October 2005

Access Archives


Many apologies to our readers. Shortly after we placed the last issue on-line September 1st, our hosting company, PacificNet, initiated a general upgrade of their hardware. This led to the first unannounced loss of service, which entailed the entire Labor Day weekend. There were subsequent software problems that caused outages two, three and four. I've been assurred all our sites have been moved to a fully reliable server. We shall see. . .Congrats to the WFA for their recently concluded National Seminar at Newport News.

Trench Simulation
At Pennsylvania Mil. Museum
Boalsburg, PA

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

Memorable Event

October 1915

Central Powers Invade Serbia

Click on Image for Description of the Invasion

This Month's
Special Feature

World War I Collectibles

Many are drawn to the Great War through other hobbies. Collectors are a significant sub-strata of the World War I Community. Here are some of our favorite non-commercial sites. I'm not including books or posters since they are regularly displayed here.
Gone West

MSgt. Mark Matthews, America's last Buffalo Soldier who served during the Great War, was laid to rest at Arlington this past month. (link)

George Rice of Birmingham, England, age 108, died in September. He was a Lewis gunner with the Durham Light Infantry and the Duke of Wellington's. (link)

Italian War Memorial
Asiago Plateau

Who would have thought? Fritz Haber, Father of Gas Warfare, is HOT! Within a month he has been the subject of a major new biography and he is featured [with Albert Einstein] in a play to open on Broadway October 1st.

Haber and Einstein
The biography is Master Mind: The Rise and Fall of Fritz Haber. By Daniel Charles (book review). Einstein's Gift, a new play by Vern Thiessen, will open at New York's the Acorn Theatre (410 West 42nd Street) (preview.)

The Real Deal

RFC/RAF Uniforms

Pundit Christopher Hitchens sorts something out for us:

Peter the Great named [his new city] after his patron saint and he gave it a Dutch pronunciation: Sankt Peterburg. (His admiration for Amsterdam was considerable.) Gradually the name evolved into St. Petersburg, as another aspect of the city's commitment to Europeanization, but in 1914 that seemed too German-sounding, and on the outbreak of the First World War a gust of chauvinism caused the czar to rename it Petrograd. Thus, during the hot days of the Bolshevik Revolution, it was the Petrograd Soviet who gradually painted Russia's capital red. Lenin, who didn't trust the cosmopolitan city and who felt it was too vulnerable to foreign attack, moved the capital to Moscow in 1918. When he died, in 1924, the Communist Party renamed Petrograd as Leningrad and thus baptized it after someone who despised it.


WFA-USA East Coast Fall Seminar

Maryland Military Memorial
Baltimore, Maryland
November 5, 2005 (link)
The Red Cross at War

Great War Society Event
Veterans Day
Sonoma, CaliforniaNovember 12, 2005 (email for info)
1915 - Innocence Slaughtered?

In Flanders Fields Museum
Ypres, Belgium
November 17-19, 2005 (program)
Send additions/corrections:
Email Response

Media Events

1. A new major display is opening this month at London's Imperial War Museum:
Lawrence of Arabia: the life, the legend
It will run 14 October 2005 - 17 April 2006. (link)

2. GWS Member Tom Phelan has just published a novel: The Canal Bridge: A Novel of Ireland and the First World War. It can be ordered in the US for $22.95 through Irish Books and Media. (email)

3. GWS Member Ross Vick whose grandfather served in the Marine Brigade in WWI is a grammy award nominated musician and composer. His band is playing in Nashville's Battle of the Bands on October 4th and has a CD Release Event is at the Granada Theatre in Dallas on October 20th. (link)

. . .What do you see in our eyes
At the shrieking iron and flame
Hurled through still heavens?
What quaver--what heart aghast?

Isaac Rosenberg
Break of Day in the Trenches

Ethnic Map of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from The Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the War
Page Two

Pvt Wm Hesford alias Chadwick
No 76371 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers
Age 15 Years, K.I.A. 15/09/1918

From Sidney J. Clark, GWS Member

During the 1st World War of 1914-1918 many American citizens left their home towns and travelled to Canada and Great Britain to enlist in those countries armed services before America entered that war in 1917.

