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The aim of this book is to evaluate the 51st (Highland) Division over the course of the First World War. Underpinning the study is an analysis of both change and continuity - at home and overseas - and the performance of the division as a fighting unit. The key themes identified for study have been training, esprit de corps, recruitment and reinforcement, and battle performance. Through the investigation of the key themes, other important characteristics have been analyzed, such as command and control, organization, and the level of centralization in both the formation and in the wider army. Key questions in the research apply to both divisional study and to wider academic understanding of the First World War. The book considers a number of themes that have been neglected by historians old and new, and brings into sharp focus some areas of research that may have produced inaccurate assumptions. In addition, a substantial range and quantity of primary sources have been utilized - many unexplored until now. The selection of the 51st (Highland) Division for study was based on a number of criteria: (Highland) Division experiences were both unique and not unique. In some areas, it was a very individual formation, but in other areas (or at particular times of the war), it was not. The following quotations give some indication of the depth and variety of sources, and the distinctive nature of the 51st: From J.F.C. Fuller, Memoirs of an Unconventional Soldier: 'Presently a section of the night seemed to be advancing slowly towards us, an indistinguishable mass in the darkness; they came on at a pace which was just on the active side of standing still. As they passed, we learned that they were a Highland battalion, part of the 51st Division that fought so well and suffered so heavily on the following day. None of them spoke, and their silence, the weight and slowness of their tread, and the solemnity of their passing by, bore such an implication of fate, and were shrouded with so much mystery by the night, that one felt as if one were hailing men no longer of this world'. Major-General D.N. Wimberley: 'These two opposing characters of two different types of Scots, the fire of the Highlander and the dourness of the man from the Plains, were so blended in the old Highland Division that come what might against us the Division was resolute'. From M.M. Haldane, A History of the Fourth Battalion The Seaforth Highlanders: 'Long after the war was over a distinguished Irish General expressed the hope that if ever he had troops under him again they might be Scots. A Scotsman present expressed surprise at his preference for foreigners, to which the General replied that he held that hope because of the high standard of Scottish education, which ensured that the youngest lance-corporal would intelligently carry on his Commander's intentions even after all his officers were killed'. From J.G. Fuller, Troop Morale and Popular Culture in the British and Dominion Armies 1914-1918: 'The 51st perhaps owed its preeminence among Scottish Divisions in part to the fact that it was, until April 1918, the only Scottish Territorial Division on the Western Front: the 52nd (Lowland) was lost in the comparative backwater of the Palestine theater. That left only the 9th and 15th Divisions which, as Kitchener formations, could not of course match the 51st'. Undoubtedly, the 51st (Highland) Division left strong impressions. How accurate were these impressions? Were they a result of something more than just consistent fighting quality? Indeed, was there a consistent fighting quality? This thesis will attempt to provide the answers.
The 51st (Highland) Division During the First World War
Author: Craig French
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There has been a collective amnesia when it comes to recalling the sexual activities of the British soldier on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918. Perhaps there has even been a conspiracy of silence with some inclined to let sleeping dogs lie. That the soldier could find the time, inclination, and indeed partners to enjoy a sex life amidst the mud and carnage is often a revelation even to those who are Western Front experts. Yet, as official venereal disease treatment figures attest, many a man or boy - even those with wife or sweetheart at home - took every opportunity offered to satisfy their lust, or assuage their natural youthful curiosity. Sexual adventures took place in regulated brothels, with 'wayside' prostitutes, and with compliant local women, themselves seeking the excitement of 'wild love'. And the army not only turned a blind eye but effectively became a procurer as Edwardian morals were sacrificed for morale and the need to keep men healthy enough to die in the line. This meticulously researched study examines the soldiers' sex life in detail, exploring its impact on morale and placing it the context of both prewar civilian morality and the army's historic policy on sex. The author has read between the lines of published and unpublished memoirs and letters; listened carefully to hundreds of memories stored at London's Imperial War Museum; analyzed soldiers' songs and jokes; and reinterpreted contemporary paintings, magazine illustrations, postcards and cartoons, that unconsciously left visual evidence of the importance of sex. Recently discovered unique photographs are included to give weight to his argument. The men's attitudes as well as actions are examined, as is their ownership and use of pornography. Noting that it 'takes two tango', the book looks at the socio-demographics and motives of the women involved and the workings and economics of the 'Red Lamp' army-regulated brothels. Careful not to denigrate the memory of the men who served and died, and avoiding sensationalism, hyperbole, or tabloid-style copy, the author paints a vivid picture of the seedier aspects of line behind the front while arguing its positive impact on morale.
