October 2006

Access Archives

TRENCH REPORT: Readers sometimes send inquiries about possible parallels between the Great War and the present War on Terror. I haven't found an explicit treatment of that subject, but there are a number of cutting edge articles attempting to place Terrorism in a historical framework being published by the Hoover Institution. Go to this page and scan the articles -- all accessible on-line (link). . .Trip-Wire Contributor, Ambassador Len Shurtleff, sent some interesting follow-up on last month's article covering the WWI activities of Allen Dulles. In addition to being a grandson, nephew and brother of three Secretaries of State, Dulles is also credited with drafting the "War Guilt" clause of the Treaty of Versailles while a member of the US delegation at the Paris Peace Conference. . .Next month - Our Fourth Anniversary Issue! MH

This Month's Internet Feature

  • Q Ships at Wikipedia

  • Decoy Ships

  • Q Ships Up Close - Photos

  • UB-4: Q-Ship Victim

  • Second Act: Q-Ships Return in WWII

    The Real Deal

    German Soldiers Reading the Latest
    Der Stolperdraht

    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

    French Memorial in Champagne

    A Forgotten Disaster: At 7:36 pm on October 4, 1918, building # 61 in the T. A. Gillespie Shell Loading Plant in Morgan, New Jersey exploded causing the evacuation of nearby South Amboy. To this day the cause remains unclear. The US Coast Guard distinguished itself in the evacuation effort. Reports have blamed the explosion on an accidental spark, company negligence and German sabotage. Sixty-four residents and employees died from the explosions which lasted 3 days. Spent shells in large numbers were still being removed from the area as recently as 1997.

    US Artillery, 1918
  • Detail from 1915 Illustration
    Georges Scott


    Verdun and Somme
    90th Commemorative Events

    Comprehensive Double Calendar

    Scheduled Throughout 2006 (link)
    WFA-USA Great Lakes Chapter Seminar

    Cleveland Gray's Armory
    October 21st (link)
    Representations of the Other in American and German Literature and Film on World War I

    UCLA, October 12-14, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA (email for details)
    WFA-USA East Coast Chapter Seminar

    Baltimore War Memorial
    November 4th
    WFA-USA New York/New England Chapter Seminar

    Hartford, Connecticut
    November 11th
    Armistice Day and the Great War Society

    Great War Poster Artists and Luncheons With our Friends Jean- Pierre & Cecile Mouraux
    Sonoma, California, November 11th

    Send additions/corrections:
    Email Response

    Memorable Event

    Fort Douaumont Recaptured

    Douaumont Today
    October 24, 1916

    Click on Image for Account, More Below

    Media Events

    Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, has signed on for an upcoming British TV movie. Radcliffe will play Jack Kipling in My Boy Jack, which will air next fall on British channel ITV. Joseph Fiennes, formerly the title character in Shakespeare in Love, is playing Canadian Capt. Roy Brown in the German financed Red Baron, now filming.

    The Simon Wiesenthal Library in Los Angeles recently exhibited a water color by Adolf Hitler. It is displayed with a number of WWI photos at this site. (link)

    Topic: New Directions in First World War Studies
    Applicants please send a two-page abstract of the proposed paper and a curriculum vita to Jennifer Keene at (email) or Mike Neiberg at (email) by February 1, 2007. Please also be prepared to submit a paper of a maximum of 8,000 words by June 1, 2007. (link)

    Two from a Great War Casualty:

    Homer is new and fresh this morning, and nothing, perhaps, is as old and tired as today's newspaper.

    The world has changed less since Jesus Christ than it has in the last thirty years.

    Charles Péguy,
    KIA at the Marne, 4 Sep 1914

    Want to Visit the Battlefields?
    Click Here for News on Travel Opportunities

    Page Two

    Gone West

    We have received announcements of the passing of two World War I veterans:

    George Johnson, 112
    US Army, believed to be the oldest person and last surviving WWI veteran of California. (link)

    Francois Jaffre, 105
    The youngest of the six known remaining French veterans died on 22 September at the age of 105; he joined the French navy in October 1916 and later served on escorts for US troop convoys. (link in French)

    An Englishman
    At Verdun

    By Christina Holstein

    People often ask me if any Englishmen fought at Verdun. The only 'English' name I've ever come across is that of Arthur Exshaw, who served as a Corporal in the French 49th Infantry and died at Verdun on 23 May 1916. I am indebted for the information which follows to the descendants of Arthur's cousin, Ronald Exshaw, who served in the Coldstream Guards as a private soldier.

