January 2012

Access Archives


January 1912
Radical and conciliatory French prime minister Joseph Caillaux forced to resign after discovery he had conducted secret negotiations with Germany. Replaced by Raymond Poincaré, who would encourage a renewed patriotism in France. Both would figure prominently in French politics during the war.


TRENCH REPORT: An important thing that the newly formed World War One Historical Association has decided to emphasize is the coming centennial or centenary of the Great War. Regular readers of the Trip-Wire probably realize that in the newsletter and my own magazine, Over the Top, I've tried already to cover the 100-year anniversary of some of the key events of the run-up to the war. I'm going to continue this practice and will make this a regular and prominent feature of the Trip-Wire as you can see above. Below is a letter of concern about American preparations for the centennial from reader Jerry Hester. Also, WW1HA member Dennis Cross of the National World War I Museum has started an excellent blog to follow the centennial events of the war, and his clock is already running, too. Visit his site Centennial Countdown to the Great War. MH

New at Our Own & Our Friends' Great War Websites

Click on Title or Icon to Access

News About the Organizational Website(s)

All the former websites of the WFA-USA and TGWS are being consolidated at the new site of the World War One Historical Association where you can download a mail-in membership registration form:
We have implemented a PayPal registration feature for those who wish to pay online. The larger consolidation process will take several months, but all critical information will always be accessible at their new addresses (URLs). For those pages being moved to the new site we will also provide email contacts for those who may have questions. Below is a list of our scheduled activities with contacts:

  • San Francisco Bay Area Chapters (website)
    The Bay Area three chapters have meeting on one or more Saturdays every month. See the schedule on the above website or contact Sal Compagno at:
    email: sal00@mindspring.com

  • New England/New York Chapter Seminar (website)
    New England Air Museum
    Windsor Locks, CT - 10 March 2012
    Contact: Guy Cavallaro
    email: Ph1m2h3@aol.com
    tel: 845-485-8217

  • Florida-Gulf Chapter Seminar (program in pdf format)
    War on the Eastern Fronts
    Tampa: 16-17 March 2012
    Contact: Len Shurtleff
    email: lshurtleff@aol.com
    tel: 352-379-3200

  • WW1HA National Seminar
    USMC University, Quantico
    7-8 Sept. 2012
    Contact: Len Shurtleff
    email: lshurtleff@aol.com
    tel: 352-379-3200

  • Next Issue of
    Over the Top

    Online magazine of the
    First World War
    All of our back issues with many special extra features on CDs can now be purchased through PayPal.
    (downloadable flyer).

    Scottish Troops Welcoming in the New Year, 1915

    We are redesigning our Events Calendar. See left column for World War One Association Activities. Please keep sending us announcements, they will be included when we unveil the new calendar.
    Send additions/corrections for our 2012 schedule:
    Email Response

    This Month's Internet Feature

    Georges Clemenceau

    One of the greatest figures of the war, Clemenceau led a coalition cabinet that reinvigorated French morale, facilitating the Allied success. Later he opposed Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference.

  • PBS Sketch of GC's Career

  • Georges Clemenceau: Encyclopedia Britannica Feature Article

  • Musée Clemenceau, rue Franklin, Paris (Much information about GC)

  • GC Visits Liberated Alsace (Video)

  • Beau Geste: Clemenceau, Wilson, and the Fourteen Points

  • Quotes -- By and About GC

    Prior to the outbreak of the war, Kaiser Wilhelm II grew extremely concerned about the aggressiveness and militarism of his oldest son and successor Crown Prince Wilhelm! The Kaiser often told people to enjoy the peace of his reign while it lasted.

    World War I was a great turning point. The four years of fighting strained nations to their limit -- and beyond -- and devastated the bourgeois civilization that had grown during the century of peace and prosperity that followed Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. The war of attrition forever shattered the optimistic, self-assured Europe that had existed before 1914. Nonetheless, many of the changes brought about by the war had their roots the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The political and cultural movements identified under the broad category of Modernism all preceded the war.

    William Anthony Hay
    From a 7 May 2011, Wall Street Journal multiple book review (link)

  • Forgot a 2012 Calendar?
    World War I Ghosts, The Great War, 2012

    Click on the image to order your calendars, books, posters and computer products from Phil Makanna's award-winning Ghosts.

