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Yvonne
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Jan 2008 20:47    Onderwerp: [Weblog]WO1-weblogs Reageer met quote

Bijna dagelijks krijg ik in m'n mail linkjes naar weblogs over de hele wereld die over WO1 gaan.
Omdat het zoveel is en ik niet alles kan plaatsen gaan we ze hier maar verzamelen.
Veel leesplezier.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Friday, January 11
Admiral Sir Walter Cowan

A true fighting naval officer I have recently been reading about is worthy of much admiration, and I am pleased to share with you my research into a man who is simply inspirational. So much so that I have started a new article category for him: Gentlemen of Renown and Infamy. If you have one of your own to suggest, I would greatly welcome your submission.

Early years - served in verious expeditions in West Africa, commanded the gunboat HMS SULTAN during the Battle of Omdurman and the whole gunboat squadron during the Fashoda Incident with the French during which he was awarded the DSO. Cowan then went south to participate in the Second Boer War, saw extensive sea service as a Destroyer Captain afterwards and then service the the Battlecruiser force during WW1 (including the Battle of Jutland where his ship was heavily damaged) during which he was known to be one of "the most offensively minded of the Grand-Fleet officers."

Lees verder op de blog:
http://pauljamesog.blogspot.com/2008/01/admiral-sir-walter-cowan.html
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Laatst aangepast door Yvonne op 13 Jan 2008 22:12, in totaal 1 keer bewerkt
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Jan 2008 20:50    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Een reisblog:

World War I fallen find peace in France


As I gazed out my windshield, I was struck by how much northern France resembles western Iowa.

Low rolling hills, corn, cows and church steeples dominate the horizon in several directions. This is the Ardennes Region of France, near the border with Belgium. The River Somme runs gently through this agricultural region, and the village of Albert is nestled nearby.

Ninety years have erased most of the terrible scars this region took on during World War I. But the monuments and graveyards are stark reminders to the thousands who still flock here to pay their respects to those killed, missing and wounded during the Battle of the Somme.
I came to witness the site where 500,000 British casualties occurred in July-October 1916. To walk the no man's land where 65,000 British troops climbed out of their trenches at 8 a.m. July 1. To try to imagine the 50,000 British casualties lying in the hot summer sun just eight hours later. July 1, 1916, still stands as the bloodiest day in British history.

I arrived in Amsterdam on Aug. 19. After a couple of days there I rented a car, bought a map and headed south toward the Somme region near Longueval, France. This little village is in the heart of the region and was a great place to start my tour of war sites. I was fortunate to stay at a bed and breakfast run by a British couple, Sarah and Peter Wright.

Ninety years has little stemmed the tide of visitors from England and its former colonies to the nearly 2,000 monuments and cemeteries that dot this region. It is said that every family in England suffered a casualty during the Battle of the Somme. This is not hard to believe, given the staggering number of casualties this battle produced.

Lees verder:
http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080113/LIFE/801130328/-1/NEWS04


En voor de site met foto's:
http://www.ww1.buck.tc/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Jan 2008 20:54    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

MIJMERINGEN BIJ DE VERJAARDAG VAN DE WAPENSTILSTAND OP 11 NOVEMBER 1918

Jef Vermeiren







Vader was een vrijwilliger van de grote oorlog 1914-1918. Hij heeft nagenoeg gans die tijd aan het front doorgebracht. Als kleine jongen hoorde ik zijn verhalen. Zonder pathos vertelde hij over de verschrikkingen die hij in die oorlogsjaren had doorgemaakt. Als hij 73 jaar oud was schreef hij zo uit het hoofd zijn herinneringen aan die periode neer.



Telkens was 11 november voor hem een feestdag en een treurdag. Hij was immers bij de gelukkigen die de fronthel hadden overleefd. Maar, hij dacht dan ook terug aan zijn vele kameraden die gesneuveld waren en die rusten op een van de menigvuldige Belgische soldatenkerkhoven of die na de oorlog met grote plechtigheid naar hun geboortedorp waren terug-gebracht en daar op het dorpskerkhof, vaak op een erepark, werden bijgezet.



Vader stierf als hij 78 jaar was. Samen met mijn broer waakte ik aan zijn sterfbed. Gedurende zijn laatste levensuren ijlde hij. Hij was terug in de loopgraven. Hij zag de vijand komen aanstormen. Hij maakte zich klaar om de aanval op te vangen. Hij is als het ware meer dan vijftig jaar na de oorlog met zijn frontvrienden gesneuveld.

Lees verder ( er staat meer WO1 op)
http://users.skynet.be/jef.vermeiren/Mijmeringen%20bij%2011%20nov.%201918.htm
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Jan 2008 21:10    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Algemeen WO1 stuk:

WAR AND PEACE

Posted by anthonynorth on January 10, 2008

tank-wwi.jpg On 28 June 1914 a Serbian student named Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria at Sarajevo in Bosnia. It was the last straw for a Europe in political turmoil.
Feeling protective of the Balkans, on 30 July Russia mobilised against Austria. On 1 August Germany - ally to Austria - declared war on Russia and France 2 days later. And on 4 August the Great War was on as Germany invaded Belgium as a prelude to the invasion of France.

WORLD WAR ONE

Britain joined in on the same day, soon to be followed by Turkey on the other side. The First World War had several fronts. In the east, the Russian advance into East Prussia came to an end at the battle of Tannenburg, the Germans going on to threaten Russia, resulting in Russia leaving the war in December 1917.
The predominantly Australian Gallipoli Campaign beginning in 1915 against the Turks proved a disaster. The Mesopotamian Campaign failed to hold back the Turks in the Middle East, their only real problem being an Arab revolt, led by a junior British officer who became known as Lawrence of Arabia.
In the Atlantic, Germany took a great toll on British merchant shipping, and the Battle of Rutland of May 1916 ended indecisively, but proved Britain to no longer rule the waves. But the major war was fought on the Western Front.

Lees verder:

http://beyondtheblog.wordpress.com/2008/01/10/war-and-peace/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Jan 2008 21:15    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Blogging as history…

William Henry Bonser LaminFor a long time, people have been talking about the Internet and how it’s killing historical documents collection because email, blogs, ezines and other forms of electronic documents are ephemeral and won’t last as technology changes. Yesterday, someone sent me a link to a blog that is historical. WWI: Experiences of an English Soldier is a blog 90 years after the fact. Bill Lamin had his grandfather’s letters and wondered what to do with them. He decided to start a blog of William Lamin’s letters to his family. Each letter will be posted as it was written on the blog 90 years after it was originally written. There’s a BBC programme about it also.

While electronic communication may or may not be ephemeral, it does have an impact on our lives now. Bill Lamin’s idea will allow us to read the worries, concerns, and daily life of an English soldier much as his family experienced it — waiting for word, hoping and praying that the next message they get is a letter and not a notification of his death or injury. This can and aught to be an wonderful adjunct to history units on WW1, a time and a war that most of us have only read about or seen in movies.

While history books may have a difficult time maintaining records of today’s world, this blog is an indication that perhaps the Internet may be a new tool in keeping our history alive for all of us now.

http://amperzen.com/blog/?p=64
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Jan 2008 21:38    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Presentation of Zonnebeke and its villages

The municipality of Zonnebeke is located 8 km west of Ieper, in the hilly part (Zandberg, 64 m a.s.l.) of the Middle-Western Flanders. It is made since 1977 of the former municipalities of Beselare, Geluveld, Passendale, Zandvoorde (incorporated to Geluveld in 1970) and Zonnebeke.

The hilly ridge of Zonnebeke was the border between the territory of the Gaul tribes of the Morins and the Menapians. Later, it was the border between the bishoprics of Tournai and Thérouanne. In the Middle Ages, most of the region was ruled by the Augustine abbey of Zonnebeke (1072-1097) and the Benedictine women's abbey of Nonnebossen. The other rulers were the Marquisate of Berselare and the domains of Geluveld, Zandvoorde and Passendale, in which the Provostship of Ieper had several possessions.
The complete destruction of the region during the First World War radically changed the local organization. Five completely new villages were rebuilt out of the ruins in the 1920s. Due to the economical crisis of the 1930s, several inhabitants had to work as seasonal workers in neighbouring France. Until the early 1960s, work in France was a main source of income for the villages.

Beselare (1,433 ha) is named after a person name and the word laar, a grazed wood. The village was made a Marquisate in 1705 by Louis XIV. It was owned by the noble family van der Woestine. In 1428, Knight Olivier van der Woestine was allowed by Duke of Burgundy Philip the Handsome to create the St. Sebastian bowers' guilde, still active today. Beselare was completely destroyed during the First World War. The village is the birth place of the writer Edward Vermeulen, alias Warden Oom (1861-1934), known for his social novels.
Beselare has been known for ages as the witches' parish (toveressenparochie) and its inhabitants as the witches (toveressen). The nickname was even more popularized by Warden Oom. In his novels, he explained how serious people believed in witches' tales or were conned by pranksters. He also explained how old women getting senile were called witches and considered as the source of all kinds of unpleasant events. The people from Beselare had the reputation to always involve witches in their tales. However, research made in the archives in Bruges by André Hauspie seems to prove that there was never any witch trial in Beselare. The Witches' Parade (Heksentoet) takes place there any odd year on 31 July. There is a bronze Witch Monument on the village square and several places are associated with witches' tales.

En verder:
http://www.crwflags.com/FOTW/FLAGS/be-vwvzb.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Jan 2008 21:42    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Een blog over een grootvader:

Private Charles Edward Bacon 2935, 2nd/5th Bn., [Prince of Wales Own] West Yorkshire Regiment died in Le Harve hospital France, on the 26th January 1917. He joined up in 1914 at the age of 36 and trained in Harrogate and Bedfordshire until his embarkation on the 6th January 1917.

The regimental war diary confirms, the 2nd/5th Bn stayed under canvass on the night of the 6th January 1917 and the following day, one man [Private Bacon] was taken to Quai d' Escale hospital in Le Harve, where he died at the age of 38, on the 26th January 1917. His body was laid to rest in ST. Marie Cemetery, Le Harve.

What is extraordinary about this unremarkable story, is Private Bacon's wife, Hilda, a mother of five, was escorted by the War Department, from her home in Hawes, a sleepy backwater of Wensleydale in North Yorkshire all the way to France to see my Grandfather before he died. This was at a time time when hundreds of men were dieing for their King and Country and would never see their families again.

In the book Wensleydale Remembered by Keith Taylor published in 2004, it is suggested Private Bacon died of pneumonia but was ill before his battalion set off from France and that he should not have traveled at that time. Whatever the truth about his illness and subsequent death, Charles Edward Bacon joined the army in 1914 and served his Country until his death in 1917.