    The name of Arthur Exshaw is commemorated at Verdun in the Douaumont Ossuary, the mighty monument to the men of Verdun who have no known grave which stands in the centre of the battlefield. His name is to be seen in the 'La Caillette' section of the Ossuary, which is just to the right of the chapel.

    Although born in France, Arthur Exshaw came from an English-speaking family. His ancestors were from Ireland but, following the end of hostilities between England and France in 1814, the family moved to Bordeaux and started producing red wine and cognac (brandy) for export to 'home' markets.

    La Caillette Alcove
    Douaumont Ossuary

    The Exshaw's kept up their Anglo-Irish connections and the children continued to be educated in England. Arthur's uncle, Albert Exshaw, had served in the Coldstream Guards and died following service in South Africa. Another uncle, William, was commissioned in the Bedfordshire Regt. and later won a Gold Medal in the 1904 Olympics. The town of Exshaw, Canada, is named after one of Arthur's aunts. The Exshaw family sold the cognac business in the 1970s.

    Caillette Wood, where Arthur Exshaw died, was the scene of vicious fighting during the battle of Verdun, in particular during the first French attempt to retake Fort Douaumont which lasted from 22-24 May 1916. The 49th Infantry was based at Bayonne in south west France and saw prolonged service in Champagne and Verdun during WWI.

    A WWI Yank in the RAF

    From Sidney Clark, WFA & GWS Member

    Lt Leonard Sowersby Morange,
    Bronxville, N.Y. U.S.A

    Throughout the United Kingdom there are many American nationals interred in military cemeteries or in designated areas of local churchyards who lost their lives whilst serving in the British armed forces during WW 1. The estimated number of Americans that volunteered varies widely, but a proportion of these became causalities. Their nationality is not apparent to visitors who visit military cemeteries because they are commemorated with the British Style headstones with which most people are familiar. For the purpose of this article the author has concentrated on the small churchyard military sections.

    In the village of Shotwick on the outskirts of Chester in the county of Cheshire and at Shawbury in the county of Shropshire U.K there are two churches that have an area for military causalities from WWI. Amongst these are causalities who served in the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force, at Shotwick there are four Americans who lost their lives as a result of flying accidents in 1918, one was disinterred and repatriated in 1920. The other airman is interred at Shawbury, near Tern Hill where the Royal Air Force continues to teach pupils to fly helicopters. One of the American airmen whose is interred at Shotwick is Lt L.S.Morange whose family from Bronxville USA have supplied information for this article.

    Lt. Morange's Grave at Shotwick
    (Care of this grave has been undertaken by Mr. J.Pritchard and family who live in Chester, UK)
    The above photograph shows the resting place of Lt L. Morange. Alongside the headstone, a metal plaque was placed in 1929 by the Boy Scouts of Bronxville NY who held a service to him whilst attending their Jubilee in the UK. The wording is as follows:


    Leonard Sowerby Morange had been a pupil at Yale before leaving in May 1917, he was for a short time in The Reserve Officers Training Corps, he later entered the first officers Training camp at Madison Barracks N.Y. On completing his training he was anxious to get overseas in particular to apply to join the Royal Flying Corps in England. In July 1917 he gained his honourable discharge allowing him to take and pass the initial examination qualifying him become a member of the RFC.

    Before he came to England his flying lessons were in Texas and Canada, being commissioned on November 27th with the rank of Second Lieutenant. On his arrival in England training continued at Market Drayton, possibly Tern Hill in the county of Shropshire and Lilbourn near Rugby. In February 1918 he was promoted to First Lieutenant and eager to advance his already flying abilities he entered the "Gosport Course" this taught advance techniques in map reading and aerobatics. This course of flying training was established by Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Robert Raymond Smith-Barry at the School of Special Flying at Gosport. Hence the colloquial name the course acquired. This school at the time was seen as revolutionary and the pilots who were taught there to be flying instructors were seen as superior to those trained elsewhere. A key part of Major Smith-Barry's revolution was the production of the first ever manual on how to be a flying instructor. Lt Morange was amongst the few who passed and gained this much prized certificate, as a result, he was appointed to the staff of the 55th Training Squadron at Lilbourn, England as an instructor in advanced training and aerial acrobatics. In June 1918 the squadron was posted to Shotwick transferring to the 51st Training Depot Squadron. It was a result of midair collision during training that cost the lives of Lt Morange and his pupil.

