FIRST World War documents that the Government wanted destroyed have been found by a Herefordshire man.
Jeremy Arter, from Callow, was clearing his aunt’s home in Talybonton- Usk, near Brecon, when he came across the archives.
They were due to go in the skip and it was only when he checked them fully that he realised their significance.
“I noticed the stamp MI7 (b) on some of the documents and realised they were worth holding on to,” said Jeremy.
“I checked MI7 (b) on the web and didn’t find much, but further research showed that the Government ordered the destruction of the official papers of MI7 (b) shortly after the Armistice in 1918.”
Historians have said that the documents were destroyed on the grounds that they would have been too incriminating, especially because of the way they showed the Government’s support for the war.
The author of the documents was Jeremy’s great uncle – Captain James Lloyd Price of the Welsh Regiment.
He was wounded at the Battle of the Somme at Mametz in July 1916, but survived and was recruited by MI7 (b) to write extensively for them.
He told the stories of individual heroism and contemporary accounts of daily life of fighting on the front line.
Jeremy read through around 150 of the documents, each between 1,500 to 2,000 words long, and has now put pen to paper about his discovery.
“I have written a book about his story and my intention is to generate as much interest in the archive as I can so that it will be freely available for enthusiasts and scholars to read,” he added.
Jeremy is due to take the archive to the National Library of Wales’s roadshow in Brecon today (Thursday).
The library is currently undertaking a project, entitled World War One and the Welsh Experience, in which it plans to digitalise a wide range of archive material revealing the hidden history of the war.
Project manager Rob Phillips said that up until now, they had failed to find anything about military intelligence and the role that Welsh people played in that.
“I nearly fell off my chair when Jeremy rang about his discovery,” he said.
“It’s definitely a significant find in terms of the project. It will bring a new dimension to what we will be able to show people.”
For more information about the roadshow, visit cymruww1.llgc.org.uk.