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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Ghosts of the Great War
2014 Calendar

Phil Makanna is one of the world's greatest aviation photographers. He has been photographing historic aircraft since 1974. His work has been featured in numerous magazines such as Air and Space, Warbirds, Air Classics, and many others. He has also authored five GHOSTS books on historic military aircraft. Phil received the International Society of Aviation Photographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Each year Phil publishes calendars featuring his best work. Below is the cover of the 2014 GHOSTS calendar featuring classic World War I aircraft, followed by ordering information, and thumbnail images of each month's featured “GHOST." By the way, on many of the daily entries, Phil includes notable anniversaries, birthdays, and details about the air war of 1914–1918.

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The Great War

$14.99 + s/h

For Ordering Online Go To:

For Full Information on Phil's books, museum-grade prints, and many other products,
go to his HOME PAGE at:

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Secret Overture to Lenin
The Bullitt Mission to Soviet Russia, 1919

Tula, Russia, May Day 1919

In March of 1919, William Christian Bullitt, an attaché to the U.S. delegation to the Paris Peace Conference, visited Soviet Russia on a clandestine mission. Although Secretary of State Robert Lansing authorized him to report only on political and economic conditions, Bullitt’s actual objective was far more ambitious — to broker an agreement between the Allies and Russia’s Bolshevik government that would end the Russian Civil War, lift the Allied blockade of that country, and allow the Allies to withdraw the troops they had dispatched to Russia in 1918. Bullitt eventually received a proposal from the Bolshevik government that would have realized these goals, but the Allied leaders at the Paris Peace Conference were unwilling to accept the offer.

Following the withdrawal of Allied diplomats from Petrograd and Moscow in 1918, the Allied leaders — U.S. President Woodrow Wilson, British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau, and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Emmanuele Orlando — grappled with the question of how to address the Russian Civil War that had broken out between the Bolsheviks and White Russian forces following the Russian Revolution. After the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk in March of 1918, Allied, Japanese, and U.S. troops had occupied parts of Northern Russia, the Ukraine, and Siberia to protect vital areas from falling into the hands of the Germans, and to provide assistance to the White Russians. When the First World War ended, however, Allied leaders found it difficult to justify leaving tens of thousands of war-weary troops in Russia.

In early 1919, both Lloyd George and President Wilson suggested that the leaders of the warring Russian factions should meet in order to hammer out a peace accord. In spite of fierce French opposition, President Wilson succeeded in proposing that the Russians would meet on Prinkipo Island off the coast of Turkey. While the Bolsheviks accepted Wilson’s proposal, the conference failed to materialize due to French resistance and the unwillingness of Russian anti-Bolsheviks to attend negotiations that would include the Bolshevik government.

Mission Members William Bullitt and Lincoln Steffens
(The third member was Capt. W.W. Pettit, U.S. Army, Intelligence)

Nevertheless, Lloyd George and Wilson remained interested in working toward resolving the Russian situation. Because Bullitt had urged that a mission be dispatched to Russia, Wilson’s chief adviser, Colonel Edward M. House, asked Bullitt if he would be willing to lead such an endeavor. Bullitt then drew up a list of peace proposals to present to the Bolshevik government that proposed an armistice, the re-establishment of economic relations, and the withdrawal of Allied troops. Additionally, House encouraged Bullitt to secure a promise from the Bolsheviks that they would honor Tsarist Russia’s debts to the Allied powers. However, while Bullitt secured House’s assent to his proposals, neither Wilson nor Lloyd George knew of them.

On 6 March 1917 the Bullitt Mission (which comprised Bullitt, journalist Lincoln Steffens, and a U.S. Army intelligence officer) crossed the Russian border. Following a meeting with Deputy Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov in Petrograd, Bullitt and Steffens left for Moscow, where they met with Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin and his foreign minister, Georgi Chicherin. Although there was opposition to negotiations with the Americans within the Bolshevik leadership, on 14 March Bullitt received a Russian proposal that demanded the Allies call for a ceasefire within the former Russian Empire and agree to a peace conference in a neutral nation. The proposed terms for discussion at the conference included allowing all de facto governments within the borders of Russia to retain the territory they held prior to the armistice, the lifting of the Allied blockade, the withdrawal of Allied troops from Russia, disarmament of the warring Russian factions, and a commitment by the Bolshevik government to honor Russia’s financial obligations to the Allies.

Trotsky, Lenin, and Kamenev, 1919

During his week in Russia, Bullitt also compiled an extensive report on conditions there. While acknowledging the economic hardships facing the Russian people, Bullitt asserted that the violent phase of the Bolshevik Revolution had ended and that the Bolsheviks enjoyed popular support. Furthermore, he reported that Lenin and a large segment of the Bolshevik Party were willing to compromise with the United States. In fact, Bullitt believed that the greatest danger confronting the United States was the possibility that continued Allied interventions and support of the White Russians would lead to the rise of more radical political factions. Consequently, Bullitt concluded that “[no] Government save a Socialist Government can be set up in Russia today except by bayonets,” and that Lenin’s faction of the Bolsheviks was “as moderate as any Socialist Government which can control Russia.”

Bullitt returned to Paris on 25 March and there faced Allied resistance to the proposal he received from Lenin. Although Lloyd George privately assured Bullitt that he was sympathetic to the Bolsheviks’ offer, he repudiated it once news of Bullitt’s mission had been leaked to the British press. Clemenceau had opposed any overtures to Lenin from the start. Wilson was in poor health and was focused on achieving a breakthrough in negotiations with the French concerning the peace treaty with Germany. Furthermore, the President’s relations with House, Bullitt’s original patron, had soured greatly. Finally, news from Russia indicated that anti-Bolshevik forces would soon capture Moscow, thus obviating negotiations with Lenin. Consequently, the 10 April deadline for the Allies to respond to Lenin’s offer passed without any word from the Allied side, and Bullitt angrily resigned from the U.S. delegation on May 17. The failure of the Allies to agree to the proposal secured by the Bullitt mission delayed official U.S. recognition of Soviet Russia for many years.

