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  • keithmroberts

    How NOT to use blogs

    By keithmroberts

    This area is not for queries but for ongoing blogs. if you want to ask for help, please go to the appropriate sub-forum in the main part of the GWF. You have been asked to make your first post in a specified location. Once you have done that, your query can be raised in the various sections of the forum. If you previously posted a request for help or information in this area, it is likely to be deleted at some point in the next few weeks or months. So if you have a reply, please make a note o
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Mounted Troops in BEF – David Kenyon

The Mounted Troops of the BEF in 1914 were arguably the most modern European cavalry. Whereas the French and Germans were still utilising cavalry in their 19th C role as shock troops, the British had learnt from the Boer War that such men could be used as both the traditional shock force and as mounted infantry. (They did not fire from hortseback!!) During the Boer War horse losses amongst the cavalry regiments had averaged at 8%. 70% of these losses were due from exhaustion or disease rath

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Ch. 18

Queasyjet suits me fine. So what if they don't give you sawdust flavoured sausages delicately positioned on a yellow coloured glob which is reputed to be eggs? They get you there. Cheap. Whether you get to your desitination on time, every time, is a completely different philospohical argument. Having made a sizeable dent on Mrs. Wills's dosh with my soujourn to London and the subsequent trip to Edniburgh, I reckoned it was time to save some pennies. Thus, when I downloaded Mark's message,

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Bangalore weapon

I am beginning to realise that the Bangalore has been used far more than i would have thought. This has made me think that the issue and use of this weapon is a plus to the high command especailly if used during the Somme where the perception is that the wire and the enemy has been nutralised. I am surpirsed that more has not been made of this weapon and its use. Or perhaps it is just my lack of reading? Further investigation required here

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Ch 17

Extract from case file JH/7s Bn/16 CraigLockhart Hospital Discharge Report To Chief Medical Officer, Scottish Command Depot. 2nd Lt J Hartley, 7th (s) Bn. R. Mud. RIF. Lt Hartley was admitted to this hospital on 13th August 1916, having received treatment at East Grinstead Royal Hospital for shrapnel wounds to the leg and a gunshot wound to the back. The medical staff at EGR hospital had observed that whilst Hartley was making a good physical recovery from his wounds, he was extremely wi

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Brookwood

I need to do some investagitive work to atleast to narrow down where Snow is Buried at Brookwood or I shall not find him when i get there. Seems i can access the data base at Brookwood to establish where he is at a cost of £10.00!! Last resort i guess? Have sent PM to terry to see if we can sort a date to go

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Command and Control

The Talk yesterday at the WFA was very thought provoking. Peter Simkin put a good case for some good brigade commanders that are hardly mentioned. What really hit home was his comments that in many ways some of the Haig, Rawlinson type analysis has been done to death and that the way foward was to cover the lesser known officers. A few names to follow up on Solly Flood (spelling) Vincent Gater ( Some info to come from another source) and one I can not remember the name of, bloody hel

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'Finally Home', a short Story

This is a small story I wrote many years ago, that I have just touched up and typed onto my computer. Please allow for the sentimental idiot that i am when/if you read this. Oh and for the bad grammar used. Worry not Des I shall not steal the crown from your head. FINALLY HOME The room was silent but for the rustling of the newspapers and the barely audible chewing of toast. The older of the two men around the table looked up over his paper at his younger counterpart and studied the young

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Photographs

Just posted as a couple of photos on the forum. One is of the ruined dugouts on the East Side of Mount Kemmel. The other is of the 99th Brigade RASC Football Team. I have also offered for sale a number of photos showing ruins. These can be found in Sales & Wants. PJ

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The French Army of 1914 – Bill Philpot

The French Army of 1914 – Bill Philpot The reality of the French army in 1914 was romantic rather than professional: • There had been a lengthy debate on updating the uniform prior to 1914. This led to the ideological assertion that “red trousers ARE France”. (Britain had converted to khaki field dress in 1908 and Germany to field-grey in 1910). • There was a pre-occupation with how to avenge the defeat of 1870 at all costs. • A propensity to confront one’s enemies by suicidal bayonet

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Ch 16

The Collie was nice. But I draw the line at bestiality. "Get down Shep," said Prof. Malcolm Fergusson. "Don't mind old Shep, he's a good boy, aren't you?" I managed to free my leg from the Collie's affectionate grip. It was 24 hours later, I was cold, scarred for life by a bic razor (so YOU never forgot your shaving tackle?) and Edinburgh was a long way from home. It was however, the stamping ground of the United Kingdom's foremost historian of the condition known as 'shell shock' -

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Ch 15

I ventured out of the hallowed halls of research and purchased a cup of warm liquid which was described as coffee. Anyway, it was hot, but it lacked the punching power of my two spoonfuls of instant back home. I gazed out the window, lost in thought about the document I’d just read. And one phrase kept coming back to me in large print. By the end of their little shove in the overall scheme of the ‘big push’, the Muddies had virtually ceased to exist as a unit. Sipping the coffee, I turn

