year 1 no. 1 - year 2 no. 72
    Wanting nos. 4, 5, 37-39, 41, 51, 62, 63, 78, and 69
    The weekly newspaper of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force of the British Army in occupied enemy territory
    A.F.87.
  • Parade: (Middle East Weekly)
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    17 August 1940 - 29 March 1947 : Nos. 1-346
    Wanting nos. 18, 33, 73, and 337-344
    Published by H.Q., M.E.F.
    A.F.30.
  • S E A C: The All-Services Newspaper of South East Asia Command
    (Singapore edition)
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    9 September 1945 - 15 May 1946 : Nos. 1-84, 689-852
    The Sunday issues are entitled Sunday S E A C.
    From no. 689, 3 December 1945 onwards, the numeration continues that of S E A C: Daily Newspaper of South East Asis Command, published in Calcutta
    A.F.38.A.
  • S E A C: Daily Newspaper of South East Asia Command
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    10 January 1944 - 2 December 1945 : Nos. 1-688
    Printed in Calcutta
    The Sunday issues are entitled Sunday S E A C.
    The numeration is continued by that of S E A C: The All-Services Newspaper of South East Asia Command (Singapore edition)
    A.F.38.
  • Union Jack: The Newspaper for the British Fighting Forces
    (Tunisia edition)
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    22 September - 31 December 1943 : Nos. 1-84
    Published by the British Army Newspaper Unit, B.N.A.F.
    A.F.59
    14 other editions of this most famous of forces' newspapers are also held in the Newspaper Library at other shelfmarks, from 1944 onwards up until 24 July 1948. Please consult our catalogue for full details.

General War-Time Periodicals:

  • The Illustrated War News
    London
    21 October 1899 : No. 1
  • Continued as: Pearson's Illustrated War News
    28 October 1899 - 7 April 1900 : Nos. 2-25
  • Continued as: Illustrated Weekly News
    14 April - 1 September 1900 : Nos. 26-46
  • Continued as: The Curiosity Shop
    8 September - 13 October 1900 : Nos. 1-6
    Discontinued.
  • The Illustrated War News
    London
    12 August 1914 - 10 April 1918 : Parts 1-96; new series parts 1-96
    Discontinued.
  • The Illustrated War News
    London
    1-22 November 1939 : Parts 1-4.
  • Illustrated War Special
    London21 November 1899 - 6 June 1900
    Discontinued.
  • The Penny War Weekly
    London
    5 September 1914 - 9 January 1915 : Vol. 1 nos. 1-19
  • Continued as: The Vivid War Weekly
    16 January 1915 - 26 February 1916 : Nos. 20-22; new series nos. 1-56
    Incorporated with War Illustrated.
  • Shurey's Illustrated Great War Paper
    London
    19 September - 7 November 1914 : Nos. 1-8
    Discontinued.
  • The War: (Nelson's Picture Weekly)
    London
    22 August 1914 - 6 March 1915 : Nos. [1]-29
    Discontinued.
  • The War Budget: A Weekly Photographic Record of the Great War
    London
    22 August 1914 - 7 February 1918 : Vol. 1 no. 1 - vol. 14 no. 13
  • Continued as: Everyweek and War Budget
    14 February - 28 March 1918 : Vol. 15 nos. 1-7
  • Continued as: Everyweek
    4 April 1918 - 13 March 1919 : Vol. 15 no. 8 - vol. 19 no. 5
    Discontinued.
  • The War of the Nations: A History of the Great European Conflict
    London
    [August 1914 - July 1919] : Vol. 1 no. 1 - vol. 11 no. 155
    Vol. 1 by William Le Queux; vols. 2-11 by Edgar Wallace.
  • The War Illustrated
    London
    22 August 1914 - 8 February 1919
    Discontinued.
  • The War Illustrated
    London
    16 September 1939 - 11 April 1947 : Nos. 1-255
    Discontinued.
  • The War Pictorial
    London
    1 September - 8 October 1914
    Discontinued.
  • War Pictorial
    London
    15 September - 29 December 1939 : Nos. 1-16
    Wanting the issues for 10-24 November 1939
    Incorporated with The War Weekly.
  • The War Pictures Weekly and the London Illustrated Weekly
    London
    20 August 1914 - 2 September 1915 : Vol. 1 no. 1 - vol. 13 no. 55
    With a registration issue dated 14 August 1914
  • Continued as: The London Illustrated Weekly
    9 September 1915 - 17 February 1916 : Vol. 3 no. 56 - vol. 4 no. 79.
  • War Savings: The Journal of the National War Savings Committee
    London
    September 1916 - March/April 1918 : Vol. 1 no. 1 - vol. 2 no. 7
    Discontinued.

