Saturday, December 31, 2011

Warhorses remarkable Maritime march

Warhorses remarkable Maritime march

A true War Horse story.
On a farm in Paradise, N.S., lies the grave of a horse named Fritz -- a warhorse, it turns out, that survived the horrors of the First World War and lived out his final days in peace in Canada.

As the fictional tale of the Steven Spielberg film War Horse appears on movie screens across North America, and as a stage version of the novel by the same name opens in Toronto, the real-life saga of a true Canadian warhorse is now emerging out of the past.
The movie's not so far fetched.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Horror and banalities in captain’s First World War diaries - Local stories - Yorkshire Post

Review of a newly published diary.

Captain Hepper’s Great War Diary covers the period from January 1916 to January 1919 and deals mainly with his experiences of trench warfare with the 17th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment.

The personal account of Captain Raymond Hepper’s war details daily routines as well as times of fear and killing.

His son, Nigel Hepper, who has transcribed the diaries, said: “Much of a soldiers’ time was taken up waiting for action – and then getting too much all at once.”

Horror and banalities in captain’s First World War diaries - Local stories - Yorkshire Post

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

French war museum in vanguard of push for more foreign tourists

Today’s Guardian on France’s push for WW1 tourists,

But the Museum of the Great War in Meaux, inaugurated by the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, last month and already exceeding expected visitor numbers, is also the first move in France's new campaign to develop itself as the world capital of war tourism.

France is still the world's number one tourist destination. But while its reputation for shopping has slumped, the government now hopes its wealth of battlefields, memorial sites, trenches and war cemeteries holds the key to attracting tourists. More than 20 million tourists a year visit France for its battle sites and war history. That number is expected to soar with the centenary of the first world war in 2014 and the 70th anniversary of the D-day landings, already triggering a round of renovations and new themed tours.

French war museum in vanguard of push for more foreign tourists | World news |

Read it all.  Seems a growth business.

Clean 2018

The case and call for cleaning WW1 War Memorials: Home - Clean 2018

H/T Ray Thompson

The only tangible reminder most of us have of this terrible conflict are our war memorials which tend to attract publicity for the right – and wrong – reasons. Heart-warming renovation stories are countered with heart-rending stories of theft of metal plaques, vandalism and other abuse; the latter prompting people to put finger to keyboard, usually to express their disgust. In short, when the chips are down, society, for the most part, cares – and the 2018 Centenary gives us a chance to prove it.

My idea is the creation of a “National War Memorial Restoration Fund” to be used to renovate, where necessary, our war memorials to their original condition by November 2018. The fund would be government (i.e. taxpayers’) money aimed specifically at the necessary structural checks, re-engraving and specialist stone and metal cleaning etc. to counter the 90 years or so of erosion our war memorials have suffered.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

War Horse Movie Official Trailer

The Christmas Truce | First World War Centenary

Merry Christmas 2011.  A link to the podcast over at the Imperial War Museum on the 1914 Christmas truce.

IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM’s Voices of the First World War

Here is the ninth in a series of podcasts that delve into the IWM’s Sound Archive to bring you the voices of those who lived through the First World War. Find out what a huge range of people felt, experienced and witnessed during 1914–1918, and the impact the events of those years had on their lives.

The Christmas Truce of 1914 has become almost legendary over time, with stories of German and British soldiers putting down their arms to play football in no man’s land. But what really happened? Find out from those who witnessed this incredible – and unexpected – piece of history.

Podcast 9: The Christmas Truce | First World War Centenary

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Post Office in the First World War

The British Post Office in the First World War.  They have a museum with a section on their role.

The breakout of war across the world posed a massive challenge for the postal system that not only had to maintain a service at home but was now also having to provide a service to ever changing theatres of war around the world and at sea. The British Post Office not only had to rise to this massive challenge, but had to do so with reduced numbers of staff. The organisation sent thousands of men off to fight in the war and also to help run the postal service at the front lines. Many of these men were to never return home. Women were employed in huge numbers to fill the gaps left by men. The Post Office were to lead the way in providing employment for women that was to go on after the war to help in the cause of women’s suffrage.

