March 2005

Access Archives

TRENCH REPORT: On 10 February, Queen Elizabeth inaugurated the world's first major museum recording and illustrating the life and achievements of that notable First World War Veteran, Winston Churchill. The new museum opened to the public at the Cabinet War Rooms. (Negative review) (Positive review). . .A record for long distance shooting was set recently in Iraq by a US Marine Sniper who killed four terrorists at 970 meters. I am interested in discovering the comparable record for the Great War. . .Let me make one more appeal to our readers. On this page you will find access to information on many seminars, conferences and excursions planned by the Great War Society, the Western Front Association and other like minded-groups. These are a terrific way to increase your knowledge, meet others who share your interests and support the effort to keep the memory of the sacrifices and the lasting importance of the events of 1914-1918. Please turn out if you can.

Memorable Event

March 22, 1915

Fall of the
Fortress of Przemsyl

Click on Image for More Information

New at the Websites of the Great War Society and Our Friends
Click on Title to Access

At Great War Society Sites At the WFA-USA

This Month's
Special Feature

Air Power Pioneers
The Great War

The Real Deal

Charges Read at
Billy Mitchell's Court Martial

Recipe for the FRENCH 75

Created at Harry's Bar in Paris during World War I and named after the French 75mm artillery piece used by American Field Artillery.

  • 1 oz. Brandy or Cognac
  • 3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Champagne

Shake with ice the Brandy, lemon juice and sugar. Strain into a large cocktail glass and top with Champagne. Note: Can also be served over ice in a white wine glass.
A great moral victory for Vienna, but with it, every reason for war disappears.

The Kaiser on the Serbian reply to the ultimatum

click on poster for information

We have discovered another terrific focused bibliography for you. If you have any interest in the Cultural Dimension of the war, click here to visit the page at the King and Empire Website.

Gone West

Warren V. Hileman who served in the Siberian AEF during World War I died recently at age 103. He was the last know citizen of Illinois to have served in that war. Other residents at the Illinois Veteran's Home said whenever they complained about cold weather, Hileman had a quick rejoinder: "You should have been in Siberia." "There have always been wars, back to biblical times," he would also say, "and probably always will be." Last year, Gov. Rod Blagojevich declared Jan. 14, 2004, to be Warren V. Hileman Day in Illinois.

One of our readers has pointed out that we missed the passing of two Canadian Vets in late 2004: Paul Métivier, 104, of Ottawa (December 22, 2004) and Alice Strike, 108, of Nova Scotia (also December 22, 2004, last female veteran Six Canadian WWI vets are thought to be living.(link)

Who is this renowned surgeon who worked in both German and American military hospitals during the Great War.?

Answer: He is Dr. Leo Eloesser of Stanford University and San Francisco City and County Hospital. He was a distinguished Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon who in his 95 years crossed paths with Kaiser Wilhelm, Leon Trotsky, Tom Mooney, Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo, the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain and managed, despite his left wing politics, to get booted out of China when the Communists took over. Your editor was his host when the doctor and his nurse appeared at my office unexpectedly and unannounced, having travelled from Mexico for the opening of the new San Francisco General Hospital in 1976, just five weeks before his death. Someday I'll write a story about Dr. Eloesser, the day I spent with him and the paintings he donated to the hospital from his pals Diego and Frida. The winner of the contest to identify him is Dr. Jack Farqhuar of Stanford University where Dr. Eloesser is still a legend. Congrats Jack.


WFA Pacific Coast Branch Spring Seminar
Victoria, British Columbia
March 11-13, 2005 (link)
WFA-USA East Coast Chapter Spring Seminar
Incl: Tour USS Olympia WWI Vet.
Philadelphia, Pa
March 19, 2005 (link)
WFA-USA Semi-Annual Seminar & Tour
Openings Now Available
Somme, Arras, Marne, Ch. Thierry
April 4-16, 2005 (link)
Great War Society 14th National Seminar
America & the Great War, 1914-20
Furama Hotel, Los Angeles
April 22-24, 2005 (link)
The Charles B. Burdick Memorial Military History Symposium
War Between the Rivers: Historical Invasions of Mesopotamia
San Jose State Univ.
Downtown San Jose, CA

Contact: Jonathan Roth(email)
WFA New England - New York Spring Seminar
FDR Presidential Library,
Hyde Park, NY

June 11, 2005 (link)
WFA-USA 16th Annual National Seminar

Virginia Military Museum
Newport News, Virginia
September 23-25, 2005 (link)
Send additions/corrections:
Email Response
Page Two

Rudyard Kipling's Propaganda Notes to Lord Beaverbrook
Propaganda for Munitions Workers

Excerpted from National Archives Documents by the Times Literary Supplement

Rudyard Kipling
As far as I can make out it is more important just now to feed munition-works with steadying propaganda than any other class; because they seem to be the most isolated.

