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War Stories: World War I

War Stories published under this topic are as follows:

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World War I January 21, 1917: Dear Sister: Just a few lines in answer to your letter of Dec. 5th which I received a short time ago & was glad to hear from you & that you are all well. I was in hospital & rest camp here from December 28th to January 7th with a touch of Grippe but am feeling fine again now, that is as well as can be expected under the circumstances. The weather is a little bad on the front where we are, quite a bit of snow & rain so it makes the trenches bad. But I guess we must expect that this time of year. I was lucky last Tuesday, they sent me away on a machine gun course & expect to be away till a week from tomorrow, so I will miss a trip into the trenches. It is fine here at the school. We have a Y.M. & a church Hut, both fine places. Also a good canteen where we can buy anything we want. We sleep in tents but have plenty of blankets & sleep close together so we are quite comfortable. Of course the weather is not so very cold here. It freezes at nights but is not too bad in the days. Do you know a man in Stratford, Mr. Lowe. I think he used to run a drug store. He is a Lieut. in the 46th--was in command of the Co. that I am in. He is certainly a fine man & all the boys think a lot of him. He is away from us now, though. He was operated on for appendicitis, & I think went back to England. I may have his name spelled wrong, but it is something like that. I had a letter from Selina a short time ago. Things seem about the same as ever in Brantford. I hear from Herb & Lottie regular. Also from Cranstons whom I used to live with in Edmonton. I expect a bunch of mail when I get back to the battalion after this course. How is Wayman getting along, still punching the dough? I would like to be back there for a few weeks to help him. It would be a rest for me, but I don't think it will be so very long before we will be able to beat it back. Only a few months I think, but we are liable to have some hard work before the finish. Well, I must close, be sure & write soon & I will try to drop you a letter or field card often. It is sometimes hard for us to get mail written especially when we are in the line. So long. Alex #437536 I Co 46 Can. BEF Army PO London.
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World War I NEW ZEALAND, or Aote‚-roa (The Long White Cloud), as it was called by the ancient Maori inhabitants, that fertile, beautiful country, lying in its loneliness in the Pacific Ocean some twelve hundred miles from huge Continental Australia, did not hesitate, after the outbreak of war, to take up its share of the Empire's burdens, and by August 29th, 1914, the Samoan Expeditionary Force, consisting entirely of New Zealand troops, had captured Samoa, the crown of Germany's possessions in the Southern Pacific.
Note: by Lt.-Col. C. H. Weston, D.S.O., LL.B. (N.Z.)  8470 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I After nine months in France, I joined the East Lancs. at Gugunci, travelling overland from Cherbourg to Taranto, thence by steamer to Itea, and finally by motor and rail across wild Greece to Salonika. On disembarking at Dudulah, an enemy aeroplane greeted us with its heavy drone, but proceeded on its way to bomb an ammunition dump some distance away.
Note: by Private N. C. Powell, 3/5th East Lancs. Regt.  7679 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I Our cavalry brigade arrived in Peronne in November 1917, after a long trek up from billets. We had had a fairly easy time during the summer of that year. For a few months we had been dismounted and had been up at Vimy Ridge doing all sorts of work: digging reserve trenches, reinforcing communication trenches and digging new ones - in fact, doing real navvy work, which, on the whole, was enjoyable, as far as anything could be enjoyable in France during the War. The weather was good, rations were plentiful, though the water had a wicked taste.
Note: by Private Chris Knight, 6th Dragoon Guards, Carabineers  12460 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I

The members of my family - that of Richthofen - have taken no very great part in wars until now. The Richthofens have always lived in the country; indeed, there has scarcely been one of them without a landed estate, and the few who did not live in the country have, as a rule, entered the State service. My grandfather and all my ancestors before him had estates about Breslau and Striegau. Only in the generation of my grandfather it happened that the first Richthofen. his cousin, became a General.