Most of these young men enlisted in Canadian regiments either under their own name or using an alias. One possible reason for using an alias was to avoid detection by the American authorities. There are many Americans who joined the British and Canadian armed forces serving in all branches of the service, some using an alias for whatever reasons, all served with distinction.

Research has shown that there were Americans serving in other Commonwealth armies, Australia being one of them. However this research is concerned with the volunteers who joined the armies of the British and Canadian regiments.

One such soldier in particular is William Hesford, who used the alias surname of Chadwick serving in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. His age is recorded as 15 years at the time of his death on the 15 September 1918. He is buried in the Five Points British cemetery, Lechelles, France.

Left: Headstone Showing Both Surnames
Right: Medal Card Showing Award to Chadwick

Documents show that he was born at Roxbury, Massachusetts, the son of William and Emma Hesford, of 81, Boylston Street, Jamaica Plain, Boston Massachusetts. It is the age of this young soldier of 15yrs that makes this research interesting being that he was an American citizen who may have been the youngest soldier from America to have been killed in that war, albeit serving in a British regiment.

Official Records on William

It is a fact that many Americans fought in this war as a serving soldier in the British and Commonwealth forces, this author believes this is not generally known except to military historians and students.

The research list of approximately 2000 names has shown that there were 162 American citizens who came from the State of Massachusetts to serve in various regiments of the British and Canadian.

The second youngest was aged 16 years who came from Salem, The son of Mr and Mrs John C. O'Brien, of 22, Osgood Street, Salem, Massachusetts, Died, 29th June 1919 whilst serving with the Royal Irish Rifles who is buried in Fort Pitt Military cemetery, Nr Maidstone, Kent, U.K.

The list of American casualties who served in the British or Canadian armed services records the ages of these soldiers as 15 and 16 years and may be interpreted as the youngest soldiers to have been K.I.A. However there is a British 14 year old Pte J.Condon Royal Irish Regiment K.I.A 1915 who is believed to be the youngest person K.I.A in the 1stWW he is buried in Poelkapelle British Cemetery (Plot LVI Grave F8).

Russian Memorial Chapel

On the Upper Isonzo of the Italian Front

In the upper Isonzo Valley in the Bovec Valley, the Austro-Hungarian army could only be supplied through the Vrsic Pass (1156 m). In 1915, 10,000 Russian prisoners of war who had been captured on the Eastern Front were imported to build a road over the pass. On March 12, 1916, an enormous snow avalanche charged down the nearby Mojstrovka mountain destroying the Russian's camp. More than 300 prisoners and their guards lost their lives under the snow. The surviving comrades built in their memory a small chapel below Vrsic Pass. In 1937 all the victims were buried besides the chapel in a common grave marked with a little pyramid.

Road Constructed by Russian POWs

Russian Memorial Chapel
After the downfall of the Communist regime in Russia and the subsequent declaration of Slovenia's independence, diplomatic relations between two Slav nations improved and tourism grew. Since 1991, the chapel has been an important stopping point for Russian visitors who journey to the chapel to pay their respects.

Page Three

From Tony Langley's War in a Different Light

French Machine Gunners from Illustrierte Geschichte

Click Here to Visit War in a Different Light

BBC History of World War II and War in the Air

By Andrew Melomet

According to The Oxford Companion To World War II, "Every statesman and senior commander in the Second World War vividly remembered the First [World War]; all major policies were influenced by it." You know the names: Hitler, Churchill, Montgomery, Rommel, Mussolini, Patton, Harris, Chamberlain, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Stalin, and so on. What they experienced, what they remembered, and what they learned created the strategies of the Second World War.

The BBC History of World War II has recently been released on DVD by BBC Video, distributed by Warner Bros. With 12 DVDs and 10 documentaries and docudramas in its box, this box set is required watching for anyone interested in understanding the events of 1931-1945. A personal introduction by noted BBC producer Laurence Rees filmed at the Imperial War Museum in London puts the documentaries into historical and societal context, discussing the use of dramatic reconstructions, computer-generated images and the impressive high journalistic standards of the interviews.

