Off Topic WW1

Discussion in 'Sunderland' started by Mr 55p, Apr 13, 2021.

  1. Montysoptician

    Montysoptician Well-Known Member

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    Great pieces of family history that I am sure you treasure. My great uncle was killed at Zonnebeke in 1915 and buried at Potijze Cemetery, I have found quite a bit about him including his service record.
    My dad was a Regular Soldier joining in 1934 and lost a leg during WWII, I am fortunate that his first hand account of a large chunk of his service, including the day he was shot, is recorded on the Durham Light Infantry website.
     
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  2. Riever

    Riever Well-Known Member

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    I did a tour of Ypres and the Somme a couple of years ago - there are some really good tour guides who will take you exactly where you want to go.
    I did a bit of research on the Commonwealth War Graves website before I went and visited the graves of two great uncles both killed in France aged 22 and 23. Very poignantly and completely unplanned I visited the grave of the younger one exactly 100 years to the day that he was killed.
    The Menin Gate in Ypres is perhaps the most haunting place you will ever visit - there are 65,000 names on the gate of soldiers whose bodies were never found. They play the Last Post there at 8:00pm every night and has been for 100 years with the exception of when the Germans occupied again in the second world war. We were there for 3 nights, went to the Last Post every night and left in tears every night.
     
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  3. Draig

    Draig Well-Known Member

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    You should read the book 'Bloody Red Tabs' by Frank Davies and Graham Maddocks.

    It gives details of a couple of hundred officers of Brigadier General rank and above who were killed or wounded on the front lines of the western front.

    People think that generals only became casualties of shell fire, but there is a breakdown on pages 22/23 which says

    Of the 78 Generals who were killed in action, died of wounds or died as a result of active service:

    34 were killed by shellfire = 43%
    22 were killed by small arms fire = 28% (at least 12 were shot by snipers)

    3 Generals were drowned - 1 accidently, 1 inadvertently poisoned himself, 1 died from cholera,

    1 died as a result of a flying accident and 1 died from accidental injuries.

    The other 15 generals have no direct cause of death known - the authors suggest it being likely that the majority would have been killed by either shell fire or small arms fire.

    Whatever, it tends to dispel the idea that our generals kept themselves safely behind the lines.
     
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  4. The Norton Cat

    The Norton Cat Well-Known Member

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    Someone I worked with very briefly a few years ago left to work on a project excavating WWI sites in France and Belgium. I can't remember the exact details but I believe they found the remains of some ANZAC soldiers and were able to identify who they were. I've been trying to track down some information online about it in case anyone was interested but I can't find it. Anyway, this link about WWI archaeology might be interesting to some people
    https://www.theposthole.org/read/article/127
     
    #24
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  5. polyphemus

    polyphemus Well-Known Member

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    Anyone seeking an introduction to this part of our history could make a start by watching the film, Oh! What a Lovely War.
     
    #25
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  6. Class of 73

    Class of 73 Well-Known Member

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    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/...-blast-before-atomic-bombs-messines-world-war

    I watched a BBC documentary about the battle of Messines. The incredible feat to dig right under the noses of the Germans to plant such a huge amount of explosives, but it did make me weep! The work of the miners, with many I would imagine, from the NE, working in nightmarish conditions to dig the tunnels to get the explosives in place.
    It was said that, after all the deaths on both sides, we gained virtually nothing and it led to the tragic events of Passhendaele.
    Aye, Lest we Forget.
     
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  7. Brian Storm

    Brian Storm Well-Known Member

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    It's worth it mate. We should all do something like this as a matter of self development. Next I want to do a WW2q trip.

    We were based in the ardennes mate. Good central spot to access all related countries.
     
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  8. Montysoptician

    Montysoptician Well-Known Member

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    I will do it Bri, it's a bucket list item for me. I always planned to take my dad to Libya where he was wounded but by the time I could afford it, the political situation ruled it out.
     
    #28
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  9. Brian Storm

    Brian Storm Well-Known Member

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    I think I'm going to do the concentration camps. But I'm also wanting to go to some kind of gurkha museum. Not looked into it yet.
     
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  10. Montysoptician

    Montysoptician Well-Known Member

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    My daughter did Auschwitz, she was completely spooked by the experience. I reckon it would be too much for me, I'll see how I feel after I visit War Graves in France and Flanders
     
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  11. Draig

    Draig Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't advise it - especially not if they are interested in how things were really viewed during WW1 itself, rather than in the revisionist late 20s and 30s.

    Germany was seen as being a paragon of military planning and for development of effective novel tactics. Their pre-war plans didn't work and they couldn't break the western allies in 1914.