Sex and Morale in the British Army on the Western Front 1914-1918
Author: Bruce Cherry
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This book addresses the potentially deadly challenge of getting across No Man's Land in good shape to fight at the other side. It explores the development of the British Army's infantry battle tactics during the Great War using the largest infantry regiment, the Northumberland Fusiliers, as a case study. Principles and, in particular, practice are covered. The study demonstrates the transformation of the British Army from an essentially Victorian army to a recognizably modern army; adapting tactics to the circumstances and saving lives in teh process. A novel research approach is used; comparing Army doctrine with the reality at battalion level which yields a unique insight into experience and learning on the Western Front. Two hundred and eleven attacks and 75 raids are identified through a census of all 28 of the Regiment's battalion war diaries covering 25,876 diary days. The analysis is set in the overall context of the War taking in the full sweep, from beginning to end, and also gives some small insight into the so called sideshows. A byproduct of the research approach has been a detailed activity analysis, the 'doings', summarizing what each Northumberland Fusiliers' battalion was engaged in every day and for the Regiment in aggregate. This is a secondary but no less valuable theme of the study, which also yields good material on infantry training. Furthermore, when activities are known on a daily basis, it is possible to correlate attacks with fatalities and to attempt to discover relationships between the two.
Experience and Learning with the Northumberland Fusiliers in the Great War
Author: Tony Ball
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In this ground-breaking work, James Roberts examines the willingness and ability of British volunteer and conscript infantrymen of the Great War to perform the soldier's fundamental role: to kill or maim the enemy, and accept the attendant chance of being killed or wounded. The literature to date has been, paradoxically, somewhat silent on the soldier's part in the act of killing. This study recovers this neglected narrative through the experiences of 19th (Western) Division, as recorded in their unit war diaries - a source generated primarily to record the experiences of combat. The study's findings offer testimony to the courage and endurance of the Great War soldier in circumstances of terrible hardship and suffering. But they also reveal much lesser known and understood aspects of the soldier's behaviour in combat. Many infantrymen were unable and/or unwilling to traverse the experiential divide between civilian life and the ultimate act of soldiery. This in itself indicates the immense psychological steps taken by those (perhaps the minority) who found themselves capable of killing. Those who did fight gravitated towards weapons (such as the machine-gun or Mills Bomb) that, primarily through visual distance, partially sanitised the act of maiming the enemy. The bayonet kill, a far more personal form of combat, was a rare act; despite the British Army's undiminished championing of the bayonet as the principal weapon of the infantryman. But neither were the pacifistic legions always pawns in the hands of their senior commanders. Upon the physical No Man's Land they discovered a behavioural grey area between complete obedience and absolute defiance, and were able to tacitly limit their commitment to combat through subtle passive behaviour such as 'straggling' or "going to ground". In doing so they successfully wrestled back a degree of control over their battlefield fate. From a number of conclusions drawn by the study one predominates: civilian mores and values were not always surrendered the moment the infantryman crossed the parapet; many soldiers during the Great War found themselves willing servicemen, but reluctant killers.