Source: Office of the Historian, United States Department of State

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day 1918

Happy Thanksgiving from the Roads Editorial Team

Much of the American Expeditionary Force found itself stuck in France after the Armistice. Every unit and base pulled out the stops that Thanksgiving to give the troops a wonderful meal. Here is the menu from the Second Aviation Instruction Center at Tours. It includes a lot of special recipes for Château-Thierry Sauce, Dressing of the Argonne, and some delightful-sounding delicacies like "Submarine Fruits [of the Sea]" and "Dardanelles Turkey." Thanks to contributor Terry Finnegan, who found this in the Gorrell Reports.

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Now sit down ye warriors bold, eat, drink and sing as in days of old. Tis said that man and beast and bird some day has its inning. The turn comes now for men who fight; give thanks above "La Guerre est Finie."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

No Wonder the Balkans Were Unstable

The Prewar Overlapping Nationalist Aspirations in the Balkans

I discovered this map in  a booklet titled The Balkan Wars, produced by the Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe. Besides clearly showing the conflicting Serbian–Austro-Hungarian interests circa 1912, it gives a number of indications of competing nationalist ambitions among the Balkan countries that allied in the First Balkan War of 1912 and broke apart for the Second Balkan War the next year. Also, it shows that the states that aligned with the winning Allies during the World War made surprising headway in achieving their prewar expansionist dreams.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

World War I and the Origins of U.S. Military Intelligence
Reviewed by Terrence J. Finnegan

World War I and the Origins of U.S. Military Intelligence

By James L. Gilbert
Published by Scarecrow Press, 2012

James Gilbert's new book is a welcome addition to the material that has been published in recent years on the evolution of U.S. intelligence processes and organizations during the twentieth century.[1] World War I and the Origins of U.S. Military Intelligence contains much that is new and intriguing, especially about the ways information was collected and then used to make a difference on the battlefield during the period of American involvement in the final year of WWI. A good example is Gilbert's revelation of how the downing of a zeppelin carrying incredibly lucrative material helped put at risk one of the greatest German threats — the U-boat. That story alone is worth the price of the text, though I would have suggested opening the book with it as a way of capturing the reader's interest and thus effectively showing how intelligence can be acquired through the most unlikely sources.

Although the title suggests the book will address U.S. military intelligence broadly, Gilbert really only focuses on the evolution of intelligence in the Army and on the domestic and military applications of that intelligence. By making no mention of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), the oldest member of the U.S. intelligence community, Gilbert fails to live up to the promise of the title. Insights into ONI's diverse efforts throughout the war, e.g. the novel use of archaeologist Sylvanus G. Morley to spy in Central America, would have rectified that shortcoming and complemented the work.

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Full appreciation of the material in Gilbert's book requires an understanding of the realities of America's entry into the conflict, a topic on which he might have offered more. As a relative amateur in the business of military intelligence on the scale the war required, the United States had to depend on the experience of its allies, Great Britain and France. The influence of both brought U.S. forces up to par in acquiring and disseminating intelligence to leaders and combatants alike. My research shows that the French did the most to influence American understanding of military intelligence at this early stage of development. Service des renseignements de l'observation du terrain (SROT), service des renseignements de l'artillerie (SRA), and section photo-aerienne (SPAe) were French operations that collected military intelligence to support American infantry and artillery in all the battles in which they engaged. As for aerial reconnaissance, the majority of US Air Service intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination was accomplished according to French standards.

The ultimate product missing in James Gilbert's book is that important deliverable — the Plan Directeur map. Almost all intelligence targeting in sectors occupied by the Americans aimed at getting the latest information applied to the Plan Directeur. The positional warfare of the period depended on the map, and intelligence provided the information that made plans for artillery targeting and infantry assaults credible.

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Typical Plan Directeur

French 6th Army Plan Directeur Covering an Area Midway Between St. Quentin and Reims.

Indeed, given the importance of such maps, their absence from this book is a most glaring oversight. Thus the book fails to help readers follow the "where" and "when" of the events it describes. Maps might have helped convey how the order of battle facing American forces was portrayed to commanders. Maps would have been invaluable in helping readers visualize the locations of countless places and to know their names, not to mention their pronunciations. Maps go with the subject.

One final observation —the book suffers from an insufficiency of source notes, which intelligence specialists immediately gravitate toward for deeper understanding. Numerous paragraphs contained quotations and specific details that were not attributed. Such details allow readers to dive beyond the published work. I, for one, would revel in carrying on such a search.

World War I is full of opportunities to expand knowledge of the intelligence business. As much as Gilbert has added to our knowledge of the subject, he really has just scratched the surface. There is still much to learn and reveal.


Notes [1] By way of full disclosure, I must note that my work is cited and complimented in Gilbert's book, and I am grateful for his praise. TF
[2] This review first appeared in "Studies in Intelligence" of the Central Intelligence Agency

Terrence J. Finnegan

Monday, November 25, 2013

Remembering a Veteran: Major James Van Fleet, 6th Division, AEF

With a little better luck on the dispersal of fragments from his bomb load, an unknown German aviator might have killed a second American officer instead of merely wounding him. It will never be known what the first man might have achieved, but the survivor, who was only lightly wounded, was destined to become one of America's greatest generals of the twentieth century. That future general was Major James Van Fleet, then commander of the 17th Machine Gun Battalion of the 6th Division.

