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  2. Hello readers. The German news magazine Der Spiegel recently published an article concerning the use the German military made of the fairly recent discovery of x-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. Already in 1901 Bavarian military doctors wrote to Bavarian garrison hospitals that x-rays were a compelling necessity. W.C.Roentgen never applied for patents for his invention. He received the Nobel Prize in 1901. The prize money he gave to a university. The article mentions the case of a Ludwig Bergmann who was wounded early in the war through a bullet in the left lower leg. X-ray found the bullet's location in the heel.This was not visible to the naked eye. The bullet was extracted but complications caused a permanent limp. Current exhibitions contain x-rays of that period which experts consider quite exact. Cases of wounds to internal organs like the lungs now became visible to the surgeons. Even more mobile x-ray machines were improvised with the help of motor vehicles power supply. The Bavarian duke Carl Theodor who had a medical degree in eye science and was married to Maria Josepha, the daughter of the exiled former king of Portugal had founded an eye clinic meant primarily for less fortunate patients. After his death in 1909 his widow continued the clinic which she transformed into a military hospital after the outbreak of hostilities..In 1916 patients of the hospital had assembled an album with x-ray pictures dedicated to her on her birthday. It contained a total of 81 x-ray pictures with detailed information on the patients. It may be interesting to hear of x-ray application on the allied side. Bernhard H. Holst.
  3. Regards DSWA BATTLE OF TREKOPJE 23 APRIL 1915 - Copy.pdf
  4. A very often over-looked part of the Great War. Europe's colonies in Africa were drawn into the fighting almost as soon as the imperial powers went to war in 1914. Corporal Murimi Mwiti, on guard near the town of Taveta Kenya, was killed in an exchange of fire with German troops as they crossed the frontier on August 15th 1914.
  5. Hello readers. On the centenary of the First World War the following are data related to the losses of the German Army Officers Corps. As source the "Ehren-Rangliste des ehemaligen Deutschen Heeres" ( Honor-Ranklist of the former German Army) was used. This list was published in 1926, reprinted by Biblio Verlag in 1987 and was based on the last pre-war ranklists of the several armies of which the German Army consisted, ( Prussian, Bavarian, Saxon armies and the Wuerttemberg contingent/ XIII. Army Corps ). The ranklist comprises only career officers and includes those retired officers who were recalled for active duty. This latter group contains officers who already served during the 1864, 1866 and 1870-71 conflicts. It then gives the units in which the officers served last during the war and their eventual fate The Deutscher Offizier-Bund collated the data of 50,000 regular officers but had to abstain from the inclusion of reserve officers which numbered around 250,000. The fatal losses of officers amounted to approximately 12,000 regular and 55,000 reserve officers. Among the regular officers ( active Offiziere) who lost their lives were 61 generals and 952 field grade officers ( rank of major and above ). Based on the years of the conflict one arrives at the following: 1914: 27 general- and 492 field grade officers; 1915: 14 general- and 155 field grade officers; 1916: 7 general- and 93 field grade officers; 1917: 6 general- and 55 field grade officer; 1918: 7 general- and 157 field grade officers. It is hoped that the above account does not give the impression that WW I was a war fought only by officers. Bernhard H. Holst
  6. Hello readers. The following entry is based on an article by Brig.Gen. ( retd) Jean Boy dated Nov. 2007 and 2.Nov.2010 published by the French Army Officers Academy St.Cyr publication. The article is concerned with the 1914 graduating class the examinations of which were stopped by the outbreak of the war. All 791 ( count varies in some reports ) members were considered graduates and were to enter active service to receive four months of training. In early December 1914 they were promoted to the rank of 2nd Lt. and sent to combattant units. In January 1915 this class received the the name " Promotion de la Grande Revanche ".but other particulars normally established such as class ranking, choice of particular arm ( colonial infantry, artillery etc) did not take place. Losses of this class during WW I and later also vary in the several reports which exist. One account, that by Col. Jean Le Boulicaut in the Golden Book listing those graduates of St.Cyr who died on the Field of Honor gives fourhundred sixtythree who lost their lives as follows: - fourhundred and six died in action or from wounds during WW I; - eight in Marocco; - one in the Middle East in 1920; - one in Syria in 1924; - one in China in 1938; - twentyfour during WW II including in deportation; - two in Algeria; - twenty given without details. One member of this class was honored by the later class , the one of 1986-89 which adopted his name. Thus the 173rd class of the Ecole Speciale Militaire de St. Cyr was named Promotion General Callies. The General Jean Callies was the recipient of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor and the Military Cros ( Medaille Militaire ). One example of the above described losses is the fate of Lt. Robert Casenave, who was so severely wounded in March of 1915 in the head and both hands , that the latter left him with only two fingers on each hand. He struggled to regain an assignment of front line duty and he joined the 46.Infantry Regiment. He was again severely wounded on March 28, 1918 and all trace of him was lost. I believe the above brief description demonstrates dedication and sense of duty of these young men during a time of war into which they were thrown from one moment to the next to fill positions of leadership. Bernhard H. Holst
  7. On the centenary of the First World War, I organized a small exhibition about the Great War with a few pieces from my collection for students (children and adults), know little about it. Here are a few photos from that day. I hope you like it Posters Entry room Display
  8. A forgotten country at the front of the storm...but a country that does not forget. August 2nd 2014: Luxembourg marks Centenary of German invasion in 1914 today
  9. 100 Years Ago Yesterday (sic): the start of the Battle of the Marne (history.com) (pierreswesternfront.punt.nl)
  10. What an incredible moving picture courtesy of the IWM "Youth Mourning" by George Clausen 1916. Regards
  11. Royal Canadian Navy remembers launch of submarine service in 1914 I found the fact that Japan sent warships to protect Canada's coast quite interesting...
