Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Why "Horizon Blue" for the Poilu's Uniform

As all World War I students know, the traditional French uniforms of blue coats and rouge pantaloons made dandy targets for German machine gunners in the opening battles and just had to be replaced.  But why was the horizon blue color scheme selected?

Veterans Visiting the Tomb of France's Unknown Soldier

The evolution of the French uniform is one of the more fascinating aspects of French army history of the period. While several efforts to modernize French uniforms to appear less conspicuous had been undertaken in the decade preceding the outbreak of war, none succeeded in really getting off the ground. It was only in 1912 that progress was made toward developing a new cloth referred to as drap tricolore ("tricolor cloth") and composed of blue, white, and red threads. Approval for the new cloth was already won when it was discovered that the manufacturers of the red dye (the synthetic alarizin) used in the process were all German. Production of the cloth went ahead nonetheless with the red thread simply omitted. The final (heathered) cloth was to be officially composed of three threads — 35% unbleached white, 15% dark blue (indigo), and 50% light blue — with a twill weave.

The cloth itself began production in August 1914 and was officially referred to as bleu clair ("light blue"), per the official decision on 25 November 1914. History has recorded this as bleu horizon ("horizon blue") following a January 1915 issue of the highly popular periodical L'Illustration, which referred to "a new gray-blue greatcoat, called horizon color." Thus, while horizon blue is used as a blanket term for the new cloth, it was never an official term. Furthermore, light blue is technically more accurate when used to describe the cloth generally produced prior to spring 1915 (the captions for images below reflect this terminology). The term "light blue" 'is deceiving, though, as in actuality the range of colors varied from an ashen light blue to a medium blue-gray. While the new cloth did not achieve the true neutral tone original intended, due to the nature of the early dyes, the cloth often faded to a light blue-gray, which melded well with the chalky mud of Champagne and Artois.

Despite the administrative decision-making in the summer of 1914, distribution of the new uniforms had not yet begun when war broke out. . .

Read more at the Website of the 151st Infantry Reenactors. . . http://www.151ril.com/content/gear/uniforms/13

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Remembering a Veteran — 26 July 1918: Major Mick Mannock, VC, Killed by Ground Fire

The air aces of World War I — like the Red Baron — left a rich mythology that persists to the present day. But the man who was, perhaps, Britain's best pilot, remains little known.

Major Mannock

Photographs of Mick Mannock, Britain's highest-scoring fighter pilot from World War I, are surprisingly rare. Before his death Mannock had just completed an extraordinary run of success, shooting down 20 German planes that May — four of them in one day — and winning the Distinguished Service Order (one below the Victoria Cross) not once but three times in little over a month.
But all was not right with this ace in his last days. The inspirational hero of both his squadron and the RAF was struggling to control his nerves, nerves which were tearing him apart. From his personal diary held at the RAF Museum in London it's clear that Mannock had been wrestling with his emotions from the moment he first went into action just over a year earlier.

"Feeling nervy and ill during the last week. Afraid I'm breaking up."

So bad were the terrors that in his early days of flying some of his fellow pilots on the Western Front believed that Mannock was "windy", in other words, a coward. A sympathetic commanding officer gave him a chance, and over the following months Mannock was able to suppress his fears and start shooting down enemy aircraft. With the "kills" came the awards for gallantry.
Flying aircraft in World War I was a shockingly dangerous profession. Of the 14,000 airmen killed in that war, well over half lost their lives in training. On an early patrol over France one of the bottom wings of Mannock's Nieuport bi-plane suddenly broke off in flight. Mannock managed to land the aircraft, extraordinarily lucky to have survived.

But what Mannock — and many other pilots — feared most, was going down in flames, without a parachute, and burning to death. For this reason he carried a revolver in his cockpit, vowing that if his plane did catch fire he would shoot himself, before the flames devoured him.

Mannock developed his own macabre way of conquering his nerves. Not dissimilar to the Captain Flashheart character played by Rik Mayall in Blackadder Goes Forth, Mannock too could be loud and brash.

"Flamerinoes boys! Sizzle sizzle wonk," he would announce as he burst into the mess regaling all of how he had sent some unfortunate "Hun" airman down in flames. And when in April 1918 various members of his squadron raised their glasses to the recently killed Manfred von Richthofen — the Red Baron — Mannock refused with the words "I hope the bastard burnt all the way down".

Mannock (Far Left) with the Pilots of 74 Squadron

And yet behind this brash exterior was a deeply sensitive man. Born into a working-class military family Mannock was not the typical young public school airman associated with World War I movies. He was a committed socialist and at 29 he was much older than his fellow pilots. But Mannock was also a man of contradictions. He hated Germans with a vengeance, possibly because he was so badly treated by the Turks when he was interned by them earlier in the war.

Yet despite this, when he rushed out to inspect the remains of a German plane he had just shot down and found one of the airmen dead inside, he recorded in his diary: "I felt exactly like a murderer." In little over 12 months Mannock amassed 73 victories, confirming him as Britain's highest scoring pilot of the First World War and yet today, outside aviation circles, virtually no one has heard of him.

Part of the explanation is that unlike Germany, which promoted their air heroes such as the Red Baron, Britain had a policy of keeping their pilots identities firmly under wraps, preferring the idea that it was a team effort and not all about the individual. The effect was that while photos and stories of the Red Baron were splashed over newspapers around the world, in Britain Mannock, or "Captain X" as the press referred to him, was virtually unknown.

By the early summer of 1918 the air war had reached its savage climax and Mick Mannock's nerves had returned. A friend witnessed Mannock on leave, sobbing and trembling violently, saliva and tears having soaked his collar and shirt. And despite all this, Mannock's sense of duty meant that he returned to France to face whatever came his way.  On the morning of 26 July while out on patrol he downed his last German aircraft, but made the fatal error of flying low to observe the kill and it was then that his aircraft was hit by German ground fire.

Mannock's aircraft was last seen going down in flames. His nightmare had been realised. It is not known if he was able to use the revolver he always carried with him.