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Van Fleet Shortly After Each of the World Wars

A graduate of West Point's famous class of 1915, Van Fleet had already earned attention for his accomplishments with General Pershing on the Mexican Expedition and his earlier service with the AEF. The air attack that wounded him occurred on 4 November 1918 in the Argonne sector, just north of Grande Pre. The major was quickly back with his troops, but then the Armistice ended things. After occupation duty, he returned to life back in the States with the peacetime army.

He did not advance as quickly during peacetime as some his classmates, but his moment arrived on 6 June 1944 when he led his regiment ashore at Utah Beach, Normandy. In less than a year he advanced to divisional and corps command during the advance across Europe. After the war he was the adviser to the Greek Army in successfully defeating a Communist take-over attempt and later was called on to command Eighth Army in Korea. None of this, of course, would have taken place had the spread of fragments from that German bomb of 1918 been wider.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Magazine of the World War I Centennial:
Coming in January 2014

Starting with our January issue we are recasting our subscription magazine Over the Top as THE magazine of the World War I centennial. With the first issue of our Volume 8, we will parallel month by month the Great War,  initially covering the run up to the war and, then, with our June issue on the Black Hand and the Assassination of the Archduke, presenting cutting-edge articles on the critical earthshaking events of that same month 100 years ago. Our 2014 centennial editorial program is presented below with the link to download our flyer for ordering information. If you mention that you are subscribing through Roads, you will also receive our Decmeber 2013 issue for free upon subscription or purchase of any of our past annual CD compilations.

Click to Download PDF Flyer

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Our December 2013 Issue and Our First As the Magazine of the World War I Centennial

1914 January 2014
The 99-Year Countdown

1914 July 2014
The July Crisis Leads to War

1914 February 2014
Arrival of Wilhelm II & the Departure
of Bismarck; and Whither Russia, 
Whence France

1914 August 2014
Three Early Actions: the Ardennes,
Mons, Tannenberg

1914 March 2014
The Prewar Game of Thrones:
The European Alliance System

1914 September 2014
The Battle of the Marne: the War's
Most Fateful Clash

1914 April 2014
America's Improbable Route to 
the Battlefields of Europe

1914 October 2014
Turkey Enters the War; and the
Western Front in Full

1914 May 2014
Revolutionaries, Anarchists, and

1914 November 2014
Austria-Hungary Fails in Serbia; 
and the Naval Blockade Begins

1914 June 2014
The Black Hand and Sarajevo

1914 December 2014
Battle of the Falklands; and the
Christmas Truce

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Talbot House: The Sanctuary from War That Lives On

Talbot House or Toc H is in the Belgian town of Poperinghe, west of Ypres. It was the idea of Philip "Tubby" Clayton who wanted to create a place where soldiers on the Western Front could find some peace and quiet when they were away from the trenches. The house was named after Lieutenant Gilbert Talbot, who was killed at Ypres in July 1915. His brother, Neville, was a senior Church of England chaplain who had been tasked with finding chaplains to join battalions at the front line. It was while carrying out this task that he came across "Tubby" Clayton, who was attached to the East Kent and Bedfordshire regiments. Clayton arrived in Poperinghe in late 1915.

It was Clayton’s idea to find a house where soldiers could relax as much as was possible given their circumstances — a place “where friendships could be consecrated, and sad hearts renewed and cheered, a place of light and joy and brotherhood and peace.” Clayton managed to rent out a townhouse in Poperinghe from a wealthy local brewer for 150 francs a month. The house had been damaged by shell fire — the loft in particular needed repairs. The Royal Engineers did this work, and by December 1915 the sanctuary was ready to be opened. 

The house was named Talbot House in memory of Lieutenant Gilbert W. L. Talbot, age 23, who was the brother of Reverend Talbot. Gilbert was serving with 7th Battalion, The Rifle Brigade, when he was killed at Hooge Chateau in the Ypres Salient on 30 July 1915. It soon became known by its intials with the "T" pronounced as "Toc," the British Army signalers' code for "T." Rank counted for nothing in Toc H and the house was open to those who were about to go up to the front line as well as to those who had a break from the frontline trenches.  A notice was hung by the front door bearing the message "All rank abandon, ye who enter here.”

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A chapel was made in the loft. A carpenter’s bench was used as a makeshift altar and it remains in the loft to this day. Whereas the rooms downstairs were full of song and laughter, the chapel was different. Clayton was very aware that many of the men who arrived for a service would be killed in battle. He was also aware that many of the men who arrived for one of his services also knew that their chance of survival on the front line was very small. Clayton described these services as “difficult."

As much as was possible given the proximity to the front lines, Clayton tried to produce a "home-from-home" effect. Harry Patch, "the Last Fighting Tommy," described it as “ ‘the haven’ because that’s exactly what this place was to the men – a place of peace where you could relax, and that’s the only time you could forget the strains of war for a couple of hours.”

When the Great War was over, Monsieur Camerlynck, the hop merchant, returned. However, he was overwhelmed by the number of ex-soldiers who came knocking at the door to see the old house again and put it up for sale. In 1929 Lord Wakefield of Hythe bought the house for £9,200 and donated it to the Talbot House Association, a British-Belgian association that still keeps the site open. There is also an international charitable association know as Toc H inspired by the work of Tubby Clayton.

Sources:  Talbot House,, HistoryLearningSite websites

Friday, November 22, 2013

Kaiser Bill: Before and After

Here are some interesting images of Kaiser Wilhelm that we presented in our magazine Over the Top a few years ago. Nothing new here, but I think as a set they slightly broaden the stereotype portrayal of him.