Combat, Psychology and Morale in the British 19th (Western) Division 1915-18
Author: James Roberts
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During the Allied victory celebrations there were few who chose to raise a glass to the staff. The high cost of casualties endured by the British army tarnished the reputation of the military planners, which has yet to recover. This book examines the work and development of the staff of the British army during the First World War and its critical role in the military leadership team. Their effectiveness was germane to the outcome of events in the front line but not enough consideration has been paid to this level of command and control, which has largely been overshadowed by the debate over generalship. This has painted an incomplete picture of the command function. Characterised as arrogant, remote and out of touch with the realities of the front line, the staff have been held responsible for the mismanagement of the war effort and profligate loss of lives in futile offensives. This book takes a different view. By using their letters and diaries it reveals fresh insights into their experience of the war. It shows that the staff made frequent visits to the front line and were no strangers to combat or hostile fire. Their work is also compared with their counterparts in the French and German armies, highlighting differences in practice and approach. In so doing, this study throws new light upon the characteristics, careers and working lives of these officers, investigating the ways in which they both embraced and resisted change. This offers evidence both for those who wish to exonerate the British command system on the basis of the learning process but also for those critical of its performance, thus advancing understanding of British military history in the First World War.
A Study of the Staff of the British Army on the Western Front, 1914-1918
Author: Dr Paul Harris
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.
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There have been moments during the last week or so when I had grave doubts as to whether I should see tomorrow'. Compiled from the almost daily letters home and a diary written in the immediate aftermath of the First World War, We are all Flourishing is a remarkable firsthand account of one man's service during 1914-19. Walter Coats was an officer with the 9th Highland Light Infantry (Glasgow Highlanders) - one of the first territorial battalions dispatched to the Western Front. Anticipation builds from mobilization in August 1914, through intensive training in and around Dunfermline, up to eventual embarkation for France the following November. Sent into action, Walter describes winter days and nights in open trenches equipped with kilts and ordinary-issue footwear. As battalion machine gun officer, he participated in the Battles of Neuve-Chapelle, Loos and Arras; the Third Battle of Ypres and the Somme - notably at High Wood in July 1916, where the Highlanders were almost wiped out, losing over 800 men killed, wounded and missing. In between the big battles and line-holding in less active sectors, we hear tales of ordinary trench routine, training, sudden movements, billeting expeditions, billets and interactions with the local populace. Walter's story is also one of amusing anecdotes, descriptions of wartime entertainment and humorous verse that reflects how morale was maintained in times of unrelenting terror and occasional boredom. In 1917, torn between battalion loyalty and a promise to his family to take on 'safer' employment, Walter is transferred to 100th Infantry Brigade Staff - his subsequent experience providing rare insights into a staff captain's life and responsibilities. This part of his account also sheds new light on the midlevel command administration of the British Expeditionary Force and the consequent daily challenges that, more often than not, affected the life-or-death situations encountered on the battlefield. While Walter's life was still fraught with personal danger and narrow escapes, his kindness and consideration to officers and men, love of family and dry sense of humor continue to shine through. Walter's story is illustrated with an impressive array of images and maps. Compiled and edited by his great-nephew, Jan Chojecki - and co-edited by military historian Michael LoCicero - We are all Flourishing is a comprehensive and moving work offering new and unique insights into life at the sharp end of conflict and on the Home front. 'Foreword by Alexander McCall Smith and dust jacket cover based on the painting "Across the Field" by Kurt JacksonREVIEWS 'Walter Coats emerges from this narrative as one of the key chroniclers of the First World War: his letters home read as freshly as they would have done when his family received them all those years ago. Shorn of hysterics or heroics Coats simply recorded what his battalion was experiencing and in so doing he reveals how he and his fellow Glasgow Highlanders responded to the peculiar miseries and excitements of life on the Western Front. A more genuine and even-handed account would be difficult to find.' --Trevor Royle, member of the Scottish Government's advisory panel for commemorating the First World War and author of Flowers of the Forest: Scotland and the First World War
