Monday, August 26, 2013
Thursday, July 11, 2013
On the coming revisionism in WW1 History. Sophie Shrubsole on the first rewrite and the one to come.
It took literature and some key individuals to change history. As one of my university lecturers once said to me, history does not happen, it is written, and that principle could not be applied more strongly to the case of First World War history.
With the publication of Alan Clark's The Donkeys (1961) and the production of Joan Littlewood's musical Oh! What a Lovely War (1963), a wave of popular history provided the foundation through which all subsequent knowledge of the First World War is filtered - precisely the problem with which we are now faced. Historians and thespians took the critical words of those men that had a grudge and an agenda to push, namely Lloyd George and Churchill, thus generating the idea that generals were both inept and callous.
But beyond the Blackadder episodes there is a raft of history that is desperate to break into the mainstream. No one doubts that there were a handful of poor officers at various stages of the command structure who made bad decisions that ultimately cost the lives of hundreds of men.
But as a country, we seem to forget as a matter of course that 1918 brought us victory. Could this have been possible against the might of Germany's Imperial Army with such incompetent leadership? Clearly there is another history to expose.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Black Watch prepare for Great War Centenary
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Funding has been secured by the Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA) to turn the home of First World War poet, Hedd Wyn, into a museum and interpretation centre.
The Grade II listed farmhouse, called Yr Ysgrwn, is near Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd, Wales. An award of nearly £150,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will be used to secure its future as a tourist attraction.
The chair of HLF Wales, Dr Manon Williams, said: ‘Hedd Wyn is one of Wales’ heroes and it is fitting that this project should be developed as part of the First World War commemorations.’
Hedd Wyn’s real name was Ellis Humphrey Evans. He became a successful Welsh-language poet before the First World War and had won several prizes at eisteddfodau – festivals of literature and poetry. In 1916, he won second place at the National Eisteddfod. He vowed to win first place the following year.
But in early 1917, Hedd Wyn joined the 15th battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers and left for the Western Front in June. He was killed in action on 31 July during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge.
The First American Officer to die in WW1.
You might not know it, but a Kansan has a major place in World War One history, and his hometown took time to honor him today.
Thanks to a dedication ceremony, this piece of history will always be remembered.
Lieutenant William T. Fitzsimons was the first American officer to die in World War One. The story had been lost over time, but through a little digging, it was finally uncovered.
The FItzsimons Army Medical Center was renamed after him in 1920 by the U.S. Army. He also has a memorial and fountain in Kansas City, where his family moved during his late childhood.
The health system's Rehabilitation and Wellness Services facility was going through a renovation, and they decided the side of the building would be a perfect place for a mural of Fitzsimons.
"It was high time for Burlington to honor his memory," Campbell said.
Fitzsimons attended the University of Kansas School of Medicine and volunteered with the Army Medical Reserve Corps in Europe before the United States joined the Allies in the war. After the U.S. joined the war, he went back over to France.
He died in 1917 when a bomb struck his field hospital in France.
My Dad was in San Francisco during WW2 when a similar explosion occurred at Port Chicago. I had never heard of this one in Halifax (link at bottom).
Shortly after 9 a.m. on Dec. 6, 1917, in the midst of the First World War, the largest human-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb was set off when the munitions ship Mont Blanc and the steamer Imo collided in Halifax harbor.
It had a catastrophic effect on Halifax, leveling five square kilometers of the city and killing as many as 1,600 people instantly. But, as the Manitoba Free Press told its readers in the following days, "the calamity was a national one."