Tag: WW1

History’s Greatest Nicknames

Reading time: 7 minutes
A browse through any military history book will no doubt bring up titles of famous officers, often bearing unusual, surprising, or sometimes downright hilarious nicknames. In many cases, it’s clear where the sobriquet originated, while other examples hold a less-obvious significance.

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COURAGE AND COMPASSION: A STRETCHER-BEARER’S JOURNEY FROM NO-MAN’S LAND AND BEYOND – BOOK REVIEW

His is the true story of a young Australian soldier whose life of opportunity was challenged by trauma and salvaged by strength.

Nelson Ferguson, from Ballarat, was a stretcher-bearer on the Western Front in France in World War I. He survived the dangers of stretcher-bearing in some of Australia’s most horrific battles: the Somme, Bullecourt, Ypres and Villers-Bretonneux. In April 1918, at Villers-Bretonneux, he was severely gassed. His eyes were traumatised, his lungs damaged. Upon his return home, he met and married Madeline, the love of his life, started a family, and resumed his career teaching art. But eventually the effects of the mustard gas claimed his eyesight, ending his career. Courageously enduring this consequence of war, he continued contributing to society by assisting his son and son-in-law in their stained-glass window business. Advances in medicine finally restored his sight in 1968, allowing him to yet again appreciate the beauty around him, before his death in 1976.

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Ireland and the Battle of The Somme

Reading time: 8 minutes
The Somme was the first great action by a British Army on a continental scale. It was the longest, bloodiest battle of World War One, a campaign lasting four and a half months, and fought over a twenty-mile front near the Somme. In February 1916 Allied commanders had decided to launch an infantry offensive there,

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First World War ambulance trains

Reading time: 6 minutes
The railways, and the men and women who worked on them, made a significant and varied contribution during the First World War. Some railwaymen joined up to fight, and others helped to run the railways in France and Belgium, delivering men and supplies to the front line. One requirement considered early on in 1914 was the necessity of having to treat sick and wounded servicemen urgently, and the task of moving them away from the Front to hospitals and other places of recuperation.

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Maths swayed the Battle of Jutland – and helped Britain keep control of the seas

Reading time: 5 minutes
If you’re about to fight a battle, would you rather have a larger fleet, or a smaller but more advanced one? One hundred years ago, on May 31 1916, the British Royal Navy was about to find out if its choice of a larger fleet was the correct one. At the Battle of Jutland – as the major naval battle of World War I is known in English – these choices were unusually influenced by mathematics.

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The Christmas truce, 1914

Reading time: 7 minutes
The Christmas truce of 1914 will generally conjure up images of opposing British and German soldiers walking calmly across No Man’s Land, exchanging gifts and playing football. These images have become reinforced via personal memoirs, dramatisations and films. This blog post in memory of the unofficial ceasefires which occurred during the Christmas period of December 1914 will use unit war diaries, from WO 95, to reflect upon the events that occurred on Christmas Day 1914, some of which were very contrasting.

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How Woodrow Wilson’s propaganda machine changed American journalism

Reading time: 8 minutes
When the United States declared war on Germany 100 years ago, the impact on the news business was swift and dramatic.

In its crusade to “make the world safe for democracy,” the Wilson administration took immediate steps at home to curtail one of the pillars of democracy – press freedom – by implementing a plan to control, manipulate and censor all news coverage, on a scale never seen in U.S. history.

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The debate on the origins of the First World War

Reading time: 5 minutes
The way historians have viewed the causes of WWI has changed in the hundred years since war broke out. This article explores the origins of the Great War.

How could the death of one man, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who was assassinated on 28 June 1914, lead to the deaths of millions in a war of unprecedented scale and ferocity? This is the question at the heart of the debate on the origins of the First World War. Finding the answer to this question has exercised historians for 100 years.

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