The Post Office in the First World War | The British Postal Museum & Archive

Book Review: The Russian Origins of the First World War -

WSJ reviews Sean McMeekin’s The Russian Origins of the First World War (Amazon link here).

The reviewer concludes,

Mr. McMeekin rightly claims that for too long World War I historians have not paid enough attention to the importance of Russian imperialist ambitions in the war's origins. But his well-written attempt to compensate goes too far in the other direction, by stating that "the current consensus about the First World War cannot survive serious scrutiny." As he makes clear, the Russian establishment acted as recklessly as its counterparts in Berlin and Vienna, followed closely by those in Paris, London and other capitals. There is plenty of blame to go around.

Serious scrutiny increases I bet (hence this blog) as 2014 comes upon us.  I suspect conventional thinking on Germany (and Kaiser Bill) sticks.

But the scrutiny’s fascinating stuff and WW1 explains the roots of much world’s still mopping up today.  Bring the debate on.

Update: A review over at Foreign Affairs.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Victory Monument Chicago

The first of my monument posts.  This a famous one on Chicago’s Southside.  A blurp below on it via Wikipedia.


The Victory Monument, created by sculptor Leonard Crunelle, was built to honor the Eighth Regiment of the Illinois National Guard, an African-American unit that served in France during World War I. It is located in the Black Metropolis-Bronzeville District in the Douglas community area of Chicago, Illinois. It was designated a Chicago Landmark on September 9, 1998. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 30, 1986. An annual Memorial Day ceremony is held at the monument.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trails and trenches of the Dolomites -

Max Hastings in the Financial Times last year on the fighting in the Dolomites.

This place was a unique and terrible battlefield. Here, between June 1915 and October 1917, amid scorching summer sun, winter ice and snow, Italians fighting in the allied cause struggled for mastery against Austrians and Germans.

Dolomites map

Few modern Europeans know much of Italy’s part in the first world war. The nation, led by Antonio Salandra, the prime minister, rashly entered the conflict in pursuit of territorial gains at the expense of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Its army was ill-equipped, its generals incompetent even by comparison with their French and British counterparts. At Versailles in 1919, Italy gained most of the lands it coveted, but they were soaked in blood. Some 689,000 of its men were dead, from a population of 35m.

Most of the slaughter took place around the Izonzo river close to the border with modern Slovenia. But Italian generals in their madness also made repeated attempts to push into Hapsburg territory north-west from Cortina, up lofty passes commanded by Austrian guns.

HG Wells, who paid a propaganda visit on behalf of the British government in 1916, described the Dolomites as “grim and wicked, worn old mountains. They tower overhead in enormous vertical cliffs of sallow grey, with square jointings and occasional clefts and gullies, their summits toothed and jagged.”

Trails and trenches of the Dolomites -

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Passchendaele Part 1 of 11

Part 1 of Passchendaele on the Canadian Army. The balance of the parts easily found in youtube. Be forwarned, this is a movie with an opening scene featuring a bayonet to the head. Check Wikipedia for a blurb about the film.

Remember remembering : Oral Histories of the First World War

Remember remembering : Oral Histories of the First World War | Australian War Memorial
Oral History collection at the Australian War Memorial.  Also photo collections and much more.

Faces Of The First World War Imperial War Museum Project

Faces Of The First World War Imperial War Museum Project | Londonist

A collection of photos of service members at the Imperial War Museum.
One hundred previously unseen photos of those who served and died in the First World War have been uploaded to Flickr for Armistice Day by the Imperial War Museum.
The Museum was set up in the final months of the Great War, to record the conflict and,
to collect and display material as a record of everyone’s experiences during that war – civilian and military – and to commemorate the sacrifices of all sections of society.
In 1917, thousands of bereaved families sent in portraits of men who served in the war – sometimes their only photograph. These were amongst the first items collected by IWM and it’s a fascinating and poignant collection. As part of the build up to the museum’s First World War Centenary Programme, more Faces of the First World War will be uploaded every weekday until August 2014.

Canadians and the First World War: Discover our Collection « Library and Archives Canada Blog


Canadians and the First World War: Discover our Collection « Library and Archives Canada Blog

A blog and links from Canada’s Library and Archives.  Useful for tracking down individuals and unit histories.