David Peter Gleaves

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Bик – The Gallipoli Landing by Charles Dixon. Date...

Photograph taken 97 years ago today, showing a captured German naval cannon being towed by a 'C' Battalion tank, 29 November 1917. Image was taken by official war photographer John Warwick Brooke on the Marcoing Road in a wood east of Ribécourt, France. From collection of the Imperial War Museum, © IWM (Q 6357). #OnThisDay #ThisDayInHistory #WW1 #WW1centenary

1st Battalion, Irish Guards prepare to leave Wellington Barracks, Westminster, London, following the outbreak of the First World War. 6th of August 1914. "As soon as war became inevitable, the general mobilisation was ordered and on the 4th August 1914, the mobilisation notices were sent to every Irish Guards reservist totalling over 1300 men.The 1st Battalion was at the time stationed at Wellington Barracks and the first reservists reported there the very next day. The 1st Battalion was inspected by the Colonel of the Regiment, Field Marshal Lord Roberts, on the 11th August and the next day embarked for France to a concentration area 40 miles south of Mons. It was in this neighbourhood that the first clash of the British Expeditionary Forces (BEF) with the German Army took place, on the morning of the 23rd August 1914. Meanwhile the French, who were on the right of the BEF had to withdraw and to avoid being surrounded by the Germans the BEF had to conform and withdraw also. This 'Retreat' (which is know to the Veterans and the Regiment as the 'Retirement') is a legendary epic, and the 1st Battalion, therefore, took part in what must be one of the most testing battles of the early part of the Great War. At the beginning of the 'Retreat' the Battalion acted as rearguard to the 2nd Division and sustained its first casualties. Two days later it was again in action at LANDRECIES, but it was on the 1st of September, at VILLIERS COTTERET that the Battalion fought it's first serious engagement in which it had over 100 casualties, including the Commanding Officer and Second-in-Command killed and the Adjutant wounded. As the only Major left, Major H.A Herbert-Stepney took command of the Battalion for a hectic 18 days and was later killed on the 6th November 1914 near YPRES. The 'Retreat' lasted until the 5th of September 1914 by which time the front had stabilised. It was a long drawn-out rearguard action and a severe test of skill and endurance, entailing withdrawing a distance of nearly 200 miles. The strength of the Regiment on mobilisation in 1914 was 997. During the Great War 293 Officers and 9340 Other Ranks served as Irish Guardsmen of whom 115 Officers and 2235 Other Ranks gave their lives and a further 195 Officers and 5541 Other Ranks were wounded. The numbers don't add up because some of the individuals were wounded more than once and are counted accordingly." (The Irish Guards - A Brief History, World War I) (© IWM Q 66157) (Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Colourized-pictures-of-the-world-wars-and-other-periods-in-time/182158581977012

Balloon troops from a (Feldluftschiffer) unit prepare to raise their Parseval-Sigsfeld 'Drachen' balloon. c.1916 In 1896 two German Officers, Parseval and Sigsfeld, designed a new type of balloon: it was not spherical in shape but ellipsoidal, about 20 meters long, a gas volume of some 1200 m3, and with a ballonet curled at one end. This ballonet had a hole at either end to allow wind to go through it, which helped steadying the balloon. These new balloons were called 'Drachen', after the German word for kite - or dragon. When the war started in 1914 in the West, the deployment of eight German Balloon Companies gave the Germans a distinct tactical advantage over the French. The French put up a solitary balloon on 25th August 1914 that was soon followed by several more in September and October 1914. When the British Expeditionary Force arrived in France in mid-August, it had no observation balloons at all. It was not until April 1915 that they got their first balloon company, and that was on loan from the French. Apart from being a highly dangerous occupation (15 days was considered to be a reasonable expectation of life for a 'Drachen') the results were dependent on the skill of the observer. The observer suspended in the wicker basket typically had a wireless set, binoculars and one or two long-range cameras with him. His job was to observe actions on the front and behind it, to spot troop movements, unusual activity of any sort, and to call down artillery fire onto worthy targets. The 'Drachen' would seem to have been easy prey for fighters, except for the fact that they were ringed by anti-aircraft guns with a well adjusted field of fire. Fighter pilots had to come in high and quickly dive toward the target, because the balloon could be quickly hauled down. (It was a rule of thumb with British pilots to never go after balloons below 300 metres, the AA and MG fire was then simply too dangerous.) Therefore, bagging a balloon ranked on a par with shooting down an enemy plane. The balloon observers were the only people routinely outfitted with parachutes, which had been available since 1915. By the war's end some 4000 'Drachen' had been delivered to the German Army of which 241 had been shot down. (Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia) https://www.facebook.com/coloursofyesterday

