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War diary


In early 2009, I found Charles Barton Mann's RAF war journal amongst my deceased mother's possessions. He was my journalist grandfather.

When I began reading it, it occurred to me that this could be a historically important/interesting artefact. With my background in records management, I contacted the UK national archives. They pointed me to a directory of archival offices and museums, and I decided the Derbyshire Records Office would be a good home for the diary as Charles lived in Derby (where my mother was born) working for the Derby Evening Telegraph before enlisting in the RAF.

I also had another record, which in the detail, was not terribly exciting, but the existence of it was significant. I actually put it in the recycle bin... but dragged it back out with some records management guilt. At least I had now found a place that might take it. And they did. It was the record of minutes for the Burton-upon-Trent branch of the pacifist No More War movement from the 1920s-30s, of which my grandfather was secretary at one point.

To the diary has been donated to the nation (UK) and now has a home that can preserve the record and make it available to historians.

The Derbyshire archivist then contacted Charles' old newspaper, who seemed quite excited about the find of their predecessor. They published excepts of the diary in a feature that ran over a week in May 2009.

I hope the Derby Telegraph doesn't mind me copying the feature onto my website (seeing that it was my family's story in the first place ;-)

julian mann
July 2009

Below, Charles B Mann in the RAF, top row, third from the left (click photo for larger version).