Allied Australian troops walk through the remains of Chateau Wood, Passchendaele 29 October 1917. © IWM E(AUS) 1220.
Today – 31 July – marks one hundred years since the start of the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres, 31 July – 10 November 1917), Britain’s major offensive against German forces in the Flanders region of Belgium.
The ultimate aim was to liberate the occupied Channel ports to the north of Ypres, neutralising the U-boat threat to North Sea shipping and take the pressure off…
Source: Remembered: The Battle of Passchendaele | Heritage Calling
Only hours after being awarded the French Légion d’honneur, British Lieutenant Reginald Warneford was killed in an aeroplane crash on the 17th of June, 1915. A 1919 painting depicting the moment th…
Source: On this day: the death of a war hero | In Times Gone By…
Will’s cigarette card from the First World War. The reverse reads: ‘As in peace time, the flag of Britain’s mercantile marine flies over two-thirds of the shipping which plies the ocean. Ship after ship is coming over the seas, bringing food and raw materials…’ © Mark Dunkley.
One hundred years ago today on 1 February 1917, Germany resumed its policy of ‘unrestricted submarine warfare.’ The seas around the British Isles were declared a war zone in which fishing vessels …
Source: Britain on the Brink of Starvation: Unrestricted Submarine Warfare | Heritage Calling
100 years ago today, on 19th January 1917 at 6.52pm, a catastrophic explosion at the Brunner Mond and Company’s high explosive TNT factory in Silvertown, East London killed 73 people and injured hu…
Source: The Silvertown Tragedy: Explosion on the Home Front | Heritage Calling
Percy Francis was fascinated by flying. Today it would not be unusual, but this was 1911. Powered flight was only a few years old and the primitive machines that clawed their way into the sky were incredibly dangerous. But Percy loved it. By 1911 he was by his own account ‘involved in aeronautical research’, and in 1912 he was an official of the London Aero Club helping to run…
Source: The Sunday Living History Interview – Percy Francis, Royal Flying Corps -Grandfather of Geoff and Gordon Le Pard | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life
July 1st 2016 marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. The first day of the battle remains the most costly single day in British military history with around 20,000 deaths, and a further 40…
Source: Songs of desolation I | MusiCB3 Blog
From July to November 1916, one of the bloodiest battles, not just in the First World War, but in human history took place. For many, the Battle of the Somme truly symbolised the horrors of the Great War. The terrifying and brutal nature of trench warfare, the stalemate and tactics of attrition and death rates far beyond our comprehension today are all associated with the Somme. Over the course of the five months, over 400,000 men would be wounded or killed in the wet, muddy and disease ridden trenches of the Western Front.
The British were led by the now infamous and controversial figure of General Sir Douglas Haig who had previous military experience in Africa where he rose to prominence in the Sudan in 1898. Alongside him was…
Source: The Somme | GM 1914
FROM THE ARCHIVE
My maternal grandfather, Chandos Hoskyns was commissioned into The Rifle Brigade [Greenjackets] in 1914. During The Great War, he fought in Thessaloniki, Greece, and in the trenches of France from where he sent the following letter in which he tells his family about something surprising and unusual.
2nd Bn Rifle Bde.
25th Inf Bde.
Brit. Exp. Force
I hope you got my Xmas letter all right only I hear Grannie sent it on, the one thing I did not want done as I particularly wanted you all to get it together on Xmas day.
I am sending you the IVth Corps Xmas Card – rather a crude drawing I’m afraid but you’ll find it rather interesting as it has on it all the signatures of the other company officers. It will be rather nice to keep won’t it. E P Watts 53rd Sikhs (FF) is attached to us as second in command of the company. He is a topper. He is in the Indian Army (FF = Frontier Force) & as hard as nails.
I got a topping letter from Mr Gilbert at the same time as your last one. Just after I got it a frantic [?] note came from HQRS “Stand to arms at once!! this was in the trenches. Apparently an aeroplane of ours had been reconnoitring & had seen masses of G’s troops concentrating behind the village in front of us. Great excitement. That night patrols went out to find out what they could. One came back saying the Germans were cutting their own barbed wire entanglements to get through preparatory to making an attack. However nothing happened. On our right some miles away the line was heavily attacked. Later on a funny thing happened. A patrol went, (trembling in every limb) got quite close to the enemy and actually heard — (another thrilling instalment in our next issue) a man playing a penny whistle & man singing!
Well there is no more news to tell. We are resting now after 6 days running in trenches. By Jove the dirt – One almost walks about without meaning to.
Much love to all
I am indebted to Tony Allen of World War I Postcards for the use of both images.
Chandos Hoskyns was the son of Benedict and Dora Hoskyns of the Sicilian Earthquake feature.
Sarah Vernon © 20 June 2014
WAR TOYS FOR THE KIDS
Toy Makers Take Cue from War Now Raging, and Miniature Armies and Ordnance is in Style
Santa Claus will fill the stockings of Emporia boys and girls this year with guns, cannon, soldiers and warlike toys such as they never before have seen. It will be a military Christmas and the Emporia youngsters will fight the battles of the Argonne and Ypres like the real soldiers across the Atlantic, only the soldiers will be tin and the guns small and harmless.
The Emporia stores have their toys on display this week and in their big stock are many war implements. Miniature Krupp guns will slaughter tin soldiers in front of the fireplace Christmas Day, and the boys will imitate the Belgians and Germans with an assortment of…
Source: War Toys for Christmas: 1914-1917 | Mrs Daffodil Digresses
Originally posted on The July Crisis: 100 Years On, 1914-2014.
Leopold Count Berchtold
On 25 July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Leopold Count Berchtold (pictured), circulated a memoir to all Austro-Hungarian diplomatic missions. The memoir formed the basis of Austria-Hungary’s view of Serbia, and the Dual Monarchy’s rational during the July Crisis. From the Austro-Hungarian perspective, it lists the different forms of Serbian aggression endured since the beginning of the century, culminating in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife at Sarajevo. The following is part IV of the memoir.
Circular Note to the Austro-Hungarian Mission. Vienna, 25 July 1914.
A few months previously, research with regard to treasonable propaganda had been instituted on Luka Aljinovicz’s account. In the course of these investigations three witnesses had testified against Aljinovicz, who, they said had in 1913 received 100 dinar from the Narodna odbrana for purposes of propaganda, but more especially for an attempt upon the life of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and a secret student society had given him the same sum.
This shows how the criminal agitation of the Narodna odbrana was recently concentrated upon the person of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
All these facts lead to the conclusion that the Narodjia odbrana, and the elements hostile to Austria-Hungary grouped around it, had recently considered the…
via Austro-Hungarian Red Book: Count Berchtold to the Austro-Hungarian Mission, 25 July 1914 – Part IV | The July Crisis: 100 Years On, 1914-2014.