What they need, among other things, is news and description of the actual work done by the material they produce . . . Oratory of some sort or another is the workman’s intellectual excitement – he has a great respect for the gift of the gab – and his education for the past seven or eight years has made him peculiarly accessible to both oratory and the cinema. The two together are the strongest combination.


Take first the case of Aeroplanes. When once a machine is despatched, no word of its performances in the field comes back to the factory. This is as stupid as preventing trainers and ostlers in a racing stable from being told what their horses are doing on the turf. I suggest . . . that arrangements could be made with the Air Service whereby the make and types of the machines employed in any special success should be communicated to the factory that produced them . This in conjunction with cinema work of aerodrome and air stunts. It is not generally realized that a large number of aeroplane workers in factories have the very sketchiest ideas of what an aeroplane does or can do. I should go so far as to say that a lecturer on the development of the aeroplane would find his most interested audience in an aeroplane factory.

Kipling with Officers of His Son's Regiment the Irish Guards


The same idea holds good with guns – specially big guns. The results of big “shoots” appear to be tabulated at the front, and are given from time to time in the press. It would be amply worth while where guns from certain makers (there are not many of them) are worked together to give the workers in the factories concerned the results, as far as ascertained, of our counter-battery work, expenditure of munition etc, together with any details of guns which had noticeably exceeded or fallen below the average of a gun’s life. The whole to be posted from time to time in the dining rooms as in the case of aeroplanes, and to be followed up by cinemas of guns in action, dumps, explosion of dumps, and the general life of the battery. . . .

As I have said above the operatives have astonishingly small knowledge either of how one factory uses the goods turned out by another, or what is done with the material. The old hands are naturally ignorant of war; the young fellows taken on at fifteen or sixteen who are now eighteen or nineteen are, by the very necessities of their work almost equally ignorant of what has taken place during the war; the women look at life from a different angle to the men, and the discharged soldiers who have come back to the factories do not – quite rightly – talk much about war.

Lt. John Kipling
Click Here for an interesting article about how Kipling dealt with the death of his son John, a lieutenant in the Irish Guards killed at Loos in September 1918 at age 18.

Bunny and Bombs
Director Byron Haskin and a PBS/BBC Gem

By Andrew Melomet
One of my favorite genre film directors is Byron Haskin who was affectionately known as "Bunny" to his friends and coworkers. He grew up in San Francisco, attending Lowell High School and the University of California. On April 18, 1906, just four days short of his seventh birthday, he lived through the San Francisco earthquake and the ensuing fiery destruction of the city. When he directed War of the Worlds (1953), he tried to create a similar feeling of pure nightmare, that there was nothing normal left to see, or hear. Working as a newsreel cameraman in San Francisco, he photographed the infamous bombing of the Preparedness Day Parade in 1916. Downtown Market Street was packed with spectators as the parade organized by William Randolph Hearst went by. The bomb (supposedly planted by radical labor leaders Tom Mooney and Warren K. Billings) was detonated killing 10 in the crowd and wounding 40. According to Haskin, the film went from blood to newsreel screen within 45 minutes. Instantaneous visual news coverage isn't something new after all.

With the coming of World War I, Haskin joined the Navy. On the eve of his departure from Berkeley to get up to Bremerton, Washington he broke his arm, ending his military career. Haskin arrived in Hollywood in 1919 and found work as a cameraman, special effects technician and director for the next 49 years! Byron Haskin, interviewed by Joe Adamson was published by Scarecrow Press in 1984 and covers Haskin's career in great detail. It's part of The Directors Guild of America Oral History Series.

Inspired by the Great War!

In the fall of 2004, Paramount Home Video released 2 of Haskin's more interesting genre titles, The Naked Jungle (1954) and The Conquest Of Space (1955). The retail price is just $14.99. The Naked Jungle is based on "Leiningen Versus The Ants" by Carl Stephenson, first published in Esquire in December, 1938. Biographical information on the author is pretty sparse but he was of the right age and generation to see service for Germany in The Great War. This adventure tale was adapted for radio, as well. Reading the story today, Leiningen comes across as a proto-fascist, protecting his corner of Aryan civilization in the jungle from an advancing ant horde (an often used metaphor for communism). In Haskin's take on this story, the ants become a metaphor for the devouring sexual passion and fear aroused in a virginal Leiningen (played by Charlton Heston) by his previously married mail-order bride (played by Eleanor Parker).