It has bee recently discovered Private Charles E Bacon 2935, was awarded The British Medal 1914-1918 and the Victory Medal 1914-1919, but sadly his wife and family never knew.

I take this opportunity to pay tribute to my Grandfather who served faithfully and gave his life for his country and to his late wife Hilda Isabel Auton who struggled on to raise five young children after he died.


http://soapboxcorner.blogspot.com/2008/01/charles-edward-bacon.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 13 Jan 2008 22:11    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

[Ieper.]
We are the dead, having given our lives for a country; for the future; for an adventure; for politics; but most importantly, for peace. We never saw peace in our last years of life, but lived war - watery, muddy trenches, shellfire, mortar-fire, cries of pain, sighs of despair - these were our lullabies. And for what? The war continues, even though I do not. The setting and scenery has changed, the tactics and technology too, but in the end, it is all still the same. It is still man against man, with losers on both sides. I don't believe that one side wins, not anymore. Everybody loses in war.

I had my tags with me, that night. There were so many of us - brothers, nephews, cousins, uncles, fathers, and sons. I wanted my mother to know. I wanted my mother. I grabbed tight my tags; I grabbed something to hold onto since I couldn't hold on to life. They were cold in my hand as I fell; my body is cold now, too.

There were so many. Bodies sank into the mud; bodies were torn apart through age and decay; bodies were blown apart all in the name of something we've all forgotten. I was alive, not long ago; fresh, young, and willing. And now, just like that, I'm not. I'm nothing. I am a number, a statistic, one of many. My identity is gone; my uniqueness and individuality snuffed out the very second I went down.

There are rows. Rows upon rows of white slabs, mentioning this name or that, with roses of remembrance planted by their sides. Comfort. They aren't alone, now. The roses hold water like teardrops. Maybe the flowers are crying for us. These graves mark our place, not far from the battle that led us to our death, linking us to this world.

"An unknown soldier of the Great War," reads my marble slab, part of the majority. Years pass. People forget. People read about the war long ago, a poem is repeated on one day a year, and people pass it off, pretending it doesn't matter. It was so long ago. It couldn't matter.

It matters to us.

We fought for peace ninety years ago. We're still waiting.

http://thepowerofthewrittenword.blogspot.com/2008/01/ieper.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Feb 2008 13:15    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Monday, January 28, 2008
Another Old Soldier Fades Away

When J. Russell Coffey passed away last month in an Ohio nursing home, it made national headlines. Mr. Coffey, a retired college professor, was one of only three remaining U.S. veterans of World War I. With his death--at the age of 109--there are now only two surviving doughboys among the million who served in the "war to end all wars."

The recent passing of Louis de Cazenave attracted even wider attention. Mr. de Cazenave, who died last Monday at the age of 110, was one of two surviving French veterans of the Great War, which claimed the lives of 1.4 million of his countrymen. Newpapers around the world reported de Cazenave's passing, which prompted a statement from French President Nicholas Sarkozy:

"His death is an occasion for all of us to think of the 1.4 million French who sacrificed their lives during this conflict, for the 4.5 million wounded, for the 8.5 million mobilized," Sarkozy observed.

Among the handful of World War I soldiers who lived into the 21st Century, Mr. de Cazenave also held the distinction of being a combat veteran. He participated in the Battle of the Somme in 1916, which claimed the lives of more than one million troops, and later served with an artillery unit before the war ended. None of the surviving American veterans of the war served in combat and only one of them deployed overseas before the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918.

By comparison, Erich Kaestner received almost no attention when he passed away in a Cologne, Germany, nursing home on New Year's Day. Mr. Kaester, who was 107 at the time of his passing, was best known as a long-serving judge in Hanover, receiving the Merit Cross for his work on the bench. Germany's president also recognized Kaester for his 75-year marriage to his wife, Maria, who passed away at the age of 102 in 2003.

According to the Associated Press, it wasn't until someone read his obituary--and updated a Wikipedia entry--that Kaester's passing took on added significance. According to at least three German media outlets, Kaester was (at the time of his death) the country's last World War I veteran, although that claim is difficult to verify.

After losing both world wars--and stung by the shame of Nazi genocide for more than six decades--Germany has no governmental mechanism for tracking veterans of those conflicts. The country's Defense Ministry, it's military archive and war graves commission told the AP that they have no records on other surviving soldiers from World War I.

“That is the way history has developed,” Kaestner’s son, Peter Kaestner, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “In Germany, in this respect, these things are kept quiet — they’re not a big deal.”

Born in 1900, Kaestner entered the military in 1918, shortly after his graduation from high school. After completing training, he was sent to the Western Front but never entered combat, according to Kaestner's son. He rejoined the military in 1939 and served as a ground support officer for the Luftwaffe, primarily in France.

Toward the end of his life, Erich Kaestner's status as one of the last surviving World War I veteran was apparently better known in the United States than his native Germany. According to Peter Kaestner, his father routinely received requests for autographs from the U.S., but he never responded.

With Kaestner's passing, the only remaining German with military service during World War I is Franz Kunstler, who fought with the Austro-Hungarian Army during that conflict. While an ethnic German, Kunstler spent the first half of his life in Hungary, and didn't move to Germany until after World War II. There are unconfirmed reports that Mr. Kunstler passed away late last week.

The deaths of Russell Coffey, Louis de Cazenave and Erich Kaestner serve as poignant reminders that the end of an era is rapidly approaching. Of the millions who served in uniform between 1914-1918, only a handful remain--just 15 by one recent count.

While some of the surviving vets have been interviewed by historians, scores who passed before them never had that opportunity. "We have lost a chance--forever," der Spiegel wrote last week, in noting Kaestner's passing. It's a sentiment that echoes from both sides of the trenches, almost 90 years after the guns fell silent.

Labels: Erich Kaestner, surviving veterans, World War I

http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2008/01/another-old-soldier-fades-away.html

posted by George Smiley at 8:47 AM
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BerichtGeplaatst: 04 Feb 2008 10:06    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



One of the jolliest images in the IWM’s current poster exhibition is Bert Kent’s Arf a Mo, Kaiser, from 1914. Among all the posters persuading people to enlist, eat less, or trust the government with their savings, the curators of the show remind us that the popularity of the war was also used to sell commercial products. The catalogue tells us:

This poster boosted both sales of tobacco and the patriotic credentials of the Weekly Dispatch, and its success stimulated discussion in the media, in pulpits, and in the public house.

The catalogue describes the poster as:

giving a recognizable image of the people to the people. Here the good-humoured self-reliant British Tommy showed what life wasn’t like at the front, and satisfied the wish of the troops to conceal the truth for fear of upsetting those at home.

I’m sure there is something in this, but I think that soldiers would have liked this image a lot, and not just because it reassured the civilians. What it presents is a soldier with control over his destiny, a cheeky bloke who’d be likely to tell his officer to wait arf a mo’, as well as the Kaiser. He’s announcing that he is an independent person, even if his area of control does not extend much further than his pipe.

The soldier in this drawing is not ideologically committed. I think it’s implied that his patriotism is so ingrained that he doesn’t have to make a fuss about it. He’s a soldier under discipline, but that discipline is not onerous, because he is left with his own small space in which to excercise his independence, and his sense of humour.

J.C.Fuller has described the amazement of some officers when men back from a tiring stretch in the trenches would go, not for a rest, but for a game of football. These were often men who had done the same thing after a shift in the mine or factory. The football field was an arena where they could be themselves, not under orders. Fuller lists sport and humour as two of the factors that helped keep British morale high for most of the War (so that British troops were the only ones not to engage in any major mutiny).

By giving the Tommy a resilient and independent figure with which he could identify, I reckon Bert Kent did his bit to keep morale high.
This entry was written by George Simmers

Op de blog:
http://greatwarfiction.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/arf-a-mo-kaiser/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 29 Feb 2008 22:21    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

2008
Ieper in the rain

Have spent a splendid day in the company of friends in the Belgian town of Ieper. Defended till the death between 1914 and 1918 it became the allies’ bulwark against Germany. The battle for Passchendale was fought on its outskirts and the reminders of war are everywhere from Hill 60 to the shrapnel corner. The town was totally rebuilt against Winston Churchill’s wishes in the twenties as he believed it should be left in ruins as a reminder of German brutality. The local’s were defiant and brick by brick reassembled a beautiful Flemish spot.

There are no McDevitt’s on Menin Gate but there are thousands of other Irish names amongst the 58,000 for whom there is no grave. The Irish Peace tower stands on a hill over the final battleground where the 16th and 36th divisions pushed the German lines back in June 1917. There are some wonderful inscriptions as you walk in. They say different things but have a single message best summed up in the words of Tom Kettle:

To dice with death, and, oh! They’ll give you rhyme
And reason; one will call the thing sublime,
And one decry it in a knowing tone.
So here, while the mad guns curse overhead,
And tired men sigh, with mud for couch and floor,
Know that we fools, now with the foolish dead,
Died not for Flag, nor King, nor Emporor,
But for a dream born in a herdsman’s shed,
And for the Secret Scripture of the poor.

Big Fearghal O’Boyleis a magnificent guide and has created a programme which will take us from here to the Somme and on to the other famous fields of Flanders. The war to end wars has been followed by 125 conflicts. It’s impact on our small island was immense yet it is only now that many are daring to explore this very shared part of our history.

Louise from Gerry Anderson’s own home town in pulling pints in the peace village and looking after the weary travellers. The perfect host and a friendly face and the end of a big day.

Off to the last post now.

Van de blog:
http://oconallstreet.com/2008/02/29/ieper-in-the-rain/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 20 Mrt 2008 9:11    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Sign of the Times

You may have heard that France's last WWI veteran recently died at the age of 110. He received a state funeral here in Paris, and, at his request, the event honored his fellow veterans as well. The historical significance of his death is enormous; truly the passing of a generation.

I was reminded of this fact when, among all the royal pomp and circumstance, I found a simple engraving at Chenonceau dedicated to the memory of WWI. Incredibly, the castle's long, river-spanning hallway was used as a temporary hospital where, according to the plaque, 2,254 injured soldiers were treated from 1914-1918. It was a simple reminder that this war touched everyone and was fought in every corner of the country. Evidence of the conflict was truly everywhere. Even this 16th century castle was not left untouched by the gruesome and tragic events of the time.