Note: by Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen (The Red Baron)  8185 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I September 22, 1916 Dear Mrs. Evans:- I am writing to offer you my sympathy over the loss of your son. I was his Colonel for six months and I think he mentioned me in one of his letters to home. As you know, he became our Medical Officer in January and I had grown very fond of him. He was excellent company and always kept us amused with his wit. In fact, we all liked him. I was ill once or twice while he was with us and I cannot tell you how kind he was and how well he looked after me and made me feel comfortable. I would have written before but it was only today that I became acquainted with you address for I was invalided home sick on the 5th of August, a few days before your son was killed. As soon as I heard I wrote out to France for your address but as the battalion as been so much in action lately, no one had time to write. He came to see me off in the ambulance and his last promise to me was that he would come and see me at my home when next on leave, but alas that cannot be. My thoughts have often been with his people, so far away, and please convey my sincerest sympathy to all those he loved and by whom he was loved. Yours Sincerely EUSTACE HARRISON Denhall, Ness, Cheshire, England September 22, 1916
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World War I Hut 11, Frensham Military Hosp., Nr. Farnham, Surrey, England September 15, 1916 Dear Lallie:- You will see by the above address that I am back again in England and in hospital. But am thankful to say I have no open wounds. Just a severely sprained back and my nerves are badly shaken up. I was buried in the trenches, and you may be sure I thought my last moment had come. My chum next to me was killed - instantly killed. Something seemed to tell me the day before that I was going to get it. I have been in the hospital two weeks now, counting the time I was in the Australian Hospital before I came to England. Yesterday was the first time I was out of bed for an hour or two. I am to shaky to walk yet, but am getting along nicely. On Wednesday who should visit me but Johnnie. I was so pleased to see him. He is near us at Whitley. We are 31 miles past London-rather a long way from home. I told dear Ettie not to come so far, as I may soon be moved to a Canadian hospital. The doctor in France also saw my toe, and he said I should not have been passed. One overlaps the other, the same as Johnnie got his discharge for. The doctor there was going to operate on them, but they won't allow him to. So I do not think I will have to go back to France. We were in the same place as Harold got his arm off. It was awful. Perhaps you read the report in the paper-the bombardment of Sunday the 3rd. I thank God he spared me to dear Ettie. This morning I had a letter from Harold, also one from Johnnie. Harold writes very good indeed with his left hand, and he is getting along fine, waiting for his new arm. Now Lallie, I hope you are quite well, and I think you had better come back to England and be with us all here. You know there is always a home waiting here for you with dear Ettie and I. Well, I have no news. When you write to me send it to Ettie and she will forward it on to me, unless I am home by then. Remember me to Mrs. Booty, also, Mrs. Northgraves when you see them. Take every care of your dear self. Heaps of love. God bless you. Your Loving Brother Fred
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World War I Entry One For most of 1917 I was at Lehr, North Dakota working as a rural mail carrier. In September, when the first draft was called, I was at the depot to see the boys off. Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of the boys were there also. There was crying, praying, yelling and the band was playing. It was an awful sight.
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World War I ON May 31st, 1916, the Grand Fleet and the High Sea Fleet fought the action which has become known as the Battle of Jutland. The despatch describing the battle, as published some weeks later, was not quite in its original form as written by me. After a conference held at the Admiralty, early in June, modifications were made : some of them because it was considered that certain passages might convey useful information to the enemy, and others because it was thought to be undesirable to draw attention to certain features of British design.
Note: by Admiral John Rushworth Jellicoe  7270 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I We left Alexandria in Egypt on the 13th and passed through the Aegean Sea to arrive at the island of LEMNOS on the 16th. We spent several days in the Bay where numerous warships and troopships (French and British) were at anchor. I should guess there were 150 or more ships there including the QUEEN ELIZABETH.
Note: letter by 2/469 S.sgt Robert James Wait, New Zealand Artillery, 1NZEF  6406 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I Jan. 26, 1917 My Dear Friends: Am taking the first opportunity of thanking you for the parcel you were so thoughtful to send me. It arrived in good condition about a week ago, having had the misfortune to be delayed in the mail, as have been a lot of the Xmas goods, but whether received on time or a month late, are always appreciated. I had several surprises in the way of parcels about Xmas time, as you know, folks in Canada as a rule have so many relatives to send things to, that it keeps them busy, and all I figured on was a couple from home, and instead of a couple, I got seven all told and had quite a busy time getting through them. Luckily they arrived when things were and I was thus able to do justice, and you know when eats are concerned, I certainly like to see justice done. Pleasant memories. The socks just hit me at the right time, as the next day I got in with wet feet and had to have a change, so you see your work was well rewarded as I didn't have to look around to get a dry pair. I suppose the winter has been fairly quiet as far as pleasure is concerned, owing to the cold weather, as I read in the papers that they were serving out the real thing in the weather line at times here, it felt like real winter. I remember about 3 weeks ago when out on a little trip we started home facing a blinding snow storm, and after facing about a mile in the open we all looked like snow men. The snow was very wet and stuck with us. I know it took sometime to get it off and dried out again. But the weather now is fine and excepting for the mud, not too bad for getting around. Well, news is scarce, (In the permissable zone) so of necessity can't say much, as I don't wish to look for trouble. I am doing a little correspondence tonight as it will likely be sometime before I can tear off much in the letter line; until then, whiz-bangs or "not dead yet" cards will be the style. If you have the time, would be pleased to hear from you with all the news. Give my best regards to all I used to know. Will have to close up now & get ready for the hay (minus hay). Yours Pte.R.P
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World War I We had a new man at the periscope, on this afternoon in question; I was sitting on the fire step, cleaning my rifle, when he called out to me: 'There's a sort of greenish, yellow cloud rolling along the ground out in front, it's coming ---
Note: By Arthur Empey, an American enlisted in the British Army.
First introduced by the Germans, gas warfare was soon embraced by all the combatants. By the end of the war, one in four of the artillery shells fired on the Western Front contained gas.
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World War I Early in the spring of 1917 the 11th Northumberland Fusiliers, to which I belonged, were taking their share in the final preparations for the assault on the Messines Ridge. Our divisional front was in the Salient, and nightly working parties up to the Bund at Zillebeke, Jackson's Dump, or Sanctuary Wood were both hazardous and fatiguing.
Note: by Private E. N. Gladden  7889 Reads  Printer-friendly page