Sources:  BBC and Spartacus Websites

Friday, July 25, 2014

Western Front Virtual Tour — Stop 28: High Wood


High Wood was the last of the major woods in the Somme offensive of 1916 to be captured by the British. Despite a whole series of attacks spanning two months, High Wood held out until 15 September 1916, when it was captured by the 47th (London) Division. Many other units of the British Army fought here, including the Gloucester Regiment, Cameron Highlanders, the Black Watch, Highland Light Infantry, and the Bengal Lancers, who charged the wood with some success. High Wood was never fully cleared after the war.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A World War I Polish-American Cemetery in Canada


By Walter Kudlick


In the small Ontario, Canada, town of Niagara-on-the-Lake (population 12,500 or so but with lots of tourists in the summer months) there is a cemetery with a small section bounded by a wrought iron fence and featuring three tall poles flying large Canadian, American, and Polish flags. A bronze plaque contains the following information (abridged and edited): This burial plot commemorates the Polish soldiers who trained in this community from 1917 to 1919 at Camp Kosciuszko and subsequently made the supreme sacrifice. They personified the Polish soldier's motto:"For your freedom and ours!" 

Typical Marker

As a result of the movement to regain the independence of Poland and policy differences with the United States, 22,174 volunteers of Polish descent crossed the Niagara River from Youngstown, NY, to this community and joined 221 Polish-Canadians for military training from 1917 to 1919. They were trained by Canadian officers and outfitted and financed by France. As a result, they wore French uniforms and hence were called the "Blue Army." In Europe the volunteers were assigned to the Fourth French Army in battalion and regimental groups and participated on the Western Front in the Champagne sector of France in 1918. In October 1918 the battalion and regimental groups were united to form a separate Polish army, which with additional volunteers totaled 80,000. At the end of World War I, the soldiers were transported across Germany to defend the new-found independence of Poland and repel the Bolshevik invasions. At this burial plot rest 25 of 41 soldiers who were stricken and died of influenza while in training.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Favorite Great War Animal Photos (Non-Equine)

We got such a great response over the horse images we posted last week that I thought our readers may enjoy some other animal images that have been sent to me over the years. Thanks to those of you who have sent these along.

Mascot of Italian Alpini

Whiskey & Soda of the Lafayette Escadrille

French Army Red Cross Dogs

British Officer and Kitten

Manfred von Richthofen's Moritz

Mobile Pigeon Coop

Bonneau and John McCrae
Also, check out this great video at Michigan's WWI Centennial Project:


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Enduring Courage: Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed — Reviewed by Jim Gallen


Enduring Courage:
Ace Pilot Eddie Rickenbacker and the Dawn of the Age of Speed
by John F. Ross
Andre Deutsch, 2014


Before reading Enduring Courage I had not known much about Eddie Rickenbacker. After losing his father in a brawl over a lunch at age 13, Eddie started his career as a mechanic and a race car driver. Rubbing elbows with Henry Ford and Fred Duesenberg, Rickenbacker rode the circuit and competed as a driver at the 1911 Indy 500. It was his familiarity with engines and his trip to England to discuss racing with Sunbeam Motors in 1916–1917 that introduced Eddie to the world of flight and the war that would make his name a household word.


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This new biography of Rickenbacker is divided into four "books": "Racing," "Flying," "Fighting," and "Immortality." Through them all run the threads of machinery, speed, and courage. The second and third books will be of greatest interest to readers of Roads to the Great War. These are the pages that focus on Rickenbacker's wartime heroics as "Ace of Aces." Eddie eased into the war gradually, as did his neutral nation. While visiting London he noticed that he stood out in civilian clothes, became aware of the emerging role of aircraft as weapons, and met some of the men who flew them. Author John F. Ross introduces the reader into the brotherhood of aviators, the Royal Flying Corps and the Red Baron's Flying Circus. He even injects the humor of Richthofen, who, upon hearing that a bounty had been placed on his head, cracked that he should get the prize if he shoots down the whole British squadron.

As America became involved in the war, Rickenbacker pitched the idea of an air squadron of race car drivers, who could get the most out of their machines, to a brass who thought that anyone so familiar with engines would be overly cautious. His break came when President Wilson suggested that a well-known car racer be employed as Gen. Pershing's driver. Tipped off, Eddie enlisted and headed off to Europe where he made the acquaintance not only of Pershing but also of Billy Mitchell and other officers in the air corps. Flying lessons, a commission, and the Wild Blue Yonder followed in rapid succession. As Eddie's skill and reputation grew he advanced in rank to command of the 94th Aero Squadron. The chapters dealing with the Air Corps take the reader over the land and into the barracks, the cockpit, and the dogfights with Rickenbacker. We meet the officers he met, Patton and MacArthur, and those with whom he shared headlines such as Quentin Roosevelt and Canada's Billy Bishop.

So just what was the role of air power in those early days? We read of the romance of the knights of the air who fought a war of chivalry beyond the reach of those trapped in the trenches below. We learn of reconnaissance of enemy ground formations and counter-reconnaissance by shooting down enemy planes and observation balloons.

The Armistice found Rickenbacker with 26 kills as America's Greatest Hero of the Great War and with a name recognition exceeding that of Gen. Pershing. He earned the Medal of Honor, although it would not be bestowed until 1931. Heroes do not live on yesterday's headlines, and Rickenbacker returned home to try a series of commercial ventures with varying success: the Rickenbacker automobile not so good, the Indianapolis Speedway better, Eastern Airlines the best. Peacetime aviation had its dangers as demonstrated by a 1941 crash while on a business trip.

Capt. Rickenbacker Receiving Oak Leaf Clusters to His
Distinguished Service Cross from First Army Commander Hunter Liggett

A figure as famous as Rickenbacker could not, and would not, stay clear of controversy. His opposition to the New Deal and dabbling with America First isolationism drew the enmity of the Roosevelt White House, but his conversion to support America's entrance into World War II made him an asset that could not remain unused. Called into service as a spokesman by the Air Force's Gen. Hap Arnold, Rickenbacker made goodwill tours of airbases. His status as a military hero made him the logical messenger to Gen. MacArthur, whose public comments had become intolerable to the White House. His trip across the Pacific ended in a crash at sea after which Rickenbacker's will triumphed over the dangers of the then longest float across the open sea by downed aviators.

The title Enduring Courage reminds us of the driving theme running through the book. The theme is shown in the life of a man courageous enough to face a world after losing his father at a young age, to lead the charge into the age of mechanically produced speed both on land and in the air, and the courage to participate in another war with its own dangers. Readers will learn much about aviation in the Great War and particularly America's contribution to it. Mostly though, they will remember the enduring courage that makes this life one to study as we look back on the Great War.

