June 2003

Access Archives

TRENCH REPORT: The Great War Society has received a nice thank-you letter from the Library of Congress for all the Veterans History Project material we've placed on-line at the Doughboy Center Website. We are still adding photos of the veterans; their letters, diaries, personal accounts and documentary materials. Contact us if you have material on a family member who served in the war and would like to make it part of the nation's heritage . . . A few comments from my recent eight day jaunt around the Western Front: There seems to be a major effort to upgrade a number of sites, especially the French and American locales - better signage, more help for the visitors, improved parking arrangements. Some hotels like the Coq Hardi are expanding. However, it is still almost impossible to find the site of the "Rock of the Marne" incident at Mezy east of Chateau Thierry. [Anyone want to start a campaign to place a marker?] The best site generally neglected by English Speaking visitors: Notre Dame de Lorrette. If you visit Vimy Ridge and the Cabaret Rouge cemetery, NDL is a very short drive and fascinating to visit. Breakfasts have improved dramatically since I was last in France. For a nominal charge at full service hotels you get a great spread and no one calls a gendarme if you steal some fruit for that late morning snack. Last, I made my first visit to the Salient Museum at the Cloth Hall in Ypres and I give it a big thumbs-up. It has been criticized as being too hitech, but when I toured it with fellow enthusiasts Tony Langley and Maggie Haas we not only had a great time ourselves, but noted all the school kids along [it was MadDay holiday] were completely engaged . . . McGill-Queens University Press in Montreal has just released the papers from the United States Branch's September 2001 seminar in Ottawa, Ontario. The book entitled Canada in the Great War -- the Western Front Association Papers is available in both hardback (US$ 55) and paperback (US$ 22.50) (more). . .Penn State historian Stanley Weintraub has gotten to the bottom of No Man's Land: "The first reference I have found to the term is from 1320. In medieval England, Nonemanneslond was a waste beyond London jurisdiction used for executions - usually beheadings. It gradually came to mean a killing field belonging to no side. In wartime it was the territory separating the two sides.". . . The Great War Society has announced some major decisions regarding its 2004 National Seminar. Its topic will be the Great War in the Near East; the sessions will be held in the Spring in Kansas City. Additional details will be shared when they are pinned down . . . Late Bulletin: The French Government has announced that the third Paris Airport will not be located on the Somme Battlefield.

Maconochie Stew and the Bread Loved Only by Quartermasters, Hardtack

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

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At the Doughboy Center

I'm not sure if this constitutes a controversy, but a Scottish Professor named Richard Holmes is pushing for a new literary interpretation of the Great War. Professor Holmes argues in the recent Caledonian Research Prize Lecture that letters and diaries of participants, written at the time, tend to give a dramatically different view of the war from that reflected in much of the more famous poetry and literature written by by a small number of middle-class, public school educated junior infantry officers. (More at this site.)

Meal Time in the Trenches
Memorable June Dates:
  • 06/04/16 Brusilov Offensive Launched;
  • 06/05/16 Horatio Kitchener Perishes When HMS Hampshire Sunk;
  • 06/06/17 German Reichstag Votes for Peace;
  • 06/06/15 Arab Revolt in Desert Starts;
  • 06/06/18 Marines Counterattack at Belleau Wood;
  • 06/07/17 Messines Ridge Captured after 19 Mines Exploded;
  • 06/08/16 Germans Capture Fort Vaux;
  • 06/09/18 4th Ludendorff Offensive [Noyon-Montdidier];
  • 06/15/18 Failed A-H Offensive at Piave River;
  • 06/21/19 Germans Scuttle Fleet at Scapa Flow;
  • 06/26/17 First US Troops Land at St. Nazaire;
  • 06/28/14 Franz Ferdinand Assassinated in Sarajevo;
  • 06/28/19 Treaty of Versailles Signed;
  • 06/29/15 First Italian Offensive at Isonzo River;
  • 06/29/17 Kerensky Offensive Begins.
This Month's
Special Feature

Troop Rations During
The Great War

On Line Resources for Focused Topics

Media Player Required

The Poilu's Favorite Song


Nurse Vera Brittain

VAD at Hospitals in Malta & W.Front

Author of the Classic Memoir
Testament of Youth

Click on Image for More Information

One of Australia's last remaining World War I veterans, Mr Robert Dunford, 104, has died. Mr Dunford, a gunner with the 1st Division Ammunition Column, died at a nursing home at Turramurra May 8th. With the passing of Mr Dunford, only eight Australian World War I veterans remain alive. . . The family of Cpl William Fernley buried in northern France want his remains exhumed and repatriated because of the recent desecration of a British war cemetery. But the request has been refused by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which fears that granting permission could result in thousands of similar cases. Pro-Iraqi graffiti, including the slogan "Dig up your rubbish, it is contaminating our soil", was spray-painted on a monument in the Etaples cemetery last month. The site contains the graves of 11,000 servicemen killed in the First World War . . . WWI veteran Jack Bennett of Tifton, GA died in early May. He was 110. The obit said, "Mr. Bennett enlisted in the US Navy in 1917 and was stationed in Wexford, Ireland, maintaining airplanes for the US Air Corps. His duties included pulling airplanes onto barges. After the war ended, he remained in the reserves until 1921. A native of Offerman, he had lived in Tifton since 1931 and was the owner of an auto body shop. Survivors include his wife of 72 years, Frances Maddox Bennett; five children, 11 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.

4,278 Trains were needed to mobilized the French Army in August 1914.


WFA Tennessee–Kentucky Chapter

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

Annual Meeting
September 10-11, 2003;
Dayton, Ohio; (link)
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 NE/NY Fall Seminar

Saratoga Springs, NY
New York Military Museum,
Saturday, October 25, 2003.
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

French Officers Practicing the Art of War

Gentlemen, I don't know whether we are going to make history tomorrow, but at any rate we shall change geography.

      General Sir Charles Harington on the Eve of the Battle of Messines which began with the explosion of 19 huge mines along Messines Ridge.

The following individuals are hereby thanked for their contributions to this issue of the Trip Wire: Alice Horner, Christina Holstein, Francesco Davini, Martin Hornby, Maggie Haas, Ginger & Pete Guthrie and Tony Langley. Until next month, your editor, Mike Hanlon.

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