The ideology and murderous excesses of Hitler and the Nazi Party's 12-year reign of terror is addressed in the six-part series The Nazis: A Warning from History, written by Ian Kershaw. A four-part series, The Road to War: Great Britain, Italy, Japan, U.S.A. looks at the inter-war build-up to the conflict and explains how four major nations found the confrontation inevitable. Dunkirk, a three-part docudrama reconstructs the events of the seemingly miraculous 1940 evacuation of thousands of British and French troops from France. War of the Century: When Hitler Fought Stalin, a four-part series reveals the horrors of a war of annihilation on the Eastern Front. Battle of the Atlantic a three-part series details the attempt by German U-Boats to starve Britain into submission and also includes a bonus episode, Forgotten Heroes: Merchant Seamen, which was largely filmed aboard one of the two surviving Liberty Ships, the S.S. John W. Brown in Baltimore, Maryland. Horror in the East a two-part series examines the brutal military psychology of the Japanese forces and also has two bonus episodes, "The Forgotten Volunteers on the Indian Army of the Raj" and "Burma: The Forgotten War." "Battlefields" written and hosted by noted historian Richard Holmes uncovers the significance of El Alamein, Monte Cassino, the RAF night bombing campaign and Arnhem, the ill-fated "operation Market-Garden" of A Bridge Too Far. D-Day: Reflections of Courage is a 90-minute program that uses dramatic reconstructions and personal testimony to tell the compelling story of the Allied Invasion that opened the "Second Front." The special features for this program include eyewitness accounts, a "Making of" featurette, a photo gallery, Fact Files and an isolated musical score. D-Day to Berlin a three-part series documents "Operation Market-Garden," "the Battle of the Bulge," and the liberation of concentration camps by the Western Allies. Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State narrated by Linda Hunt analyzes this horror in detail. Special features include an interview with Laurence Rees and six follow-up discussions by Linda Ellerbee. The box set includes a 40-page booklet specially written by Greg Neale, Founding Editor of BBC History Magazine.

This box set is not intended to be a definitive history of the Second World War but all of these documentaries contribute greatly to our understanding of the events covered. Once you've listened to the hundreds of interviews and eyewitness accounts and the voices of concentration camp survivors and unrepentant Nazis you'll have a better understanding of why winning this war was necessary.

The major leaders of the RAF in the Second World War, Dowding, Harris and Trenchard had all seen service in The Great War. In 1954, the BBC produced an outstanding documentary series War in the Air on aerial warfare from 1935 to 1950. Comprising of 15 half hour episodes, the series took two years to make. Think of it as the BBC's answer to Victory at Sea. Focusing primarily on the RAF, the series tries to cover all theaters of war but as often happens in British documentaries America's role in defeating the Japanese gets short shrift. The battles of the Coral Sea, Guadalcanal, and Midway are mentioned just in passing. But the footage it has on other theaters is superb. The series advisor was Air Chief Marshal Sir Philip Joubert de la Ferté. Joubert had himself been a pilot in the First World War and is famous for having flown the first aerial reconnaissance of that war in 1914. Joubert steps out from behind the camera to introduce the final episode "Past and Future," which contrasts aerial combat of the First World War, the Second World War and the Jet Age. The memorable musical theme for the series was composed by Sir Arthur Bliss. This box set has not been released here in the US but is available in the UK.

Both of these box sets are highly recommended but you'll need a DVD player that converts PAL DVDs to an NTSC signal to watch War in the Air.

Andrew Melomet, Proprietor of Andy's Nickelodeon will answer your Great War film or video inquiry. He is also soliciting your recommendations for the WWI Filmography he is compiling for our readers. Just click HERE.

The following are thanked for their contributions to this issue of the Trip Wire: Susan Neeson, Sidney Clark, Tom Jones, Anne Steele, Tony Langley, Matt Church, Andy Melomet, Len Shurtleff and CNN for the photo of Mark Matthews. The material on the Russian Chapel was found at the National and Cultral Treasures of Slovenia website. Until next month, your editor, Mike Hanlon.

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