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Wilhelm with his father on a visit to Balmoral Castle; As a Student at Bonn University, the New Kaiser Exchanging Salutes with His Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck

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A Happy Kaiser and Proud Father on Parade with His Sons; with Winston Churchill at Prewar Military Maneuvers; near the End, the Forlorn Kaiser in Exile 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

21 November 1916: RMHS Britannic, Sister Ship of Titanic, Lost at Sea

RMHS Britannica

The White Star Line didn't have much luck with giant ocean liners, much as they tried to build them for safety as well as opulence. The Titanic went down in spite of engineers' efforts to build a shipwreck-proof vessel. And in the wake of that disaster, the shipbuilders retrofitted Titanic's sister ship, the Britannic, with special design features — including a double hull — to ensure that it would not suffer the same fate. But, ironically, on 21 November 1916 it sank three times FASTER than the Titanic. It disappeared under the water off the Greek island of Kea, at 9:07 a.m., roughly and hour after an explosion damaged her.

Four years after the Titanic sank, the HMHS Britannic, then serving as a hospital ship,  suffered a mysterious explosion off the coast of the island of Kea in the Aegean Sea. It was during the First World War, and she had been converted to a hospital ship. Off of Kea, experts are pretty certain, the Britannic struck a submerged mine about ten feet below the waterline. (The possibility that a torpedo, rather than a mine, felled the ship has not been disproved, but most experts believe it was a mine.) The ship took on water quickly, developing a list to starboard. In only 55 minutes, she lay beneath 400 feet of seawater, fortunately having lost only 30 of the 1,125 crew and medical personnel aboard.

The Society of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering think they know why. The society's Marine Forensics Panel has examined the factors that helped to bring the Britannic to such a swift, plunging end. Surprisingly, one of the most deadly may have been the decision to open the ship's portholes in order to air out the inside. Unfortunately, they did so in waters where the Kaiser's submarines had laid mines the previous month.

Source:  PBS Website

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WWI Collectibles—A Case Study:
The Photographs of Dr. Giulio Andreini, Italian Army

The Photographic Archive of Dr. Giulio Andreini
and How I Came to Own It

By Doug Frank

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Dr. Andreini, Left, and a Recovering Patient

[Editor's note:   Collectors are a big part of the World War I community. They help keep interest in the war alive and preserve its heritage.  On 26 July we presented some of the photos of the Italian Front from Dr. Andreini's collection. The response from our readers was very positive and I thought some more photos from the collection, and Doug Frank's story of how he came into possession of it would make a fine article. So here it is.  MH]

Photographic negatives made on glass plates always have been a fascination of mine. The often uneven edges of a glass plate seem to give me the sense that the image actually is emerging from the blackness of time past — a true artifact. I began collecting a varied group of such plates many years ago. eBay has been my primary source, although wherever I come across one of these I look at it very carefully. The majority of my glass plate collection was made by anonymous photographers. The human subjects, too, are mostly anonymous and long dead.

I am a career photographer and am quite familiar with the use of high-end scanners as well as various types of image editing software. Film has always been my number one medium, although digital cameras have become a necessity to me in recent years. In 2004, I came upon an auction on eBay for several vintage glass negatives of a medical nature. There were two that caught my eye. One was a 9cm x 12cm portrait of a nurse, and the other was a 13cm x 18cm negative of a medical procedure involving a woman and four doctors. I came to own both of these photographs after winning the two auctions.

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Classic World War I Pose

A few weeks after this sale, I received an e-mail from the dealer who had sold me these plates. He was located in Los Angeles. He explained that he had come upon the archive of an Italian physician named Giulio Andreini, who lived his adult life during the first third of the twentieth century. The dealer had found this archive in Lucca, Italy, and purchased the entire collection from an antiquarian there. However, he went on to say that he had only been interested in negatives of a medical nature, although he was obliged by the antiquarian to purchase the entire archive in order to obtain the images that he wanted. In fact, he still owned about 1,400 glass plates made by this physician but had sold the ones he wanted to sell and had no further interest in the remaining archive, so he asked me if I would like to purchase all 1,400 for $500.

From his description, there were about 250 small glass plates of WWI. The rest appeared to be family photographs, portraits, and others made in hospitals. I went ahead with the purchase. The sizes of the plates range from 4.5cm x 6cm to 18cm x 24cm. The majority measured 4.5cm x 6cm, and virtually all of the war photographs were made in this format. There is one interesting aspect about the WWI plates. Many have very jagged edges. My guess is that 9cm x 12cm plates were the most readily available, but Dr. Andreini’s camera used 4.5cm x 6cm plates, so he probably broke the 9 x 12 plates into quarters somehow, thus giving him the ability to use them in his small camera. This camera was a Contessa Nettel Duchessa, produced in Germany from 1913 to 1925. It was about the size of a modern 35mm camera and could be used either handheld or on a stand.

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The Contessa Nettel Duchessa Camera

After receiving Dr. Andreini’s archive from Los Angeles, I did a quick survey of it, looking at every negative. My first conclusion was that this man was a superb amateur photographer. My second conclusion was that his WWI plates deserved to be seen by people other than just me.

I then attempted to find information on Dr. Andreini and if he had any relatives living. So I Googled “Giulio Andreini.” The first hit was the website of a “Giulio Andreini, Photojournalist, Siena, Italy.” When I opened the site there appeared a photograph of this Giulio, aged 44. I knew that I was on the right track. Dr. Andreini had made many self-portraits, and this man looked just like him! So I e-mailed the young Giulio and asked if he had a relative who had been a physician in Florence, Italy, in the early twentieth century as well as an amateur photographer. The e-mail I received back confirmed my suspicions.