Jim Gallen

Monday, July 21, 2014

Centennial Update from the U.S. World War I Centennial Commemoration Commission Acting Chairman, Robert Dalessandro


The Commission's Acting Chairman, Robert Dalessandro, who is also Chief Historian of the U.S. Army, was interviewed on the Federal Broadcast Service on Friday, 18 July 2014. In the ten-minute interview he gave a full summary of the Commission's mission and plans, and provided a wonderful summary of why the remembrance of America's participation in the war is so important.

Click Here to Play the Interview


Thanks to Mark Levitch at the WWI Memorial Inventory Project for the heads-up on this interview.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Why Is There a Replica of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco?

Big Alma's Triumph


Alma at the Turn of the Century

Alma de Bretteville Spreckels is the female Horatio Alger of San Francisco history. After Commodore Dewey's triumph at Manila Bay in 1898, San Francisco decided the city needed a commemoration of the victory.  Dewey's flagship, the USS Olympia, had been built at the city's Union Iron Works. The location was to be in Union Square, and the design would feature a tall column with a 9-foot tall statue of the "Goddess of Victory" atop. Artist Robert Ingersoll Aitken hired Alma, then working as a laundry girl, as his model for the goddess.  

Detail from the Dewey Monument, Union Square, San Francisco

After the monument's 1903 dedication by President Theodore Roosevelt every man about town wanted to meet the artist's shapely model.  Alma, now having the choice of the pack, selected sugar baron Adolph Spreckels to be her husband.  This gave the former laundry girl a position in high society, in which Alma immediately became an "operator" of the highest order.

French Pavilion, 1915 San Francisco Fair


Now jump forward in time to 1915.  Alma, now known as "Big Alma", is now occupying the top rung of San Francisco social ladder, an acquaintance of presidents and kings, and already a renowned art collector. She has been contemplating combining her ambitions to show off her collection and to see the city add a world-class art gallery.  San Francisco, this year, is also the site of the exposition celebrating the opening of the Panama Canal.  Much of the rest of the world is at war at this time, unfortunately, so few of the combatants are represented. But France decides, nevertheless, to build a major pavilion exhibiting  the works of their A-list Impressionists and new school artists, and — incidentally — to keep them safe, away from any Zeppelin raids.  The design they selected is a 3/4-scale model of Paris's Palace of the Legion of Honor.

Big Alma, Wiser and More Formidable

When she saw it, the Francophile Alma was besotted. All her dreams together in concrete form, she wants one of her very own. Alma soon persuades Mr. Spreckels to support her project financially and, apparently, all of San Francisco's upper crust and political operatives as well. When America enters the war, Alma did everything she could do to support the nation's and the Allies' efforts. This allows her to use her connections and formidable political skills both to win the support of the French government and to gain designation of the museum as the State of California's memorial to its fallen in the Great War, to “honor the dead while serving the living.” World War I, of course, delayed the groundbreaking for the project, until 1921. 

Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco

Constructed on a remote site known as Land’s End, the California Palace of the Legion of Honor was opened on Armistice Day 1924. Alma was grieving at the time; Adolph had died a few months earlier. The memory of the 3,600 Californians who had lost their lives on the battlefields of France during World War I is preserved in the museum's "Book of Gold", a vellum-paged register signed by General John J. Pershing and French marshals Joffre, Pétain, and Foch. In it, each name of California's fallen is inscribed. Today the complex is still one of the city's two premier art venues. References to the war are only visible on a plaque in the courtyard and on little plates on the big trees just south of the complex (visible on the left above) that were planted by Marshals Foch and Joffre on visits to the site.

Marshal Foch Signs the Book of Gold Under Alma's Guiding Hand


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Argonnenwald: A Sapper's Song from the World War, 1915



Translation by Jeff Curtis

The Argonne Forest
A Sapper's Song from the World War

Argonne Forest, at midnight
A sapper's song from the World War, 1915

Argonne Forest, at midnight,
A sapper stands on guard.
A star shines high up in the sky,
bringing greetings from a distant homeland.

And with a spade in his hand,
He waits forward in the sap-trench.
He thinks with longing on his love,
Wondering if he will ever see her again.

The artillery roars like thunder,
While we wait in front of the infantry,
With shells crashing all around.
The Frenchies want to take our position.

Should the enemy threaten us even more,
We Germans fear him no more.
And should he be so strong,
He will not take our position.

The storm breaks!  The mortar crashes!
The sapper begins his advance.
Forward to the enemy trenches,
There he pulls the pin on a grenade.

The infantry stand in wait,
Until the hand grenade explodes.
Then forward with the assault against the enemy,
And with a shout, break into their position.

Argonne Forest, Argonne Forest,
Soon thou willt be a quiet cemetery.
In thy cool earth rests
much gallant soldiers' blood.

Source:  Trenches on the Web at Worldwar1.com

Friday, July 18, 2014

Western Front Virtual Tour — Stop 27: South African Memorial at Delville Wood


Delville Wood was a tract of woodland, nearly one kilometer square, the western edge of which touched the village of Longueval, 11 km east of Albert in the Somme sector. On 14 July 1916 the greater part of Longueval village was taken by the 9th (Scottish) Division and on the 15th, the South African Brigade of that division captured most of Delville Wood. The wood now formed a salient in the line, with Waterlot Farm and Mons Wood on the south flank still in German hands, and, owing to the height of the trees, no close artillery support was possible for defense. 

The three South African battalions fought continuously for six days and suffered heavy casualties. On 18 July they were forced back, and on the evening of the 20th the survivors, a mere handful of men, were relieved. On 27 July, the 2nd Division retook the wood and held it until 4 August when the 17th Division took it over. On 18 and 25 August it was finally cleared of all German resistance by the 14th (Light) Division. The wood was then held until the end of April 1918 when it was lost during the German advance, but  it was retaken by the 38th (Welsh) Division on the following 28 August.

Commemorating the efforts of the South African Brigade is a multi-part memorial, which is a candidate for the most beautiful such complex in the world. Most important is the wood itself, where many of the fallen from the war still lie. After the battle a single tree was left standing in the wood, and that tree is marked and part of a visit to the site. At the entrance is an archway (not shown) that has a statue of mythological figures Castor and Pollux and a war horse that was completed in 1926. A magnificent five-pointed museum was dedicated in the 1980s and honors the South African sacrifice in both World Wars and the Korean conflict. Field Marshal Jan Smuts, a significant figure in South Africa's history, has a significant display in the museum.

