Wednesday the 18th of January 1871 was a bitter cold day. At noon, with the smell of smoke in the air from nearby Paris, burning under the Prussian siege and bombardment, a fateful gathering took place in the Palace of Versailles. An event that would play on the minds of the French 43 years later and help to propel Europe’s slide into World War I.
The First World War is a byword for mud, blood and slaughter on a huge mechanised scale. Men living in squalid trenches only tens of yards apart from each other would daily tear each other to pieces if they got the chance. So then, it is no wonder that the Christmas truce is one of the best-known moments of the WWI. Amid the industrial slaughter, here was a reminder of simple human decency.
World War I was supposed to be the “war to end all wars”. It was the first ‘modern mechanised war’ and a lot of myths about it have been built up over the years often by revisionist historians using ‘hind-sight’. Some of these so called “facts” are blinding us to the reality and we are in danger of belittling the experience of soldiers and civilians in this conflict. In this article we look at some of the bigee “facts” that are just plain wrong.
The British ‘Tommy’ going over the top to battle the evil Hun is synonymous with World War I and World War II but this slang term for the British soldier originated much earlier than this and is credited as being coined by one of Britain’s most famous Generals
Nothing epitomizes the First World War more than the trench. Trench warfare prevailed on the Western Front from 16 Sept 1914 up until the Germans launched their Spring Offensive on 21 March 1918, a staggering 4 and half years in which deadly, grinding attrition became the norm. Trenches stretched from the Franco-Swiss frontier in the south to the Flanders coast in the north, a distance of over 450 miles. But how did this situation come about?
The Battle of Mons marked the first battle between the British & German Armies in the First World War. It was a titanic struggle that threatened to completely overwhelm the small professional British Army in the hot summer of 1914.
The immediate trigger that led to the start of the Great War (or First World War as it was subsequently known) was, relatively, innocuous enough – another assassination in the volatile Balkans. However what followed quickly resolved itself into a direct causal sequence of mobilisations & declarations of war by all the major European countries in turn – like a line of toppling dominoes.
Guernsey and the other Channel Islands lived for hundreds of years right on the front line of conflict between Britain and France. Islanders had to train and be ready to fight to defend their homes at a moments notice. To do this a Guernsey Militia was formed. In this article we track it’s illustrious history.
“the war to end all wars” … that’s what it was called. No country in Europe was immune from its effects and Guernsey was no exception. In this article we look at the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry, Guernsey’s response to Britain’s call to arms.
The origins of a selection of some popular English expressions and sayings.