After talking to a friend who was planning a trip to see WWI battlefields, I remarked that WWI doesn't get talked about with the same frequency that WWII does. Maybe it's that WWII is closer in our collective memories, or maybe, as he suggested, the larger scope of WWII makes it more interesting. Whatever the reasons, for this past week at least, here in France, The Great War was back in our thoughts.

http://parisianspring.blogspot.com/2008/03/sign-of-times.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 25 Apr 2008 9:16    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Mooie foto's van Ieper en omstreken:
http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2216332650101192778lHcBRo
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BerichtGeplaatst: 27 Apr 2008 16:10    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Meer foto's en kaarten:
http://www.clipmarks.com/tags/ww1/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 29 Apr 2008 6:57    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote



Bronze sculpture of a World War 1 "digger" (the term applied to Australian and New Zealand soldiers) on the Anzac Bridge. Sculptor Alan Somerville.

Today is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand. It commemorates the contribution made in war. The date, 25 April, is the day when troops landed at Gallipoli (Gelibolu) in Turkey in the disastrous Dardanelles campaign of World War One. I prefer to think of it as a day not glorifying war but acknowledging its futility.

The allies landed on the peninsula, the Australians and New Zealanders at a little bay which is now known as Anzac Cove, at dawn on 25 April, 1915. [ANZAC means Australian and New Zealand Army Corps]

The first marking of ANZAC Day commemoration was in 1916. By the 1920s it was a public holiday throughout Australia, as it remains today.

The things I think about on Anzac Day include:

# that peace is precious and always worth striving for;

# that great friendships can be forged once people lay down arms and realise we are all human - Australians have great bonds with former foes in Turkey, and former allies in France.

# The Turks engaged in one of the most generous acts of reconciliation, when Ataturk in 1934 urged the mothers of the slain not to weep, as "your sons are now also our sons."

# a chance to study the history and realise that while Australians went into WW1 as colonials - part of the British Empire - and many still at that time regarded England as "home" - fighting for "God, King and Country" , somethign else was forged on those battelfields, an Australian identity that hadn't yet become real. Australia had only been a unified country, rather than separate colonies for 13 years at the time of the outbreak of WW1.


Three years ago I attended Anzac Day commemorations in France, at Villers-Bretonneux, and Bullecourt, two scenes huge Australian involvement on the Western Front. There was far more loss of life in France than Gallipoli, as horrific as the latter was. Here are some of the pictures I took then.

Anyone interested in exploring more about Gallipoli and France/Belgium from the Australian point of view, I thoroughly recommend these books: Gallipoli by Les Carlyon, and The Great War, also by Les Carlyon.

The movie, Gallipoli, starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee, made in 1981, holds up remarkably well. It is shown nightly at the Anzac Pansiyon in Canakkale in Turkey!

But for documentary film, you just can't go past this Turkish production, also called Gallipoli, from 2005. It is a magnificent film, telling the story of the war from both sides, and depicting the crazyness of it all, as well as the humanity on both sides, mainly throught the personal accounts of combatants on both sides. It uses the photographs, diaries and letters of three Australians, two Britons, three New Zealanders and two Turkish soldiers from the beginning of the campaign to its end. Review here. Do try to see it if you are at all interested in this part of our history. I'm watching it tonight on SBS TV.
More tomorrow, on a more personal note.

Voor de linkjes en ©
http://sydneynearlydailyphot.blogspot.com/2008/04/digger-anzac-bridge.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Mei 2008 6:24    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Mooie foto op deze blog:
http://wassenaardailyphoto.blogspot.com/2008/05/age-fifteen.html
http://wassenaardailyphoto.blogspot.com/2008/05/remembering-wwi-wherewednesday.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 03 Jun 2008 8:09    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Aandacht voor Tardi op een Turkse Blog:
http://seruvendergisi.blogspot.com/2008/06/cetait-la-guerre-des-tranchees-1914.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Jun 2008 5:33    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

I didn't know Australians fought in WW1

Quote:
I was standing holding a torch to enable a UK man and his wife to read the Bastiaan plaque on the ramparts above the Menin Gate in Ieper, Belgium, just after the conclusion of the nightly 8.00pm Ceremony that is held there every night.
This man read the entire plaque and relief map that is on each of Ross' plaques, detailing the local actions, casualties and contributions, both tactically and strategically, by the Aussies (in this case in the Ieper area in WW1).
He then turned to me and said, "I didn't know Australians fought in WW1"!
I was gentle with him! We Aussies were labelled "British" in that war, as you know.

http://ww2chat.com/forums/other-conflicts-pre-1939/2543-i-didnt-know-australians-fought-ww1.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 18 Jun 2008 7:41    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

http://www.flickr.com/photos/beinecke_library/2587830305/in/photostream/

Subjects:
African American soldiers
Soldiers
World War, 1914-1918

"Waiting for the attack"
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BerichtGeplaatst: 22 Jun 2008 19:42    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Among the family papers passed down to my mother were a collection of photographs taken by her Uncle Johnny, a keen amateur photographer who was involved in aerial reconnaissance during World War One. He took many unofficial photographs, and we have scanned these and displayed them here. In autumn 2000 we discovered and scanned two further sets of photographs. One set consists of German photographs which were passed to another of her uncles (an Army officer) to review (he obviously decided to keep them rather than destroying or filing them), and the other set is of from Pforzheim where Allied officer prisoners of war were held, and where her father was held for the last year of the war.

Roland Fogt, a visitor to this website, has very kindly sent me a few photographs from his family to add to these pages. They show his grandfather, Wilhelm Höffgen, and his grandfather's older brother, Karl Höffgen.

And more recently, at the beginning of 2005, another kind visitor to this website, Bernard Cousin, a farmer near Armentieres, sent me some photographs he took of the Cité Bonjean Military Cemetery, where one of my great uncles is buried.

I hope you find these glimpses of the past interesting, and our thanks to the many people, young and old, who have emailed or left messages in the Guest Book to say how much these pictures have helped with various projects - these messages do mean a lot to us, even when we don't have the time to reply personally to all of them.

Enjiy:
http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/dms/past/ww1index.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 06 Jul 2008 10:47    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

http://elainemickmaryannbrendan.blogspot.com/2008/07/flanders-fields.html

Flanders Fields foto's
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BerichtGeplaatst: 08 Jul 2008 20:28    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

14 juni, wist u dat..

LAHORE: World Blood Donation Day is being observed across the world today.

The day is marked to create awareness regarding blood transfusion. The first recorded blood transfusion took place in the 17th century. A French physician, Jean Baptiste Denis, tried infusing sheep’s blood into a human, which was not successful. It was after the discovery of blood groups that transfusion therapy began to be successful.

The use of stored blood started during World War I (1914-1918), but the first large-scale blood banks, including Red Cross blood banks, were set up after 1930. The day is dedicated to those unsung heroes who donate their blood.

The day is hosted by various country every year. The country that hosts the day also showcases its unique culture. This year, the United Arab Emirates is hosting the day.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008\06\14\story_14-6-2008_pg13_6
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BerichtGeplaatst: 16 Jul 2008 9:28    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Blog om te volgen:
http://longlongtrails.blogspot.com/2008/07/soldier-and-his-daughters-story-then.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 30 Jul 2008 6:45    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

54,896 Missing

Buglers of the Ypres Fire Service sound the Last Post at 8:00 pm nightly under the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. This ceremony has been performed continuously since July 1927 except for a short suspension between June 1940 and September 1944 due to the World War 2 German occupation of Belgium. The sombre and moving Last Post ceremony attracts many visitors to Ypres, including families of those who died in the Ypres Salient in World War 1, tourists and more recently, school children from all over England and Belgium.

The Ypres Salient was probably the most notorious and bloody battleground of World War 1, perhaps of all wars. From October 1914 until April 1918, British, French and German armies collided in four major engagements and countless actions. The battle of Passchendale, part of the Third Ypres campaign, became synonymous with the horror of World War 1 trench warfare.

The casualty statistics of the Ypres Salient are staggering - 350,000 British, 335,000 German and 40,000 French. Graves and memorials in the Ypres Salient record the names of 228,000 British dead. And this was not a large battlefield. Battlelines in the Ypres Salient only extended along a front of about 25 kilometers. Advances and retreats across no-mans-land were measured in meters to a few kilometers. The Ypres Salient would easily fit within the island of Singapore.

For good reason the sounding of the Last Post remains a solemn and mournful occasion.

Ypres_menin_gate_buglers_2The Menin Gate is a memorial to missing British soldiers. Styled on a triumphal Roman arch it was completed in July 1927. Inscribed on panels inside the arch are the names of 54,896 missing British soldiers killed at Ypres between August 1914 and August 1917. Incredibly, the arch was not large enough to record all the names of the missing and a further 34,888 names were inscribed on a wall at the nearby Tyne Cot cemetery.

It is hard today to comprehend or imagine the conflict that left 90,000 missing soldiers on a small battlefield. What motivated the volunteer soldiers to leave the trenches and face death? Why did they keep faith with a torch held high? The Menin Gate memorial does not answer these questions. It simply honors and pays tribute to the enormous human sacrifice at Ypres. The sounding of the Last Post recalls that sacrifice each and every day.

We listened to the buglers on two consecutive nights. It is emotional. At the unveiling of the memorial in 1927, it was said of each of the dead recorded on the gate - "He is not missing. He is here." I hope so. And I hope our visit in some small way honored the valiant lives of all the soldiers who died at Ypres.


Above, a panorama of the Ypres 'Grand Place' showing the Cloth Hall to the left and the Ypres cathedral behind. The Gothic Cloth Hall was started in 1200 and completed in 1304. Although Ypres was occupied by the British throughout World War 1, much of the city, including the Cloth Hall, was destroyed by wanton German shelling. In 1919 it was decided to rebuild Ypres as it was before the war.

English School Children

One less than honorable aspect of the Menin Gate visit - English school children. Not wishing to tar them all with one broad brush, but the majority of the five or six large English school groups that appeared in our midst at the Menin Gate ceremony were exceptionally disrespectful and wholly uncivilized.

The Ypres Last Post Association permits special ceremonies to be held at the Menin Gate. These ceremonies are particularly favored by English school groups who wish to lay a wreath and have a student read 'The Exhortation', a familiar 4-line verse from Laurence Binyon's poem For the Fallen (see below). Understandably, the Last Post Association requests the school children dress and behave respectfully at the ceremony.

Four English school groups laid wreaths on our first visit to the Last Post ceremony. The wreath bearers from three of these schools were dressed in near-punk clothing, groomed like drowned rats and could not even keep a semblance of a straight walking line with the wreath for more than a few meters. The girl selected to read 'The Exhortation' was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, stood insolently with one knee bent, shoulder drooped and read the verse with a sneering, disrespectful, in-your-face tone of voice. Her English pronunciation was almost unrecognizable except for the fact that she managed to garble the first of four lines - not from memory lapse but from reading a card in her hand. She slouched off after the reading with a smug smile. Forgive my obvious anger but this was an outrage at a ceremony to honor and respect 55,000 human beings who had given their young lives for England. Shame on the student, her teacher and the system that creates and tolerates such feral crap.