    Page Two
    Letter of Concern About the Coming Centennial

    To the Editor and Readers of the Trip-Wire

    Subject: World War I Centennial Commemoration Commission & Legislation

    France, Australia, New Zealand, and Belgium have issued their National Centenary Commemoration dossiers with plans and objectives for their respective commemorations beginning in 2014. The British are delaying their plans until after this summer's Olympics. These plans are very extensive and involve the participation of the U.S. Coordination meetings have already taken place with the French and Belgian commemoration chairmen with the caveat that the U.S. commission is not yet formed nor authorized in an official capacity.

    A review of these Allied plans is under way with the U.S. Dept. of Defense, State, American Battle Monuments Commission, museums, libraries, and organizations at this early stage.

    The U.S. Congress has two bills pending action in committee for the formation of the WWI Centennial Commemoration Commission. The Senate bill is S.253 and the House bill is H.R. 938. Meetings with the Congressional sponsors, Sen. John Rockefeller(D-WV) and Congressman Ted Poe(R-TX) were held with the focus on getting the bills passed in order that the U.S. will not be put into a "catchup" position with the Allies.

    Please write or email the sponsors and your own Congressional members and request they support immediate passage of these bills. We need to keep pressing Congress to act soon.

    Until we have the Congressional mandate, our hands are tied to implement the many actions required for the American WWI Centennial Commemoration. WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN FOR SUCH AN IMPORTANT EVENT IN OUR HISTORY.

    Jerry L. Hester, 70th WWI Anniversary Chairman

    Armistice - Veterans Day
    in the Argonne

    Reported by Correspondent Carol McKinney

    11/11/11 was a great day! Cold, sometimes foggy, but other than that a non-typical Armistice Day here in the Verdun-Argonne area.

    The first stop was at the Montfaucon monument, of course. One of my favorite places! Then off to the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery -- where the ceremony was attended by a crowd of about 60 people. At the end of a ceremony that included the playing of bagpipes, "Taps"and the French equivalent, and a reading of the U.S. presidential Veterans Day proclamation, the national anthems were sounded on the cemetery chapel bells. Next, everyone went to the village of Romagne for their ceremonial event in the square: more bagpipe music, the reading of the French presidential proclamation for Armistice Day, then a calling out of the soldiers' names from the village who died in the war. After that, everyone headed to the village hall for champagne and snacks, then to the museum where Jean-Paul de Vries gave a guided tour and discussed his latest finds. Then we had lunch at his little café.

    As we headed home we stopped at the Verdun Ossuary. The building is being cleaned -- it really needs it! Oddly enough, they have pulled up all the crosses in the French cemetery and are either replacing them or resetting them. Looked rather sad!

    Photos from top left: At the U.S. Memorial at Montfaucon, at the village of Romagne, and at the U.S. cemetery located at Romagne.(Photos from our pal Carol McKinney and the ABMC)

    World War I Headlines
    in the 21st Century

    Early reviews of War Horse

           WWI Books Considered for Top Books of Year Lists

              Late Christopher Hitchens's Critical Essay on Turkey in WWI (Commentary)

                 William Shemin, Jewish Veteran of 47th Infantry, 4th Division, Expected to Receive Medal of Honor

                     Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder in the Great War, Wins Australian Literary Prize

    Distinctive Cap Badges of the Irish Regiments of the Great War

    Contributed by Jim Patton

    Western Front traveler and cap badge collector Jim Patton (right) shared some of his collection of badges embossed with dragons(usually Welsh, but not always) with our readers. Inspired by his 2011 visit to the Irish Peace Park near Messines -- which has the memorial shown on the left to the three principal Irish divisions of the British Army (36th, 16th, and 10th) -- Jim has sent us the badges of some of the Irish units that served in the war.

    The Connaught Rangers -- Known as the "The Devil's Own." During the war there were two Regular and two Service Battalions. Also raised in 1793, after 1881 it was recruited from the counties of Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo. In 1920 members of the 1st Battalion who were stationed in India staged a protest against the imposition of martial law in Ireland, to date the last mutiny in the British Army. The regiment was disbanded in 1922.

