Filed under World War I

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey

This is one of the most important, but least known historical and archaeological sites in Britain. Gunpowder has played a huge role in modernisation; without it we would not have city states, mining, wars, hunting, and spectacular fireworks. This is from historian Brenda Buchannan: Gunpowder and the explosives and propellants which followed it provided a … Continue reading

The Great War and Cardiff Parks

The Great War and Cardiff Parks

I went to a talk on this last night, and learnt a lot about how life went on when the war happened. when war was declared, everyone thought it would be over in a short time. I knew that, but I didn’t realise the initial response was an expectation of local unemployment with the loss … Continue reading

Remembering Pacifists

Pacifists were not popular during the First World War. I have read of them being shouted at in the street and given white feathers of cowards, but they really did suffer for their beliefs. This is from an article by Cahal Milmo from the I newspaper on Conscientious objectors: In the aftermath of the Battle … Continue reading

Anzac Day

Anzac Day

This is the big national day for Australians and New Zealanders, even those who are away from home, as the huge crowd at Hyde Park Corner showed this morning. The start of the campaign to land troops in Turkey, to put a final end to the sclerotic Ottoman Empire and open the Dardanelles to the … Continue reading


This is the entrance to the Manchester art gallery advertising a big exhibition commemorating by he centenary of the start of WW1. The flowers are not usually associated with remembrance, but they are symbols of spring, of rebirth, renewal.

The Most Important Battle of World War I?

In a few weeks, on 9 November, it will be 100 years since the battle happened which could have changed the world, and yet efforts to have it commemorated have failed to raise much interest. This is the date that the Australian navy’s first light cruiser, the HMAS Sydney, began a running sea battle with … Continue reading

Wars and Invention

This is from a book the Phantom Museum in which various writers were let loose on the Welcome collection of medical curiosities. This is Gaby Wood on Phantom Limbs: “The American Civil War saw unprecedented numbers of men made limbless; Silas Weir Mitchell’s early estimate of 15,000 tuned out to be conservative – there were … Continue reading

Politicians Don’t Change

This comes from a pamphlet by MP Philip Snowden quoting a treasury official, months before the outbreak of war in 1914: “We are in the hands of an organisation of crooks. They are politicians, generals, manufacturers of armaments and journalists. All of them are anxious for unlimited expenditure, and go on inventing scares  to terrify … Continue reading

Influenza and Beyond

Wars do a lot of things that are bad, but one of the many bad things they do well is spread disease, often new ones. This pandemic of 1918-19 killed between 20 and 40 million people worldwide, far more than the 18 million killed in the war itself. More died in a single year than … Continue reading