On a more respectful note - 'The Exhortation' from For the Fallen - Laurence Binyon

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them

© http://davidowens.typepad.com/asian_images/2008/07/the-menin-gate.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 30 Jul 2008 6:48    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Walking With the Dead
Posted by Socyberty

The Great War lasted four years, yet it killed over twenty million people, and wounded countless more. A year ago I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to the city of Ypres (Often spelt Ieper), and learn a great deal more about those who fell in what was one of the bloodiest conflicts in all time. I took most of these pictures myself, and the full sized versions can be seen by clicking the thumbnails. I dedicate this article to the memory of my Great Grandfather Blundle, while he survived the Great War; he experienced things no human should ever have to endure. May he rest in peace.
Ypres During the War

In an act of bravery befitting heroes, the Dutch army engineers had managed to slow the German advance by destroying some of the levees that kept the area country from being reclaimed by the sea. The result was the German forces had only one way to get into France: Through Ieper. The defenders grimly dug their trenches and prepared their weapons. They would not allow the Germans to pass without a fight.

And fight they did. Over the next four years, the defenders fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the Great war, the infamous battleground of Flanders. Over the course of the war, Ypres changed hands three times.

It was first captured by the Allies in 1914 to prevent the German war machine marching across France. In 1915, the Germans mounted their counter attack with a terrifying new weapon. Although they had used it on the eastern front before, the Germans now turned their latest weapon on Ypres defenders- Chlorine Gas. Unprepared for the new weapon, the Allies where driven out, and forced to entrench themselves around the city again. The third battle of Ypres commenced in 1917, and was the bloodiest yet. Pushing into the city, the Allies paid a cost that was on the wrong side of half a million lives- for only few miles of terrain.

The worst part of all this? By now, Ypres itself had been all but destroyed by each side's attempt to destroy the other with heavy artillery. Soldiers fought and died over a piece of rubble. A strategically important piece of rubble, but rubble nevertheless.
Ypres Today

My journey began with the town of Ypres itself. Currently a thriving area of around thirty thousand people, it would be hard to picture Ypres as anything other than what it is today: a pleasant market town, filled with friendly people, and a hotspot for tourists. The marks of the war remain of course, the Menin gate (discussed later), a war museum, and a number of other landmarks that point to a violent past. Perhaps the most amazing thing though, is the fact that the city was there for me to wonder through at all. In 1919, the city was nothing but a smoking ruin, with practically no buildings standing.

Ypres had also seen the debut of not just one, but two new chemical weapons, Mustard gas had been deployed in the theatre of war surrounding the city in 1917. It's important to note that both sides, not just the Germans, used these chemical weapons. Today, Ypres and Hiroshima are leading centers for campaigns for nuclear and chemical disarmament. For obvious reasons.
The Menin Gate

The Menin Gate is a massive war memorial, dedicated to those allied troops who where never found and given a proper burial. Many where never given a proper grave as they where simply too disfigured to be identified. Many corpses where never recovered at all, atomized by shells or drowned in the mud. It lists over 50,000 names, and they still did not have enough space to fit all the names on. The remainder are inscribed on a wall at Tyne Cot Cemetery.

The gate itself is situated over the main road in and out of the town. As you can see in the above picture, many people place memorials to dead relatives and friends here, if they know there is no grave to visit. It consists of a main tunnel area (Pictured above), and on each side of the tunnel is a "wing" (Pictured below). Linking the tunnels to the wings are two sets of stairs. Every wall on the inside of the Tunnel, on the stairs, and every wall on the wings contain names.

Each day at 20:00, all traffic through the gate stops and the local fire brigade's buglers sound the last post in memory of all those who gave their lives to keep the nation free. This has occurred every day without fail since 1927, except while the city was occupied by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.
Leaving Ypres for the Flanders Battlefield

If you had a relative or friend in the Great War, then they almost certainly spent at least some time in Flanders. Likewise, I visited the war cemeteries, four of them along a single 4km stretch of road. In the first cemetery I visited, I noticed that the gravestones had a most unusual arrangement. Many where placed touching one another, and there where large gaps in the rows. There where also some stones placed down the side of the cemetery at a 90 degree angle to the others.

Upon asking, I found the reason for each of these:

Groups of touching headstones where groups of men who had died together, and their remains could not be separated, or they did not know to whom each "item" belonged. Such situations often occurred when a group of soldiers where standing together when a shell landed on them. They where therefore buried in one large grave, with the headstones all touching.

Men would never be buried where a shell had landed, and so the gaps in the graveyard where areas that where previously shell craters.

Sometimes a shell would land on the graveyard and exhume the bodies of those interred within, often utterly destroying all physical remains. Some remains could not be identified. These troops where given a second empty grave at the side of the cemetery as a marker that they where laid to rest somewhere in the area, but it was not known exactly where.

I noticed one grave had a massive amount of personal tributes on it, and as I read the headstone, I could see why. The grave belonged to the youngest known solider to be killed in action during the Great War.

From the cemetery itself I followed a path around the back towards the front line medical dug outs, where I was shown a place that was most important to the lasting artistic impact of the Great War. In these dug outs, Colonel McCrae wrote his famous poem “In Flanders's Fields”:

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

In the dugout pictured, McCrae wrote that poem. That tight, dank hole in the earth feels more like a tomb than a bunker, let alone a place to take a wounded soldier.

Yet in spite of all the hardship, the brave soldiers kept on fighting and dying in their millions. With a somber feeling in my chest, I moved on to the next leg of my journey, Tyne Cot.
Tyne Cot Cemetery

As I previously mentioned, The Menin gate was not sufficient to house the names of all the missing deceased, and so a wall was created at Tyne Cot with all the remaining names in it, some 20,000 of them.

The Cemetery is also the final resting place to many thousands of Allied troops as well:

Sharp eyed readers may notice a very slight curve in the formation of the gravestones, the reason for this is that virtually all of these soldiers died charging a single German bunker. Each Great War graveyard has a monument in it called the cross of sacrifice, which is built in honor of these men. At Tyne Cot, the cross is built on top of that bunker that so many men died for. A sort of poetic burial, they can now rest easily, having reached their goal.

Among the graves can be found a final, moving gesture. Two headstones, marked with the flag of Germany belonging to German servicemen. Their names have been taken from their dog tags, and they have been laid to rest with all the care and attention that the commonwealth forces paid to their own dead. Their epitaphs read (in German); “Fallen for Germany.”

Tyne Cot is one of the larger of the war cemeteries in the area, with over 11,000 interred from all over the commonwealth.

I looked around the cemetery one last time, and then departed for my next destination, Artillery Wood.
Artillery Wood And The Story Of Hedd Wyn

Due to an unfortunate accident with my computer, at this point most of my pictures have been lost. I will continue to write though, as I hope you will stay with me until the end of my story.

Artillery Wood was a somewhat important location for me to visit as it contains the graves of many of my countrymen. During the Great War, Wales gave the highest percentage of our population to battle (nearly 14%) out of the countries of the United Kingdom. It is also the final resting place of one of our national heroes, the bard Hedd Wyn, author of the poem "Yr Arwr", or the hero in English. The poem itself is too long to be posted in this article, plus it's in Welsh (a language not exactly widespread), but if you want to read it, it can be found here.

Hedd Wyn was the bardic name of Ellis Humphrey Evans. As a farm worker, up until that point he had been exempt from the draft as his work was considered "vital to the war effort on the home front". However, as the war dragged on, the draft became more and more widespread, and either Ellis or one of his brothers would need to join the armed forces.

Ellis joined the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in June of 1917 to prevent any of his brothers being sent into battle. Within a month he had completed the work that was to win him another chair at the Eisteddfod (a welsh celebration of culture), which he had won or come close to winning several times. After some trouble getting his entry sent off (his officer could not speak welsh and therefore could not verify the safety of the document), the entry was received by the Eisteddfod committee under the pseudonym of Fleur De Les.

September, 1917 and Britain's Welsh Prime minister, David Lloyd George, is preparing to award the chair (the highest prize at the Eisteddfod). The Arch druid Dyfed announces the winner of the competition to be Yr Arwr, by Fleur De Les. The audience begins to applause and look around. Yet no one stands up.

The Arch druid declares the winner again, and still no one stands. Fleur De Les, Hedd Wyn, Ellis Humphrey Evans, has been dead for six weeks. Cut down as he charged the German position at Battery Copse. His last words: “Yes, I am very happy”, as he lay dying in a medical dug out.

31,000 men died with him. Field Marshall sir Douglass Haig had this to say about the battle in his diary: “A fine day's work.”

The chair was draped in a black cloth, and amid the silence of a funeral procession, the other bards slowly gave tribute to Hedd Wyn, one by one. It was than taken by horse and cart 90 miles to his home in Trawsfynydd. In a final twist of fate, the chair was carved by a Flemish worker who had fled Flanders earlier that year.

Myself and the Welsh people in my group each laid a daffodil (the flower of Wales) on his grave and sang Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau (land of my fathers, the Welsh national anthem). We took some pictures, including this one (myself pictured), and then move on to our last destination, a German war cemetery.
Langemarck War Cemetery

I have a great deal of sympathy for the German troops of the Great War. I don't blame Germany for the war any more than I blame anyone else. I blame the system of politics that was supposed to prevent a war. To lighten the mood a little, let me show you a youtube video from the British sitcom, Blackadder. It pretty much sums up what happened exactly, as well as various attitudes of the troops (Privates who had no idea what was going on, officers who thought they knew what was going on…):

One dead arch duke later and the powder keg was well and truly lit. The two super alliances where at each other faster than a Mac and PC user.

What we did to the German dead after the war though was all but unforgivable. Commonwealth graves are on land which has been given pretty much indefinitely, but the Germans where only given a few areas and a limited amount of time to keep their dead interred. Eventually the Germans had to exhume their dead, and many of them where placed in a mass crypt at Langemarck. Many where never given a true gravestone, but where instead recorded in the German equivalent of the Menin gate, the Kameraden Grab, which can also be found at Langemarck.

