Diggers to Veterans Database
2018-03-01T04:39:38Z (GMT) by
This study traces a systematic random sample of 12 thousand men who enlisted during World War One (the Great War), 1914-18, in units raised in the Australian state of Victoria. Around 80 per cent of these men survived their war service.
The sample covers all ranks and service including artillery, infantry, light horse, transport, sappers, service and field ambulance. Around 20 per cent of the sample were born outside Australia and a further portion in other states. The men are coded for geographic place of origin which provides a wide sample of environments in early life from rural communities, to ‘residential suburbs’ and ‘industrial suburbs’ both in Australia and abroad. Other early-life conditions such as socio-economic status and familial integrity are determined from data in birth records, enlistment papers, and other sources.
Each individual is followed through his war experience and later life—through to death where possible—using a wealth of data from sources including war service files, veterans’ medical and pension records, regimental histories, birth and death registers, electoral rolls, digitised newspapers, and child welfare archives.
A team of highly trained volunteers have conducted genealogical detective work to trace the sample and document and code life-course characteristics and events. These volunteer researchers draw on two skill sets: historical and medical.
The history team has produced early and later life data of extraordinary detail, enabling us to identify levels of advantage or deprivation in childhood that may have later life effects: early death of parents, criminal offending, alcohol and violence, marriage breakdown and incarceration as wards of the state. At the same time, the historical researchers have identified those who went to private schools and had upper class social affiliations (from newspaper social pages). For later civilian life they have extracted data on career milestones, community leadership as well as antisocial behaviour, and data on veterans’ children that may have reached the newspapers. The history team also recorded and coded the war service, noting times in and out of the line, all insults with time out of service, conduct offences, valour and promotion. They have coded a range of wounds and illnesses for later analysis against morbidity and mortality.
The medical team has analysed the Repatriation personal file, providing a clinical summary of the veteran’s health and life effects of the war, and an assessment of their treatment by the authorities.