Source:  Commonwealth War Graves



Thursday, July 17, 2014

17 July 1917: The British Royal Family Changes Its Name!



"I MAY BE UNINSPIRING, BUT I'LL BE DAMNED IF I'M ALIEN."

~ King George V, in response to H. G. Wells's criticism of his "alien” 
[i.e. German-descended] and uninspiring court



Contributed by Assistant Editor Kimball Worcester

Today in 1917 the British royal family changed its surname to Windsor from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. 
The intertwining of the European royal families at the outbreak of war linked just about every one of them to Queen Victoria through her numerous progeny. Her grandchildren were consorts or rulers in five of the combatant countries — Russia, Germany, Rumania, Greece, and Great Britain — and numerous other princes and aristocrats throughout Europe were closely related. This proved especially difficult for the Empress of Russia (née a princess of Hesse-Darmstadt), who, in spite of her neuroses, was always a devout Russian patriot and had a true loathing for the Kaiser, her cousin. She became a natural target for discontent with the regime for this reason of her national origin alone.

Anti-German virulence in Great Britain had its own sad story, with long-naturalized German (or perceived as German) shopkeepers and tradesmen hounded from business and even dachshunds being attacked and vilified. Not a shining moment for a country defending liberty on the Continent. The British royal family itself bore a German name — Saxe [Sachsen]-Coburg-Gotha — the legacy of the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in 1840. Of course, the royal family was “German” well before the surname became a triple threat; the Hanoverians became British sovereigns in the early 18th century when the last Protestant descendant of the Stuart dynasty died childless (Queen Anne) and the succession jumped sideways to the Protestant Hanoverian descendants of Elizabeth of Bohemia, daughter of King James I of Great Britain. 

George V and his queen, Mary of Teck, ruled Great Britain during the Great War and were faced personally with the increasing anti-German atmosphere. By 1917 it was clear that a strong message had to be proclaimed as to the patriotism of his court and family, and after some internal debate, the king’s private secretary Lord Stamfordham came up with “Windsor”, after the ancient English royal residence used since the 12th century — a stroke of marketing brilliance. In addition, Queen Mary’s family name was changed to Cambridge (and Athlone) and the Battenbergs (who joined the family through Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Beatrice’s marriage) became the illustrious Mountbattens.
[Note that upon the birth in June 1894 of the future Edward VIII/Duke of Windsor, Queen Victoria wrote to the baby's father, the future George V, that "this will be the Coburg line, like formerly the Plantegenet, the Tudor,...Stewart (sic), & the Brunswicks," always promoting the legacy of Prince Albert. Not to be.]*

Prince Louis of Battenberg, Soon to Become Mountbatten

One Battenberg suffered this xenophobia particularly strongly. Prince Louis of Battenberg was a German-born prince but also a naturalized British subject and career British naval officer who rose to the rank of First Sea Lord in 1912. His wife was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. But anti-German pressure early in the war pushed him to resign his post — a blow to the dedicated officer — and in 1917 he became the 1st Marquess of Milford Haven, relinquishing all German titles as well. His son, Lord Louis Mountbatten, became Viscount Mountbatten of Burma, and, among other things, the last viceroy of India as well as the granduncle and mentor of the present Prince of Wales. He vindicated his father's resignation as First Sea Lord by acquiring the post himself from 1954 to 1959.   

In spite of all this maneuvering to substantiate public Englishness for the royals, George V himself could not have lived or acted more English, as he himself alludes to in his response to Mr. Wells’s assessment. He was the epitome of the stolid English family man; he loved his career in the Royal Navy and would have been content to remain there in relative obscurity had his older brother Prince Arthur not died and catapulted George into the direct succession. He had no problem with being uninspiring. Alien, however, was deeply unjust.


*James Pope-Hennessey, Queen Mary, 1867–1953, George Allen and Unwin, Ltd., 1959. p. 301

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

War Horses: Idealized and for Real

We received a press release that we thought we would share with you.  It's a program that focuses on war horses:

The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking, Surrey, will commemorate the centenary of World War One with the exhibition "The Horse at War: 1914 – 1918" (25 November 2014 – 1 March 2015). Exploring the role of the horse in World War One, the exhibition will compare the glorified image of officers and their chargers at war with the piteous desolation of these animals as beasts of burden when faced with gunfire and trench warfare.

Below is a set of images from the Lightbox gallery and my own files that shows the contrast of the gloried equestrian images and the real experience of the animals in combat.




Wounded

Prepared for Gas Warfare

On Work Detail

Stuck in the Mud

Killed in Action, Haelen, 1914

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The First World War Remembered: In Association with Imperial War Museums — Reviewed by Jane Mattisson Ekstam


The First World War Remembered: 
In Association with Imperial War Museums
by Gary Sheffield
Andre Deutsch, 2014


The First World War Remembered brings to life the events of the war from its outbreak to its aftermath and legacy. The book is comprehensive; it covers the Western Front, the war in Africa, the war at sea, Eastern Front battles, the Italian Front, campaigns in Palestine, the role of women in war, literary influences, diplomacy in war, the Russian Revolution, trench life, war in the air, the USA's entry into the war, and the final battles.

By way of a background, Sheffield identifies different national perspectives on the events of 1914–1918. In Britain, the war is seen as either a monstrous tragedy that should never have happened or a disaster that was not of Britain's making but in which involvement was unavoidable. From a French or German perspective it can be seen as the second round of the Franco-German war that began in 1870 and did not end until 1945. From an American perspective, World War One marked America's entry onto the world stage. Australia, New Zealand, and Canada were inclined to see the war as the time when they emerged from under the protective wing of the mother country. For Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic states, World War One marked the beginning of a movement toward national self-determination. German Nazism, Italian Fascism and Soviet Communism were, argues Sheffield, all direct results of the war.


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Sheffield emphasizes the importance of both the home and the battle front. Each of the 55 sections of The First World War Remembered is complemented by over 200 photographs and color battle maps and more than 30 researched rare facsimile documents, including personal and unit war diaries, letters, secret plans, telegrams, orders, maps, and posters. The facsimile documents include Kitchener's order to the British Expeditionary Force sent to France in 1914, a letter describing the Christmas truce of 1914, and Sir Douglas Haig's handwritten draft of his famous "Backs to the Wall" order.