  12. Hello readers. The German news magazine "Der Spiegel" with date of 26 Aug.2014 published an article about the German city of Wesel having in its archive several hundred photos taken by a medic of the Inf.Rgt. 56 . This regiment was garrisoned in Wesel with staff and I. and II. Battalions and neighboring Cleve where the II. Battalion had its garrison. This regiment had its first casualty by friendly fire. The Battle of Verdun saw the regiment deployed there and at other casualty intensive battlegrounds. The total fatalities until the end of the war amounted to 133 officers KiA or MiA ( considered dead ) and 4473 other ranks. The regiment returned with 2 officers and 26 other ranks from the war. German T.V. ( ZDF ) had a documentary about this and the city of Wesel has a book about this subject. Bernhard H. Holst.
  13. November 14-15, 2014, the MacArthur Memorial in Norfolk, Virginia, will present a ‘World War I Centennial Symposium’. In partnership with the Hampton Roads Naval Museum and the Old Dominion University Department of History. It is free and open to the public, but registration is limited. I just registered moments ago and there are only about 30 spaces left. You can register for both days or for only one day on either date. The event will feature an international group of authors and scholars. Topics will include the origins of the war, the opening battles of the war, submarine warfare, America before the war, archaeology of the war, Japan and World War I, and the war in modern memory. Holger Herwig, author of the books; The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918 (1996) and The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle that Changed the World (2009) is scheduled to participate. See this GMIC thread for comments on Herwig's book:http://gmic.co.uk/index.php/topic/63309-the-marne-1914-recommended/?hl=herwig See this link for more WWI events in the United States
  14. ...remember that 100 years ago tonight, "the lights went out all over Europe" on the last day of peace. The world is still waiting for the lights to come back on in many places. July 27: Italy launches global music event to remember Europe's last hours of peace on this day in 1914 "Events start in Italy with a lone trumpeter playing ‘Silenzio’ (equivalent to the ‘Last Post’)." I hope someone posts a video of this to YouTube.
  15. It's after 4pm CET, maybe some of our French members can provide some first-hand comments. http://www.centenarynews.com/article?id=2845
  16. The US news is dominated by Gaza, Ukraine, and the illegal alien crisis. Anything to do with the Centenary has to be sought out by interested parties. It just isn't in the mainstream news. How is it in your country? Does the Centenary get any media attention? To what level? Does anyone care? Except us old curmudgeons isolated in our oak paneled club rooms? Or is everyone preoccupied with making a buck, flogging their wares, fighting the rush hour commute, fussing over the temperature of the coffee and wine, the price of fish and chips, the calories in a Big Mac? I am wondering if the general population is even aware. If they are aware, do they even care... Does it even matter? If this topic doesn't reach "hot" status and generate as much debate as Blackadder, I'll have my answer, I think. Just a hypothetical question.
  17. Here's a good site especially if you can read and understand German. For those who can't, just click on stuff and I bet you'll find at least the films and photos interesting http://ersterweltkrieg.bundesarchiv.de/ Tony
  18. Several free lectures at the Canadian War Museum. Might be of interest... http://www.warmuseum.ca/media/news/august-2014-at-the-canadian-war-museum/
  19. Allow me to call your attention to latest Brian's News from the Home Office
  20. An excellent website collating news about the WWI Centenary. The "Events" list is interesting. It seems a Vienna Philharmonic concert in Sarajevo on 28 June is the only event to commemorate the "spark" that started the war.
  21. Looks like a good program of events at the US WWI museum. Anyone know of other programs for 28 June to commemorate the Archduke's assassination?
