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We shall meanly lose or nobly save the last hope of earth.-- Abraham Lincoln
War Stories: World War IWar Stories published under this topic are as follows:
On Sunday, May 21st, 1916, the battalion was in camp Camblain-l'Abbe, behind Vimy Ridge. Recent spells in the line had been quiet, the weather was warm and sunny, and everyone was in good spirits. I was on camp-cleaning fatigue, but, the camp being in a good condition, there was nothing to do beyond picking up an odd piece of paper or two.
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.
June 27, 1917 I have decided to keep a diary myself as I hear rumored today that all the letters that I spent so much time writing on the boat have gone down on the Lorraine. If it is so, I'm sure disgusted at myself for wasting so much time writing them as the people at home will never know how much I tried to write to them.
Preparation in England, 1915
Inspection by General Campbell.
Saturday March 15th on my birthday. Route march to Birmingham from Sutton. General inspection in Calthorpe Park at 2. General Campbell in passing lines asks me what I was before I joined. General salute at 3.30 pm Victoria Square, dismissed at 4pm near Corporation Street.
We are stubbornly trying to force the Turks up out of the ground, but they stick in well. Once we get them on the run, they seem to think we will progress quickly. The only thing I wish is that I was able to say I was in the landing at Gaba Tepe on April 25th.
Note: A letter by Corporal Alf. Birkhill, who is now at Anzac, pays warm tribute after seeing the heroic Australians who scaled the heights at Gaba Tepo. 5624 Reads
Bramshott 2/7/16 Dear Folks-- Received your letter OK on Friday & was glad to hear from you, also to get the picture of Norine. She is getting to be a big girl now, isn't she. You didn't say who the other girl in the picture was; were you afraid I might write to her? Well, we didn't get tangled with any Hun subs on the way over. Of course, we were pretty well protected. A battleship came with us until we were within 2 days of land & then 2 submarine destroyers came out to meet us & escorted us into Liverpool. They are some little boats, only about 200 ft long but they can certainly travel--about 50 miles an hour & they can turn around in about their own length. We are having some good weather now, a little rainy but not so bad as it was a couple of weeks ago. We are celebrating the 1st of July here today, all kinds of sports. I expect there will be some crowd here this p.m. The King was down near here yesterday inspecting the troops. It was about 8 miles from here so I didn't go. Our Battalion is all broke up now. We sent 750 men to France on the 8th of June & then about 150 to another Batt. here in camp. They kept nearly all the Headquarter staff here & we are still here & they have made the 51st Batt a base Batt & are filling it up with all the medically unfits in the camp. We have some here from about a dozen different outfits. It is certainly some outfit. We have some here from the 71st. I think some of them were in Stratford last winter. I don't know what they will do with us, but I expect we will stay here for some time. The Pioneers have an easy time now. We have done nothing since 2 weeks ago. Our boys that went to France were put in the front line of trenches about 24 hours after they landed & had a charge to make about midnight. We have not heard the official casualties yet but there are 8 killed that we know of & about 30 wounded. I suppose the list will swell when we hear the official. I only hope it is reduced though, for we certainly had a good bunch of fellows, & good soldiers. They made a record at the ranges, they beat all the troops that have been there including the imperials (British). They seem to be putting the Canadians in the toughest places & saving the Englishmen. I was up to London for 5 days & had a good time. It is quite a city. There are a lot of historical places there, but as a city it is years behind Canadian cities. It is very dark there at nights. Nearly all the lights are out & those that are burning are painted black on top so as to throw the light down. They have about a dozen search lights playing over the city every night looking for zepps. I didn't get any souvenirs, but I am going up again in a short time & will send you some then. I will also send you a 51st badge. I intended sending one before but forgot about it. I got a letter from one of our fellows in France & he said it was certainly hell over there & I guess from all reports it is, but it looks to be going in our favor now. I think they must intend making a drive at Verdun soon, as they are sending troops over there by the thousand. I don't care how soon it ends, as I am fed up with this country. Of course I am having a good enough time but I don't like these damned blokes. They are a poor bunch. Canada is good enough for me & as soon as I get free I will be back there in a hurry. Got a letter from Jack Hassard last week. He has been sick again but is getting better now. I hear from Lottie & Herb regular. Lottie is going to Edmonton for a month in holidays. I just got a letter from Mrs. Cranston where I boarded in Edmonton today, so it keeps me busy writing letters, but it is good pasttime. Well, I guess I will close & go out to the sports. Be sure & write soon. Love to all, Alex.
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.
The visit of an English squadron for the Kiel Week in June, 1914, seemed to indicate a desire to give visible expression to the fact that the political situation had eased. Although we could not suppress a certain feeling of doubt as to the sincerity of their intentions, everyone on our side displayed the greatest readiness to receive the foreign guests with hospitality and comradeship.
"Tomorrow we shall march on Paris!" Thus we expressed ourselves to the commander of the Third Battalion of the French line Infantry Regiment No. 2, which, driven to the Marne by our briskly attacking grenadiers, was forced to surrender, 800 men strong, on the evening of May 30th.
4th. - 6th. Nov. Very busy time. Had splendid row with C.O. in which he got it rather hotly from me, for all that he could say at the end was that I was not to teach him his business. If he had had any gumption he would have sent me back to my company.
We had been marching since 2.30 a.m. and about 11.15 a.m. an order was passed down for "A" Company (my company) to deploy to the right and dig in on the south bank of a railway cutting. We deployed and started digging in, but as the soil was mostly chalk, we were able to make only shallow holes.
Note: by Corporal Bernard John Denore, 1st Royal Berks Regt., 6th Brigade, 2nd Division, I Army Corps 6080 Reads
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.
It was near the end of the great German bid for victory in April 1918. We left Beuvry and passed the hamlet of Le Fresnoy and crossed the bridge over the La Bassee Canal into the village of Gorre. There we struck a route past the famous Brewery to make for the open fields and the front-line trenches.
I remember the first occasion when I was called upon to go over the top. It was during the Somme "do," where our battalion had already been in some nasty business near the Briqueterie and Trones Wood. I heard about the Third Company's experiences in Trones Wood during my recovery from an overdose of rum, and I was new enough a soldier to feel the strain on my heart-strings when I realized that rum stupor had saved me from participation.
It was on a cool, starlit evening, early in September, 1916, that I first met Drew of Massachusetts, and actually began my adventures as a prospective member of the Escadrille Americaine. We had sailed from New York by the same boat, had made our applications for enlistment in the Foreign Legion on the same day, without being aware of each other's existence; and in Paris, while waiting for our papers, we had gone, every evening, for dinner, to the same large and gloomy-looking restaurant in the neighborhood of the Seine.
1655: Puritans jail Governor Stone after a military victory over Catholic forces in the colony of Maryland.
1804: The Secretary of the Navy approves the first formal uniform of the Marine Corps.
1813: The frigate USS Essex flies the first U.S. flag in battle in the Pacific.
1863: Secretary of War Edwin Stanton presents the first Medals of Honor to six of the surviving members of Andrews Raiders. They are the first Medals of Honor ever presented.
1864: The Battle of Paducah Kentucky takes place.
1865: Confederate General Robert E. Lee makes Fort Stedman his last attack of the war in a desperate attempt to break out of Petersburg, Virginia. The attack failed, and within a week Lee was evacuating his positions around Petersburg.
1865: The Battle of Bluff Spring Florida takes place.
1865: The Battle of Mobile Alabama takes place.
1879: Japan invades the kingdom of Liuqiu (Ryukyu) Islands, formerly a vassal of China.
1895: Italian troops invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia).