Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The British Army Children Archive

The Army Children Archive (TACA) collects, preserves, and shares online information about the history of British Army children and the challenges and peculiarities of growing up as the child of a regular soldier in the British Army, from the 17th century to today. Because the wartime experiences of the children of volunteer and conscript soldiers essentially mirrored those of the children of regular soldiers from 1914 to 1918, TACA is in a unique position to provide a deeper understanding of what they went through. 

The Great War was a time when many British youngsters became "temporary" Army children upon their normally civilian fathers becoming soldiers, some having joined the British Army because they volunteered, and others (from 1916) because they were conscripted into it.

Here a few postcards from the Archive's WWI Nostalgia collection.


  1. What a fabulous collection! (Not without some propaganda value, to be sure....)

  2. You've got to take the jingoism with a grain of salt. A ubiquitous sentiment in that era. As an ophthalmologist, I appreciate "The child he will never see" card. (I read that they used Ammonia and Chlorine gas last week in Syria). Do you think that the child saying "...and I mean to grow up just like him...," knew he would have the chance to do just that?

  3. Thank you so much for publishing this, I didn't know of its existence. TACA surely is a significant source of material for those seeking insight into various periods of British military involvement; the tragic and grotesque losses of the Great War are particularly of interest to this reader. That generation born in the early 1920s to those of the Great War generation, those that had a " Rendezvous with History", the interwar years are also high on my list of wanting to know more about.