A rather lovely choral arrangement of “In Flanders Fields”.

(Source: Spotify)

Spectra… “echoes how the first world war affected all Londoners, but also how they and the rest of the country came together, standing united during those dark days.” [x]

There is a full-length Horrible Histories Frightful First World War episode up on BBC iPlayer. I always thought there wasn’t enough WWI in Horrible Histories, but it’s like they saved up all their LOLs and bundled them into one special episode just for me. *_*

There is a full-length Horrible Histories Frightful First World War episode up on BBC iPlayer. I always thought there wasn’t enough WWI in Horrible Histories, but it’s like they saved up all their LOLs and bundled them into one special episode just for me. *_*


I think the BBC may be on drugs. (From WWI Uncut)

WWI-themed questionnaire answering - Part II

11. Have you participated in [WWI] reenactment? What it was like? No.

12. Would you take part in [WWI] reenactment? In what era and as whom? No.

13. Something random about some random historical WWI person in a random era WWI.My great great uncle Bunty Lawrence was involved in the invention of the Drip Can Rifle that got the Aussies out of Gallipoli.

McCrae paused and gave [Bill Scurry] a friendly greeting. Scurry, a 20-year-old architectural modeller, said he had something that might be of interest. McCrae asked to see it. What Scurry had created, assisted by his 18-year-old mate ‘Bunty’ Lawrence (they had attended the same school and church and had arrived at Gallipoli only a month earlier), was an innovative contraption that enabled the rifle to fire by itself. [x]

14. Why you are interested in history WWI ( a silly question, eh)?  Funny story. I was watching the King’s Speech, and I just absolutely loved the aesthetic, especially the shabby, slightly magical quality of Lionel Logue’s treatment room. It got me inspired to think about the early 20th century as an inspiration for fantasy fiction.

Then I started researching, and WWI is just so much more interesting (morally ambivalent, nexus of old and new technology, the crumbling of empires) than WWII. Then I read Good-bye To All That and got invested in the poetry bros, and it was all downhill from there.

15. Were the history classes taught in an interesting way in your school/ college/ university? What would you do to improve them if you were the teacher / lecturer? I actually didn’t and don’t study history at University. Sad lack of MSc Feels About Doomed Officer Heroes course options.

(For interest — my formal qualifications are a melange of political science, English and economics)

16. Do you own some historical WWI item? ( coin, clothing, weapons, books, ect) If yes which one is your favourite? Eh, not really. I’m not a “stuff” person. Wouldn’t know what to do with it. 

17. What historical WWI item would you like to own? My father has a pastel sketch made of my great grandfather (who was in the RAAMC) in France, which I have staked a claim to.

18. Look at the clock and assume the numbers are forming historical year ( 17;58 would be 1758) What was / is / will be the world that year? Any event happened then or will happen?

Since 1529 is out of scope for WWI, I will instead say that on 14 May (i.e. the date as I am writing this) 1918, Germans attacked on a mile front south-west of Morlancourt and were met by fine counter-attacks by Australians. 14 May appears to have been a fairly quiet day in 1915, 1916 and 1917. *G*

19. Favourite historical WWI book?

Testament of Youth - Vera Brittain

WWI-themed questionnaire answering - Part I

Or, hah hah hah you thought you could constrain me to only answering the questions you cared about

1. Who is your favourite historical WWI person? Vera Brittain.

2. What is your country most famous for in history WWIInvading Turkey, failing miserably, and turning it into a big national day.

3. What is your country most infamous for in history WWI?  Being really badly behaved and ill-disciplined; giving pommy officers attitude.

4. Favourite historical WWI era? 3rd Ypres (whatever, yes I have a favourite phase of the war) and the 1920s aftermath.

5. Favourite [WWI]weapon? Mustard gas for affect, bayonet for effect

6. Military [WWI]unit? The Fifth Australian Division, because I will never stop being outraged by the Battle of Fromelles.

