HISTORIC diaries of soldiers who fought in the First World War are set to go on display as part of a museum’s tribute to the 100th anniversary of the conflict.

Next year will mark the centenary of the Great War, which claimed millions of soldiers’ lives between 1914 and 1918.

To commemorate the milestone anniversary, volunteers from Canvey’s Bay Museum, in Western Esplanade, will transcribe dozens of personal diaries from some of the officers who fought in the war, so islanders can get a taste of what life was like on the front line.

Allan Reed, project director at the museum, said: “My colleague Martin Daniell is in the process of manually transcribing his collection of handwritten documents and First World War diaries, as they cannot be scanned because quite a few are written in pencil.

“We hope to put them up on the website to mark the 100th anniversary next year, so that people can read them and knowwhat it was like back then.

“I think the general population at the time didn’t realise what these young men were going through. The diaries show how much these boys couldn’t wait to get home to be with their families and friends, but also howalienated they felt when they did return, because no one could relate to how they were feeling.

“Even walking down the road and not having to dive on the ground to escape heavy fire must have been a big adjustment for them.”

Britain declared war on Germany on August 4, 1914.

The conflict was sparked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, of Austria, on June 28, 1914.

Millions of soldiers lost their lives before the guns finally fell silent on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.

The £32,000 Canvey Bay Museum, was opened in June 2010 in Canvey’s old degaussing station, which itself is a piece of living history as it was used by ships in the Second World War, to remove their magnetism so as not to attract mines.

Mr Reed added: “It’s so important for us to mark this event.

“The sadness is that this is no longer living history, so the burden is on historians and establishments like ourselves to let people know about the sacrifices these soldiers made.”

For more information visit www.the-bay-museum.co.uk