The Lonsdale Battalion:About
What is this site about? Simple. It is several things but first and foremost it is a passion, born out of a keen interest of the Border Regiment, and more specifically, a single soldier of the Lonsdale Battalion who was the inspiration to start this project. Over time the project has grown into what it is today, although it has gone through several different renditions, continually developing and changing since it's early days. This project was designed to be a long-term, easily editable document and media-based website that anyone can join and participate in. It remains a fitting tribute to all those who served in the Lonsdale Battalion and the Border Regiment.
- This site is free to use and will remain free in the future;
- There will be no donations asked for here;
- There will never be any annoying ads either.
Project mission and guidelines
Our mission is to actively provide informational-based text documents and media files relating to the Lonsdale Battalion and the Border Regiment in an educational format, delivering a variety of different subjects: Battalion histories, Lonsdale Battalion on this day..., Lonsdale Battalion Roll of Honour, Border Regiment War Diaries, Category:Distinguished Conduct Medal Citations to name a few. All are available for anyone to edit and contribute to in a positive and pro-active way. Our biggest projects are undoubtably the driving force behind making high quality information available for free to all, however, every single project undertaken here is ultimately of equal importance and by creating a new account, creating new pages, editing existing ones and uploading relevant image files you are actively working towards providing a unique and public resource of its type rarely seen anywhere on the web.
Any visitor is welcome to contribute their own knowledge to the site.
The nature of this multi-authored system is what The Border Regiment Wiki is based on, giving rise to the promotion of sharing knowledge in an environment specifically designed to deliver the recognition of participation, no matter how great or small. This is key to the mission, therefore, visitors and members should also recognise that any information added to the site needs to conform to the following by:
- Contributing clean, informational or educational material in an unbiased light;
- Not writing anything that is in any way obscene, abusive, racist or sexist or written in an aggressive tone;
- Not writing any suggestive remarks or statements that could be construed as offensive or derogatory of any individual or group relating to the boundaries of the subject matter (for example, nicknames for Germans such as Boche or Hun etc.) unless coming from a direct transcript and a note saying as such;
- Not writing anything irrelevant designed to be negative and disruptive;
- Respecting other members opinions, interpretations or expressions.
It is important that our mission remains an integral part of the overall project. With this in mind it should be noted that information added to the site will be monitored and, where necessary, moderated by the administrator. This is done by checking the recent changes made to the site and monitoring any new articles and media files to ensure that the above are adhered to. This might mean some simple changes are required or a general re-wording of some texts to ensure that the content is safe for inclusion.
The Administrator also maintains the site on a regular basis to ensure that the program is running smoothly and that the general operation is unhindered. There may be times when the site is 'down for maintenance' or the database link is temporarily broken. These are not major issues and normal operation usually resumes shortly.
History and development
The project started in 2005 when searching the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for a soldier who served in the 11th (Service) Battalion Border Regiment (Lonsdale). This soldier, John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.), was the sole inspiration to begin this small tributary project, which ultimately changed and expanded as time passed by. However, at that point it only existed on scraps of notepaper.
For several months during 2006 the project had moved from paper to an off-line browser-based database of varying formats, never really settling on one main theme or idea. It wasn't originally intended to be made available on-line but due to a re-think of ideas, the project changed completely and started to become a tribute to the entire 11th Battalion instead. This meant the scope of research and how to deliver it sensibly had increased several-fold. The program of choice to deliver the information was at that time dokuwiki.
By 2007, the tribute website had grown with information and media files, added only when they were made available or had been written. Progress was slow. It wasn't long before further changes were made, however, these changes meant even more work would be needed on an already difficult task. The website grew to become The Border Regiment Wiki, encompassing all the Battalions of the Regiment, now a seemingly impossible task. The project had morphed into something much bigger and far greater in scope than ever imagined and the decision was made to keep the project focused on the Great War period only. There was so much more to do.
For over two years fragments of information were added when time and means allowed. It was decided to write battalion histories and include Battalion War Diaries along with other work-in-progress projects such as the Distinguished Conduct Medal Citations, Border Regiment Army Lists 1914-1918 and a variety of newspaper articles. The sister site of this wiki, The Border Regiment Forum was set up in early 2008 and also went through various formats before deciding on the current one. During that time, work on the Wiki Project halted.