Yes, he said, his grandfather was named Giulio Andreini, and, yes, he had been a physician as well as a photographer, but all of his work had been lost in 1937. This was the family lore as he knew it. In fact, the Andreini family possessed just a single photograph of the doctor! The young Giulio wondered, however, as to how in the world I could possibly be in the possession of any his grandfather’s photographic material. After all, I lived in Oregon, half a world away from where the photographs had last been seen, in Florence, in the doctor’s medical office there sixty years before. So I suggested to Giulio that I send him one of the self-portraits from the archive, and he then could confirm or not whether the man was, indeed, his grandfather. I sent the photograph and he responded with a resounding “YES!”

Please refer now to Roads to the Great War and a post from Friday, 26 July 2013.

It contains a biography written about Dr. Andreini by his son, Giorgio. The last sentence of the biography refers to an episode described in my next paragraph. Giorgio has since passed away. Dr. Giulio Andreini passed away in 1937 from acute leukemia rather suddenly at the age of 49 years. After his death, his widow, Georgette, went to the hospital where he had worked, taking her thirteen-year-old son, Giorgio, along with her. She asked the nuns who ran the hospital if she could please collect all of her husband’s personal items, such as his photographic material as well as several books of poetry that he had written.

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Helping a Dog Cross a Trench on the Asiago Plateau

One of the nuns informed Georgette that the hospital had destroyed everything of a personal nature that had belonged to him, presumably, and in her words “for the good of the family.” The ensuing conversation became quite intense according to Giorgio, but the nuns held firm. The photographs were gone. “For the good of the family” could have had any number of meanings, but I like to think that the nuns were trying to protect the Andreini family from possible repercussions from the dictatorial government in Italy during that time. This was, after all, 1937, and the fascists under Mussolini were running Italy. It is known that many of Dr. Andreini’s poems were satirical and critical of the government as well as the Catholic Church. This material, if seen by government officials, possibly could have presented the family with big problems.

I culled about 350 glass plates from the archive, mainly family pictures, and sent these as scans to the young Giulio. He went on to make prints of these images for all of his relatives and was able, with the help of his father, to reconstruct the history of the Andreini family. He has since even found a previously unknown branch of relatives in the Milan area and has made contact with them.

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Two Towns:  Unidentified Town on Italian Front, Left; Château-Thierry, Western Front

So the archive of Dr. Giulio Andreini had never been destroyed after all. It probably was sold or given away by the nuns to someone who kept it in a safe place, where it remained undisturbed for the next sixty years. It then resurfaced intact and fell into the hands of the antiquarian from Lucca, who sold it to a dealer in Los Angeles. Then I purchased it and still am holding all 1,400 of the glass plates. Although I own the publishing rights to this work, I am in the process of finding a permanent home for the archive. If possible, I would like this home to be in Italy. His poetry, however, remains lost. As a final note, the young Giulio and I have become good friends over the years. My wife and I visited him in Siena in 2006 and reconnected with him again this past June while we both were traveling in France.

Presented here  is a second group of images for the readers of Roads to the Great War  from his series on WWI, which he photographed while working at a field hospital on the Italian Front between 1915 and 1917. He had been transferred to the French Front when the war ended.

Doug Frank
Portland, Oregon
August 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Great War and Modernism Series
The Great War and the Language of Modernism
Reviewed by Jane Mattisson Ekstam

The Great War and the Language of Modernism

By Vincent Sherry
Published by Oxford and New York,
Oxford University Press, 2003

War and language belong together. When the language of the prevailing ideology cannot express major changes in society and culture, a new language must be invented. By reading modernist literature in the context of its historical period, Vincent Sherry demonstrates that the liberalism of prewar Britain was in the process of disintegration. Modernists such as T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Virginia Woolf imitated, exaggerated, and parodied this disintegration by pushing language to its limits as they experimented with new turns in syntax, grammar, and diction. Imaginative language is the hallmark of the great modernist writers, whose primary purpose was to give expression to the apprehension of the exceptional times before, during, and after the war. The impact of modernism on writing during and after the war, claims Sherry, has been ignored by two of the most important writers of our time — Paul Fussell (The Great War and Modern Memory, 1975) and Jay Winter (Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, 1995).

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The shaping occasion of modernist literature was wartime London. Eliot, Pound, and Woolf took it upon themselves to, as Sherry claims, "develop a register to echo and inflect the prodigal logic of Liberal war policy." Modernism was the first massive reversal that history inflicted on liberal rationalism. Its language can only be understood by relating it to the historical moment in which it was born.

The modernists needed to maintain a special critical edge to the forces of liberalism prevailing before and during the war. The Americans Pound and Eliot, with their alien status, enjoyed a privileged position in this regard. British Woolf, like other feminist writers, managed to exercise a well-practiced skepticism on the language of nationalist politics — politics from which women were still disenfranchised in early 1918.

As Sherry so eloquently demonstrates, liberalism was discredited by World War One. Its decline and death were as inevitable as they were agonizing. The agony propelled a revolution against liberal rationalism, thereby creating a space and a reason for experimentation in language. The literature which came out of this space was imaginative, daring, and highly experimental. Among its chief creators were T.S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and Virginia Woolf. Sherry's analysis of Woolf's contributions to the modernism movement is particularly persuasive. In his discussion of To the Lighthouse (1927), for example, he argues that there is a calculated mismatch of language and reality, which reiterates and amplifies "the subtle but truest motif in the ordeal that recent history has featured." Sherry concludes that Woolf both recognizes and represents "the failing grasp of an older rational language," demonstrating that history cannot be reduced to the order and schemes of reasoned speech, i.e. language. The foundation for this realization was the upheaval of World War One. Woolf's imaginative awareness is not unique, it is shared by the other modernists, but is, argues Sherry, particularly powerful.

