Close-up detail
Close-up detail


The Power of Caring Series

William Warren First World War Air Force Lieutenant 1918

A young mans commitment to a people at war.

I am the Grandson of William Warren who was born in 1900 and on the 24th July 1918 entered the new established Royal Airforce where he trained as a cadet. From a copy of his Air Force papers gained through the National Archives on the 13 July 1918 my Grandfather joined the RD unit as a cadet in the Y (O) Bofit Unit and he qualified as a second flight lieutenant on 19 September 1918. The 9th to 11th November he attended The School G Theories and then from the 16th September to 6th August 1919 served as Honorary Second Lieutenant 2nd September He sat as a observer, night pilot.

Here is the PDF which I created after carefully scanning each of the pages of his note book which are in excellent condition nearly 100 years later.

Here is the typed version of the notebook which I have created in pdf format.

Here are some photographs of the notebook and you will see that all is kept together by one of his boot laces. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who knows the history behind what I imagine to be a tradition at the time for all cadets to do this or was it unique to my grandfather?

Below are some pictures which are in my collection and which I have often looked at over the years.

I shall be preparing a series of recordings which focus on the first and second world war poets as well as including recordings by members of the British services who are currently enrolled. If you would like to browse through some of the recordings then please follow this link to the pages on my website.

Earlier this year I made contact with The Imperial War Museum is some five minutes walk from where I live here in London to donate my grandfathers note book. To my surprise so much has been prepared to remember. To mark the First World War Centenary, Imperial War Museum is creating Lives of the First World War. Read more about how we are working together and their 'Lives of the First World War

To find out more, watch their film



William Warren aged 18 taken in 1918 whilst the First World War was closing to its end.

Photograph from my collection taken in 1918 (c) Steven Warren. 2013. All rights reserved. Please click the image to see a larger photo


Photograph from my collection taken in 1918 (c) Steven Warren. 2013. All rights reserved. Please click the image to see a larger photo

Abandoned boy holding a stuffed toy animal. London 1945 (Courtesy Imgur albums )


World War I (WWI), also known as the First World War, was a global war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918. From the time of its occurrence until the approach of World War II in 1939, it was called simply the World War or the Great War, and thereafter the First World War or World War I. In America it was initially called the European War.

More than 9 million combatants were killed: a scale of death impacted by industrial advancements, geographic stalemate and reliance on human wave attacks. It was the fifth-deadliest conflict in world history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved.

The war drew in all the world's economic great powers, which were assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (based on the Triple Entente of the United Kingdom, France and the Russian Empire) and the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Although Italy had also been a member of the Triple Alliance alongside Germany and Austria-Hungary, it did not join the Central Powers, as Austria-Hungary had taken the offensive against the terms of the alliance.

These alliances were both reorganised and expanded as more nations entered the war: Italy, Japan and the United States joined the Allies, and the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria the Central Powers. Ultimately, more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilised in one of the largest wars in history.[12][13]

Although a resurgence of imperialism was an underlying cause, the immediate trigger for war was the 28 June 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, by Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. This set off a diplomatic crisis when Austria-Hungary delivered an ultimatum to the Kingdom of Serbia, and international alliances formed over the previous decades were invoked. Within weeks, the major powers were at war and the conflict soon spread around the world.

On 28 July, the Austro-Hungarians fired the first shots in preparation for the invasion of Serbia. As Russia mobilised, Germany invaded neutral Belgium and Luxembourg before moving towards France, leading Britain to declare war on Germany. After the German march on Paris was brought to a halt, what became known as the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, with a trench line that would change little until 1917. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, the Russian army was successful against the Austro-Hungarians, but was stopped in its invasion of East Prussia by the Germans. In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire joined the war, opening fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai. Italy and Bulgaria went to war in 1915 and Romania in 1916.

The war approached a resolution after the Russian Tsar's government collapsed in March 1917 and a subsequent revolution in November brought the Russians to terms with the Central Powers. After a 1918 German offensive along the western front, the Allies drove back the Germans in a series of successful offensives and American forces began entering the trenches. Germany, which had its own trouble with revolutionaries, agreed to an armistice on 11 November 1918, ending the war in victory for the Allies.

By the end of the war, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires—ceased to exist. The successor states of the former two lost substantial territory, while the latter two were dismantled. The map of Europe was redrawn, with several independent nations restored or created. The League of Nations formed with the aim of preventing any repetition of such an appalling conflict. This aim failed, with weakened states, renewed European nationalism and the humiliation of Germany contributing to the rise of fascism and the conditions for World War II.

To mark the First World War Centenary, Imperial War Museum is creating Lives of the First World War.

This innovative, interactive platform will bring material from museums, libraries, archives and family collections from across the world together in one place, inspiring people of all ages to explore, reveal and share the life stories of those who served in uniform and worked on the home front.

Since its foundation in 1917, IVM has continued to ensure that people understand the impact of this global conflict and how it shaped the world we live in today. By the end of the century we will have built the permanent digital memorial to more than 8 million men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth and saved their stories for future generations.


A growing list of national and international organisation that are supporting IVM's Lives of the First World War -project

Academic Advisory Group - A panel of experts convened by IVM to offer their advice on the museum's First World War Centenary digital projects.
The group is chaired by Professor Richard Grayson, Head of History at Goldsmiths, University of London..

Auckland War Memorial Museum - The Museum tells the story of New Zealand, its place in the Pacific and its people. The Museum is a war memorial for the Provence of Auckland and holds one of New Zealand's top three heritage libraries. It has preeminent Maori and Pacific collections, significant natural history resources and major social and military history collections, as well as decorative arts and pictorial collections.







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(c) Steven Warren 1996 - 2016. All rights reserved. Official Website. PRIVACY STATEMENT     TERMS AND CONDITIONS