Tweeting from the trenches of the First World War

William Gudgings completed his Army training in Usworth before joining his battalion in France.

William Gudgings completed his Army training in Usworth before joining his battalion in France.

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A MUSEUM’S tweets from the trenches are giving a unique insight into the life of a First World War soldier.

Entries from a diary written by Wearside-trained serviceman William Grudgings are being posted on social networking website Twitter to give a first-hand account of the conflict.

William was working as a teacher in Loughborough when in April 1916 he enlisted as a private with the Leicestershire Regiment.

On May 8, 1916, he was sent to Usworth, in Washington, to complete his training before joining the 8th Battalion in battle-scarred France.

Throughout his service, William kept a daily diary, noting down a couple of lines on what each day brought.

Now Loughborough Carillon War Memorial Museum has decided to publish correlating diary entries online on Twitter.

Mel Gould, chairman of the museum’s trustees, said: “We had the diary and we wanted to find a way of sharing it with as many people as possible.

“We are posting each entry on the day he wrote it so it is a real-time account of what happened.

“This means it is a long-term project as his diary continues until 1919.

“It’s actually perfect for Twitter, which only gives you 140 characters because his entries are very concise.

“He’s the master of understatement particularly on massive events.

“One entry is simply “Turkey Surrenders”.

“That’s the equivalent of a newspaper today writing Queen Dies.

“Some of the diary is quite mundane, but that reflects the lives of the soldiers where there was often a lot of waiting around.

“The attraction is that it tells us about the life of a soldier in the trenches, from the excitement of battle to the boredom.

When William landed on Wearside he wrote: “Ground in floods – in tents. No wash benches or latrines.”

William helped to build the camp at Usworth before being billeted in a school in West Jesmond, Newcastle.

He went on to fight in the trenches of France and Belgium and rose to become an officer.

William suffered a shrapnel injury, but survived the war and returned home where he went on to become a head teacher until retiring in the early 60s.

He died in 1979, aged 90.

His niece, Vyvian Hopper, 80, donated the diary to the museum.

You can follow William’s war times on twitter: @williams_war