I was reading a competitors book over the weekend on Roman Centurions where it was pointed out that we don’t know the rules governing promotions and the like.  Presumably the historians that wrote things down either believed that their audiences didn’t care about such things or for that matter already would’ve known them. Which causes a problem trying to reconstruct things from the limited evidence we have.
I think there’s a perception that especially today information is infinite. Where politicians and even sometimes private citizens will have their innermost thoughts and often feelings dumped out over social media for all the world to point and laugh at. But we forget just how vital it is to have primary sources. Think of all those Canadians who served in the second world war for instance. How many of them wrote memoirs? How many firefights, Atlantic convoys or bombing runs over Germany have only been written about once or twice? Yes perhaps by absolutely no one. A line in the war diary or notation on a casualty sheet is all
This is not to slight secondary sources far from it. But without those sources so much of history would simply be markers moving back-and-forth on a map. Without any context. Showing what bravery duty and sacrifice was required. It would be something that we as historians would be impoverished without.
What you can do
Maybe you served and have taken the time to write something about your experiences. We would love to hear from you. Then again you may have a family member, friend or colleague who you know served please let them know that we are here and we are interested. Take a look at our submission guidelines page. It would be terrible to lose anymore history.
1.Raffaele D’Amato, Roman Centurions 753-31 BC : the kingdom and the Age of Consuls (Oxford, Osprey Publishing, 2011), Kindle edition. chap. Career and Status