The Letters and Diary of Captain Walter J J Coats Mc 1914-1919
Author: Jan Chojecki,Michael LoCicero
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With an Excursion to the Abbey of Mailross in Scotland
Author: William Hutchinson
Category: Borders Region (Scotland)
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The British troops who fought so successfully under the Duke of Wellington during his Peninsular Campaign against Napoleon have long been branded by the duke’s own words—“scum of the earth”—and assumed to have been society’s ne’er-do-wells or criminals who enlisted to escape justice. Now Edward J. Coss shows to the contrary that most of these redcoats were respectable laborers and tradesmen and that it was mainly their working-class status that prompted the duke’s derision. Driven into the army by unemployment in the wake of Britain’s industrial revolution, they confronted wartime hardship with ethical values and became formidable soldiers in the bargain These men depended on the king’s shilling for survival, yet pay was erratic and provisions were scant. Fed worse even than sixteenth-century Spanish galley slaves, they often marched for days without adequate food; and if during the campaign they did steal from Portuguese and Spanish civilians, the theft was attributable not to any criminal leanings but to hunger and the paltry rations provided by the army. Coss draws on a comprehensive database on British soldiers as well as first-person accounts of Peninsular War participants to offer a better understanding of their backgrounds and daily lives. He describes how these neglected and abused soldiers came to rely increasingly on the emotional and physical support of comrades and developed their own moral and behavioral code. Their cohesiveness, Coss argues, was a major factor in their legendary triumphs over Napoleon’s battle-hardened troops. The first work to closely examine the social composition of Wellington’s rank and file through the lens of military psychology, All for the King’s Shilling transcends the Napoleonic battlefield to help explain the motivation and behavior of all soldiers under the stress of combat.
The British Soldier under Wellington, 1808–1814
Author: Edward J. Coss
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
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This book presents, in his own words, the life of Hugo Steinhaus (1887–1972), noted Polish mathematician of Jewish background, educator, and mathematical popularizer. A student of Hilbert, a pioneer of the foundations of probability and game theory, and a contributor to the development of functional analysis, he was one of those instrumental to the extraordinary flowering of Polish mathematics before and after World War I. In particular, it was he who “discovered” the great Stefan Banach. Exhibiting his great integrity and wit, Steinhaus’s personal story of the turbulent times he survived – including two world wars and life postwar under the Soviet heel – cannot but be of consuming interest. His recounting of the fearful years spent evading Nazi terror is especially moving. The steadfast honesty and natural dignity he maintained while pursuing a life of demanding scientific and intellectual enquiry in the face of encroaching calamity and chaos show him to be truly a mathematician for all seasons. The present work will be of great interest not only to mathematicians wanting to learn some of the details of the mathematical blossoming that occurred in Poland in the first half of the 20th century, but also to anyone wishing to read a first-hand account of the history of those unquiet times in Europe – and indeed world-wide – by someone of uncommon intelligence and forthrightness situated near an eye of the storm.
Recollections and Notes, Vol. 2 (1945–1968)
Author: Hugo Steinhaus
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A Biographical Dictionary of Leading Living Men of the State of Minnesota
Author: Albert Nelson Marquis
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Archaeological investigations, undertaken as part of a programme to restore St George's Church, Bloomsbury, to its original Hawksmoor splendour, involved the removal of 871 triple lead-lined coffins from within the crypt and monitoring works within the churchyard. The elaborate named coffins of upper middle class parishioners provided a valuable opportunity to greatly develop the new field of post-medieval coffin analysis, and to integrate historical, archaeological and osteological data in order to build a vivid picture of this population. Over 90% of coffins were named, which allowed a rare opportunity to blind test osteological methods on 72 skeletons, whilst analysis of documentary and osteological evidence has challenged some long- held beliefs in post-medieval burial archaeology. Disease patterns in the St George's assemblage were influenced by the longevity and affluence of this population, factors that also underlay the necessity for elaborate and expensive dental treatment, including very early examples of fillings, filing and dentures.