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Ch 14

Ch 14 From a ‘History of the 7th Royal Mudshire Rifles. Chapter 4, page 39.’ "It was a sorry remnant of the battalion which formed up for roll call on July 3rd. Those officers and men who had been left ‘out of battle’ were horrified at the losses." War Diary (National Archive) 7th (s) Bn. R. Mud. Rif./July 7, 1916. (D/40/32RMR) The bombardment, which had lasted seven days without ceasing reached its climax at 6-25 a.m. on the morning of the 1st July, and from 6-25 a.m. until 7-30 a.m. th

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Ch 13

"June 18th 1916 – Martinsart. Btn. in reserve. Draft of 20 ORs and one officer received. ‘A’ and ‘C’ coy. Provided work parties for RE engaged on road mending. ‘B’ coy. engaged on maintenance of comm. trench C3 between ‘Paddy’s Post’ and ‘Church Street’. All details back in billets 1800 hrs for well deserved rest. Btn. warned for new tour comm. June 24th. Rfn. Lonergan, who had recently featured prominently in the Divisional Magazine provided officers of HQ coy. with a delicious supper which w

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The Schlieffen Plan – Bob Foley

I found these notes from the NAM Conference 6/7.11.2004, on my hard drive and thought they would make a good addition to the Blog. I dont think I typed up my other notes but have them in longhand somewhere. Will have to dig them out and add them to. The Schlieffen Plan – Bob Foley Ongoing debate by historians as to whether a plan actually existed. Zuber argues that Germany never intended to fight an offensive war in 1914. German Foreign/War Policy set as a result of the Russo-Japanese

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Ch 12

Thankfully, Lt. Col. Beard had adopted a headmasterly approach to his ‘young gentlemen’ and had recorded his first impressions of their character and potential in a lovingly kept personal diary. Terry Denham had been good enough to let me see the extracts concerning the Hartley interview. From the diary, it was obvious that Beard had haboured some doubts about Hartley. He noted these in terse phrases, written in a copperplate script. "Lacks experience in dealing with men. Requires a ste

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Maps / Intelligence

Is it me or is there a reoccuring theme in Travers about the out of date maps? This has of course gone down in history as a contribution to the Allied failure but as I recall accurate maps and intelligence was readily available and Hamilton's Staff had been given relatively free access to this information. Here are my notes from Chasseud's presentation at the RM Museum Gallipoli Conference 28/4/2005: Peter Chasseud said his new book, Grasping Gallipoli, will blow away some of the intellige

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Ch 11

" … and in 1920 Hartley was committed to Bryden Moor Hospital for the Insane," said Terry. My hand was cramped from rapid scribbling. It seemed a good time to take a break. "Terry, you’ve been outstanding mate," I said. "One more favour please. I’ve been jotting this down but I would really appreciate it if you could send me your stuff via e-mail? Any chance?" Being an all round decent bloke, Terry assured me that the material was as good as sent. He was as good as his word. I sett

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Ch 10

Ch 10 TWO days later, I got the call from Mark (in Belfast). The message was simple: “You’re in luck mate. I’ve got some stuff for ya. But me scanner’s broke. Gimme a few days.” Scanners are spawns of the devil. Beelzebub has one which works perfectly every time. The rest of us suffer. But at least I knew the Swinton end of the trail had started to show promise. Me? I’d been busy too, calling in a few favours in the search for the mysterious Mr. Hartley. You thought I was in a jam … bu

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The French sector

I got to the end of 1st July chapter in Hart's THE SOMME last night and my first disappointment. Not much on why the French could view the 1st July a success when Britain failed so catastrophically in so many parts of the Line. One point Hart did make that I hadnt considered was the experience of the French soldiers compared to the relatively green British troops. The other reason is of course their superior shelling of German artillery positions. The French 75 was regarded as probably

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Ch9

Ch 9 “Click.” Went the tape. “Damn.” Went the Des. You guessed it. The other side was blank. Well it had cleared one thing up. Bertie McCallion had definitely not been killed instantly as Lt. Hartley’s comforting letter to the bereaved parents had stated. It was time for some lateral thinking but first I had to ring Mrs. Wills. Two minutes later I was putting down the ‘phone. Yes. That was the only tape. No, her brother John had not had the chance to make any more. No, her brot

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Ch 8

Ch 8 “So old man Baird ended up selling the mill to McCallion in what … 1920?” I asked Terry. “Amazing isn’t it?” replied the Librarian. “He comes home from the war, moves straight in to the office as under-manager and the next thing you know he’s bought the mill.” Terry knew my next question and swooped effortlessly to provide the answer: “You’re going to ask me where he got they money? The truth is I don’t know and in those days, as long as the bank manager had the readies in front of

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Ch 7

Ch 7 In the course of our conversation, imtermittently interrupted by miscellaneous bods on their way home from work, I learned some more about Kate Wills. Her husband was a city type who spent most of his time travelling between London and New York. Rarely seen about the place, most locals reckoned the two had come to a mutual agreement some time ago. “The only bloke about the place now is Max the butler,” confided Marina. “Does the shopping, pays the bills .. and God help anyone who de

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Failure at Suvla

I finished Travers chapter on Suvla this morning. My reading of it has been a bit patchy and spread over the last few days so I thought it a good idea to reflect from memory the reasons why I believe Suvla failed between 7 – 12 August (see how much I remember). First and foremost, poor communication. This starts at the very top with Hamilton and his Staff. Stopford neither requested clear instructions from Hamilton or gave clear orders to his Divisional or Brigade Commanders. Objectives we

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