Sheffield's study is accompanied by a DVD which contains firsthand accounts of soldiers on the Western front. It also includes an edited silent film that is part of a series of films produced in 1918, toward the end of the war. The archival footage was shot by official cameramen working for the British War Office and features many sequences showing tanks on theWwestern Front.

In addition to reproducing more well-known details of battles, Sheffield also introduces lesser known features of the war. The section called "Specialists" is a case in point. Here fascinating information is provided on signalers, police, tunnelers, and medics. Sheffield notes, for example, that many decorations were won by signalers who crawled out into No Man's Land to repair broken telephone wires. He also describes the work of Ernest Gold, a British meteorologist, who was a pioneer in providing information on atmospheric conditions.

What is missing from the study, however, is the contributions of the pacifists to the war effort. While Sheffield mentions the growing influence of pacifism after the war, he makes only brief references to it during the war itself. These occur primarily in the section on "Literary Influences." As the books reviewed in our series on pacifism have revealed, the situation and role of the conscientious objector is a much neglected area in World War One studies.

Sample Pages

Sheffield concludes his study with reflections on "The Short Twentieth Century." He argues that "…the years 1914–1991 can be seen as one period bounded by the beginning of the First World War and the end of the Cold War." In between came the collapse of old monarchical regimes, the rise of dictators, World War Two, and the fall of the USSR. World War One was, concludes Sheffield, the trigger to a series of events that changed our world forever.

The First World War Remembered is the work of one of the world's leading experts on the military history of the war. The inclusion of rare material, meticulously researched and reproduced, the broad span of the study, and the above-mentioned DVD make The First World War Remembered a treasure trove for any reader interested in gaining a broad view of World War One, of its "strategies, tactics and battles, and the lives of the people who were there." The comprehensive index facilitates the navigation of this large and impressive volume. Packaged in an elegant presentation box, The First World War Remembered is an excellent gift for World War One enthusiasts and scholars alike. At just under $50, it is also excellent value!

Jane Mattisson Ekstam

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bastille Day 2014: Remembering the Lost French-American Monument at Pointe de Grave, France

Completed 1938, Destroyed by the German Army in 1942

Located at Pointe de Grave, France, at the mouth of the Gironde River. This stupendous monument marked the site from which Lafayette departed for America in 1777 and near where first American Doughboys landed in 1917. It was destroyed by the Nazi's in the Second World War and later replaced by the smaller marker.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Worldwar1.com: Your One Stop Center for World War I Centennial Information



Worldwar1.com

Just click on this link to see all the publications and websites we offer for the serious student of the Great War of 1914–18. We are constantly upgrading our many features. As you can see above, we have a new header and logo for our home page. Our 1914-1918 Super Search feature has just been upgraded, and over the next few months we will be revamping our award-winning Doughboy Center website, which will remain in full operation during this time.
Mike Hanlon, Editor/Publisher

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jünger's Response to Remarque

Ernst Jünger Wearing the Pour le Mérite

By Henry G. Gole

Remarque's powerful naturalistic prose in All Quiet has shaped our picture of life in the trenches as no other single book has. The impasse on the Western Front finally proved mass frontal assaults to be a purposeless waste of life. Attacks by hundreds of thousands of men, supported by preparatory fires of millions of artillery rounds, produced tens of thousands of casualties — but not only among the defending force. . .

Ernst Jünger's Storm of Steel (1929) provides us a striking contrast to Remarque's pacifism, but he too is convinced that the front experience permanently separated the front soldier from the others. Jünger was one of the most highly decorated German soldiers of the Great War and one of the most often wounded [14 times]. His combat record was so impressive that he was handpicked to organize and lead elite troops whose mission was to infiltrate enemy front lines using techniques requiring extraordinarily brave and tough men. The infiltration teams, called Sturm (storm) — or Kampfgruppen (assault groups), relied on stealth to penetrate enemy lines, followed by shock action with individual weapons. The idea was to cause confusion and disorganization among defenders that would create openings for exploitation. Jünger led such assault teams and claimed to love it!

After the war Jünger observed the same chaos described by Remarque but came to different conclusions. Passive acceptance of the alienation of the veteran was not in Jünger's nature. He was convinced that a new man was born in the trenches, a man who would lead. Breast-beating and lamentations about unhappy circumstances simply would not do. The decisiveness of the assault team leader, his courage, and leadership, had a new objective — veterans led by such men would reshape the political world.

It is this mode of thought that is captured so well in Robert G. Waite's The Vanguard of Nazism (1952), a book about the adventurous souls whose answer to profound problems was movement and action. The collection of bold men who comprised the Freikorps (free corps) and veterans' associations organized along military lines consisted of veterans, boys who hadn't had their war, nationalists shamed by the Treaty of Versailles, royalists longing for the good old days of Wilhelmine Germany, those who had nowhere else to go, and those disenchanted with Germany's experiment with democracy. These men craved leadership, clear objectives, and a way out of Germany's many problems. Germany had not been prepared for the republic thrust upon it. Paramilitary action in the streets passed for political activity. 

Source:  "The Great War a Literary Perspective," Parameters, Summer 1987

Friday, July 11, 2014

Western Front Virtual Tour — Stop 26: The Leaning Virgin of Albert


A key destination for any tour of the Somme battlefields, Albert is a small town in the Province of Picardy. It found itself in the heart of some of the hottest action on the Western Front throughout the Great War. Unfortunately, Albert had one target that towered over the village making it an excellent observation post for whoever occupied it and an irresistible target for opposing gunners. Earlier town fathers, attempting to turn the community into a destination for Christian pilgrims, had built an impressive Romanesque basilica crowned with a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary holding up her baby son to God. The Virgin also appears to be lame, an apparent message of the power of prayer for the handicapped.

During the early days of the war, German artillery had shelled the basilica, trying to knock it down and prevent the French artillery spotters from using it. They only succeeded in dislodging the statue of Mary, which by 1916 hung at a precarious angle just below the horizontal. This was just too visible and too heavenly connected for the soldiers passing through the town. The Legend of the Leaning [or Hanging] Virgin was born.

