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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:46 am 
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Location: Herts
Anyone else feeling profoundly grateful today for a soldier who came home from the Somme?

My grandfather survived Gallipoli, the Somme and being gassed.

We were in Cambridge yesterday and some of the colleges had pictures and biographies of their students who did not come home from the Somme asking us to think about the lives they might have led and the families they might have had if they had made it home.

My family exists because my grandfather made it through what still remains the single biggest loss of life in one day in British History. 20 thousand British Empire soldiers died on the battlefield on 1st July 2016, 7 thousand French and 8 thousand Germans, a total of 35 thousand.

Far more officers than their men died. 60% of the officers did not live to see Sunset.

The largest ratio of death to survival on that first day was the 90% of the 2,000 men from Newfoundland who died.

More than one million men (almost half British) on both sides died in 18 weeks.

90% of the 72 thousand names of unknown British solders on the Theipval died at the Somme.

Otto Frank, (Anne Frank's father), Tolkien, Wilfred Owen and Hitler were all there and all came back.

How different History would have been if a British sniper had taken Hitler out! (Government approved exclamation mark) DG


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 12:39 pm 
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None of my family fought in WW1 that I'm aware of (both my grandfathers worked down the mines in Wales and therefore I believe were exempt) but we took the children to the Somme and to Ypres and the cemeteries around them in May half term - and I'm so glad we did. It was profoundly moving, for them as well as us, and the timing with the 100th anniversary of the Somme this year made it particularly special as well.
They definitely have a different perspective, watching some of the coverage on TV now.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 7:44 am 
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2007 2:09 pm
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands
OH and I visited Ypres/Lille last spring, and tracked down the immaculately tended graves of my great-great uncle and his great-uncle, both called Percy, both killed within a couple of months and a few miles of each other in 1917. And just two among the millions of names engraved on various memorials across the district. As you say, the tragic weight of all the lives never lived is overwhelming....


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:01 am 
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We spent last week in the Somme, a beautiful beautiful area hard to comprehend the tragedy and bloodshed that happened there.

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Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad !


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:25 am 
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This was a piece of hidden history I previously found.I wasn't aware many Chinese were recruited as part of the war effort.

http://hiddenhistorieswwi.ac.uk/tag/china/

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In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 9:55 am 
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My grandmother was a nurse out in France - she was at the hospital where Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae was treated. The service of such volunteers is often not even mentioned when the war is discussed.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:19 am 
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quasimodo wrote:
This was a piece of hidden history I previously found.I wasn't aware many Chinese were recruited as part of the war effort.

http://hiddenhistorieswwi.ac.uk/tag/china/


That is very interesting Quasimodo as we revisited the beautiful town of St Valery sur Somme and whilst there commented on the several shops with names/products referring to China. Now we know why, thankyou.

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Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad !


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 5:17 am 
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loobylou wrote:
None of my family fought in WW1 that I'm aware of (both my grandfathers worked down the mines in Wales and therefore I believe were exempt) but we took the children to the Somme and to Ypres and the cemeteries around them in May half term - and I'm so glad we did. It was profoundly moving, for them as well as us, and the timing with the 100th anniversary of the Somme this year made it particularly special as well.
They definitely have a different perspective, watching some of the coverage on TV now.


I read this article in the Daily Mail this morning.For once a positive article in this age of islamophobia about muslims and the actions of one in particular at the Battle of Ypres.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... Ypres.html

400,000 muslims served in the British Indian army during the first world war and many of them were killed or injured.I wonder how many in this country are ignorant of such facts ?

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In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:14 pm 
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Thanks for sharing this article, Quasi. :D
The quote 'the line that stood between the British Empire and ruin was composed of tired, haggard and unshaven men, unwashed, plastered with mud, many in little more than rags' is like a mirror image of the verses of Wilfred Owen:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

I know that in France, a film has been made about the contribution of the soldiers coming for the French colonies during WWII ( film 'Days of glory'). I am not sure there is any film about their contribution during WWI!


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 7:23 am 
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"Is there ought you need that my hands withhold,
Rich gifts of raiment or grain or gold?
Lo! I have flung to the East and the West
Priceless treasures torn from my breast,
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb
To the drum-beats of the duty, the sabers of doom.
Gathered like pearls in their alien graves
Silent they sleep by the Persian waves,
Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands,
They lie with pale brows and brave, broken hands,
they are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance
On the blood-brown meadows of Flanders and France
Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep?
Or the pride that thrills thro' my heart's despair
And the hope that comforts the anguish of prayer?
And the far sad glorious vision I see
Of the torn red banners of victory?
when the terror and the tumult of hate shall cease
And life be refashioned on anvils of peace,
And your love shall offer memorial thanks
To the comrades who fought on the dauntless ranks,
And you honour the deeds of the dauntless ones,
Remember the blood of my martyred sons!"

by Sarojini Naidu “the Nightingale of India”.

Naidu was a politician as well as a poet: a lifelong fighter for Indian independence who became the first female state governor in her country. Her best-known poem the “The Gift of India” (1915), describes the dead.

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In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln


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