Bruegel's Triumph of Death

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Bruegel's 1562 Premonition of the Western Front or Eliot's Waste Land, or Both?

Scholarly in language and approach, Sherry's examination of modernism is also highly readable and refreshingly daring. Copiously annotated and illustrated, The Great War and the Language of Modernism is essential reading for those who wish to understand not only the thinking prevailing in the second decade of the nineteenth century, and particularly immediately before and during World War One, but also the language which evolved out of this thinking — a language which has produced some of the finest works of literature: Eliot's The Waste Land (1922) and Prufrock and Other Observations (1920), Woolf's To the Lighthouse (1927) and Mrs. Dalloway (1925), and Pound's The Cantos (1915–1962) and Homage to Sextus Propertius (1917).

Jane Mattisson

Monday, November 18, 2013

On the Home Front: The Butte Montana Copper Mines

Contributed by Jim Patton

Miners Going Under at Butte

When war came in 1914 one of the most strategic materials was copper. The world was already in a copper boom due to the need for electrical wire. The supply was tight and new production slow to come on line due to the high capital costs of new mines. In 1914 the U.S. mines contributed 77 percent of the world’s copper, and 31percent of U.S. production was from Butte, Montana, which sat atop an ore body that was 50 to 80 percent copper, the richest in the world, and also containing important amounts of zinc, lead, manganese, and molybdenum.

Needless to say, the price of copper skyrocketed, going from 15.22 cents per pound in 1913 to a high of 27.2 cents per pound in 1916. After the U.S. entered the war the price was fixed at 23.5 cents per pound. With production costs under 10 cents per pound the profits could truly be called extraordinary. The Butte mines were already running at capacity, but the operators ramped up output by going deeper and putting on bigger work crews. Some shafts were lowered a thousand feet, about 20 percent more miners were sent down, and of course the shafts ran 24 hours a day. Maintenance and expansion had to be done while running at high output.

This led to accidents. During the war at least 437 miners died underground in Butte. On 8 June 1917 a fire caused by maintenance work in the Speculator Shaft killed at least 164 miners (some records say 169) in that shaft and the adjacent Granite Mountain Shaft, as they were connected at several levels. This accident was the worst ever in a non-coal mine in the U.S. and the fourth-worst in any kind of mine. Although there had been other accidents in Butte (for example, on 9 October 1915 sixteen miners had died in the same Granite Mountain Shaft), the huge death toll stunned the community and even the nation.

Both shafts were badly damaged and several others had to be shut down due to carbon monoxide build-up. The mine owners encouraged speculation that the fire was sabotage to limit production. The person suspected of starting the fire was a German immigrant named Ernst Sullau, but no evidence of a German plot was ever found. Organized labor never bought into this theory at all, feeling that the cause was disregard for safety and a strike was called that further crippled production until the end of the year.

The Speculator Shaft After the Disaster

Due to minor disturbances, including anti-war protests by Irish and Hungarian miners, the state militia had already been called out in April to guard property and maintain order. Among them was my great-great uncle, Sgt. T. J. Coberly, a 45-year-old who had served in the Philippines during 1898–99.

But it was decided that spies and strikes were way beyond the capabilities of men like Tom Coberly and regular soldiers were needed. Units of the 14th Infantry Regiment, fresh from service on the Mexican border, were rushed to Montana. In addition to responsibility for guarding mine properties, the regular army units were tasked with "enforcing patriotism."

As the strike continued, a leader of the Industrial Workers of the World named Frank Little came to town.  After a bombastic speech Little was murdered by persons unknown. Soldiers were among the suspects, but no one was ever charged with the crime.

The federal occupation of Butte lasted until 1921. A Justice Department report later stated that "troops in Butte changed from a fair, restrained body of men to an unrestrained, vicious and violent body of men carrying on a veritable reign of terror."  Other consequences of these events were also far-reaching. Sedition Acts were passed to prevent speeches like those delivered by Little and many labor leaders and socialists were arrested, including Eugene V. Debs. 

Production of copper in Butte never again reached the 1916 levels. A serious national shortage was averted by the rapid expansion of the Bingham Canyon pit in Utah, the beginning of the large-scale strip mining that many consider to be the greatest environmental disaster of the twentieth century.

Did I mention that from January until September 1918 the troops in Butte were commanded by Capt. Omar N. Bradley?

Omar Bradley During the War

Sunday, November 17, 2013

99 Years Ago: Quotes from November 1914

In the distance the battle thunders grimly on,
Day and night, groaning and grumbling non-stop,
And to the dying men patiently waiting for their graves.  
It sounds for all the world like the words of God.
Wilhelm Klem, November 1914

Should Palestine fall within the British sphere of influence, and should Britain encourage a Jewish settlement there, as a British dependency, we could have in twenty or thirty years a million Jews out there, perhaps more, they would develop the country, bring back civilization to it and form a very effective guard for the Suez Canal.
Chaim Weizmann letter to the Manchester Guardian, November 1914

At the start of August, I was flayed by the apparition of War, of the War God. . .now the war has become invisible to me.  A visiting spectre. . . all that is left now is for the soul to endure it, agony and catastrophe are perhaps no more common than before, only more real, more active, more visible.
Rainer Maria Rilke, letter, November 1914

I have no complaints whatever to make about the response to my appeals for men.  But I shall want more men and still more, until the enemy is crushed.
Lord Kitchener, 9 November 1914

To the German soldiers:
It is not true that we French are shooting or mishandling German prisoners.  On the contrary, our prisoners are treated well and have enough t eat and drink.  Those of you who are weary of your wretched existence can safely report yourselves unarmed to French advance posts.  You will be well received.  After the war every one will be allowed to return home.
French pamphlet, dropped by aircraft, November 1914

