May 2003

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TRENCH REPORT       April 2003 was a month of great accomplishment for the World War I Community. In San Francisco, the Great War Society honored its fallen founder, Flip Carroll, by presenting its 12th Annual Seminar as Flip had planned it. The speakers on the French Army were both interesting and accessible. Frank Jordan's banquet presentation on Legionnaire and poet Alan Seeger was fascinating. Bob Denison worked with TGWS member Jean Pierre Mouraux on a superb presentation of Jean Pierre's poster collection . . . In Ypres, Belgium the WFA-USA conducted a terrifically successful, innovative combination seminar and Salient Tour. Earning praise from the participants were Pete Guthrie for organizing the event; Jacky Platteeuw for the presentations; and Teddy and Tony Noyes for the battlefield tours . . . And at month's end, 74 year old budding author Margaret Haas successfully completed a reconnaissance of her father Sgt. Albert Haas's [309th Inf. 78th Div. AEF] Great War service. With her father's diaries and maps in hand and with the help of her accomplished guide [your editor], Maggie was able to photograph the location of her dad's first venture into no-mans-land near Hazebrouck, the site of his closest call in a forested ravine near Thiacourt and the hill on which he was shot behind St. Juvin in the Argonne forest. Her trip highlight, however, was sleeping in the same farm house in which her father had been billetted while recuperating from his wounds in the village of Genay, France 85 years earlier . . . I was also able to see first hand that a major improvement effort is being completed at the American Memorial at Blanc Mont in the Champagne including the addition of a visitors center . . . Correspondent Christina Holstein reports: In Louvain, Belgium, there is a small but very well documented new exhibition in the University library called 'Leuven in Flames'. It covers the destruction of the town in 1914 and the rebuilding of the university library after the war with American funding. The library is at the Ladeuzeplein, entrance is free. She also shares: There is an exhibition of paintings by the French war artist, Mathurin Méheut, 1882-1958, at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Arras, until 2 June 2003 . . . Thanks to TGWS Members Donna Cunningham and Edwin Simmons who represented their organization at the recent San Diego ANZAC Day Commemoration and the annual luncheon of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress respectively.

New at the Websites of the Great War Society and Our Friends

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At the Doughboy Center
At the New York Daily News

Early Days: Ypres Salient

This "Against the Grain" poem about poppies was contributed by Carolee Nisbet, Public Affairs Officer at Fort Dix. It's more doggeral than polished verse, but it undeniably has power.


by J. Eugene Chrisman

Not for me, buddy!

Buds o' Hell I'd call 'em,
Plain red hell -- they --
They remind me --

And folks plant 'em around
Gardens -- huh!
Says one old dame to me,
"Don't they bring back,'' says she,
"The poppied fields of Flanders?''
"Poppied fields of -- '' ain't that a heluva --
But who wants 'em brung back -- huh?

Say, buddy,
If she'd seen poppies
Like I've seen 'em -- millions -- acres --

Scattered through the wheat fields,
Red -- and gettin' redder -- mostly poppies --

Slim -- my buddy, old scout,
Slept under the same handkerchief,
Me 'n Slim, clean through from the word go!
I'm liable to forget, ain't I --
Day we kicked off west o'Chateau-Thierry

Down the valley --
Poppies -- say,
You couldn't rest for poppies.
Then the Jerries cut loose
Machine-gun fire -- regular sickle.

Poppy leaves -- bits o'red
Flickin' and flutterin' in the wind,
Mowed 'em, buddy -- and us -- I'll tell the world!
Got old Slim -- got him right!
Down in the poppies he goes -- kickin' -- clawin'!

Don't talk poppies to me --
Skunk cabbage first -- compree?
If you'd seen old Slim --
Boy, he died wallerin' in poppies!
Poppies --

Memorable May Dates:
  • 05/01/15 Gorlice-Tornow Offensive;
  • 05/07/15 RMS Lusitania Sunk;
  • 05/09/15 Battle of Artois Begins;
  • 05/09/18 Rumanians Sign Peace;
  • 05/10/16 AH Straffexpedition in Trentino;
  • 05/19/17 11th Battle of Isonzo;
  • 05/23/15 Italy Enters the War;
  • 05/27/18 3rd Ludendorff Offensive [Aisne];
  • 05/28/17 US Passes Conscription Law;
  • 05/28/18 First AEF Action at Catigny
  • 05/31/16 Battle of Jutland Begins

From 1899-1913 trade had expanded at an unprecedented rate of around 5 per cent per annum. Almost all parts of the global economy and especially the Third World participated in and gained from an extraordinary upswing that was not to be repeated before the long boom of 1948-73. Patrick O'Brien, Dept. of Economics, Univ. of London

Media Player Required
Good Morning Mr. Zip Zip Zip

By Robert Lloyd, 1918


Cpl. Joseph Francis "Buster" Keaton

159th Infantry, 40th Div.

Actor, Director and Comic Genius

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Shortly after the end of Seminar 2003, the Society lost valued member Roger Jones, 48, of Richmond California to heart failure. Roger was the man who printed our journal Relevance and was an expert in pulp fiction, films [both silents and talkies] and aircraft modelling. Read this tribute from his friend and Relevance chief editor Michael Huebner. (link)


WFA Tennessee–Kentucky Chapter

Saturday June 14, 2003
The Indiana War Memorial
431 North Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN
The League of World War I Aviation Historians

Annual Meeting
September 10-11, 2003;
Dayton, Ohio;
US Air Force Museum

Great War Dawn Patrol Fly-In
September 12-14, 2003;
Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio;
WFA-USA 2003 National Seminar

Quantico, Virginia,
US Marine Corps University,
September 19-21, 2003
Details: (link)
WFA-USA Florida-Gulf Chapter Fall 2003 Seminar

November 8, 2003;
Central Florida Community College, Ocala
First Century of Flight

Celebrate Freedom Foundation
Columbia, South Carolina

WWI Aircraft Featured
5-9 November, 2003;
(email for info.)
Zelandia's Great War

Celebrate Freedom Foundation
Auckland, New Zealand

Seminar 7-10 Nov, 2003
Burial of New Zealand's Unknown Soldier Nov 11, 2003;
(email for info.)
Send additions/corrections:
Email Response

British War Poster
This Month's
Special Feature


Henry Ford Sails on His "Peace Ship"

On Line Resources for Focused Topics

"It is nothing. It is nothing."
      Last Words of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (1863-1914)

Lt. Pershing and His Sioux Scouts

The following individuals are hereby thanked for their contributions to this issue of the Trip Wire: Carolee Nisbet who found the poppy poem in a pamphlet called: "The Awkward Squad, Stories and Poems We Heard at the Front", Christina Holstein, Phyllis Pettyjohn and Michael Huebner.

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