World War One: The original code talkers
When US military codes kept being broken by the Germans in WW1 a Native American tribe came to the rescue. They just spoke their own language - which baffled the enemy - and paved the way for other Native American “code talkers” in WW2.
Read more - and watch a mini-lesson in the Choctaw language


World War One: The original code talkers

When US military codes kept being broken by the Germans in WW1 a Native American tribe came to the rescue. They just spoke their own language - which baffled the enemy - and paved the way for other Native American “code talkers” in WW2.

Read more - and watch a mini-lesson in the Choctaw language


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

WWI-themed questionnaire answering - Part III

20. History crush?

You never forget your first war poet, so… Robert Graves.


21. Historical WWI game?

Two up. ;)

22. Random historical WWI fact about the place you are at the moment.

This is surprisingly difficult because I am in LONDON. I have historical facts coming out the ears. But none of them is very random.

23. Favourite historical WWI song / with such reference?

From the time: It’s A Long Way to Tipperary.

Since the time: No Man’s Land.

24. Most underrated historical WWI figure?

John Monash. What a BAMF.


25. Most overrated historical WWI figure in your opinion?

Kitchener because, meh.

But not Kitschener. Kitschener is awesome.

26. Forgotten hero we should know about and admire?

Instead of answering this specifically I am going to just point to my women at war and soldiers of colour tags.

27. Favourite historical WWI “What if… ” ?

What if the Schlieffen Plan had succeeded?



28. Favourite “dream team” of specific era or the entire history WWI?

The Canadian, Kiwi and Australian engineers and miners who blew up Hill 60. Because I have a competence kink.

29. Great historical WWI mystery you are interested in?

Who actually shot down the Red Baron??


30. Ask me a question of your own.

Go on - do eet.

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.

Where are you sleeping to-night, My Lad,
Above-ground—or below?
The last we heard you were up at the front,
Holding a trench and bearing the brunt;—
But—that was a week ago.

Ay!—that was a week ago, Dear Lad,
And a week is a long, long time,
When a second’s enough, in the thick of the strife,
To sever the thread of the bravest life,
And end it in its prime.

Oh, a week is long when so little’s enough
To send a man below.
It may be that while we named your name
The bullet sped and the quick end came,—
And the rest we shall never know.

But this we know, Dear Lad,—all’s well
With the man who has done his best.
And whether he live, or whether he die,
He is sacred high in our memory;—
And to God we can leave the rest.

So—wherever you’re sleeping to-night, Dear Lad,
This one thing we do know,—
When “Last Post” sounds, and He makes His rounds,
Not one of you all will be out of bounds,
Above ground or below.

“Where are you sleeping to-night, my lad?”, John Oxenham



Calling World War 1 a “world war” is so incredibly eurocentric

yeah but colonies


As per the map above, actually, what is incredibly Eurocentric is ignoring the fact that there was actual fighting on three continents (Europe, Africa and the Middle East), there were soldiers from the West Indies, India, French Indochina, North America and the pacific, among others, and that Brazil and Japan were (in their own rights) among the belligerents.

I mean, I like a good rage as much as the next person, but by calling WWI Eurocentric you’re actually erasing the contributions and involvements of a LOT of non-Europeans and soldiers of colour.

(Noting that, of course, it was the last gasp of European colonialism that pulled many—but not all—of these other nations and peoples into the war.)

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)

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

“There Will Come Soft Rains”, Sara Teasdale, 1920

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