The British rendition was that whoever knocked her down would lose the war, the Germans apparently believing the opposite. Another version of the legend had it that the fall of the Virgin would signal the end of the war. The details of the various versions seem secondary to the belief by troops of all sides that the Virgin's natural descent was halted temporarily by a divine hand so its final destruction could mark the war's end. It must have provided a double psychic reassurance that the forces of Heaven had taken an interest in protecting the Virgin and her Child and would eventually take steps to end the suffering on the battlefield.

Interestingly, the man most responsible for finally knocking down the Leaning Virgin survived the war and shared his tale many years later:

I have read with great interest Mr. Harvey's article [in Air Pictorial magazine]. . .On page 136 there is a picture of Albert Cathedral as it stood in 1917, and Mr. Harvey makes a note that legend had it that the monument's fall would herald the end of the war.

In 1918 I was on the staff of the 5th Corps, Heavy Artillery, and an Army Order had been issued that no more buildings were to be demolished by gunfire. One early morning we had a telephone message from the Infantry Colonel of the Battalion holding the line quite near to the Cathedral to the effect that he was suffering heavy loss from machine gun-fire from the Cathedral Tower, and he asked that we should blow the place to blazes. My General was out on reconnaissance work, and my Brigade Major was absent at the time so I (quite a young Captain) was in charge. Realizing the Army Order and knowing that I should get no satisfaction from Army H.Q., I chose one of the 8-in. Batteries in the Corps, worked out some imaginary trenches well beyond the Cathedral, and then ordered the Major of this Battery to fire a couple of hundred rounds at these imaginary trenches, knowing full well that the line of fire would go clean through the Cathedral!

The Major was thrilled with this order and it was duly carried out and the Cathedral Tower and most of the surrounding Cathedral was blown to hell, thus probably saving the lives of many of our Infantry.
F. G. Petch, M.C., Vice-President of the Air League, London, E.C.2.

This succinct background summary is quoted in part from the website: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF A HERO: The Battle of the Somme from the Letters of William George Ashby Bentley, 2nd Hampshires.

P.G. Petch's account is from Air Pictorial, Vol. 30, No. 7 

Incidentally, beneath the basilica is an outstanding subterranean museum that contains a wonderful collection of authentic artifacts and weaponry from the fighting and tells the moving story of a little village that found itself in the middle of one of history's great battlefields.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Remembering a Veteran: General Sir Arthur Currie



From Articles by Joyce Kennedy and Michael Iavarone

A former militia volunteer, Arthur Currie [b. 1875] advanced through ability and force of personality to become the senior Canadian officer of the Great War. After surviving with distinction as a brigade and division commander, he was ready for more responsibility. Currie was an advocate of intense planning and preparation before going into battle — "Thorough preparation must lead to success. Neglect nothing." Canadian Corps Commander Sir Julian Byng let him apply his theories, placing him in charge of the training and preparations for the assault on Vimy Ridge. After that great success he succeeded Byng in command and subsequently led his troops in the conclusion of the Third Battle of Ypres [Passchendaele] and a string of victories commencing at Amiens in August 1918.

Knighted after his accomplishments at Vimy Ridge, Arthur Currie became Canada's first full general in 1919. He then served as Principal and Vice Chancellor of McGill University until his death in 1933.

Facts:

  •     Born in 1875 at Napperton, Ontario
  •     Enlisted in the militia at the beginning of the war and made his way up the ranks to become a lieutenant colonel of the artillery
  •     Was part of the First Canadian Division and fought at the battles of Ypres and Saint Julien
  •     Made a strong case for keeping Canadian soldiers together in a true Canadian division
  •     Was successful in establishing a Canadian division and was the first Canadian promoted to the rank of general
  •     Believed in fully preparing his troops before a battle, right from the officers to the lowly private.
  •     Was successful for the planning and execution of the battle of Vimy Ridge (the battle that many feel recognized Canada as a true nation)
  •     Was considered aloof from his troops and nicknamed "Guts and Gaiters"; however, often visited his troops at the front
  •     Involved in the controversy over the fighting at of Mons in 1918, when a number of troops were killed hours before the Armistice
  •     Knighted by King George V in 1917
  •     Honours received: Commander of the Bath, Legion of Honour, Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, Croix de Guerre, Distinguished Service Medal (U.S.) 

Quotes:

"... it is quite time that some corps commanders were told to go to blazes."

"I am a good enough Canadian to believe, if my experience justifies me in believing, that Canadians are best served by Canadians."

"We have shown that even in trench warfare it is possible to mystify and mislead the enemy."

"Thorough preparation must lead to success. Neglect nothing."

Address to Canadian Corps, March 1918:
"To those who fall I say: You will not die but step into immortality. Your mothers will not lament your fate but will be proud to have borne such sons. Your names will be revered forever and ever by your grateful country, and God will take you unto Himself."

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

An AEF Setback: August 1918



28th Division

Setback at Fismette



Study of a Fiasco



Fismette & River Vesle from Fismes


These are official reports of this incident and have the coldness of such documents with a sprinkling of CYA.  For a personal and chilling account of this American defeat, read Hervey Allen's great memoir, Toward the Flame. This affair is one of the reasons the emblem of the 28th Pennsylvania National Guard Division became known as the "Bloody Bucket." A memorial bridge built by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania now stands across the River Vesle connecting the two villages discussed here.


Extract from III Corps History
Enemy Attack Against Fismette
27 August 1918

I. SITUATION: On the night of August 26/27, 1918, the village of FISMETTE was held by Companies G and H, 112th Infantry. These two companies totaled six officers and 200 men. This garrison relieved the previous garrison at 2 a.m. August 27.

II. OPERATION: At 4 a.m. on the same day a heavy enemy barrage was placed in and around the town of FISMETTE. After 20 minutes the barrage lifted and the enemy attacked with a force estimated at about one battalion. The attacking troops were evidently picked troops, being referred to in the German communiqué as "Baden troops." The attacking forces were apparently divided into three columns, one attacking from the northeast. another from the northwest, and the third from the north of the town. The attack followed immediately upon the lifting of the heavy bombardment, and caught our troops while they were more or less demoralized as a result of same. The platoon occupying the east edge of the lawn put up a good resistance. but the platoons to the north and west gave way with feeble resistance ante. resulting in the enemy practically enveloping the remaining defenders on the lawn, some of whom escaped to the south and crossed the VESLE. The enemy attack was accompanied by low-flying airplanes, which dropped bombs and fired machine guns. There is a report that a soldier in an American uniform ran through the streets shouting that the lieutenant in command said resistance was useless and had ordered his men to surrender. It is not definitely settled as to whether or not this man was an American soldier or any enemy in disguise.