German war cemeteries are very different from Commonwealth ones. The Germans are buried eight to each plot, with a single flat basalt marker for all of them. German cemeteries use dark colours rather than the whites of the commonwealth. As a memorial, four statues stand watch over the cemetery, one representing each element of the armed forces: the air force, the army, the navy and one for the civilians who worked to supply the army. The sculpture was created by Emil Krieger.
In Closing

My time among the dead opened my eyes a great deal to the events of the Great War. It's one thing to learn in a school about how many millions died here, and how many millions died there. Even looking at demographic charts, you can't truly appreciate what happened in Europe between 1914 and 1918. If your country is a member of the commonwealth, then it's more than likely at least one person in your family fought in the Great War. And they almost certainly went through Ypres.

The most terrifying realization about my journey though with this: The Great War was overshadowed by an even bloodier conflict less than thirty years after it had closed. The "war to end all wars" they called it. And still the second world war raged on after it. And after that we had the cold war, the Serbian war, the IRA. Sometimes it scares me that this continent may never actually know peace. And it scares me even more when I think there may be a third world war less than a decade away from us. To those who would commit us to war, I say this:

Walk through Flanders's fields. Walk through Tyne Cot Cemetery. Read the names on the Menin gate. Every one of those people was a human being. They had families. They had lives. They had a job. They may have had children. They had a story, a story cut brutally short by the hands of incompetent leaders and bungling officers, they where People. They where not statistics. 57,000 causalities in one day at the Somme, and I think many of you regard that the same way you regard the £ 35,334,012,000, Britain alone spent on the Great War. People's lives are not resources to be used. They are not money to be spent. They are living, breathing, thinking people!

They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.
-- Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

Thank you for letting me share my experiences with you.

© http://news.proxyutza.com/2008/07/28/walking-with-the-dead/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 30 Jul 2008 7:10    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Ieper / Ypres / "Wipers" - This is gonna be a long post...

http://renelleinbelgium.blogspot.com/2008/07/ieper-ypres-wipers-this-is-gonna-be.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Aug 2008 7:31    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Tribute to Charles Bell

http://davidjohnbolton.blogspot.com/2008/07/tribute-to-charles-bell.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Aug 2008 20:55    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Stukje uit een blog dat me opviel:

The guide said he would take us to a German graveyard but, he said with distaste, it is not ike the British graveyards– it is dark and Teutonic and the entrance is like going into a bunker. It is covered with oak trees – the oak it seems, has a Teutonic meaning. Germans don’t come here, he said. There was a note in his voice of hereditary dislike of Germans. They had invaded and occupied his country twice in thirty years. He took us there and the oak trees had grown high, the entrance was indeed like going into a bunker, and it was sombre under the trees, with black crosses, shiny black square slabs engraved with names and surveying thisGermslab with archaic faces four black, stylised human figures. There were poppy wreaths laid, with messages of peace from British schools.

He had called it “Teutonic”, I would have called it “Wagnerian”, or “Expressionist” – an enactment of a calamity and more like the millions dead than the cheerful rows of creamy headstones, who gain momentum by their sheer numbers and the details of names and dates.

Uit "Overwhelmed"
http://rosiebell.typepad.com/rosiebell/2008/07/overwhelmed.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Aug 2008 11:44    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Tirailleur uit Tunis,1914

http://geertclarisseeveryday.blogspot.com/2008/08/dagtrip-2flanders-fields-museumieper.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Aug 2008 12:31    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Yvonne @ 30 Jul 2008 8:10 schreef:
Ieper / Ypres / "Wipers" - This is gonna be a long post...

http://renelleinbelgium.blogspot.com/2008/07/ieper-ypres-wipers-this-is-gonna-be.html


Inderdaad een lange post, maar wel interessant deze omgeving te zien door een Nieuwzeeuw, of -Zeelander.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Aug 2008 16:08    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Er staan wel meer leuke, bizarre, ontroerende blogs tussen, en gelukkig heb ik zo te zien 1 lezer Wink
Dus ik doe het niet voor niets.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 02 Aug 2008 16:45    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Yvonne @ 01 Aug 2008 21:55 schreef:
Stukje uit een blog dat me opviel:

The guide said he would take us to a German graveyard but, he said with distaste, it is not ike the British graveyards– it is dark and Teutonic and the entrance is like going into a bunker. It is covered with oak trees – the oak it seems, has a Teutonic meaning. Germans don’t come here, he said. There was a note in his voice of hereditary dislike of Germans. They had invaded and occupied his country twice in thirty years. He took us there and the oak trees had grown high, the entrance was indeed like going into a bunker, and it was sombre under the trees, with black crosses, shiny black square slabs engraved with names and surveying thisGermslab with archaic faces four black, stylised human figures. There were poppy wreaths laid, with messages of peace from British schools.

He had called it “Teutonic”, I would have called it “Wagnerian”, or “Expressionist” – an enactment of a calamity and more like the millions dead than the cheerful rows of creamy headstones, who gain momentum by their sheer numbers and the details of names and dates.

Uit "Overwhelmed"
http://rosiebell.typepad.com/rosiebell/2008/07/overwhelmed.html


Deze vind ik ook wel interessant. De rondleider weet blijkbaar niet (of wil dat liever niet weten) dat Duitsers na WO1 geen witte of crême grafstenen mochten plaatsen. Ze waren de verliezers en schoften, dus daar hoorden donkere, grijze of zwarte, stenen en kruisen bij. Dat verandert natuurlijk de sfeer op je kerkhof. Die eikebomen werden niet op instigatie van Duitsland geplant.
En om die verplichte aankleding dan weer ans "teutoons" te bestempelen vind ik, eerlijk gezegd, een gotspe.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 04 Aug 2008 21:04    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Familiegeschiedenis:
My paternal grandfather served in the Second Battalion of the Royal Munster Fusiliers (2nd Munsters) and was apparently taken prisoner at the battle of Mons in 1914. That he survived that terrible conflict is probably down to his spending over four years in Germany as a “guest” of the Kaiser! The only photograph I have ever seen of him was taken in a POW camp in Limburgnot far from the Dutch border

Grandfather was in the BEF

All in all this was not an awful lot to show for two fairly sizeable families. Virtually every document or personal item that would help me trace my family history has vanished over time. In May 2006 I searched the WWI service medal database at the UK National Archives website and I was delighted to find a medal record for a private in the Munster Fusiliers bearing the exact same name as my grandfather who arrived in France on 13 August 1914.
This piece of information placed him in the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) at the start of WWI. It is a matter of record that on 23 August 1914 the BEF engaged the German First Army around Mons but the 2nd Munsters were held in reserve and did not participate in that battle. In addition the 2nd Munsters did not participate in the battle of Le Cateau on 26 August.

The 2nd Munsters’ contribution to the Mons Campaign took place on 27 August at Etreux. At the time the BEF was in retreat and in extreme danger of being surrounded and destroyed by advancing German forces. Three companies of the 2nd Munsters under Major Charrier along with a troop of the 15th Hussars, and two guns of the 118th Battery, R.F.A., held off a full German Corps for a day taking appalling casualties in the process. This action allowed General Haig’s I Corps to put twelve miles between itself and the front almost certainly ensuring its survival as a fighting force.


The Action is a tiny footnote in a conflict that took millions of lives but it is a textbook example of the function of a rear guard force. The medal record placed my grandfather in the BEF but I could not prove that he fought or was taken prisoner there. However it was a “definite maybe”.

Grandfather was at Etreux

James O’ Sullivan has an excellent site about the Munsters (see below). His father served in the first battalion, which saw action at Gallipoli before transferring to the Western Front in 1916.In 2007 James for provided me with a clipping from the Times dated 23 March 1915, which lists members of the 2nd battalion that had been taken prisoner. One of them is my grandfather. He also confirmed that there is no record of any members of the battalion taken prisoner between the Etreux rearguard action of 27 August 1914 and the publication of the list.


The conclusion is that my grandfather was one of a just a few hundred soldiers that held up a whole German corps for a crucial twelve hours and thus helped ensure the survival of the British Expeditionary Force in its retreat from Mons to the Marne.


Grandfather avoided numerous chances to get his head blown off

All in all I am bloody lucky to have been born in the first place! Had he not been taken prisoner at Etreux he would have had plenty of chance to spill blood between then and 11 November 1918:

* In May 1915 at the Rue du Bois battle where the 2nd Munster's suffered many losses to friendly artillery fire. Before engaging in battle, absolution was administered to the battalion by their Chaplain Francis Gleeson and is subject of the famous (well famous to me) painting by Fortunate Matania. 22 officers and 520 men went in to battle, 3 officers and 200 men returned.


En meer op:
http://thepoormouth.blogspot.com/search/label/etreux
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BerichtGeplaatst: 04 Aug 2008 21:16    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Did She Need To Die?
Save the stripper, save the world.

The Blue Raccoon

Friday, August 01, 2008

Did She Need To Die?
Save the stripper, save the world.

If August 1, 1914 had turned out different, this woman would've been just another
exotic entertainer; and not remembered as a bad spy who nonetheless inspired the contemporary character of "the femme fatale." Her real name was Margaretha Geertrulda "Grietje" Zelle but she danced (and not that well) under the Oriental moniker of "Mata Hari."

Lees verder:
http://harrykollatz.blogspot.com/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 04 Aug 2008 21:40    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Zondag 10 augustus, 10.00, Radio 1: In de VPRO-serie over geëxecuteerden een aflevering over Mata Hari. Kon weleens interessant worden als deze aflevering hetzelfde niveau heeft als de voorgaande.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Aug 2008 6:10    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Friday, August 08, 2008
The Battle of Amiens
August to November 11, 1918 is known as "The Hundred Days". The last days of World War I. But to many it is known as "Canada's Hundred Days" for during this time the Canadian Corps was the vanguard of the march to Mons and the end of the war.

It was slated to start Aug. 8 with an attack on an important position near Amiens. But, before that, a deception was played out. After the successes by the Canadian troops at Vimy and Passchendale the Germans had come to regard any movement by the Canadians as a sign of an imminent attack. Therefore, the head of the Canadian Corps, General Sir Arthur Currie, sent part of the corps north to Ypres. After making their presence known there they hurried back to Amiens. All preparations were done at night in great secrecy.

Starting the advance at 4:00 am, without the usual bombardment to soften up the enemy positions, the Germans were taken by surprise. Flanked on the right by the French and the Australians on the left, the Canadians followed the British tanks. By the third day the Canadians had advanced 12 miles. In a war where lines remained static for weeks on end this was a huge advance. It came at a cost though. The corps suffered 9074 casualties in those three days. But the morale of the German High Command was badly shaken. General Ludendorff said that Aug. 8 was the "black day of the German Army." And it wasn't to be the last one. Continuing with a series of innovative and daring attacks the Canadian Corps spearheaded a breakthrough of the mighty Hindenburg Line - Germany's main line of defence and on to Mons by the time of the Armistice.

