Written by Mark Connelly I first visited a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery when I was sixteen years old. It was Dud Corner Cemetery and the Loos Memorial in France. I can remember the moment vividly. Having developed a deep interest in the First World War, I was on my first battlefield trip. Although my reading had made me aware of the work of the Commission, nothing prepared me for the beauty, calm and dignity of…
Tag: British Empire
Written by Philip Boobbyer.
The collapse of the Italian empire in North and East Africa in 1940-41 created a major headache for British administrators, even while it was a great success for the military. Policymakers had to come up with a way of controlling vast, far-flung territories in a rapidly changing situation. There were only a tiny number of competent people available to manage negotiations, run the finances and police the rule of law. This kind of problem was nothing new for an advancing army. It is one thing to win battles, another to govern defeated territories efficiently in a time of transition.
Written by Julian Daggett.
General Allenby, as Basil Liddell Hart observed, was something of an enigma. In the public eye he became both a great and popular First World War general. His war, however, did not start well. The official historian, James Edmonds, held that his career in France was one of ‘gross stupidity’. Allenby was a cavalry officer; at the outbreak of the war he commanded the Cavalry Division and – by late 1915 – Third Army. He also commanded a fearsome reputation, being known as ‘the Bull’ – a rough, headstrong general who just butted forward in a blind sort of fashion. The initial, tactically impressive, triumph of Third Army at The Battle of Arras (1917) almost changed Allenby’s reputation on the Western Front. But the triumph was short-lived; the fighting soon turned into the familiar attritional grind and Allenby reverted to type. Three of his divisional commanders broke ranks and complained to Haig about Allenby’s murderous orders. In June 1917 Allenby was recalled to Britain.
Written by Megan Kelleher.
As COVID-19 continues to be a key discussion point worldwide, the heritage sector is continuing to adapt to suit the needs of the public. One such organisation is the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), who care for the graves and memorials of the 1.7 million men and women who died in the armed forces of the British Empire during the First and Second World Wars. While the CWGC’s work is often at the forefront of much of the commemorative services for key anniversaries of the two World Wars, much of the day to day work it conducts has only recently begun to be told to the public through their website and ever-increasing social media presence. Their digital output has grown dramatically in light of the current crisis, and details of a selection of some of these online resources are detailed below:
Written by Mark Connelly.
Silence is absolutely crucial to our remembrance of the Great War. The thousands of sepia images we have of men queuing up to enlist, marching away to war, slogging through mud encumbered with kit, of women and children reading casualties lists pasted to billboards are curiously hypnotic due to their arresting power framed by, and etched into, the sepulchre silence of the tomb. As we know, everyone in the Great War is dead. In fact, the way we perceive it, they were preordained-doomed-dead in 1914 long before the first shots of the armies had been fired. Never such innocence again is synonymous with the crushing weight of silence; the silence of Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday; the supposed silence of all memory – ‘dad never spoke about the war’ or ‘mum never spoke about dad or how he died’. ‘There we stand, alone in the world, mute before the meaning of the events that befell our generation’, as R.H. Mottram wrote in his article, ‘In Those Two Minutes’.
Written by Peter Keeling.
On 10 May 1888 a notice headed ‘STRICTLY NON-POLITICAL – GREAT BRITAIN’S DANGER’ appeared in The Times. Placed there by a group of naval officers and city businessmen led by Captain Lord Charles Beresford and Admiral Sir Geoffrey Phipps Hornby, it asked ‘Englishmen of all classes and politics’ to consider the truth of the following statements:
The Naval and coast defences are quite inadequate to the absolute requirements of the nation.
The country is to-day unprepared for war, and would risk a serious reverse were such to occur.
Our commerce would be at the mercy of an enemy in the present weak state of the Navy.