III. RESULT: The result of the enemy operation was the loss of the village of FISMETTE by our troops and the loss of four officers and 161 men missing. These figures include our killed and wounded as well as prisoners who were left in the village when it was captured.

IV. CONCLUSION: The following conclusions are drawn:

(1) The attack, following immediately after relief, caught our troops before they had become familiar with the positions occupied.

(2) The possibility of utter demoralization caused by an enemy in our uniform or a cowardly soldier of our own creating a panic among our men.

(3) Our troops apparently assumed that the bombardment was a usual one, and consequently were not on the alert to repel an attack.

(4) There was culpable negligence in not requesting artillery support.

(5) There was not the spirit among the garrison holding the west and north of the town to fight to the last man.

(6) The effectiveness of accompanying even a local attack by airplanes is shown. It is not so much a question of actual damage done by the airplane, but its effect upon the morale of the troops attacked.

(7) Our defensive organization of the village itself was doubtless faulty, as no provision was made for the defense of the village in case flank attacks should occur. And no provisions were made to properly deploy our machine guns and rifle fire for the protection of the rear and flanks of the platoons in position.


Streets of Fismette


From: Capt. Withers, 28th Division
To: G-3, III Corps

Telephone message from 112th Inf. to 28th Division.
Received at 28th Div. at 10:15 hrs, 27 August 1918.

Absolutely unable to get patrols into FISMETTE. Got down as far as 100 yards from bridge. Streets of FISMES running north and south covered by machine-gun fire and one-pounders. Two casualties in one patrol of six men. REIMS Road covered with machine-gun fire from left. Noticeable absence of flares. FISMETTE very quiet. No firing on FISMETTE since 1000 hrs., August 27. If there any of our men in FISMETTE they are very few and scattered and in hiding. No evidence to confirm any of our men holding out. Will make further reconnaissance. We still control FISMES down to the river and we are constantly patrolling river front along entire front of sector. Relief of machine gun companies complete. Stokes mortars and one-pounders are in position.

Action at Fismette
III ARMY CORPS, AEF,
A. P. 0. 754, August 28, 1918.
General J. W. McAndrew.
G.H.Q., A.E.F.

My dear General:

I am informed that today's German communiqué (which I have not seen) states that the Germans captured FISMETTE yesterday and 250 Americans. A part of my command until yesterday occupied FISMETTE. I had there some 190 officers and men altogether, infantry, If you will look upon the map you will see the position of FISMES, a large village on the south bank of the VESLE. Just opposite FISMES on the north bank is the small village of FISMETTE. The village of FISMETTE and no more was occupied by us. Ten days ago, after a German attack upon FISMETTE which almost succeeded, I saw that FISMETTE could not be held by us against any real attempt by the Germans to take it and that to attempt to continue to hold it would, on account of the lay of the surrounding terrain. involve the sure sacrifice of its garrison. Help could not be sent except by driblets at night.

I, therefore. decided and began to withdraw the garrison of FISMETTE some 300 meters back across the VESLE River into FISMES. Before this was finished the French General commanding the Sixth Army, to which I belong, arrived at my headquarters and learning of my orders for withdrawal from FISMETTE himself, in person, directed me to continue to hold FISMETTE and how to hold it. My orders were changed in his presence and his orders were obeyed. Yesterday morning the Germans made a strong attack upon FISMETTE from two directions, taking the village and killing or capturing almost all of our men.

I request that the Commander-in-Chief be acquainted with the facts in this case.

R. L. BULLARD.
Major General. N.A.
Commanding III Army Corps.


Advancing on the North Side of the Vesle

The Fismette and the north bank of the Vesle were finally secured by the AEF on the night of 3-4 September 1918.

Read more on the actions of the AEF in France at our Doughboy Center Website:

Worldwar1.com/dbc/

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War — Reviewed by David F. Beer


The Care and Management of Lies: A Novel of the Great War
by Jacqueline Winspear
HarperCollins, 2014

If you've read the Maisie Dobbs mystery series set in WWI then you're familiar with the engaging writing of Jaqueline Winspear, a British author now living in California. However, The Care and Management of Lies breaks the mold of her Maisie Dobbs series. It's a "stand-alone" novel, still set in WWI but now involving two old friends, Kezia Marchant and Thea Brissenden, and Thea's brother Tom Brissenden, a farmer who marries Kezia in July of 1914. The relationship between the two women becomes complicated as war threatens and Thea, now a pacifist and suffragette, resents Kezia giving up her independence to cheerfully strive to become an ideal farmer's wife. As a wedding gift Thea sardonically gives her friend a copy of The Woman's Book (actually written by a Florence B. Jack and first published in 1911). A product of its times, the book gives copious advice on how to be the perfect woman and wife.

The touchy relationship between the two women is only one of several subtle psychological conflicts that run through the book and which Winspear handles with considerable depth and insight. Tom struggles to come to terms with the war and to enlist in spite of being exempted as a badly needed farmer. Being happily married to Kezia, a truly loving wife, makes the decision even harder for him. The constant toil and sweat required to run a farm, especially when young farmhands have gone off to the army and the government has imposed its own requirements on farmers, is a constant theme in the novel.


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Another backdrop for the novel is Kezia's experimental cooking. Starting pretty much from scratch, she learns to cook delicious if rather surprising meals for the men on the farm. Her efforts and recipes are often given enthusiastic and detailed description in the book, leading me to suspect that Jacqueline Winspear herself is an enviable cook. Interestingly, when Tom goes off to war he is able to have vicarious enjoyment of Kezia's meals because in her frequent letters she describes at sensuous length what she would be cooking for him that day had he been home. That Tom's fellow soldiers take great pleasure in listening to him as he reads the descriptions of the meals to them serves ironically to emphasize the lack of good food experienced by the men in the trenches.

The frequent passages on Kezia's cooking appeal most of all to the sense of taste, but the whole novel can be considered a sensual novel in that the author so skillfully calls on all our senses. No writing could illustrate the Western Front of WWI without heavy dependence on sound, sight, and smell, and no wounds or trench life in general could be described without the sense of touch. The author skillfully uses these appeals to the reader's senses to portray an immediate feel for what is going on in combat and within the soldiers' lives. I found that sometimes all our senses were called upon in a single paragraph.