Why do I have an interest in this particular battle? Part of the 3rd Division of the Canadian Corps was the 1 Patricias Canadian Light Infantry, and a soldier in that battalion was Private Ernest Boicey, who just happens to be my grandfather. He and his brother Wilfred had enlisted together in 1916 and were soon sent to France to join the fighting, though with different units.

It was on that first day of the battle during the crossing of the Luce River that the battalion came under enemy shelling. One soldier was killed and five others were wounded, including my grandfather. He was shipped back down the line and due to his injuries, and the after effects of a previous gas attack, he did not return to the fighting. He was eventually sent home, married and raised a family (including two sons who served in WWII and beyond), and worked in the civil service. He passed away in 1960, still feeling the effects of that late night gas attack.

Almost all of the veterans of the Great War have gone now. But that does not give us license to forget their sacrifices and I hope this little article gives someone the incentive to learn more about our brave countrymen.

© http://hespeler.blogspot.com/2008/08/battle-of-amiens.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 22 Aug 2008 19:01    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

http://beeldenplukker.wordpress.com/

Met een paar schitterende foto's van Ieper!
Prachtig gewoon.
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BerichtGeplaatst: 23 Aug 2008 6:20    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

To The Death

We spent yesterday in the painfully beautiful and painfully touristed town of St. Paul de Vence.

Nearby is the far more interesting (and far less touristed) town of La Colle-sur-Loup.

It is smaller, has missed the tourist crush for some reason, and a lot more pleasant.

At the center of town is one of those World War I memorials that France is full of, and generally no one spends any time looking at. It lists the dates 1914-1918 on the top, and then has a long list of engraved names.

Les mortes sur guerre

Normally one tends to give these things a pass, but if you take a moment to look, they tell a terrifying story.

There are more than 60 names on the list of those killed between 1914-1918. There are no reliable census number that I can find for this small town from 1914, but the nearby village of Les Beaux lists 450, so I would guess that La Colle sur Loup must have been of about similar size.

60 dead from a village of 450, all within 4 years.

In essence, an entire generation of young, marriagable men must have been wiped out almost at once.

At the Battle of Verdun (1916), there were more than 250,000 dead and more than 1 million wounded. And this was one battle of a four year war. The French suffered 161,000 dead at Verdun. By the time the war was over, France would count nearly 1.7 million dead.

11% of France’s entire population were killed or wounded in the First World War. That would the equivalent of the US taking 33 million casualties in Iraq.

This is an astonishing number. The carnage must have been incomprehensible. And the impact - the loss of an entire generation for all practical purposes - massive. Even in small villages like this.

How did it happen? How did it happen that so many died?

A great deal of it has to do with the ramifications of technology outpacing thinking. The First World War saw the introduction of the machine gun. A killing machine. Just push the button. Military planning in those days was a remnant of a far earlier era. Two lines of soldiers marching towards each other with sabre and horses. Success on the battle field had more to do with elan and courage. Bravery in the face of death!

All pointless.

Line after line of brave French soldiers marched into the meatgrinder of machineguns only to be mowed down before they had advanced more than a few inches.

Line after line.

Yet it went on and on and on.

General Petain became famous at Verdun for the line “they shall not pass”. And so the killing machine continued for four bloody years, largely because technology arrived ahead of thinking.

This is not at all unusual.

The expression ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ is completely wrong.

Invention arrives first, unbidden and generally badly understood. Knowledge of how to use the invention and what it means comes much later.

The Internet is sort of the same.

Its impact of old ways of thinking is just now being felt. Old ways of working, of gathering and distributing information and content no longer work. Old ways of monetizing transactions increasingly no longer make sense. But just as the generals in France kept throwing young men into battle in lines because they could not think really of anything else to do; so too do those who lead major companies facing a similar technology that they just cannot really comprehend.

Those memorials all over France to the 1.7 million dead in the First World War are more than just a memorial to the men who were killed. They are also reminders of our human instinct to resist change to stick with what we know.. even to the death.

http://rosenblumtv.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/technology-and-death/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 23 Aug 2008 21:00    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

It’s not so much that people forget the past as that they’ve never known about it in the first place.

Of course, the past can never demand that we remember it, since it’s no longer there. Only from the vantage of the present can anyone insist on the value of the past.

Still, social institutions, and the common social attitudes and behaviors related to those institutions, form the ground from which most activity and thinking in the present takes place, and because those institutions come from the past, the past greatly shapes not only what we think but even what we can imagine. The past is the only point of comparison we have for anything taking place in the present. In some cases the past remains literally active, in the way for instance outdated laws remain enforceable or landmines can remain deadly in a field long after a war has ended. Anything that we experience or believe we know will always be connected to what others we have encountered have experienced or believe they know, which is to say, connected to the past.

But there is very little in the past that requires us to recognize this connection. It’s easy to know little or nothing about anything that has happened to anybody else at any time. The insistence of many people on the moral significance of the past (from whatever perspective) hardly means that the significance they insist upon will be recognized by others.

There’s also nothing about the past that requires we remember it in the way people in the past remembered the past. There’s nothing that automatically determines what our connection to the past must mean in the present. In the present, one can choose to think about the past or not, and one can choose to think about it in the way one chooses. And although even the possible range of choices is greatly shaped by the past, it’s not controlled by it.

Still, there are certain features of the past more likely to impress themselves upon the present, simply because more people in the present feel a connection to that feature of the past, or because a few people feel that connection very strongly and make it known. Connections of this kind can also include a powerful need to reject some particular idea or moment from the past, although such rejection often calls simultaneously for remembering. The most obvious examples are genocides, which we are often called to remember so that they never happen again.

Two common social tendencies now are for people to believe in the values they claim the past represents or to judge the past’s limitations. Both use the past as a ground for assertions about the present. It’s only a truism to say that we can tell a lot about a given society from how people in it think about the past. Nonetheless, mainly, at this time, the past is treated as something to believe in or to critique. As, that is, progress, which can only be positive or negative, something to be for or against, in various ways and degrees.

What seems easiest to neglect about the past is therefore not the dominant paradigms of how people understood themselves in some particular place in time, or how the past looks from the vantage of the most commonly shared paradigms in the present for judging the failures of the past. The first is true because many people still understand themselves in a way close to those past dominant paradigms, and the second because people’s desire to imagine a future different from the past leads them to highlight what seems the past’s greatest shortcomings.

Instead, it is the subtle shifts in how the past becomes the present, or how a part of the past fails to survive into the present, thus making the present irretrievably different from the past, that today are easiest to know nothing about, since such instances may not constitute either a support of past values or a critique of them.

What often gets lost therefore is the strangeness of the past and the strangeness of the present and how the strangeness of the past changes into the strangeness of the present. Believing in the past, or critiquing it, often become ways of normalizing the strangeness of past and present. Often there is a particularity and oddity about the past that resists human paradigms for understanding it. Our concepts of history can never fully reclaim the past, but instead shape what we choose to think of as significant about it. The rest vanishes, until a time when someone thinks of it as significant again.

I’ve been considering the strangeness of the past, and how it becomes the strangeness of the present, and how easy it is not to know about any of that, while reading Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory (thanks to Clint Burnham for suggesting it to me). The book explores changes in behavior and thinking caused by World War I, mainly but not exclusively those changes that occurred in British life. Here are some of the strange elements of the past that Fussell mentions that I had not forgotten but never known, although now that I do know them they seem telling more than surprising. All of them have in them something of the strangeness of the past, although none are too strange to be understood.

“Now volunteers were no longer sufficient to fill the ranks. In October Lord Derby’s ‘scheme’—a genteel form of conscription—was promulgated, and at the beginning of 1916, with the passing of the Military Service Act, England began to train her first conscript army, an event which could be said to mark the beginning of the modern world.” (11)

“Another index of the prevailing innocence” [before WWI] “is a curious prophylaxis of language. One could use with security words which a few years later, after the war, would constitute obvious double entendres. One could say intercourse, or erection, or ejaculation without any risk of evoking a smile or a leer. Henry James’ innocent employment of the word tool is as well known as Browning’s artless misapprehension about the word twat. Even the official order transmitted from British headquarters to the armies at 6:50 on the morning of November 11 1918, warned that ‘there will be no intercourse of any description with the enemy.’” (23)

“As these examples suggest, there were ‘national styles’ in trenches as in other things. The French trenches were nasty, cynical, efficient, and temporary. Kipling remembered the smell of delicious cooking emanating from some in Alsace. The English were amateur, vague, ad hoc, and temporary. The German were efficient, clean, pedantic, and permanent.” (45)

“The 1916 image of never-ending war has about it, to be sure, a trace of the consciously whimsical and the witty hyperbolic. But there is nothing but the literal in this headline from the New York Times for September 1, 1972: U.S. AIDES IN VIETNAM/SEE AN UNENDING WAR. Thus the drift of modern history domesticates the fantastic and normalizes the unspeakable. And the catastrophe that begins it is the Grear War.”

© http://wallacethinksagain.blogspot.com/2008/01/leaning-golden-virgin-at-albert.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Sep 2008 6:27    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Reisblog:

We left Bruges on Monday morning and travelled to an area in south west Belgium (Flanders) where there are a number of war memorials and cemeteries. The Germans invaded Belgium in WW1 and the town of Ypres (Ieper) was a barrier to their advance towards Calais in France. From there they would only have had to cross the Channel to access England. Ypres, a town we visited within the Flanders region, was ‘wiped off the map’ during four year of battle there. After the war everything had to be re-built, so while it all looks really old, it was actually that the town was re built to what it had been as closely as possible.

Prior to heading into Ypres itself we went to Tyne Cot Cemetery which is the largest Commonwealth War Cemetery in terms of the number of troops actually buried there (almost 12,000). 8,365 of the burials are unidentified. This is from the First World War alone. All the Commonwealth grave headstones are the same size, white and inscribed with the soldier’s name, rank etc but if they are unidentified, the words “A Soldier of the Great War”, and then “Known Unto God” are inscribed - there were far too many of these.

At the cemetery there is also the Tyne Cot Memorial which bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. From a distance it just looks like a white wall, but up close up there are seemingly countless, row upon row of names.

There was an information centre which had all sorts of letters, newspaper articles and the like. It was fascinating to read - especially the way in which the army officials communicated with the troops’ loved ones re their deaths or believed deaths. While they did offer condolensces it wasn’t very compassionate. And how awful to receive a letter in the mail saying something to the effect of ‘missing, believed dead’. I imagine it would have been very difficult to accept.

