Quite a number of 'partworks' (magazines published over a number of weeks) were published between the 1920s and the start of the Second World War. The last of those dedicated to the history of WW1 came out in November 1937 and was called 'Twenty Years After'. Originally intended to be published in 'about 40 weekly parts' the first set of magazines ran to 42 editions. 

It is likely this series of magazines was very popular (or at least profitable) for the publishers because, at the end of the initial publication run, a 'Supplemental' series of a further 22 magazines were published. 

The original 64 editions of 'Twenty Years After' are now quite rare. Whilst individual copies can be found, a full set of the first editions are rare and/or expensive. Many issues includes a 4 page photo centre-page spread in sepia. 

We are delighted to be able to add this set of magazines to our 'Searchable Magazine Archive' for WFA members to be able to search for key words or phrases. This makes finding particular articles are subjects really easy to locate. As Prof Gary Sheffield has remarked "I used [20 Years After] the old fashioned way while doing my PhD 30 years ago"

Profusely illustrated these articles are obviously a product 'of their time' but nevertheless are fascinating reading. Subjects cover all theatres of the war, for example Gallipoli (Suvla gets 52 hits), Palestine (Rafah gets 12 hits), Mesopotamia (Baghdad gets 74 hits) as well as naval warfare ('Dreadnought' has 8 hits). The village of Serre can be found seven times and 'Rawlinson' comes up 35 times. 

The very last article (in Supplemental Volume 22, which we have numbered '64' in order to save confusion) is entitled 'The Old War House' and features The War Office building in Whitehall which - in 2024 - is on the verge of being turned into a very up-market hotel. How times change !

The idea behind the magazines seems to have been to place original wartime photographic images alongside those taken in the late 1930s. The photographs give an insight onto a very different battlefield to that which we visit in the 21st Century. Many scenes show the scars of war still very much in place with heaps of probably 'live' ordnance for sale by the locals. Giving an in-depth look back at the Great War from a perspective of only 20 years, these articles provide us with an insight into the places of these 'recent' battles and how they had recovered, together with numerous first-hand accounts of the war.

The series was edited by Maj-Gen Sir Ernest Swinton, who was a well known war correspondent during the conflict. 


In order to access this new series of magazines just log-in to The Western Front Association's 'Searchable Magazine Archive' in the members' area of the website.