The muted conflict between Thea and Kezia is gradually resolved in the course of the novel, but the conflict between Tom, the army, and the war is another matter. He is endlessly bullied by a brutal sergeant even though he is an exemplary soldier and well liked by his comrades. Anxious to know how these conflicts are resolved — quite surprisingly, as it turns out — is what keeps us reading. As the novel progressed, I found it harder and harder to put down.

The 1911 Book That Inspired  The Care and Management of Lies

How did this novel get its title? I don't know — although I wouldn't go as far as one reviewer did to call the title "unfortunate." It's clear from Thea's early agenda that many, especially the pacifists, consider the war itself to be based on lies, and the commonly voiced assurance that "it would all be over by Christmas" is far from the truth. In the spring of 1915 Kezia is still able to tell herself that Tom will be home "very soon." In the trenches the bullying sergeant twists the facts as much as he can to harm Tom. Letters home to the bereaved tell how their loved one died instantly and painlessly with great bravery — often a far cry from the facts. Even the detailed descriptions of the sumptuous meals Kezia would make for Tom if he were home, although not in any way intended to deceive, allow the tired, dirty, hungry, and often scared soldiers to tell themselves for a few brief minutes that they are not in the trenches but in the glowing warmth of a welcoming kitchen about to enjoy a delicious feast.

Fans of Maisie Dobbs will enjoy The Care and Management of Lies, especially if they are open to a quite different kind of novel by Jacqueline Winspear. Here we are carried along not by the "who dunnit" force of a mystery but by involvement in relationships, the nature of love and separation, sensual culinary imagery, and the ongoing illusion and savagery that war brings. I am not managing to lie when I say that this is a novel well worth reading.

David F. Beer

Monday, July 7, 2014

Some Images from the Somme

No, we haven't forgotten that July is also the month of the anniversary of the opening of the Battle of the Somme in 1916.  Here is a selection of evocative images from Tony Langley presented without commentary to help us remember:














Sunday, July 6, 2014

Professor Matthew Bruccoli, 1931-2008: Scholar, Student of the First World War, and Friend

Recently we ran a piece featuring a famous quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald that was from the archives of the University of South Carolina. I received several inquiries as to why that particular college should have an impressive inventory of World War I material. It is because of one individual, Professor Matt Bruccoli. I think this rather personal article on my part tells the story of Professor Bruccoli 's dedication to telling the story of the Great War. It first appeared in the St. Mihiel Trip-Wire in August 2008. Incidentally, the Bruccoli Collection grew so large, it had to be shared with a second college, the University of Virginia.


Matthew J. Bruccoli

I made a new friend this past March and lost him by June. He was Professor Matthew Bruccoli of the University of South Carolina, the world's leading authority on F. Scott Fitzgerald and the other authors of the Lost Generation. It was his work on the First World War, however, that led me to call him at his office one day — I wanted to interview him about the series of WWI literary classics that is being reissued by his university's press under his guidance and about his two vast collections of publications, memorabilia, and art from the war. I suspected the key to his enthusiasm for studying the war was the fact that all his projects are dedicated to the memory of his father Joseph, a veteran of the AEF, but I wanted to confirm this and learn more about the professor's projects.

After introductions and outlining my initial questions — the sources of his interest in the war, his father's military experience, the literary impact of the war — the professor, whom I immediately read as being of the "gruff" personality type that does not suffer fools one iota, responded comprehensively. He held forth with passion, humor, and enormous pride on all the topics I raised and on some I should have raised. He was both scathing and hilarious when I asked him how a patriot like himself got along in an academia now dominated by people hostile to American traditions and position in the world. Believe me, after hearing about his many battles in the halls of academe, it was clear to me that he taken on all comers in those struggles for 40 years with glee and, I believe, with great success.


9 Mai 1915, Les ouvrages blancs — Artois, Marcel Durieux,
Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection, University of South Carolina


The key — as I anticipated —  to all of his effort to encourage study and scholarship on the war was really his father, and what I learned about him was fascinating. When Joseph Bruccoli was called to arms in 1917 he happened to bring along a unique skill. He could drive the difficult-to-learn Pierce-Arrow truck of the era, of the type that was being sold to the French Army. So he was detailed to a group of Doughboys assigned to drive for the French forces, bringing supplies to the front line in every zone on the Western Front. This proved extremely hazardous for Joseph, who returned from the war wounded, shell-shocked, and with eight campaign badges. Despite his rough period of service, though, he found the war had intensified his love and admiration for his country and especially those who served in her military. He passed these values on to his son Matthew, who was born at the height of the Depression. I found the respect and love that Matt expressed for his dad admirable and touching.


Pvt. Joseph Bruccoli, AEF
Our further conversation involved a lot of discussion about the literature of the war, which I won't get into here, but I strongly recommend the series of books Matt selected for the university press to re-issue: (Link). At some point in our chat, however, some floodgate opened —  we each realized we were dealing with kindred souls. He was excited to discover that I led tours to the battlefields and asked me to design and lead a tour for himself and a group of students next year. Then, we talked about my magazine OVER THE TOP, and he was particularly happy to hear we had published James M. Cain's "The Taking of Montfaucon", which he considers one of the best stories to come out of the First World War. Spontaneously, he offered a war story by Thomas Wolfe from his collection for publishing in my magazine [which I did.] After two hours, or so, he had other matters to attend to, but we agreed to talk again when I returned from my spring trip to the Western Front. I looked forward to our future collaboration. Less than a week after our chat, I received a whole box of material from Matt, copies of all the books in the series published thus far, the Thomas Wolfe story, material from the Great War archives named after his dad, and a list of places he wanted to visit with his students on the forthcoming trip to France.

I got back from Europe in mid-June and had a lot of catching-up to manage, having been away for over two weeks. On my to-do list, though, was renewing contact with the professor. You can imagine the shock I felt, then, when one of our readers sent me the announcement that Matthew Bruccoli had died of a brain tumor on 4 June. Apparently, he learned of his illness only a month before, so Matt went fairly quickly. His passing was a big loss both for American literature and for students of the Great War. For me, it was personal blow. Our direct contact had lasted no more than 120 minutes, but I really liked that man and looked forward to working with him.   MH