Publication Details

Morris, B. (2014). The Diggers' wish: set the record straight. Oral History Association Of Australia Journal, (36), 72-85.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Oral History Australia


This paper explores the issues of the participant interviewer in a military history context. Participant interviewers may have a stake in the results of their work, as they are part of the story that is under investigation and can influence the result to fit their prejudices. This paper focuses on the strong desire that the interviewees have to correct errors in the official record. As Alessandro Portelli says, 'oral history is not just a collection of stories, but also their interpretation and representation.' A narrative recorded by a participant may produce a realistic interpretation of battlefield events rather than the official, battalion, or a popular military history of those times. This article is based on oral histories of national servicemen, regular soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers, and gives an exposure of the issues involved in a participant interviewer taking oral histories.