The rise of virulent aboriginal Canadian snipers in World War I Today no country can think of declaring war without having its snipers. They are now an inevitable part of any war. Most of the top snipers in the First World War are aboriginals of Canada who came from civilian backgrounds. Sniping involves the act of killing your enemy by keeping an eye on it from a close range. This is also the type of killing that people uses during hunting animals. During hunting for animals people need to know the skills of concealment as well as camouflage. These same set of skills are needed during the act of sniping your enemy. Sniping came into existence hundred years back from now. The war of 1914 which is widely known as the First World War is the birthplace of snipers from around the world. This act of sniping was introduced by Germans who trained their soldiers on sniping and also armed them with rifles with telescopic sights. The first half of the war was dominated by the Germans. However, the rise of the Canadian snipers shattered the efforts of German armed forces. These Canadian soldiers were considered to be the virulent practitioners of sniping. Canadian armed forces sought outs its sniper soldiers not only from the regular regiment but also from different backgrounds such as hunters, farmers, fishermen, and trappers as they possessed the skills of camouflage and patience. And most importantly men, those who have an inclination towards shooting were given a chance. As a result of this filtrate selection, the Canadian armed force got some of its ruthless practitioners in sniping from Canada’s first nation’s communities, The Globe and Mail reports. Among all other snipers the name of Francis Pegahmagabow comes first. He was one of the most efficient marksmen of the First World War and was credited with killing 378 and capturing 300 more German soldiers. In fact along with him there were at least another eight Canadian snipers in the top dozen at that time. Among these eight snipers probably five to six are aboriginal, such as First Nations, Métis or Inuits. One such sniper was Johnson Paudash from Kawartha Lakes, Ontario. He was described as a soft spoken man with keen eyesight. Louis Philippe Riel, nephew of Métis leader Louis Riel, was another tope rated sniper of his time. And then there was Cree Henry Norwest, who was from the Edmonton area and upheld a reputation for causing fear into the Germans. However, the most distinguished sniper among all was Francis Pegahmagabow. He was mostly celebrated for his bravery in Canadian military history. He was awarded with the military medal thrice in his lifetime. He joined as a volunteer with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in August 1914 and served until the war end. When he returned home he was severely wounded, his lungs were damaged by poison gas and so he slept in the chair to stop them from filling with fluid. Later he served as an activist and a leader in several First Nation organisations. In the words of his granddaughter, Theresa McInnes, “he just didn’t sit back; he was a fighter all around”. Major Jim McKillip, a historian with the Canadian forces, department of history and heritage says, “Personality is a very big consideration in this”. According to him the most important trait required in a sniper is “patience”. At first these snipers have to maintain secrecy to set their firing positions which takes lot of patience. This setting up of firing position may take strenuous crawls or even stealthy walks at night. Sometimes these snipers can’t even change their positions for several days and nights. However the irony is, during the war many soldiers thought sniping to be the most relaxing job, because the sniper did not have to go through much labour, and their only job is to cover themselves under the grass.

Humour to end the day as I've given you a lot to read.

How World War I Launched Mapmaking at National Geographic

The far-off battles of WWI created an appetite for maps—and National Geographic was at the ready.<p>In the summer of 1914, Americans began reading news accounts of a conflict that would soon be called the Great War—and that would draw the United States in three years later.<p>But it was <i>National …

WW1 women at work: In pictures

World History

First world war's forgotten Chinese Labour Corps to get recognition at last

The 95,000 Chinese farm labourers who, almost a century ago, volunteered to leave their remote villages and work for Britain in the first world war, have been called "the forgotten of the forgotten".<p>The contribution made by the Chinese Labour Corps was barely recognised at the end of the war, and …

WWI 100th Anniversary: How Britain's 'Devil Dwarfs' Helped Allies Win World War One

"Your country needs you," bellowed Lord Kitchener from the infamous sign-up poster, his pointing finger emerging from a resplendent moustache. Except …

Cornwall In The First World War

During this month, each weekday I'm posting an image showing Cornwall's First World War. <br>Cornwall's easternmost naval base was HMS <i>Defiance</i>, situated …

Ring of Steel: Germany and Austria-Hungary at War, 1914-1918 review – a well argued, important book

Are you war-weary? Does the thought of going over the top once more fill you with dread? Do you long for the bookshops and newspapers to forget about the first world war? Well, summon your sinews and make a final effort: Alexander Watson's <i>Ring of Steel</i> is perhaps the most important of the current …

15 August 1914 – Paul to Gertrude

H M S Gloucester<p>15th August<p>My dear Mother,<p>Just in the midst of a hurried coaling so xcuse any dirt. I am still safe & sound & so is the Gloucester – …

Französische Kriegsgefangenen - 1916, Fränkisch-Crumbach

Three Tommies - in the village of Warloy-Baillon, 10 miles west of the Somme front line. Late 1915 to mid 1916. (Colorized by Paul Edwards) https://www.facebook.com/photoretrofit The photograph is one of almost 400 snaps of British soldiers on the eve of, and during, the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The trove has been rescued from oblivion by two French men. Many of the images are published in today's Independent magazine for the first time. The photographs, all of which are preserved on glass plates, lay undisturbed in the attic of a ramshackle barn 10 miles behind the Somme battlefields for more than 90 years. When the barn changed hands in 2007, they were thrown on to the street. Passers-by collected a few and eventually the historical value of the plates, some in perfect condition, some badly damaged, was realised. In recent months they have been assembled and their images printed, scanned and digitally restored by two local men, Bernard Gardin and Dominique Zanardi. M. Gardin, 60, is a photography enthusiast, while M. Zanardi, 49, owns the "Tommy" cafe, which sits in the heart of the Somme battlefield in the village of Pozières. An amateur photographer, possibly a local farmer, is believed to have taken the photographs in the winter of 1915-16 and the spring and summer of 1916. The unknown photographer presumably made a crust by charging British soldiers a few francs to take a snap which they could send home to their loved ones. The lovingly-assembled collection forms a poignant record of the British army on the eve of, or during the Battle of the Somme: the most murderous single battle of the 1914-18 war in which 400,000 British and empire soldiers died. The identity of the soldiers is, and may always remain, a mystery. They are, in a sense, a photographic parallel to the 400 unknown British and Australian soldiers whose bodies are being excavated from eight mass graves near Fromelles, 50 miles to the north.

Australia in the Great War

First World War 100th Anniversary 2014-2018 - a tribute

First World War 100th Anniversary 2014-2018<p>This is a tribute to all those poor souls who fought and died during WWI using historical footage and …