On the 1st of April 1815 a little boy was born in Kniephof, Prussia, a little boy destined to be known by history as “The Iron Chancellor”. A man around whom history would pivot, a man who would be the subject of many historical “What Ifs” with regard to his demise at the hands of the unstable “Kaiser Bill” and the path to World War I.
In wartime nations are often galvanised into frenzied action to innovate and invent in order to try to gain the upper hand in their struggle for survival. As well as technical innovation the language and grammer of war changes also. In this article we look at some of the terms, still in use today, that owe their origins to this conflict.
One of the most common myths about World War I was that ‘Most Soldiers Died’. The horrific stories and images from the front line all reinforce the idea that fighting in the trenches was one long bloodbath. However the fact is that nearly 9 out of 10 British ‘Tommies’ survived the trenches. But how?
In October 1914 the States of Guernsey decided to offer volunteers from the Militia to serve overseas. As part of the agreement to offer these men, these ‘sub-unit’s were to be kept together with a Guernsey identity. This is the story of one of those units the 9th Scottish Divisional Ammunition Column and teh Guernseymen that made it up.
At the outbreak of war in August 1914 the Guernsey the Militia was mobilised in order to free the Regular Army units of the garrison for overseas service. The States of Guernsey decided to offer volunteers from the Militia to serve overseas. The majority in 1915 went to the 16th Irish Division. This is their story.
During the Great War Hitler claimed that he was wounded on the Western Front and recalled that a British soldier pointed his gun at him and then deliberately did not fire. But who was this mysterious British Soldier ?
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.