Archaeological Recording at St. George's Church, Bloomsbury
Author: Ceri Boston
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Recent studies of the British Army during the First World War have fundamentally overturned historical understandings of its strategy and tactics, yet the chain of command that linked the upper echelons of GHQ to the soldiers in the trenches remains poorly understood. In order to reconnect the lines of communication between the General Staff and the front line, this book examines the British army’s commanders at battalion level, via four key questions: (i) How and where resources were found from the small officer corps of 1914 to cope with the requirement for commanding officers (COs) in the expanding army; (ii) What was the quality of the men who rose to command; (iii) Beyond simple overall quality, exactly what qualities were perceived as making an effective CO; and (iv) To what extent a meritocracy developed in the British army by the Armistice. Based upon a prosopographical analysis of a database over 4,000 officers who commanded infantry battalions during the war, the book tackles one of the central historiographical issues pertaining to the war: the qualities of the senior British officer. In so doing it challenges lingering popular conceptions of callous incompetence, as well more scholarly criticism that has derided the senior British officer, but has done so without a data-driven perspective. Through his thorough statistical analysis Dr Peter Hodgkinson adds a valuable new perspective to the historical debate underway regarding the nature of British officers during the extraordinary expansion of the Army between 1914 and 1918, and the remarkable, yet often forgotten, British victories of The Hundred Days.
Author: Peter E. Hodgkinson
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As the oldest of the Highland Regiments, The Black Watch has an enviable roster of Battle Honors and a mystique born of repeated service on behalf of King, Queen and country. On the strength of her acclaimed biography of Field Marshal Earl Wavell, the regimental trustees commissioned Victoria Schofield to write this, the first volume of her magisterial history of The Black Watch, and have fully cooperated with her as she traces the story of the Regiment from its early 18th-century beginnings through to the eve of the South African War at the end of the 19th-century. Originating as companies of highland men raised to keep a watch over the Highlands of Scotland, they were formed into a regiment in 1739. Its soldiers would go on to fight with extraordinary bravery and elan in almost every major engagement fought by the British Army during this period, from the American War of Independence, the Peninsular Wars, Waterloo, the Crimea, Indian Mutiny to Egypt and the Sudan. Drawing on diaries, letters and memoirs, Victoria Schofield skillfully weaves the multiple strands of this story into an epic narrative of a valiant body of officers and men over one-and-a-half centuries. In her sure hands, the story of The Black Watch is no arid recitation of campaigns, dates and battle honors, but is instead a rich and compelling record of the soldier's experience under fire and on campaign. It is also a celebration of the deeds of a regiment that has played a unique role in British history and a vivid insight into the lives of the many remarkable figures who have marched and fought so proudly under its Colors. It is supported by more than 170 pages of appendices, bibliography, maps, and notes, as well as a brilliant array of illustrations' Military History Monthly.
Author: Victoria Schofield
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The definitive account of Passchendaele, one of the most influential and tragic battles of the First World War Passchendaele. The name of a small, seemingly insignificant Flemish village echoes across the twentieth century as the ultimate expression of meaningless, industrialized slaughter. In the summer of 1917, upwards of 500,000 men were killed or wounded, maimed, gassed, drowned, or buried in this small corner of Belgium. On the centennial of the battle, military historian Nick Lloyd brings to vivid life this epic encounter along the Western Front. Drawing on both British and German sources, he is the first historian to reveal the astonishing fact that, for the British, Passchendaele was an eminently winnable battle. Yet the advance of British troops was undermined by their own high command, which, blinded by hubris, clung to failed tactics. The result was a familiar one: stalemate. Lloyd forces us to consider that trench warfare was not necessarily a futile endeavor, and that had the British won at Passchendaele, they might have ended the war early, saving hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives. A captivating narrative of heroism and folly, Passchendaele is an essential addition to the literature on the Great War.
