“Circumstantial evidence is a very tricky thing. It may seem to point very straight to one thing, but if you shift your own point of view a little, you may find it pointing in an equally uncompromising manner to something entirely different.”

– A. Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Assessing the validity, provenance and implications of original documents is a key requirement for the majority of historians. The discovery of ‘new’, forgotten or generally overlooked material is often very exciting to researchers. However, the value of such ‘finds’ can only truly be realised by situating them within a broader body of primary evidence. Doing so reduces the danger of mis-interpretation to which Arthur Conan Doyle refers in the above quoted passage. This post will examine how this can be achieved with reference to the ‘discovery’, contextualization and interpretation of an important series of war…

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