    Lt Morange was the first serviceman from Bronxville NY to lose his life in the 1st WW, whereupon a memorial stone was placed in recognition of his sacrifice. During renovations several years ago the memorial to Lt Morange together with those from the Vietnam and Korean wars were placed near the Flag Pole which is dedicated to those from the 2nd WW in the Leonard Morange Square, this is the starting point of the Memorial Day Parade were wreaths from many organizations are laid including the American Legion Post which also carries his name.

    At the base of the Flag Pole memorial is a list of all the names of the servicemen from the 1st WW, this includes the brother of Lt Morange, Irving, also an aviator who served as a pilot in the USAS in France during the 1st WW he was awarded the Croix-de-Guerre, possibly for continuing with the reconnaissance flight over enemy lines, which resulted in him being wounded in the thigh.

    Irving and Leonard In their
    Uniforms of the Royal Air Force
    Great Britain, and the United
    States Air Service
    Irving survived the war, however, whilst still a young man he passed away due to the effects of Mustard Gas from that war.

    In the souvenir Catalogue for the 1919 Aeronautical Exposition held at Madison Square Garden and the 69th Regiment Armoury (March 1-15, 1919) in New York City, Edward Morange wrote the following in honour of his son Leonard.

    To you, hovering twixt youth's and man's estate,
    You clear-brained, gentle-eyed boy's
    Who, like eaglets, with untrained pinions
    Sprang from your sheltered nests
    To stay the vulture's claws
    To you, conquerors of the air,
    With man-made wings,
    Who paid the price,
    That right should prevail
    This homage is paid to the memory
    Of one of Yale, 1918
    And to all
    Who won't come back?


    Mrs. Dale Walker, Bronxville USA, great, great niece of Lt Morange; Mr. J. Kennedy, Bronxville USA Mrs. Eloise Morgan, Bronxville Historian; USA Mr J. Pritchard, UK; Royal Air Force Museum UK; Commonwealth War Graves Commission UK; Mr L. Shurtleff WFA-USA; I am more than grateful to Mrs Dale Hanson Walker, great, great niece of Lt Leonard Morange, Bronxville NY, for the personal information and family photographs.

    Page Three


    October 1916:


    The Somme

    October 1916:

    It Rained!

    The time had come.

    Click Here to See a Large
    Battlefield Map of Verdun

    Nivelle had organized a creeping barrage, thus allowing time for the infantry to advance given the appalling condition of the ground after long months of shelling. Liaison between artillery and infantry had been vastly improved so that communication was now available with the artillery to re-adjust fire if necessary. Even an on-the-spot water supply was arranged.

    For weeks Mangin's artillery had been sending harassing fire against the German front line positions, thus delaying all the very necessary trench repair works; the weather deteriorated, the German morale level fell, desertions increased.

    On October 19th the real artillery barrage began and on 23rd the first of the new French howitzer shells exploded in Fort Douaumont -- and kept coming. The Major in command of the Fort ordered it to be evacuated as it disintegrated in ruin and flames about him.

    Recapturing Douaumont
    On the morning of the 24th a small German unit returned to the empty Fort, found the fires had burnt themselves out and realised the fort could still be garrisoned. But on that same morning the French attacked in a thick autumnal mist and in a exceptional turn of speed for the appalling ground conditions swept over the poor remains of Fleury and Thiaumont and kept going.

    The Moroccan Colonial Infantry Regiment had been allocated the fort and they took it during the afternoon, capturing the German unit at the same time. Fort Douaumont was, again, French

    The dust of the tortured destroyed soil turned to mud, the mud filled the tracks, the scratched out trenches and the joined up shell holes. The guns positions filled with mud and the gun and supply horses died from exposure by their hundreds.

    Click Here to See a Large
    Battlefield Map of the Somme

    The men's weapons were clogged with mud, their boots and clothing were solid with it. It was in their food, it was in their very being. And still men endured.

    And still they died, or were wounded and patched up or condemned to years in hospitals in the UK, or went mad. Many became automatons, merely taking orders, carrying them out with as little effort as possible. Many no longer saw the horrors with which they were surrounded, it was the only way they could find relief from the sights and sounds. Their nerves and ears were finely attuned to the sound of an incoming shell and they would take cover in the split second before the explosion. The new men to the front could not and did not. They did not survive long.