7. Historical WWI dressing, uniform or costume? Royal Welch Fusiliers’ “flash”.


Also the slouch hat:


8. What is the last thing you have read/ listened/ spoke with historical WWI reference? I rewatched Regeneration a couple of nights ago. It isn’t a very good film, but it does have Robert and Siegfried (and Wilfred) poetry bros, so.

9. Favourite historical WWI film? Eh, I’m going to go with The Awakening which is set in the 1920s so it slides in under the line. I don’t generally really like WWI films. I’m fussy that way.

10. Pieces of [WWI] art ( paintings, sculpures, lithographies, ect.) related to history you like most ( post an image of them)


(John Singer Sargent)

My personal runners and servants were usually chosen for their looks; indeed this tendency in war to have the prettiest soldiers around one was observable in many other officers; whether they took more advantage than I dared of this close, homogenous, almost paternal relationship I do not know.

J.R. Ackerley, My Father and Myself.

This is a mildly distracting album to listen to while studying (multivariate regression who am I why did this happen to me), but ain’t sorry not changing.

(Source: Spotify)

Thousands of West Indians volunteered to join the British army, hoping that if they showed their loyalty to the King they would show they had the right to be treated as equals.

In 1915, British West Indies Regiment was formed by grouping together the Caribbean volunteers. Arriving in the war zone, they found that the fighting was to be done by white soldiers, and that West Indians were to be assigned the dirty and dangerous work of loading ammunition, laying telephone wires and digging trenches. Most of them went to war without guns.

The Black Soldier’s Lament, showed the bitterness with which this was experienced:

"Stripped to the waist and sweated chest
Midday’s reprieve brings much-needed rest

From trenches deep toward the sky.
Non-fighting troops and yet we die.”


Major problems of discrimination were to be found in the practical application of army regulations in an environment in which stereotypes of race and class were prevalent. Even though the army structure and system of accountability did in many instances eventually vindicate the rights of all soldiers, adjustment into army life was usually more difficult and precarious for the black soldier than for his white counterpart because of racism. [x]

Soldiers from the West Indies served in many theatres of the war. Most battalions of the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR) saw service on the Western Front, predominantly as pioneers. Battalions of the regiment also served in Italy, with smaller contingents in Jordan, Egypt and Mesopotamia. Two battalions of the BWIR fought in Palestine. The West India Regiment served in East Africa, the Cameroon and Togo.  [x

The year passed. In May 1915, I graduated. Lyall-Woods carried off the prize for Latin, and I led the OTC in a series of demonstration drills that had a sense of heavy portent.

Afterwards, Tom turned to Lyall-Woods and said, “So, is your commission settled?”

“Oh?” I said without thinking.

Lyall-Woods turned his head towards me. “Yes, I’ve been talking to the Worcestershire Regiment. I went for an interview a few weeks after I turned eighteen.” He returned his attention to Tom. “Yes, lad,” he said. “I’ve orders to present myself to camp in a fortnight.”

He’d stolen a march on me. While I was studying for my mediocre grades, Lyall-Woods had been setting himself up with a commission. And he had the prize for Latin in his back pocket. As I stewed in that knowledge, Lyall-Woods slid his gaze towards mine. “I could put in a good word for you if you like, Fox. Probably get you an interview with the colonel.”

“Oh, that would be terrific,” said Tom. “Both of you in the same regiment, and next year I’ll be of age and can join you.”

I had been thinking of joining my brother Donald’s regiment, the Northumberland Fusiliers, but Lyall-Woods had thrown down a gauntlet, and damned if I wasn’t going to pick it up. I put up my chin. “All right,” I snapped.

The interview was a few days later. Since I was a fit young man with good eyes and lungs and four years of OTC at a grand old public school under my belt, the result was a foregone conclusion. After a long month of farewells with my family and a few days with Tom and his, I joined Lyall-Woods at Tidworth.

I literally sat down and wrote 5,000 words of this story in the last 48 hours. When inspiration strikes… it’s usually poorly timed and focused on doomed WWI officer-heroes. —;

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