    Britain had never trained for a European war, yet the BEF and French fought the Germans to a trench warfare stalemate.

    Heck, the BEF forces at 1st Aisne hadn't been trained for trench warfare, didn't have any entrenching gear (they got picks and shovels from the farmsteads and dug shallow foxholes rather than trenches.

    Nobody, not even the Germans, knew how to break the deadlock on the western front - or it would have been done before the 1918 German spring offensive and the subsequent Allied 100 days campaign.

    In less than 4 years our BEF army went from 60k to 5million strong. We had to train all our NCOs and junior officers from scratch at the same time as training our troops. We had to gear our industry to make explosives, munitions and weapons in industrial quantities and using unskilled female labour.

    Without encountering the mass mutiny suffered by the French we had devised ways to look after our troops without breaking their morale. Feeding them, resting them and training them.

    The Somme wasn't due to be fought in July 1916 but 1st July was day 132 of the battle of Verdun and the French were desperate for pressure to be taken off them.

    By 1918 the BEF had grown to become the most technologically advanced army in Europe with a combined arms doctrine still in use today.
     
    #31
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  12. Makemstine Roger

    Makemstine Roger Well-Known Member

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    i saw a story about that on time team mate might not have been anzacs just cant remember only they were there
     
    #32
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  13. The Exile II

    The Exile II Well-Known Member

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    Commonwealth War Graves Commission are currently looking for volunteers for their Eyes On Hands On project, folks. Might interest one or two here.

    www.cwgc.org
     
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  14. The Norton Cat

    The Norton Cat Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I think there was a Time Team special on something like that.
    Time Team <grr>
     
    #34
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  15. rb92

    rb92 Well-Known Member

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    Arranging to head down to Belgium and Northern France in summer 2022 with my best mate.
     
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  16. Oldsandy

    Oldsandy Well-Known Member

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    There were more than a few generals who should have been shot. It makes my blood boil every time I read of the injustices inflicted on the ordinary squaddie by some senior officers.
     
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  17. Oldsandy

    Oldsandy Well-Known Member

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    Ordinary lads were looked upon as if they were **** by some officers. Thankfully it has changed these days I think. When I joined the army in the50s there were still some of them about and it gaulled me to have to stand to attention while they sneered at me as if I’d crawled out of a field latrine.
     
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  18. Oldsandy

    Oldsandy Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if the item on the list of executed for casting away arms is the one I read about. It is the only one for that offence. The account I read was as follows: a private soldier was blown up by a nearby shell explosion. He was knocked out but otherwise uninjured. Regaining consciousness he found himself alone, everyone else having retreated. Stunned, he looked about for his rifle but could not find it. Eventually he made it back to the British lines where he was stopped by a sergeant, who demanded to know where his rifle was and why was he absent from his unit. The private explained what had happened to the best of his recollection, which was still confused. The sergeant didn’t believe him and had him arrested. He was court-martial, found guilty of casting aside his weapon and of desertion, and executed. Incidentally, C.S.Forrester wrote an interesting book about General Haige (of the whiskey family) called The General.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
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  19. Mr 55p

    Mr 55p Well-Known Member

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    German Troops invading France or Belgium, 1914. An image of the sort of war everybody was expecting.

    Battle of Mons - The Germans learn quickly that war would change for ever. Weaponry had become more devastating. Modern warfare had begun.

    'Advancing at first in close column, "parade ground formation", the Germans made easy targets for the riflemen, who hit German soldiers at over 1,000 yards (910 m), mowing them down by rifle, machine-gun and artillery fire. So heavy was the British rifle fire throughout the battle that some Germans thought they were facing batteries of machine-guns.
    The German attack was a costly failure and the Germans switched to an open formation and attacked again. This attack was more successful, as the looser formation made it harder for the Irish to inflict casualties rapidly. The outnumbered defenders were soon hard-pressed to defend the canal crossings and the Royal Irish Fusiliers at the Nimy and Ghlin bridges only held on with piecemeal reinforcement and the exceptional bravery of two of the battalion machine-gunners. At the Nimy bridge, Dease took control of his machine gun after the rest of the section had been killed or wounded and fired the weapon, despite being shot several times. After a fifth wound he was evacuated to the battalion aid station, where he died. Private Sidney Godley took over and covered the Fusilier retreat at the end of the battle but when it was his time to retreat he disabled the gun by throwing parts into the canal then surrendered. Dease and Godley were awarded the Victoria Cross, the first awards of the First World War.'
     
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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  20. Mr 55p

    Mr 55p Well-Known Member

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    The newspaper boy Ned Parfett... Ned Parfett was killed during a German bombardment while serving in the British Army in France just days before the Armistice he was 22 years old...1896-1918
     
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