    The Royal Dublin Fusiliers --
    Contributed two Regular and five Service Battalions during the war. It was formed in 1881 by the combination of two HEIC (East India Company) regiments, the 1st Bombay Fusiliers (1661) and the 1st Madras Fusiliers (1746). The tiger and elephant images on the flaming grenade are both references to earlier battles in India. Three of its soldiers received the Victoria Cross during the war. The regiment recruited from Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, and Wicklow. It was disbanded in 1922.

    The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers -- During the Great War there were two Regular and seven Service Battalions. Dating from 1689, this regiment in 1881 included a former HEIC unit, the 3rd Madras Infantry (1854). Recruitment was in the counties of Donegal, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone. The Castle of Inniskilling is depicted on a flaming grenade, typically associated with fusilier units. The regiment was amalgamated into the Royal Irish Rangers in 1968.

    The Royal Irish Rifles -- In the war the Royal Irish Rifles contributed two Regular and 11 Service Battalions. Formed in 1793, it recruited after 1881 in the counties of Antrim, Down, and Louth. Their formations are especially associated with the 36th (Ulster) Division at the Somme. The 7th (Service) Battalion. incorporated the one company of the Jersey Pals. "Quis Separabit," meaning "Who shall separate us?" is the motto of the Order of St. Patrick The regiment was renamed the Royal Ulster Rifles in 1922. It was also amalgamated into the Royal Irish Rangers in 1968.

    The Prince of Wales's Leinster Regiment (Royal Canadians) -- Contributed two Regular and two Service Battalions. In 1881 the regiment was created by the combination of the 100th Prince of Wales's Royal Canadians, formed in 1858 to recruit Canadians to serve in India during the Great Mutiny period, with the 3rd Bombay Regiment (1854) formerly HEIC. "Ich Dien" translates into "I serve," the German connected with the first appointment of the Prince for Wales. The Leinsters' recruiting territory was the counties of Laois, Longford, Meath, Offaky, and Westmeath.

    The South Irish Horse -- The unit allowed to wear the distinctive Irish shamrock was a Special Reserve Cavalry regiment raised in 1902. In September 1917 the 7th (South Irish Horse) Battalion was formed, incorporating the South Irish Horse serving as infantry. In the fighting in late March 1918 this battalion was reduced to only 35 able-bodied men. The South Irish Horse was disbanded in 1922.

    The Desolated Villages of Northern France

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    Page Three

    Access to In-Depth Articles
    From Parameters, The U.S. Army's Senior Professional Journal

    Click on the image to download the 15-page pdf document.

    The Real Deal

    Zeppelin Target: The City of Hull

    The coastal city of Hull (more properly, Kingston-on-Hull) in Yorkshire is known for suffering mightily in the Blitz of World War II. It is less appreciated, however, that it was also targeted in the First World War. The top image is of Zeppelin L-11, which was driven off by guns and searchlights in a raid of 5/6 April 1916. The defenses were not so successful at other times, though. The images below show damage to Holy Trinity Church and a residential neighborhood. Fifty-one citizens were killed in the worst of the raids. (From Steve Suddaby)

    A.E. Housman's Prewar Poem

    I watched the film Hurt Locker over the holidays. It somehow caused me to recall this poem by Housman. Don't ask me to explain. MH


    The Queen she sent to look for me,
    The sergeant he did say,
    `Young man, a soldier will you be
    For thirteen pence a day?'

    For thirteen pence a day did I
    Take off the things I wore,
    And I have marched to where I lie,
    And I shall march no more.

    My mouth is dry, my shirt is wet,
    My blood runs all away,
    So now I shall not die in debt
    For thirteen pence a day.

    Tomorrow after new young men
    The sergeant he must see,
    For things will all be over then
    Between the Queen and me.

    And I shall have to bate my price,
    For in the grave, they say,
    Is neither knowledge nor device
    Nor thirteen pence a day.

    Thanks to each and every one of you who has contributed material for this issue. Until next month, your editor, Mike Hanlon.
    (Or send it to a friend)
    (Or send us a comment on the TRIP-WIRE)

    For further information on the events of 1914-1918 and membership information visit the Directory Pages of:

  •      The World War One Historical Association

  •      Over the Front -- League of WWI Aviation Historians