    Company clerks could not keep up with the influx of new men who might join a company at night and be dead the next morning, and nobody even knew their names. Men clung together in their small groups of comradeship, and newcomers were not recognized until, in their turn, they became old hands. The medical provisions to the rear were well organized and men prayed for a ?blighty one?, a wound serious enough for the recipient to be sent to England, not serious enough to kill him, and to give him a break in a bed with clean sheets and nurses! Some men opted for self inflicted wounds but the authorities were aware of these and took strict precautions to make sure that a mans? wound was inflicted by the enemy or by accident. Increasingly men were patched up, medically downgraded if necessary, and then sent back to a non infantry unit. If sent to a labour corps or pioneer unit he probably had as good a chance of dying as if he was still infantry; these units performing all the heavy labouring jobs at or near the front lines.

    There seemed no end to the absolute misery and hopelessness of The Somme.

    If you are travelling to Europe and would like to visit these fields of memory for a detailed tour, please contact experienced guides Tony Noyes or Christina Holstein at Back to the Front

    World War I Headlines
    in the
    21st Century

    The Pardons Controversy - Continued

    Des Browne, UK Secretary of State for Defence, 18 September 2006: Ministerial Statement

    Other Matters

        Mel's Gallipoli: Anti-British Propaganda??

          The Great War's Gift to Art: DADA

            Peronne vs. Craonne: French Historians Debate the Nature of the War

             Identification of U.S. Soldier Missing in Action from World War I

                Is Military History Dead? (Many WWI References)

    Members of the Lafayette Escadrille, 1916
    Sgts. Willis, Dugan, Captain Thenault, Sgt. Hewitt, Lt. Thaw, Sous Lt. Lufbery, Lt. de Laage, Sgts Marr, Parson, Hinkle, Plus Two Dogs [Unidentified] and Two Lion Cubs, Whiskey and Soda

    Click Here to Visit War in a Different Light
    Page Four

    The Grimmest War Poem?
    From the Editor

    I read this years ago and recently stumbled on it while browsing the internet.

    War Poets by John Edgell Rickword (1898-1982)

    I knew a man, he was my chum,
    but he grew blacker every day,
    and would not brush the flies away,
    nor blanch however fierce the hum
    of passing shells; I used to read,
    to rouse him, random things
        from Donne--
    like "Get with child a mandrake-root."
    But you can tell he was far gone,
    for he lay gaping, mackerel-eyed,
    and stiff, and senseless as a post
    even when that old poet cried
    "I long to talk with some old lover's ghost."

    I tried the Elegies one day,
    but he, because he heard me say:
    "What needst thou have more covering
        than a man?"
    grinned nastily, and so I knew
    the worms had got his brains at last.
    There was one thing that I might do
    to starve the worms; I racked my head
    for healthy things and quoted Maud.
    His grin got worse and I could see
    he sneered at passion's purity.
    He stank so badly, though we were
        great chums
    I had to leave him; then rats ate his thumbs.

    The Prince and Mr. Pilbeam

    By Dr. Esther MacCallum-Stewart
    'A well scripted play acted out in no less expert a manner than any fictional dramatic production'. This is how Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahran Weekly described the escape of Prince Ahmed Seifeddin from Ticehurst House Hospital, Kent, in 1925.

    Ticehurst House Hospital was a sanatorium founded by Samuel Newington in 1792. At first described as a lunatic asylum, then gradually changed to the more salubrious 'sanatorium', the hospital at initially admitted poorer patients, but gradually became known as a place for wealthy private clients. The Hospital continues to accept private patients today. During the war it continued its role and housed both wealthy patients and soldiers.

    Prince Ahmed Seifeddin did not take part in the war, because in 1898 he attacked and seriously wounded his brother-in-law, Prince Ahmed Fouad, after frequent allegations by his sister, Princess Shewikar, of mistreatment. The incident, known rather dramatically as 'the battle of the princes', meant that Prince Seifeddin was rapidly accused of mental instability in order to avoid incarceration, and was instead sent to Ticehurst Hospital, both to remove him from the country and prevent a dangerous schism in the Royal Family.

    The Prince might possibly have been released sooner, had it not been for the outbreak of the war. The declaration of the British protectorate over Egypt meant the end of Turkish rule and more importantly, the deposition of Abbas II in 1914. He was replaced at first by Hussein Kamel in 1917, but then by his brother Fouad in 1917 after his death. The new king did not forget old wounds and a number of decrees meant that the Prince stayed firmly where he was within the walls of the old Kent hospital.