We drove passed Hill 62 which is just outside of Ypres which was of strategic importance in the War as it was a small area of elevated land in a flat landscape, and afforded whoever had control over the area (this changed multiple times during the War) great views of what was occuring nearby.

Nearby is a museum, which I don’t know the name of - I think it’s not promoted by the locals because they are unahppy at how wealthy the guy who runs it has become and feel he should ’share’ the items he has in his museum with the town. According to our tour guide, this guy’s family bought the land after the war finished as he realised he could make a lot of money. The family retrieved all sorts of items from the fields and they have also left some trenches as they were, so we got to see those, which were generally fairly narrow. There are large cavaties in the ground which are the result of craters blown by mines during the war. You wouldn’t get a museum like this back home due to public liability insurance. We went into one room that had all sorts or rusty metal objetcts, odd shoes, belts etc, which were simply heaped into a pile in the middle of the room.

We stopped in the town of Ypres itself for about an hour and a half. It was not quite long enough to do much, and we were pretty exhausted anyway. We got something to eat - something savoury and then another waffle. We had a walk around the Grote Markt, and enjoyed the views of the Cloth Hall - this was around in the 13th centrury, and you guessed it, was the main market and warehouse for a prosperous Belgium cloth industry. It was ruined during the War, but like the rest of town was re-built. It has a 70metre high Belfry tower which in the past has been used as a watch-tower, and has also housed the town archives, a treasury, an armory and a prison. Here’s a random story for you as per our tour guide - he told us that in the past the locals would throw cats off the belfry because of the perceived association they had with black magic. In Belgium they love their festivals, and in the present day they commemorate the past cat throwing acts with a festival every three years that involves them tossing stuffed toy cats from the tower.

While in town we went for a wander to the Menin Gate, which is a huge white ‘gate’ / arch at the entrance of the town. This is a memorial that commemorates the ‘missing’ - Commonwealth troops who had been killed in the fighting in and around Ypres who had no known graves. It is inscribed with the names of 54,896 British and Commonwealth troops. There are so many names, they are listed all over the wall. Sadly, there are more names that could not fit on the Menin Gate - and literally every spare space on the Gate has names recorded on it. So for the ‘missing’ men who died between 1917 and the end of the war, their names (34,984 men) are recorded on panels at Tyne Cot Cemetery which I mentioned above. It was a poignant experience. I was already well aware that many lives were lost in the war, but atcually seeing so many names was just incomprehendable.

Every night of the year, without exception, the road is closed to traffic, and this has happened “since 1928, at precisely eight o’clock, the Last Post - the traditional salute to the fallen warrior - has been played under the Menin Gate Memorial in Ieper, Belgium. This daily tribute - perfomed by a team of local buglers - serves to honour the memory of the soldiers of the British Empire, who fought and died in the immortal Ypres Salient during the First World War”. I cannot cite this properly other than to say that it comes straight out of one of the flyers I picked up about ‘battlefield tours’ in Flanders.

© http://www.outofroutine.com/2008/09/belgium-day-three/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Sep 2008 6:35    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

There is a school of thought that says the French lost WW2 at the WW1 Battle of Verdun 30 years earlier. Everything you've heard about the hellishness of WW1 happened at Verdun. And French leadership was seen as callously throwing away thousands upon thousands of young French lives on pointless counterattacks and defense of valueless terrain. Leaders were accused of breaking the army through their flawed strategy. Its spirit (not to mention numbers and resources) still hadn't recovered when the next war rolled around. And Pétain refused to reenact anything like Verdun again in the 40's so he lead the capitulation.


© http://craigbobinparis.blogspot.com/2008/09/reminders-everywhere.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 07 Sep 2008 6:59    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Reisblog, eens andere foto's:
http://svelterogue.multiply.com/photos/album/213/Ieper_Day_1#
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BerichtGeplaatst: 20 Sep 2008 5:35    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Chapel Allerton Hospital

Chapel Allerton Hospital was originally built as Gledhow Grove in the 1830's, it was designed by the architect John Clark. Chapel Allerton Hospital was opened in May 1927 by HRH Princess Mary.
The hospital, run by the Ministry of Pensions, was built in response to the continuing needs of the thousands of servicemen who suffered grievous wounds during the 1914-1918 war. By the 1970s, serious concern was being expressed at the state of parts of the hospital, total closure was one option discussed.
The Grade II listed mansion has been left derelict since 1994.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/phill_dvsn/2865639845/in/set-72157594569093407/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Okt 2008 6:56    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Travel to teach your kids: what my daughter learned in Belgium’s Flanders Fields

There is much more to Belgium than eating great chocolate, swilling down handcrafted beer and buying lace tablecloths.

As a history enthusiast, I’ve always been interested in a little-known story from World War One that partly occurred in Ieper, in far western Belgium (the main town has one name spelled two ways - the French “Ypres” or the preferred “Ieper,” in deference to that area’s Flemish heritage.)

There is no lack of charm to Ieper; many wealthy medieval cloth guilds spent fabric and button profits erecting gorgeous buildings. What is extraordinary is that most of what you see was painstakingly rebuilt after 1918 by the determined townsfolk themselves. They had been left with an artillery-ravaged wasteland after German and Allied forces mercilessly pounded the same real estate over and over again; not much was left but mud puddles, pockmarked walls and gaping holes.

My parents and I took my preteen daughter there to learn more about World War One (which tore the Victorian/Edwardian era apart and ushered in the Modern Age) and to hear stories like the December 1914 Christmas truce between German, British, French and Belgian soldiers, when arms were spontaneously laid down across parts of the Western Front.

Although I’m a Navy veteran and have made it my business to study military history, I was not interested in my kid’s ability to recite the tactical differences between troop movements during the 2nd Battle of the Marne and the 3rd Battle of Ypres/Passchendaele, and frankly I can’t do that, either.

We were going for the big picture on war and some immersion into history.

Visual aids before a trip are usually helpful with children, so together we watched the classic WWI movie “All Quiet on the Western Front,” based on German Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 anti-war novel. This award-winning film was quite controversial when it was released in 1930, mostly because there was nothing glossy or sentimental in its scathing portrayal of overly enthused civilians who thought war was some sort of grand adventure.

I also explained the importance of “In Flanders Fields.”

It is a poem written in a bloodied dressing station after seventeen straight days of battle, by Canadian doctor John McCrae. My grandmother was so impressed by the words that she cut it out of a magazine and put on her kitchen wall, where for decades I saw it hanging in the Texas heat…

“In Flanders Fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place; and in the sky, the larks, still bravely singing, fly –scarce heard amid the guns below….”

For you and your family to grasp the enormity of the First War’s impact on this part of Belgium and upon the history of Europe, I have three recommendations:

* See the extraordinarily well-conceived and creative Flanders Fields museum in Ieper. It is a comprehensive multimedia, multi-language overview of the battles, their effect on the local Belgian populace and the sacrifices of the approximately 730,000 soldiers on both sides, both named and unknown, who were casualties between 1915 and 1917. Be forewarned about seeing the museum with young children, however; the section that attempts to recreate trench warfare sounds and atmosphere is so realistically done that it can be very upsetting.

* Take advantage of a guided tour of the memorials, cemeteries and even the deceptively peaceful fields in Flanders. My daughter, her grandparents and I went to the very spot where McCrae wrote his poem; a lovely little hollow next to the highway with a commemorative plaque. We were the only U.S. people in a group with Salient Tours, in a minivan crowded with friendly British and Canadian visitors who had come to learn more about the Great War that took so many of their ancestors.The voluble and knowledgeable young British tour guide (on leave from his university) took us to the McCrae site, several key battle lines and a preserved area with an original trench that you can walk through. We also saw a few of the over 120 local cemeteries honoring the war dead, including a somber German burial ground; the guide commented wryly that it was “typically German and well-organized, with the only clean and functional toilets found at any of the cemeteries.”

* Attend the Last Post. The ceremony has been held nightly at 8 pm (with a four year break for the Second World War) since 1929 by the local Ieper fire brigade. Rain or shine, the volunteer buglers take their positions at the Menin Gate, a large commemorative arch over a local road. While the police stop all traffic, the plaintive notes of Last Post, the British equivalent of “Taps,” echo off of the memorial’s engraved walls. The carved names, sorted by regiment, are of the over 50,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died but were never found. That means that not enough of those men were ever collected to actually bury in one of the 120 cemeteries.The names cover the entire smooth surface of the Menin Gate. “Missing, believed killed.”

We also attended a funeral.

Yes, even today the Belgians are still digging up bits and pieces of those whose names are lost to history (to say nothing of the artillery shells and weaponry that they regularly turn up after a good plowing. Consider that 3000 guns fired four and a quarter million shells in the ten day bombardment prior to the 3rd Battle of Ypres.) Our tourguide learned that three remains had been recovered and were to be buried within an hour, so with the group’s concurrence (and my daughter’s curiosity about a funeral held almost eighty-five years after the Armistice) we diverted from the tour route and went to a tiny country cemetery.

So little remained of the fallen that they were each contained in a small, neat pine hatbox-sized container. A local Anglican priest came to the grave site to offer traditional words, and several Army representatives traveled from Britain to represent the men’s military unit, because insignia had been found to indicate that they had been with a Welsh regiment. It was a peaceful, sunny day as we watched the soldiers finally put to rest, and it helped bring a bit of closure to the countless stories my child had heard about those who were never found.

But let’s address the obvious….why the heck do you want to take a young person to see a battlefield? Or any less-than-pleasant destinations like Oświęcim in Poland, better known as the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp? Clearly, such things can only be carefully shown and explained to mature children who are old enough to handle it, and that is an adult’s judgment call.

There are positive aspects to helping our youth learn how to grapple with the great issues of human existence, which unfortunately includes fundamental questions of why people sometimes kill each other. Children will become citizens and make voting decisions about weighty questions of war and when/whether to commit to it.

In view of the ongoing hostilities today, I cannot think of a more worthwhile journey to make with your kids than to Flanders Fields.

(Portions of this post ran as an article in the March/April 2007 issue of Transitions Abroad magazine. It won an Honorable Mention in the 2007 Solas Awards for travel writing)

Accommodations: We stayed with charming Annette Linthout (who also conducts personal battlefield tours) at the Camalou Bed & Breakfast, 351 Dikkebusseweg, 8908 Ieper, Belgium. Telephone +32 (0)57 204 342. Web site: http://www.camalou.com .

