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

(Source: Spotify)

I’ve been writing out my feelings on Rupert Brooke and Wilfred Owen and David Thomas and Roland Leighton and Edward Brittain again. *wrings hands*

"Skip’s in a terrible mood," said Stanley, chewing on the end of an unlit cigarette. "Reckon you should check on him, Mr Fox."

"Thank you." I ducked under the lintel and descended the narrow staircase into the deep dug-out. My eyes had adjusted to the darkness, but still, seeking out Alexander, it wasn’t immediately clear what caused Stanley’s concern.

Alex was a slender shadow in one corner of the room, beside his camp bed. He paused in the process of lighting a cigarette to flick a look at the door. “Fox,” he said without welcome.

"How are you?" I asked, studying his person. His hair had been shaken out of its Brilliantined neatness, and his collar was askew.

He didn’t reply, just turned his attention back to his cigarette. I saw that a stack of papers had fallen off his desk. As I was crossing the room to right them, I realised this was only the beginning of the damage. He had pulled everything off the shelves behind the desk, thrown his tin plate and mug against the wall, and smashed a clay figurine.

"What happened?" I asked, ducking down to pick up the scattered papers.

"On the desk," he replied, in the tone of a man carrying his temper like an overfull coffee mug.

I saw what sat in the middle of the denuded desk. A telegram. In an instant my heart seemed to expand, crowding my lungs against my ribcage. With shaking hands, I picked it up. I had to blink twice to focus on the text. Dear Alex, terrible news. Tom KIA near Arras on 15 July. Very few details - we were hoping you could look into it. Our hearts are broken. Mrs M.

"Oh," I said. Searching for anything to look at other than those awful words, I realised that the papers Alex had scattered were the letters Tom had sent him. With care, I refolded them and laid them on the desk. I put the telegram on top. I didn’t want it in my hands any longer.

"Tuesday," said Alex. "Tom has been dead for five days, and on Wednesday I umpired the boys’ football match, and last night I went to that Variety Show the Buffs put on."

"I’ll write to his CO and find out what happened," I said. "That is—would you like me to write?" At Alex’s wordless nod I continued, "You should apply for leave."

"Why?" He turned, his dark eyes boring into mine. "What’s the point of that?"

"You could go up to Arras and—well, perhaps make it in time for the service." My blood had slowed and thickened to sludge, which lent my words a calmness I didn’t feel.

"Pointless," said Alex. He threw the cigarette on the ground and scuffed it out. "I am not leaving France until every last fucking Boche understands what they’ve stolen from the world." He walked across the room, brushing past me. Before I could stop him, he had dug his fingers into the flimsy wood and flipped the table halfway across the room.

There go Tom’s letters again, I thought.

"Well, I’ll leave you to it, shall I?" I retreated from Alex’s precise demolition of the chair.

He didn’t reply.

"You should tidy this up when you’re finished," I said. "Don’t make Private Stanley clean up after you."

"Go fuck yourself, Fox," echoed after me as I climbed up the stairs. I expected the light somehow to have dimmed, now that Tom wasn’t here to capture the sun in his golden hair, but after the darkness of the dugout I found myself blinded.

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. *_*

bbcnewsus:

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

bbcnewsus:

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

WAR WORM.

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.

image

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.

image

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?

What if Hitler HAD BEEN KILLED AT THE SOMME??

WHAT IF DRAGONS??!!!

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??

image

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”.

image

Also the slouch hat:

image

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)

image

(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.

© One Great War,
gonzoblog-theme is a free Tumblr Theme, designed by gonzodesign. ~ Tumblr This Theme is proudly powered by: Tumblr ~ RSS subscribe to RSS.