    The plot thickened and on 18 August 1925, the Prince's financial guardian was suddenly dismissed for fraud. On 4 September, the Prince was reported to have escaped from Ticehurst. Nobody was really who was involved in the plot. Whether governmental assistance was involved was unknown, and although it was strongly suspected that Seifedden's mother, the Princess Tougan must have provided funding, little else of the details are known.

    After escaping, some details on the Prince's escape were published in Al-Ahran Weekly. On 30 September, the Prince eluded his guards and sailed to France, rejoining his mother and her husband. The Prince shaved off his beard and kept a low profile 'until they were able to obtain passports, at which point they drove to Marseilles and sailed to Istanbul, travelling second class in order not to draw attention.'

    However, one person definitely helped liberate Prince Ahmed Seifedden. Mr William Pilbeam, employee of Ticehurst, was in on the plot. An employee of the hospital, he helped the Prince escape, travelling with him for some time afterwards in what the local obituary exotically called 'the east'. Several years later he returned to England and died aged 60. Mr William Pilbeam looks distinctly like his great-great grandson, Ian, who told me parts of this story and let me see a copy of his ancestor's obituary. It seems that both the sense of adventure and love of sports reported in William Pilbeam's obituary have travelled down through the generations.

    Both of these men took part in a war that hardly ever occurs to us. The plotting on both sides meant that the Prince was left in Ticehurst during the war, and throughout Mr. Pilbeam was worked in the hospital. Both would have encountered those who fought on a daily basis. The interesting thing here is perhaps, who was fighting the greater battle?


    Dr. Esther MacCallum-Stewart is a researcher at the University of Sussex and runs our favorite First World War weblog Break of Day in the Trenches.
    Click on the icon below to visit her site.

    Forgotten Soldiers of the First World War

    aka Hell in the Holy Land:
    World War I in the Middle East

    Reviewed by Leonard Shurtleff
    Editor of Len's Bookshelf

    Drawing heavily on unpublished letters and diaries, this book examines the fighting advance of the British Egyptian Expeditionary Force from the banks of the Suez Canal 500 miles across the Sinai Desert to Jerusalem and Damascus under two successive commanders: Sir Archibald Murray; and, Sir Edmund "Bull" Allenby. Murray is described as a distant and meticulous staff officer unwilling to delegate authority, while ultimately victorious Allenby is a much more intuitive and free-wheeling commander, a cavalryman who left detailed planning and execution to subordinates while developing a real bond with his troops.

    American Edition
    Both men faced conditions far different from the muddy trench stalemate of France and Flanders. This was a war of feint and maneuver also involving frontal infantry attacks with rifle and bayonet, and, occasionally, cavalry charges. British supply lines were stretched tenuously across a dry and often mountainous terrain largely devoid of roads, rail and waterways. Murray was obliged to build both a water pipeline and a railway across the Sinai. Even then, men suffered mightily from thirst and lack of nourishing rations brought up by always-scarce trucks and camels. Indeed, British logistics broke down entirely after the December 1917 capture of Jerusalem delaying their advance across the Jordan Valley toward the Hejaz Railway, Amman and, ultimately, Damascus.

    The British troops involved were also different from most of those deployed to the Western Front. These were territorial force infantry and yeomanry rather than the raw volunteers of the new Kitchener armies. As such, they had a considerable unit cohesion that came from common peacetime training and from long established civilian relationships.

    Moreover, the campaigns in Egypt and Palestine (not to mention Mesopotamia) were not sideshows. The Suez Canal, the British lifeline to India, and other key British assets in Egypt were under threat. The Ottomans and Germans had designs on oil-rich Persia (from where the Royal Navy drew 25% of its fuel oil), and sought to foment rebellion against the Raj in volatile Afghanistan and India. The Ottoman Turks, ably supported by German officers, air power and specialist troops were a tenacious and formidable foe. If Lloyd George had prevailed and the Germans not attacked in the West in the spring of 1918, Britain would have mightily reinforced Allenby in an attempt to knock the Ottomans out of the war in early 1918. As it was, some 60 thousand of Allenby's best troops were redeployed to Flanders and replaced by British Indian Army infantry.

    Finally, British troops, steeped in a Protestant Christian ethic, were mindful of advancing through the Holy Land where Jesus had trod and Crusaders had fought the infidel. They respected the Turk as a skilled and valiant fighter, but scorned the Arab as dirty and uneducated. Treatment of conscripted Arab laborers -- upon whom the army depended for logistical support -- was often brutal.