The best WWI online educational information that I’ve found is this British Web site, which includes video clips like German troops marching into Brussels and music files of “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”: http://www.firstworldwar.com/

http://www.familytravellogue.com/travel-to-teach-your-kids-what-my-daughter-learned-in-belgiums-flanders-fields.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 09 Okt 2008 8:02    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

The Great War Blog
http://www.re-enactandskirmish.com/thegreatwarblog/the-great-war/why-do-you-think-they-called-world-war-1-the-great-war
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BerichtGeplaatst: 15 Okt 2008 8:52    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

A Lucky Country
I can walk to work from a few different directions and I took a detour and headed south on LaSalle street. Just north of the Chicago River there is a refurbished office building with a large photo essay on the Eastland disaster. The S.S. Eastland was a passenger ship that capsized in 1915 and killed 845 passengers along the Chicago River (near where this building stands today). The exhibit is called “A Day Unlike Any Other”.

What does this essay say about America, and why are we “A Lucky Country”? As a history buff, when I see any date from the time period 1914-1918 only one thing leaps to mind - World War One. While the United States did participate in World War One, we declared war in 1917 and only had sizable forces on the ground for the 1918 German spring offensive and the subsequent Allied counterattack.

Thus while 1915 is “A Day Unlike Any Other” (and even the wikipedia page on this date, July 24, points to the Eastland disaster) in America, let’s put this in perspective.

According to the time line of World War One (a great service by wikipedia) for the year 1915, here were events near that date:

- the British and the Turkish forces fought “The Battle of Gully Ravine“, one of the brutal battles in the ill-fated invasion of Gallipoli pennisula, battles so intense that they helped to weld together the Australian and New Zealand nations and are still mourned as part of “Anzac Day”
- the Italians and Austrians (a German ally) fought pointless battles in the unforgiving terrain of the mountains that separated the two countries “The Second Battle of the Isonzo“. These DOZEN battles caused terrific casualties on both sides and were in a stalemate until the Germans intervened in 1917 in the rout at Caporetto which was part of Hemmingways “A Farewell to Arms”
- At this time the Russians began “The Great Retreat” of 1915 which had them leave Poland and Eastern Europe - their 1914 offensive had ended in a German victory (but had likely saved Britain and France from defeat because the Germans panicked and sent forces Eastward, weakening their thrust towards Paris). The amount of ground that was covered in this retreat is vast and hard to contemplate today given the primitive roads and infrastructure that existed at that time
- during this exact date the Western front armies, the British, French and Germans, were exhausted from their 1914 battles. The British were preparing for the Battle of Loos, which occurred in September 1915, featuring the first British use of poison gas (which fell back on their own lines) and typical WW1 slaughter for virtually no gain. In the notes in Wikipedia they refer to a movie about this battle called “Oh What a Lovely War” and per Wikipedia:

“The battle was referenced in the film Oh What a Lovely War. During the upbeat title song, sung by the chorus of officers, a scoreboard is plainly seen in the background reading “Battle Loos/ British Losses 60,000/ Total Allied Losses 250,000/ Ground Gained 0 Yards”.

Thus at the time that Chicago and all the US was contemplating the Eastland disaster, the Anzacs were dying on the shores of Gallipoli, the Italians were locked in the second of twelve pointless battles along Austria-Hungary’s borders, the Russians were ceding virtually all of Eastern Europe in an enormous retreat, and the British and French were preparing for another slaughter in the West featuring poison gas, trench warfare, huge casualties, and nil results.

That is why we are a lucky country.

Cross posted at LITGM
http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/6306.html
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BerichtGeplaatst: 19 Okt 2008 21:36    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Class trip

As the rain came down harder, more people in our group grumbled. When we arrived in Iepers, Belgium for our class trip, the sky above us opened up, began to spill out its contents and it hadn’t run out of supplies yet.
The rain hardly fazed us when we first arrived. We were too busy hunting for authentic Belgian waffles and making ourselves sick from all the chocolates we ate. But as night began to fall, we all noticed as the puddles grew larger and as the cold wind grew sharper when it cut through our jackets. The weather was miserable, and we were in no mood for learning.
Despite our need to be inside, warm and maybe sipping a Belgian hot chocolate, we were at the Menin Gate Memorial. Though we had visited early in the day and learned its significance — it holds the names of 55,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers whose bodies were never recovered in World War I — we couldn’t quite understand why we were back, especially in this weather.
We had already visited the In Flanders Field Museum, located in the middle of Iepers main square. There, we not only found the rest of John McCrae’s moving poem, but we learned what the war really was, especially in Iepers. Here, in this Belgian town, British and German troops — along with some French, Canadian and New Zealand soldiers — had fought perpetual battles in the muddy fields. If they didn’t perish in the battle or disappear into the mud, they lived the life of the trenches, a condition that wasn’t much more favorable.
As wrong as it was, all these soldiers’ sufferings slipped out of our heads as we suffered ourselves in the rain. It was only when I almost slipped in a mud puddle myself that I realized how fitting it was — that we should be in Iepers on such a terrible night. While we had umbrellas and jackets to cover ourselves, these soldiers just sank lower in the trenches and prayed the rain would stop. While we knew that we had a home to return to — either our hostel, back to London or back to America — they didn’t know if they would ever return to the place they considered home. In fact, some of them suspected they would never see that beloved place again.
And it wasn’t just those soldiers that suffered. We finally realized that we hadn’t just returned to the Menin Gate for another look around, but we had come to witness “The Last Post” — a ceremony that has taken place every night at 8:00 p.m. in Iepers since the year 1928. Even tonight, when no one wanted to venture into the wetness, hundreds of people came to witness this ceremony. Family members or fellow school mates of lost soldiers came to remember their brothers. They all brought red poppy wreaths as a tribute to the soldiers; the poppy became a symbol during the war of the soldiers — to some it represents courage, to others, suffering. Local officials sounded the bugle and the crowd grew silent, watching as each group walked forward and placed their wreath against the Menin Gate.
The rain continued to fall during the ceremony. Even though we were under the Menin Gate, water fell through the three large holes at the top. But, even as a shivered, I was glad it rained in Iepers. If nothing else, our group got the tiniest taste of what these young men suffered.

http://blogs.iesabroad.org/sarah-harste/a-night-in-iepers-belgium/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 22 Okt 2008 7:51    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Captain Jonas and the Menin Gate

Last weekend, I visited Ypres in Flanders, to see various museums, cemeteries, battlefields and memorials. One of the most striking features was the Menin Gate, at the Eastern exit of the town, built on the road along which hundreds of thousands of troops passed on their way to the front during 1914-1918. The triumphal arch designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield and opened on 24 July 1927, is one of five memorials to the missing soldiers who died in WWI and whose bodies were never recovered. There are 54,896 names incised in the memorial’s ‘Hall of Memory’, including British, Canadian, Australian, Indian and South African troops who died before 16 August 1917. A further 34,984 missing servicemen killed after that date are recorded on the Tyne Cot memorial.

I wanted to make my visit to the Menin Gate and my remembrance of the missing WWI casualties more personal. So from the vast list of names, I chose to look for information on one soldier, Captain Frank Charlton Jonas of the 1st Battalion, Cambridgeshire Regiment. For this I used the CWGC website, UKNIWM search and the Channel 4 website’s name search.

Captain F C Jonas is commemorated twice in Duxford, the village where he lived with his wife in the old rectory and where his parents, George and Jane Jonas, owned a farm. The Duxford village memorial celtic cross was unveiled in 1920 (before the Menin Gate was completed), and can be found on the village green. The names on this memorial are ordered by rank and as Captain Jonas was the highest ranking casualty from the village, he is listed at the top. There is also a plaque within Duxford Church, dedicated solely to Captain Jonas, which informs us that he was killed aged 36, on 31st July 1917, near St Julien. St Julien, just North East of Ypres, was recaptured on 31st July 1917, by the 13th Royal Sussex Regiment, during the third battle of Ypres as part of the Flanders offensive. During the offensive, heavy rains and shelling destroyed the drainage system in the Ypres Salient, creating a swamp like terrain. This meant that over 125,000 casualties, including Captain Jonas, were never found.

Captain Jonas has also been commemorated on several memorials in Ely Cathedral, including on one of the 16 beautifully painted oak panels in the Chapel of St George. Here his name can be found under his home village. Within the chapel is a window dedicated to all ranks of the Cambridgeshire Regiment. The corresponding roll of honour, placed on a bracket just inside the chapel, contains 864 names, one of which should be Captain Jonas.

It was interesting to discover so much detailed information about Captain Jonas from the selection of war memorials commemorating him here in the UK. Perhaps it is underestimated how much war memorials contribute to keeping the memories of casualties of war alive.

http://ukniwm.wordpress.com/2008/10/21/captain-jonas-and-the-menin-gate/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Nov 2008 8:31    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Harry and Passchendaele

Harry Dwight Corrigan was my grandmother’s brother. He was a soldier in the Canadian infantry in WWI. Harry died in the battle of Passchendaele in 1917. It was a futile and brutal battle that killed 1000 Canadian soldiers a day. I once found Harry’s burial information on a website. A Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan boy - he is buried in Belgium.

On November 6th, at 3:48 a.m., Harry’s name will be projected onto a wall for 8 seconds in London, Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto and Edmonton, as part of a WWI Vigil project that will bring him symbolically back from Europe to Canada. His name will be projected as one of 68,000 Canadian soldiers that died in WWI. I’m glad someone thinks he should be remembered and that his country hasn’t forgotten what he did. Information on this memorial project is at www.1914-1918.ca

I don’t know much about Harry, except he was a scamp who liked to tease his sisters and was ‘fond of putting the blame on others’, according to my father. He was best man at my grandparents wedding and signed their bridal book, which I still have. I know Harry was terribly missed by his family. Like true Victorians, they held seances to try to reach him after his death. Both my father and oldest brother were given his middle name Dwight. In the one picture of Harry, sitting with his sisters, I can see a kind of resemblance to my father - in his eyes and how he is looking at the camera.

Of Passchendaele, a British Lieutenant-General said, “Good God, did we really send men to fight in that?” There is currently a Canadian movie in theatres about it.

I’m glad to have a chance to think about Harry again, even though his name won’t be projected here in Vancouver. Rest in peace, Harry Dwight Corrigan.

http://lavenderleaf.wordpress.com/2008/10/31/harry-and-passchendaele/
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BerichtGeplaatst: 01 Nov 2008 9:10    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Benner Family World War One - Canada

This blog follows a Canadian family of five brothers through the war years of 1914 to 1918. Their lives and contributions are chronicled by their letters sent to one another from around the world. The 'current events' were published by the Aylmer Express Newspaper. “In after years when this you see, I wonder what your name will be?” Mary's 'Friendship' poem.

http://canadaworldwarone.blogspot.com/2008/10/first-battle-of-ypres.html
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