The trenches my regiment was holding were rushed by the Cossacks on the night of 6 September.  It was about 11:30 when they attacked us.  I can remember being hit by one horse and knocked down.  While I lay I saw a second Cossack reach down to finish me.  He got me in the hip, but as he struck me I fired my revolver. I remember  seeing him fall and the riderless horse gallop on. Then I became unconscious.
Fritz Kreisler, 29 November 1914 Interview

Reason died in 1914, November 1914. . . after that everybody began to rave.
Louis-Ferdinand Céline, North (1960 novel)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

In the Path of War: Destruction of Belgian Villages

By Irvin S. Cobb, War Correspondent

American war correspondent Irvin Cobb covered World War I for the Saturday Evening Post, and wrote a book in 1915 about his experiences called Paths of Glory, from which this is excerpted.  The villages described, which Cobb visited in the fall of 1914, are about 10 miles east of Liège. They found themselves in the path of the German First Army the first week of the war.

Irvin Cobb, War Correspondent

We went on. At first there was nothing to show we had entered Belgium except that the Prussian flag did not hang from a pole in front of every farmhouse, but only in front of every fourth house, say, or every fifth one. Then came stretches of drenched fields, vacant except for big black ravens and nimble piebald magpies, which bickered among themselves in the neglected and matted grain; and then we swung round a curve in the rutted roadway and were in the town of Battice.

No; we were not in the town of Battice. We were where the town of Battice had been, where it stood six weeks ago. It was famous then for its fat, rich cheeses and its green damson plums. Now, and no doubt for years to come, it will be chiefly notable as having been the town where, it is said, Belgian civilians first fired on the German troops from roofs and windows, and where the Germans first inaugurated their ruthless system of reprisal on houses and people alike.

Literally this town no longer existed. It was a scrap-heap, if you like, but not a town. Here had been a great trampling out of the grapes of wrath, and most sorrowful was the vintage that remained.

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Battice from a Distance and Down the Main Street

It was a hard thing to level these Belgian houses absolutely, for they were mainly built of stone or of thick brick coated over with a hard cement. So, generally, the walls stood, even in Battice; but always the roofs were gone, and the window openings were smudged cavities, through which you looked and saw square patches of the sky if your eyes inclined upward, or else blackened masses of ruination if you gazed straight in at the interiors. Once in a while one had been thrown flat. Probably big guns operated here. In such a case there was an avalanche of broken masonry cascading out into the roadway.

Midway of the mile-long avenue of utter waste which we now traversed we came on a sort of small square. Here was the yellow village church. It lacked a spire and a cross, and the front door was gone, so we could see the wrecked altar and the splintered pews within. Flanking the church there had been a communal hall, which was now shapeless, irredeemable wreckage. A public well had stood in the open space between church and hall, with a design of stone pillars about it. The open mouth of the well we could see was choked with foul debris; but a shell had struck squarely among the pillars and they fell inward like wigwam poles, forming a crazy apex. I remember distinctly two other things: a picture of an elderly man with whiskers one of those smudged atrocities that are called in the States crayon portraits hanging undamaged on the naked wall of what had been an upper bedroom; and a wayside shrine of the sort so common in the Catholic countries of Europe. A shell had hit it a glancing blow, so that the little china figure of the Blessed Virgin lay in bits behind the small barred opening of the shrine.

Of living creatures there was none. Heretofore, in all the blasted towns I had visited, there was some human life stirring. One could count on seeing one of the old women who are so numerous in these Belgian hamlets more numerous, I think, than anywhere else on earth. In my mind I had learned to associate such a sight with at least one old woman an incredibly old woman, with a back bent like a measuring worm's, and a cap on her scanty hair, and a face crosshatched with a million wrinkles who would be pottering about at the back of some half-ruined house or maybe squatting in a desolated doorway staring at us with her rheumy, puckered eyes. Or else there would be a hunchback crooked spines being almost as common in parts of Belgium as goiters are in parts of Switzerland. But Battice had become an empty tomb, and was as lonely and as silent as a tomb. Its people, those who survived, had fled from it as from an abomination.

Beyond Battice stood another village, called Herve; and Herve was Battice all over again, with variations. At this place, during the first few hours of actual hostilities between the little country and the big one, the Belgians had tried to stem the inpouring German flood, as was proved by wrecks of barricades in the high street. One barricade had been built of wagon bodies and the big iron hods of road-scrapers; the wrecks of these were still piled at the road's edge. Yet there remained tangible proof of the German claim that they did not harry and burn indiscriminately, except in cases where the attack on them was by general concert.

Here and there, on the principal street, in a row of ruins, stood a single house that was intact and undamaged. It was plain enough to be seen that pains had been taken to spare it from the common fate of its neighbors. Also, I glimpsed one short side street that had come out of the fiery visitation whole and unscathed, proving, if it proved anything, that even in their red heat the Germans had picked and chosen the fruit for the wine press of their vengeance.

After Herve we encountered no more destruction by wholesale, but only destruction by piecemeal, until, nearing Liege, we passed what remained of the most northerly of the ring of fortresses that formed the city's defenses. The conquerors had dismantled it and thrown down the guns, so that of the fort proper there was nothing except a low earthen wall, almost like a natural ridge in the earth.

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All about it was an entanglement of barbed wire; the strands were woven and interwoven, tangled and twined together, until they suggested nothing so much as a great patch of blackberry briers after the leaves have dropped from the vines in the fall of the year. To take the works the Germans had to cut through these trochas. It seemed impossible to believe human beings could penetrate them, especially when one was told that the Belgians charged some of the wires with high electricity, so that those of the advancing party who touched them were frightfully burned and fell, with their garments blazing, into the jagged wire brambles, and were held there until they died.