The Lost Victory of World War I
Author: Nick Lloyd
Publisher: Basic Books
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‘In the whole history of government in Australia, this was the most devastating tragedy.’ Three decades after what he called ‘a dreadful air crash, almost within sight of my windows’ Robert Menzies wrote ‘I shall never forget that terrible hour; I felt that for me the end of the world had come…’ Ten Journeys to Cameron’s Farm tells the lives of the ten men who perished in Duncan Cameron’s Canberra property on 13 August 1940: three Cabinet ministers, the Chief of the General Staff, two senior staff members, and the RAAF crew of four. The inquiries into the accident, and the aftermath for the Air Force, government, and bereaved families are examined. Controversial allegations are probed: did the pilot F/Lt Bob Hitchcock cause the crash or was the Minister for Air Jim Fairbairn at the controls? ‘Cameron Hazlehurst is a story-teller, one of the all-too rare breed who can write scholarly works which speak to a wider audience. In the most substantial, original, and authoritative account of the Canberra aircraft accident of August 1940 he provides unique insights into a critical, poignant moment in Australian history. Hazlehurst’s account is touched with irony and quirks, set within a framework of political, social, and military history, distinctions of class, education, and rank, and the machinations of parliamentary and service politics and of the ‘official mind’. The research is meticulous and wide-ranging, the analysis is always balanced, and the writing at once skilful and compelling. This is a work of an exceptional historian.’ (Ian Hancock, author of Nick Greiner: A Political Biography, John Gorton: He Did It His Way, and National and Permanent? The Federal Organisation of the Liberal Party of Australia) ‘Ten Journeys to Cameron’s Farm is a monumental work of historical research pegged on a single, lethal moment at the apex of government at an extraordinarily sensitive time in Australia’s history. The book embodies top drawer scholarship, deep sensitivity to antipodean class structures and sensibilities, and a nuanced understanding of both democratic and bureaucratic politics.’ (Christine Wallace, author of Germaine Greer Untamed Shrew andThe Private Don: the man behind the legend of Don Bradman)
An Australian Tragedy
Author: Cameron Hazlehurst
Publisher: ANU E Press
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This is a major new history of the British army during the Great War written by three leading military historians. Ian Beckett, Timothy Bowman and Mark Connelly survey operations on the Western Front and throughout the rest of the world as well as the army's social history, pre-war and wartime planning and strategy, the maintenance of discipline and morale and the lasting legacy of the First World War on the army's development. They assess the strengths and weaknesses of the army between 1914 and 1918, engaging with key debates around the adequacy of British generalship and whether or not there was a significant 'learning curve' in terms of the development of operational art during the course of the war. Their findings show how, despite limitations of initiative and innovation amongst the high command, the British army did succeed in developing the effective combined arms warfare necessary for victory in 1918.
Author: Ian Beckett,Timothy Bowman,Mark Connelly
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author: Farquhar Glennie,Sir William Penn Symons
Publisher: London : Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent
Category: Great Britain
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How the age of the great WWI aces came to an end in the skies over the Western Front At the beginning of 1918 the great aces seemed invincible. Flying above the battlefields of the Western Front, they cut a deadly swathe through the ranks of their enemies, as each side struggled to keep control of the air. Some were little more than boys when they started to fly, yet they were respected and feared as some of the deadliest killers in the sky. But as the press of fighting increased with the great offensives of 1918, nervous stress and physical exhaustion finally began to take their toll - and one by one the aces began to fall. This book charts the rise and fall of the WWI aces in the context of the vast battles that were taking place in 1918. It shows the vital importance of reconnaissance, and how large formations of aircraft became the norm - bringing an end to the era of the old, heroic 'lone wolves'. As the First World War came to a close very few of the aces survived. This epic history of the final year of the air war is both a chronicle of the ways in which 1918 changed aerial combat forever, and a requiem for the pioneers of aerial combat who eventually became the victims of their own brilliant innovations.
War Above The Trenches, 1918
Author: Peter Hart
Publisher: Hachette UK