  22. When Britain’s war effort was threatened by a shortage of shells, the government exhorted schoolchildren across the country to go on the hunt for horse chestnuts. Saul David explains: In the autumn of 1917, a notice appeared on the walls of classrooms and scout huts across Britain: “Groups of scholars and boy scouts are being organised to collect conkers… This collection is invaluable war work and is very urgent. Please encourage it.” It was never explained to schoolchildren exactly how conkers could help the war effort. Nor did they care. They were more interested in the War Office’s bounty of 7s 6d (37.5p) for every hundred weight they handed in, and for weeks they scoured woods and lanes for the shiny brown objects they usually destroyed in the playground game. The children’s efforts were so successful that they collected more conkers than there were trains to transport them, and piles were seen rotting at railway stations. But a total of 3,000 tonnes of conkers did reach their destination – the Synthetic Products Company at King’s Lynn – where they were used to make acetone, a vital component of the smokeless propellant for shells and bullets known as cordite. Cordite had been used by the British military since 1889, when it first replaced black gunpowder. It consisted chiefly of the high-explosives nitroglycerine and nitrocellulose (gun-cotton), with acetone playing the key role of solvent in the manufacturing process. Prior to the First World War, the acetone used in British munitions was made almost entirely from the dry distillation (pyrolysis) of wood. As it required almost a hundred tonnes of birch, beech or maple to produce a tonne of acetone, the great timber-growing countries were the biggest producers of this vital commodity, and Britain was forced to import the vast majority of its acetone from the United States. An attempt to produce our own acetone was made in 1913 when a modern factory was built in the Forest of Dean. But by the outbreak of war in 1914, the stocks for military use were just 3,200 tonnes, and it was soon obvious that an alternative domestic supply would be needed. This became even more pressing during the spring of 1915 when an acute shortage of shells – the so-called ‘shell crisis’ – reduced some British guns to firing just four times a day. The British government’s response was to create a dedicated Ministry of Munitions, run by the future prime minister David Lloyd George. One of Lloyd George’s first initiatives was to ask the brilliant chemist Chaim Weizmann of Manchester University if there was an alternative way of making acetone in large quantities. Weizmann said yes. Developing the work of Louis Pasteur and others, Weizmann had perfected an anaerobic fermentation process that used a highly vigorous bacterium known as Clostridium acetobutylicum (also known as the Weizmann organism) to produce large quantities of acetone from a variety of starchy foodstuffs such as grain, maize and rice. He at once agreed to place his process at the disposal of the government. In May 1915, after Weizmann had demonstrated to the Admiralty that he could convert 100 tonnes of grain to 12 tonnes of acetone, the government commandeered brewing and distillery equipment, and built factories to utilise the new process at Holton Heath in Dorset and King’s Lynn in Norfolk. Together they produced more than 90,000 gallons of acetone a year, enough to feed the war’s seemingly insatiable demand for cordite. (The British army and Royal Navy, alone, fired 248 million shells from 1914 to 1918.) But by 1917, as grain and potatoes were needed to feed the British population, and German U-boat activity in the Atlantic was threatening to cut off the import of maize from the United States, Weizmann was tasked to find another supply of starch for his process that would not interfere with the already limited food supplies. He began experimenting with conkers, aware that they grew in abundance across the country, and found that the yield of acetone was sufficiently high to begin production. This, in turn, prompted the nationwide appeal for schoolchildren to collect the conkers and hand them in. The government was determined not to reveal the real reason for the great chestnut hunt of 1917 in case the blockaded Germans copied their methods. The only official statement was printed in The Times on 26 July 1917. It read: “Chestnut seeds, not the green husks, are required by the Government for the Ministry of Munitions. The nuts will replace cereals which have been necessary for the production of an article of great importance in the prosecution of the War.” When questions were asked in the House of Commons, the veiled response was that the conkers were needed for “certain purposes”. So suspicious did some members of the public become that they accused the government of using voluntary labour for private profit. The actual production of acetone from conkers was, despite Weizmann’s assurances, never that successful. Teething problems meant the manufacturing process did not begin in the King’s Lynn factory until April 1918, and it was soon discovered that horse chestnuts did not provide the yields the government had hoped for. Production ended after just three months. So did conkers really help to win the war? They played their part, certainly, even if their role was more walk-on than centre stage. The real star of the show was Chaim Weizmann, whose brilliant solution to the acetone shortage – using a variety of natural products from maize to conkers – helped to solve the shell crisis and get Britain’s guns firing again. A leading Zionist, Weizmann was rewarded for his vital contribution to Britain’s war effort when the cabinet – prompted by Lloyd George, prime minister since late 1916 – approved the signing of the Balfour Declaration on 2 November 1917. Taking the form of a letter from Arthur Balfour, the foreign secretary, to Lord Rothschild, a leading British Jew, it promised government support “for the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people”, and was the first step on the long road to Israeli statehood. When the state of Israel was finally established in 1948, Weizmann became its first president. For good or ill, conkers were partly responsible.
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