Jeffrey Dierolf

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The trains that took us to war

Without railways, the First World War could never have happened, as Michael Portillo explores in his new TV series<p>Think Portillo on railways and immediately the mind rattles down the narrow-gauge track of comfortable nostalgia.<p>There is the politician-turned-presenter relaxed in some polished-wood …

Life on the eve of war: preparing the Navy for battle

As the prospect of war loomed, Winston Churchill had the task of preparing the already impressive Royal Navy for what lay ahead. In doing so he faced a political struggle on his own shores. By Con Coughlin<p>When Winston Churchill, in his capacity as the First Lord of the Admiralty, staked his …

How the First World War changed motoring

Despite the carnage, technological advances and greater use of motorised vehicles revolutionised post-war society<p>The <b>National Motor Museum</b> Trust, Beaulieu, has been given £97,200 of Lottery funding to explore how the <b>First World War</b> led to a revolution in leisure motoring.<p>A commemorative project …

Life on the eve of war: the best of enemies

In the months leading up to World War One, relations between Britain and Germany were surprisingly cordial<p>One of the many oddities to be found in browsing copies of The Daily Telegraph from the first half of 1914 is a near-insistence on the strength of Anglo-German friendship. Surely, we think a …

Remembering the Irish who fought with Britain in 1914

Irish memories of the First World War are often overshadowed by the Easter Uprising. But tens of thousands fought and died in the fields of Europe<p>At Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery yesterday, a significant event took place: <b>the unveiling of a Cross of Sacrifice erected in conjunction with the</b> …

Lest we forget the worldwide war

As the centenary of the First World War nears, we must reflect on the Empire’s sacrifices, says Hew Strachan<p>The Great War was a global conflict, and yet the commemoration of its centenary is becoming resolutely local. That is true of countries other than Britain, but it is for Britain that the …

World War One centenary: Far-flung heroes of the first truly global war

An interactive map produced by the National Archives highlights the key role played by countries across the globe in the First World War<p>They were thousands of miles away from the horrors of the Western Front.<p>But islands and territories such as Jamaica, Bermuda and the Seychelles played a key role …

A mother’s anguish over the first man to fall

John Parr’s death is shrouded in mystery but a ceremony in Belgium on Monday honours his memory, and his family’s quest for the truth<p>In life, little set John Parr apart. No picture survives of the ordinary working class boy, who grew up in a Victorian terrace in a suburb of north London and was …

How darkness descended over Europe in August 1914

On the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, historian Hew Strachan profiles Sir Edward Grey, whose words are behind a national commemoration<p>"The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life”. In his 1925 memoirs, Sir Edward Grey said that he could …

First World War centenary: how the events of August 1 1914 unfolded

Britain went to war on August 4, 1914. In the first part of a four-day series, we document the dramatic events leading up to the declaration of war as they happened, hour-by-hour<p><i>Are we to go in or stand aside? Of course everybody longs to stand aside.</i> <b><br>Herbert Asquith, diary entry, July 31</b><p>The crisis …

First World War centenary: how the events of August 2 1914 unfolded

Britain went to war on August 4 1914. In the second part of a four-day series, we document the dramatic events leading up to the declaration of war as they happened, hour-by-hour<p><i>Ever since 1892, when France and Russia had joined in military alliance, it was clear that four of the five signatories</i> …

Inventories of war: soldiers' kit from 1066 to 2014

WWI photos colourised to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the conflict

WW1 women at work: In pictures

August 3 1914: the countdown to cataclysm

Pre-war Edwardian Britain was not a happy place. Millions lived in overcrowded city slums, unable to earn enough to feed their families, Ireland was a tinderbox and suffragettes were dying<p>Everyone remembered the glorious summer before the outbreak of the First World War. The long golden days …

August 3 1914: the countdown to cataclysm across the world

The build-up to hostilities of the First World War was met with joy in Berlin, disinterest in France, disbelief in America and fear in Russia<p><b>GERMANY by Justin Huggler</b><p>Huge crowds poured through the streets of Berlin on 3 August, 1914. They were celebrating in Germany. Soldiers marched through the …

WW1 centenary: how the events of August 4 1914 unfolded

Britain went to war on August 4 1914. We document the dramatic events leading up to the declaration of war as they happened, hour-by-hour<p>The outbreak of war in 1914 is not an Agatha Christie drama at the end of which we will discover the culprit standing over a corpse in the conservatory with a …

August 5 1914: The nightmare begins – with some patriotic fervour and rocketing prices

The 4am edition of The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday August 5 1914 may not have had news of war on its front page, but inside pages had plenty of news about the countdown to world war<p>There was nothing on the front page of the 4am edition of The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday August 5 1914 to tell the …

Jingoism was only one front in Rudyard Kipling’s war

The Nobel laureate was not the reactionary figure of popular prejudice – his works should be celebrated this year<p>In the roll call of writers and poets with a connection to the First World War, one name has been conspicuously absent, that of Rudyard Kipling.<p>Commentators seem reluctant to include …

WW1 Lena Ashwell parties: Shining a light on the young women who brought music to the trenches

WW1 centenary: A new play seeks to shine a light on the brave young British women who toured the battlefields of the First World War to perform for soldiers. One of the authors, Dr Anne Farthing, explains all<p>As we <b>commemorate the centenary of World War One</b>, we are finally starting to build a more …

The start of the First World War was a seminal moment in modern history

It shaped almost every aspect of the world in which we now live – the first act in a drama that lasted until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991<p>The final weekend of peace was sunny and warm. On the Bank Holiday Monday, day trippers flocked to the most popular resorts, Blackpool and Brighton, …

Never forget the bravery and the selfless sacrifice

Commentary: As Britain prepares to remember, Sajid Javid, the Culture Secretary, on why we should never forget<p>Within the rich earth of St Symphorien Military Cemetery, there is indeed “a richer dust concealed”. The site, just over a mile from the Belgian tourist town of Mons, is the resting place …

The First World War still touches Britain

The lost lives we commemorate have added meaning in light of the troubles of today<p>Tomorrow marks the 100th anniversary of Britain entering the First World War, a chance to remember the fallen at church services or at wreath layings across the country. In the evening, many Britons will be lighting a …

BBC Proms War Horse review: 'movingly elegiac'

Serena Davies on the 'beautiful reimagining' of Michael Morpugo's classic story at this year's proms<p>The 2014 Proms’ most explicit commemoration of the start of the First World War came the day before its outbreak. Sunday’s short, sweet concert invited us to remember the conflict by putting War …

Military kit through the ages: from the Battle of Hastings to Helmand

Photographs by Thom Atkinson of military kit through the ages suggest that while technology evolves apace, the experience of soldiers in the face of war is unchanging<p>On a winter’s day in 1915 the family of one Capt Charles Sorley – athlete, soldier and poet – received a package. It was his kit bag, …

British History

In war and peace, Britain can be proud

When plans were made for the commemoration of the First World War, it seemed like an exercise in history – a necessary and salutary process of remembrance, but not one that could have much resonance in an age where consumerism appeared to have replaced patriotism as society’s animating force.<p>Yet …