The Conquest Of Space features marvelous outer space vistas and space ships designed by Wernher von Braun and Chesley Bonestell. The plot line is pretty thin but there are moments of beauty and depth that are often startling, including a space funeral and large craters on Mars decades before they were revealed by our space probes. Of course, there would be no "conquest of space" without World War I. Thanks to the Versailles Treaty; during the 20s and 30s Germany was forced to explore other nontraditional venues for military power. Von Braun, Hermann Oberth and others were responsible for eventually developing the V-2 used by Germany in World War II. After the war, von Braun and Oberth went to work for the United States. Von Braun's vision of a manned mission to Mars, The Mars Project was first published in 1953. If you're a fan of jungle and space adventures, you'll enjoy these releases and you can tell yourself, that if it hadn't been for The Great War their source material might not have been created.

Back in 1981, Masterpiece Theatre ran an exciting 13 part series, Danger UXB. It's now available on DVD from A&E. The retail price is $69.95 but it is available discounted at various sites on-line. While Danger UXB is about bomb disposal during World War II, The Great War's effect on the United Kingdom is felt in nearly every episode. There's an older staff officer who reminiscences about France in 1917, a maiden aunt who still mourns her dead lover killed at Zeebrugge, etc. In one episode the sappers find themselves dealing not with a WWII high explosive bomb but an unearthed relic from a WWI bombing raid on London! This series was created and produced by John Hawkesworth who also produced Upstairs, Downstairs. The appealing cast includes Anthony Andrews and Judy Geeson. The series reeks of authenticity in its depiction of war-time Britain. Nobody does these series better than the Brits and I highly recommend this box set for those who have memories of seeing this the first time around or for those who have only heard about.

Andrew Melomet, Proprietor of Andy's Nickelodeon will answer your Great War film or video inquiry. Just click HERE.

From Tony Langley's War in a Different Light

French Soldiers Preparing for Mardi Gras

The original caption, translated: "Our troops are getting ready to merrily celebrate upcoming Mardi Gras, just as they did last year. Dressing as a civilian will probably be the most comical disguise, especially when serving coffee to fellow comrades. At the café des Marmites ['Marmite' is roughly equivalent to 'Jack Johnsons'], where 77 and 105 mm shells are frequent guests, pancakes (crepes) will be served. As is proper, a musical band will be in attendance." The graffitti includes: "Monsieur Durand['s] Anti-Boche Salon and Barbershop closed from 11 to 12. Under the German soldier drawing : "Le Maudit? = the Damned?"
Click Here to Visit War in a Different Light

Post Your World War I Stumper Here

Last month we asked the readers to help member Bill Anderson identify the ribbons worn by his grandfather, Lt. W.M. Rosson a veteran of the 305th Infantry, 77th Division of the AEF. Bill wishes to than all who helped. He is down to one ribbon left to identify. Displayed below is the stumper. Next month, we would like to list the identities of all the ribbons worn by Lt. Rosson..

If you can help with this, please contact Bill Anderson directly with your information. (email)

Winter at Verdun

By Christina Holstein

Fort Douaumont

Col. Emile Driant's Tomb and Memorial

The Battlefield 89yrs Later

There was snow this year for the 89th anniversary of the Battle of Verdun, which fell on 21st February. As usual, there was almost nobody around on the battlefield although a couple of families with small children were sledding at Fleury and there were signs of skiers on some of the forest trails.

With the exception of one, locally-organised, walk, there were no anniversary events this year apart from the usual wreath-laying ceremonies but great things are apparently being planned for the 90th anniversary next year.

Click to read Christina's Articles on:

Wounded Lion Monument Near Fort Souville

The following are thanked for their contributions to this issue of the Trip Wire: Christina Holstein, Lannie Liggera, Ken Rogers, Samir, Tony Langley, Andy Melomet, Len Shurtleff, Bill Anderson, Agnes Peterson, Susan Neeson. The cocktail recipe was found at the website. Forgive me those whom I may have forgotten. Until next month, your editor, Mike Hanlon.

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