World War I September 20, 1916 Dear Friend:- I sincerely hope these few lines find Mrs. Stanley and yourself in the best of health. I am feeling fine and fit at present. Since arriving in England I have been taken from the band and sent to school, taking machine gun and rifle courses as an Armourer. I have succeeded in passing the examinations on both. (This is a list; Savage Lewis; Colt and Maxim machine guns; Ross and Lee Enfield Rifles; Colt Automatic Pistol; Webley and Smith & Wesson Revolvers.) So you see it has taken a great deal of my time in studying, that's why I haven't written very many letters to anyone. I am at present working in Greenwich quite close to Woolwich Arsenal. We are reparing rifles and machine guns which have been sent back from France. I haven't been across yet, but don't know any day but what I may be sent. Most of our Batt. have been in action and we have lost several officers and men. I had the pleasure of seeing that Zepp. destroyed. It was a beautiful sight to see it falling in flames. It fell 20 miles from here, but you could have read the small print in The Journal 25 or 30 miles away, because of the light it cast. I am sending you an actual photograph, taken while it was falling and almost at the moment Lieut. Robinson signalled to the Aircraft guns to cease firing. I shall be able to tell you more about it when I come back to St. Mary's, which I hope won't be very long now. I have given you address of my home in South Wales as I don't know where I am likely to be a month from now. Mrs. Palmer arrived quite safely, but was a long time on the water. She is staying at my home at present. The weather here is very damp and cold. (In London only.) I shiver with my overcoat on. In other parts of England and Wales they have beautiful weather. Our workshop is situated alongside the river Thames, which is quite a sight at all times of the day and night now, to see the enormous amount of shipping which is going on. One thing more before I close. We used to read in the newspapers that the people of London were quite used to the Zepps. I didn't seem to be disturbed by them but I can assure you, Mr. Stanley, that it's a horrible feeling that comes over anyone, as we are helpless. Sometimes they reach a height of 3 miles and the humming of the propellor is like the sound of a big mosquito. They are expected anytime now as the weather is suitable for them and the reptile murderer in Berlin has made a threat that he will destroy London before the end of October. Now I must draw to a close this time. With kindest regards to Mrs. Stanley and yourself, from Yours Sincerely, CORP. A. E. Palmer No. 124444, P. S. Please remember me to all the boys of St. James' and St. Marys Lodge, also the Oddfellows when you see them, Mr. Stanley. 25 Hirvain St., Barry Dock, Nr. Cardiff, South Wales September 20, 1916
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World War I Saturday, November 3, 1917
New York and S.S. "St. Paul"
Got up 6:30 a.m. after only 2:45 sleep. Went to paymasters for mileage checks. Saw Mrs. Whiting and received box from her to take to Ken Whiting in Paris. Got money changed and went on Board the St. Paul at 11:30 a.m. We sailed at 12:30 with only 47 first class passengers and apparently not many 2nd class. I have seen three women and a small boy.
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