Britain is recruiting an army of amateur historians to sift through more than 1.5 million pages of diaries written by World War I army officers, published online for the first time 100 years after the conflict began.

Spanning the whole of the 1914-18 conflict, the diaries are the official record of the war by British army units - but deeply poignant testimony can be found among the battalions' day-to-day accounts of their movements.

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