    Allenby Enters Jerusalem, Christmas Day 1917

    In all, this is a well crafted and extremely readable political military history from a distinguished scholar who already written much on the British army in World War One. The author paints a more considered, vastly more nuanced and far less romantic picture of war in the desert than that depicted in such films as Lawrence of Arabia and The Light Horsemen.

    Forgotten Soldiers of the First World War, David R. Woodward, Tempus, 2006, 288 pages, maps, photos, ISBN 0 75243 854 9, £30 cloth. Also published in America as Hell in the Holy Land: World War I in the Middle East, University Press of Kentucky, 2005, ISBN 0 8131 2383 7, $29.95 cloth. The author is Professor of History at Marshall University and a member of the panel which selects the winner of the Annual WFA Undergraduate Essay Prize. His earlier books include Lloyd George and the Generals (Taylor & Francis, 1998) and Sir William Robertson: Chief of the Imperial General Staff in World War I (Greenwood, 2004).

    Visit Len's Bookshelf for the Web's Largest List of WWI Books, Classics and New (link)


    By Andrew Melomet

    Movie Poster
    The famed Lafayette Escadrille started in April 1916 and had only 38 American volunteers. In nearly 20 months of combat they were credited with 57 victories Another 172 volunteers served with the French Air Service in other units. All American volunteers were considered members of the Lafayette Flying Corps. By 1930 more than 4,000 men had falsely claimed to be members!

    Directed by Tony Bill, Flyboys is loosely based on the famed Lafayette Escadrille. Flyboys opened September 22 here in the United States. If it's still in the theaters in October I urge you to go out and see it on the big screen. I went on the 25th, a Monday and unfortunately there weren't enough people in the theater to man a squadron. While this release has its flaws it is still a very enjoyable movie and I highly recommend seeing it on the big screen before it disappears.

    The cast includes Jean Reno as Captain Georges Thenault [see photo above] and his is the only real name in the movie. You've got James Franco as Blaine Rawlings--the man from the American West--loosely based on Frank Luke. There's Martin Henderson as Reed Cassidy, the squadron's highest-ranking ace, loosely based on Raoul Lufberry. Abdul Salis is Eugene Skinner loosely based on Eugene Ballard, the famed African-American pilot known as The Black Swallow of Death.

    There's a problem with the script in terms of characterization. You have clichéd characters, not fully fleshed out, whose fictional lives are not as interesting as their real-life counterparts. But, the clichés work because you can immediately understand the character without a lot of screen time being wasted on character development. In fact only four characters are developed; Captain Thenault, Reed Cassidy, Martin Henderson and Eugene Skinner. The others blur together--even more so, when they're bundled up in their flying togs and wearing goggles. It gets difficult to identify them in the air.

    Action Scene from Flyboys

    Supposedly all the combat events portrayed in Flyboys happened in real life. Just mostly not to the Lafayette Escadrille. So you've got Nieuport fighters escorting Handley-Page bombers on a raid on an ammunition dump. The same fighters attacking a day-light zeppelin raid on Paris. And the constant ferocious aerial battles with the same German squadron of Fokker DR-1 triplanes. Needless to say, this involves a lot of CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) and full-scale replicas.

    And for the most part it works. The English countryside makes a suitable stand-in for the Western Front. The real airplanes include two Nieuports, two Fokker DR.1s, a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, a Bristol F-2, a Bleriot XI and an SE-5a. The aerial battles are well-done. By using triplanes for the Germans it's always easy to tell the good guys from the bad guys. The CGI modeling for the planes is excellent with only a few scenes not done to perfection.

    Despite the clichéd script and pointless romance with a French girl, Flyboys has a lot going for it. There's an aura of verisimilitude about the production details, from the blue uniforms to the lion cub mascot and the raucous officer's club. The action is well-done with superb stunt flying. If parts of Flyboys drift into G-8 and Biggles territory, well that's part of its charm, too.

    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:Jeff Matakovich, Lynna Kay Shuffield, Diane Rooney, Christina Holstein, Tony Noyes, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Ian Pilbeam, Andy Melomet, Len Shurtleff. I found the Rickwood at Oldpoets.com. The Bastien painting is at the Royal Army Museum in Brussels. 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 Great War Society

  •      The Western Front Association, US Branch