By the end of 2009, it was decided to bring a new lease of life to the project by dusting away the old and bringing in something new. The articles were transferred to the New Border Regiment Wiki Project, which took 3 months of painstaking work one page at a time. The program of choice to deliver the website to the world was Mediawiki, bringing new angles to the creativity of designing and producing a project such as this. Rather than being a one-person project a more global approach meant that people with a similar interest in the Regiment could participate their own knowledge. It was during this year that the option for anyone to participate in the project was made a reality.
The official start date of the New Wiki was the 1st February 2010. As with any project like this time is always the greatest of allies. The project continued to grow...again.
By January 2011 it was decided to move the Border Regiment Wiki to a new server that offered greater stability and speed. Bothe the forum and wiki would be running on the asme server bring both together in one place. During this time the latest version of the project was slowly rebuilt to prune older articles that were either outdated or no longer needed and to improve browsing and general navigation throughout the site. Both versions of the site were running at the same time on two different servers in two different countries. This period of improvement lasted several months. New articles and images were added on a regular basis and work continued to develop the Border Regiment Forum as well.
For a couple of years both sites worked harmoniously together. Whilst there were more and more members joining the forum the wiki saw only a small number of new registered users and even smaller number of users editing and improving the articles. There was an increasing period of decline and more focus was invested in the forum. The wiki remained online but activity had been reduced dramatically.
There had been very few major changes to the wiki although it had gone through a further two software updates. More time had been spent on the forum, however, due to its popularity the running costs increased dramatically as a result of having to upgrade to the next level of hosting to accommodate the increase in traffic to the site. Like the wiki, the forum does not use advertising. Let's face it, they are annoying and generally get in the way. But spiralling costs and sticking to principles was a series of stepping stones to deciding that the wiki would have to come to an end as the forum was more popular and had active contributors on a daily basis. Many years of work would on the wiki would not be lost. The entire site was backed up and hosted on the administrator's computer so that it was, at least for the foreseeable future, accessible if the information was needed. There were some discussions on the forum about the loss of the wiki and it was decided that when the opportunity arose the wiki, or at least a version of it, will be made available online again.
The decision to close the forum had been in the pipeline for a while. Running costs had increased again and it wasn't a financial cost that was originally anticipated, even for a relatively small forum. However, it was decided that it would continue to run for another year.
It seemed an almost impossible task of finding a mediawicki-based hosting site that would offer the package for free. What was available incurred running costs not entirely dissimilar to the running of the forum and this was simply not going to work. There were wiki-farms out there that provided a community of wikis. Some were free, others with a charge. Most, if not all of them, had something that didn't meet the criteria and all the boxes needed ticking before any such commitments to bring back the Border Regiment Wiki were to be put into play. By May there was still nowhere to host a free MediaWiki site. Those that might have worked had either closed down or were in the process of closing down. Then by June the right provider was found. Miraheze is a wikifarm hosting many sites that is free, open source, has no ads, is secure, offers many choices for extensions and the possibility of custom domains. It seems that this was the perfect choice to host another new and updated version of the wiki.
The direction of the wiki was going to change. It would no longer be the Border Regiment Wiki, instead favouring the one battalion that sparked interest from the onset: The 11th Border Regiment. The decision to shift focus from the Regiment back to one battalion was an important one as the wiki would once again be, for a while anyway, a one-person project. There is simply too much scope to include the entire regiment, however, this was not going to be discounted based on the grounds of it being a lot of work. There had to be a clear idea of what the site was going to be and where it was going to go. From this line of thinking the general approach has been to focus primarily on the Lonsdale Battalion with an eye to include other battalions of the regiment over time in it's own separate area of the wiki called The Border Regiment Portal. This is effectively a gateway to the whole of the regiment via the predominantly named "The Lonsdale Battalion Wiki".
Within the space of a few days, the latest version of the wiki was no back online, importing pages and images from the old version of the wiki. The site was, and still is, being populated with information from the older version of the site and continues to do so until the majority of that information is available in this new format. Along the way the focus will always be towards the Lonsdale Battalion, writing new articles and histories, working on the Roll of Honour and, of course, the ever-growing 'On this day' project, but that battalion is part of a much bigger unit and one that deserves recognition.
The Lonsdale Battalion and Border Regiment Wiki remains a part of the Miraheze community and will continue to grow. Anyone is welcome to join in, create, edit and upload to the various projects we currently have running. We hope you find the site interesting and useful and if you feel you can participate, we would very like to see you around.