Monthly Archives: March 2015

100 years ago today

Blog post by Kyra Bains, work experience student

I was with the E.14 through the Dardanelles

On the 26th March 1915, J. T. Haskins was first informed of the mission that would earn him a Distinguished Service Medal. He worked as the leading Stoker on the E.14 submarine, the first submarine to steer through the Dardanelles to the Sea of Marmara and back again. They went through enemy subs, torpedoes, minefields just to get to there.

Here in Special Collections you can read part of his diary that tracks the whole mission. The diary starts with him receiving orders “to prepare for long trip” all the way to the end of the mission and hearing about the Distinguished Service Medal.

The Dardanelles is a dangerous narrow strait in northwest Turkey that connects the Aegean Sea to the Sea of Marmara. It separates Europe from Asia and, on a side note, also holds the site of ancient Troy. This mission was part of the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I. It was first conceived by Winston Churchill as a way of supplying the Russians through the Black Sea. In the same swoop Churchill intended to drive the Ottoman Empire out of the war. Unfortunately it was a loss.

The Campaign has now become one of the Ottoman Empire’s greatest victories and a major defeat for the Allied forces. Yet the success of Haskins’ Sub shows a glimmer of triumph for them leading Haskins to end his entry on the 19th May 1915:

“I was with the E.14 through the Dardanelles”

Haskins’ account is just one of the collection of working class autobiographies housed in Special Collections. We have other blog posts about the autobiographies and some about the First World War too.

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We’re on COPAC!

We’re delighted to announce that our Special Collections catalogue records have been added to COPAC, where they join the records of over 90 other major UK and Irish libraries. COPAC is a great way to find out about rare materials, and is used by large numbers of academics and students, so being on there will raise awareness of our collections.

Shakespeare In addition to our archival resources, Special Collections is the home of many rare books and periodicals. Our earliest book dates from 1679 but most of our collections are from the 19th and 20th centuries. We have collections relating to transport history (particularly railways), the history of tunnelling under the English Channel, operations research and working class autobiographies. Other themes are poetry and dialect, South Asian literature, art, theatre and music, Shakespeare authorship and issues around equality and advocacy (including child protection and disability history).

Look out for posters and bookmarks in the library with more information about COPAC.

1921 Booklet recommending the Tunnel