Miscellaneous Journals, Magazines, and Garrison and Unit Periodicals:

  • The Army and Navy Register, and Woolwich Garrison Gazette
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    May 1841 - August 1846; July 1848 - 1 May 1855 : Nos. 10-214
    Not published between August 1846 and July 1848.
  • The Chatham Gazette
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    9 May 1868 - 2 July 1869 : Nos. 1-26
    Published by and for the Chatham Garrison.
  • The Cologne Post
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    31 March 1919 - 17 January 1926 : Nos. 1-1815; New edition nos. 1-88
  • Continued as: The Cologne Post and Wiesbaden Times
    28 January 1926 - 3 November 1929 : Nos. 89-481
    Published in Wiesbaden, Germany from 28 January 1926 onwards
    A daily paper published for the Army of the Rhine
    A.F.189.
  • The Cologne Post
    (Upper Silesian edition)
    [Armed Forces Newspaper], England
    17 June - 6 August 1921 : Nos. 1-43
    Published in Oppeln
    A daily paper published by the Army of the Rhine for the British Forces in Upper Silesia
    A.F.189.
  • Jones's Woolwich Journal, and Army & Navy Gazette
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    October 1844 - January 1853 : Nos. 1-100
    Issues for 1888, 1890, and 1892 are available on microfilm only
  • Continued as: Jackson's Woolwich Journal, and Army and Navy Gazette
    February 1853 - December 1855; August 1859; August 1869-September 1901: Nos. 101-134, 178, 299-683
    Discontinued.
  • The Royal Engineers Journal
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    1 August 1896 - 1 December 1904
  • Continued as: The Royal Engineers Monthly List
    2 January - October 1905 : No. 401; [New series] nos. 2-10
    For private circulation only
    Published by the Royal Engineers Institute, Chatham.
  • The Slasher
    [Armed Forces Newspapers], England
    23 July 1881 - February 1882 : Nos. 1-11
  • Continued as: The Kentish Volunteer
    March 1882 - September 1883 : Nos. 12-30
    The official organ of the West Kent Rifles; published at Dartford
    Discontinued.

Other Sources:

Media coverage of military affairs from the Boer War (1899-1902) onwards reached saturation point, particularly during the period of the two World Wars. Because of this, general newspapers, magazines, and journals, notably the Bystander (1903-1940), The Illustrated London News (1842 onwards), and the Sphere: An Illustrated Newspaper for the Home (1900-1964) contained detailed war coverage. Striking images and extensive reports relating to military history may also be found throughout our collection of Victorian Illustrated Newspapers and Journals.

The London Gazette, the world's oldest-surviving current periodical, which began life as The Oxford Gazette on 16th November 1665 and changed its title in February 1666 after 23 issues, also contains much information relevant to the military historian. It is not part of the Newspaper Library collections, but, as an official publication, it may be consulted in the  Social Sciences Reading Room, in the main British Library at St Pancras, where it is held at their shelfmark O.G.E.70. It may also be consulted at the National Archives in Kew, where it is held in their record class ZJ 1.

The London Gazette has digitised printed volumes covering WWI from January 1914 to December 1920 (many of the military honours were awarded immediately after the Armistice) and these can be searched online free of charge. Similarly, the volumes covering WWII from January 1939 to December 1948 (many of the military honours were awarded in the period after the end of hostilities) have also been digitised and can also be searched online.

There are many more publications, both British and overseas, relating to British military history held by British Library Newspapers. To locate specific titles and precise holdings, please search our catalogue. Readers may also contact us to enquire about other relevant sources, and they are strongly advised to reserve up to four items they wish to consult in the Reading Rooms preferably 48 hours in advance of their visit. Some materials held are incomplete or not in a suitable condition for viewing. As the vast majority of newspapers and journals have no indexes, readers will need to know approximate publication dates of any news coverage or illustrations they are seeking.