Before the charge and the final hand-to-hand fight, however, there was shelling. There was much shelling. Shells from the German guns that fell short or overshot the mark descended in the fields, and for a mile round these fields were plowed as though hundreds of plowshares had sheared the sod this way and that, until hardly a blade of grass was left to grow in its ordained place. Where shells had burst after they struck were holes in the earth five or six feet across and five or six feet deep. Shells from the German guns and from the Belgian guns had made a most hideous hash of a cluster of small cottages flanking a small smelting plant which stood directly in the line of fire. Some of these houses workmen's homes, I suppose they had been were of frame, sheathed over with squares of tin put on in a diamond pattern; and you could see places where a shell, striking such a wall a glancing blow, had scaled it as a fish is scaled with a knife, leaving the bare wooden ribs showing below. The next house, and the next, had been hit squarely and plumply amidships, and they were gutted as fishes are gutted. One house in twenty, perhaps, would be quite whole, except for broken windows and fissures in the roof as though the whizzing shells had spared it deliberately.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Air War Cigarette Cards

Contributed by Cyril Mazansky

Cigarette cards were intended to help sell cigarettes, naturally. It soon became apparent that the public found the air war and aircraft fascinating. Our regular contributor Cyril Mazansky has shared a number of the aviation examples from his collection.

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Since the British public found themselves being bombed by zeppelins they had an immediate interest in them and the effort to defeat them. Here we have the front and back of a card telling the history of Ferdinand von Zeppelin's original design. The third image shows naval Lt. Warneford destroying zeppelin LZ-37 over Belgium in June 1915. He was soon rewarded with the Victoria Cross, but died in a crash 10 days later.

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British cigarette sellers, of course, emphasized British aircraft with their cards. The Airco DH2 saw service in early 1916 and temporarily gave the British air superiority. The pusher design, however, was dated and by late 1916 were at a distinct disadvantage against such new German fighters as the Albatross and Halberstadts coming into action.

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The Sopwith Pup was considered, for its time, "the perfect flying machine."  It was able to maintain altitude better than the opposing aircraft such as the Albatrosses on the Western Front in late 1916.  Because of its smaller size it was used by the Royal Navy to test shipboard take-offs.

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Royal Aircraft Factory SE5a

Considered by many commentators to be the finest British fighter of the war.  It's early version had development issues and was under-powered, so it did not make its presence known on the Western Front until early 1918.  Several of the most notable aces of the British Air Service won their biggest successes with the SE5a, including Mannock, Bishop, and McCudden.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Luxembourg and the Great War: A Neglected Story

Which country was the first invaded and the last liberated in World War I?

It was the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. My friend David Heal, a fellow battlefield guide and one-time president of the Western Front Association's chapter in Luxembourg has taken on the mission of telling this forgotten but important aspect of the war's history. He has produced two volumes on this subject. In David's 2010 volume Victims Nonetheless: The Invasion of Luxembourg, 1914, he explains why – for the integrity of the Schlieffen Plan – peaceful Luxembourg needed to be invaded. (It was about railroads.) Now he has produced a second volume, Luxembourgers in the First World War, that covers the personal experiences of the citizens and expatriates of the small nation during the war.

David Heal's Chronicle of Luxembourg at War

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The Shock of Invasion
The war started on 2 August with the invasion of Luxembourg, a neutral country at that time, whose neutrality was guaranteed by all the Powers, including Germany. Obviously, the news astonished Luxembourgers around the world, and in France, no one knew what to do.

Some Were Able to Fight
Almost all the Luxembourgers who fought in the Allied armies were expatriates, despite the allegations made by the Germans, and they were often born outside Luxembourg of Luxembourgian parents, which is completely understandable, especially when the trench lines rendered movement between Luxembourg and France impossible except via Switzerland or Holland, which of itself was not an easy journey. The journey via Switzerland was equally dangerous, and when the Germans installed an electric fence along the Belgium-Holland border it became even more difficult and dangerous.

Luxembourgers fought in most of the Allied armies including the American Expeditionary force, but the largest contingent enlisted in France. Most of the Luxembourgers, who rushed to join the French army, entered the Foreign Legion. (However, German families in Luxembourg also sent sons to the German Army and they also addressed in the volume.) The heart of the book consists of the dozens of personal profiles of Luxembourgers who served with distinction in the war. These include such personalities as the six sons and brothers of Theodore Decker of Vannes, former Tour de France champion François Faber, who was killed in action in 1915, and Jacob Bierchem, who served in General Pershing's forces.

David Heal also challenges the official position that "no Luxembourger was shot by the German army during the war" with documented cases to the contrary.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Little-Known Monuments to the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe

Readers may be familiar with the American Battle Monuments grand monuments at Chateau-Thierry, Montfaucon, and Mont Sec near St. Mihiel, but the AEF fought in every area of the Western Front and operated numerous bases far behind the lines. Also, other groups contributed their own memorials to commemorate the  service by U.S. forces. Here is a group of six that are a bit forgotten.

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The ABMC's World War I Naval Monument at Brest, France, stands on the ramparts of the city overlooking the harbor that was a major base of operations for American naval vessels during the war. The original monument built on this site to commemorate the achievements of the U.S. Navy during World War I was destroyed by the Germans on 4 July 1941, prior to the United States entry into World War II. The present structure is a replica of the original and was completed in 1958. The monument is a rectangular rose-colored granite shaft rising 145 feet above the lower terrace and 100 feet above the Cours d'Ajot. It sits upon a German bunker complex at the approximate site of the original monument. All four sides of the monument are decorated with sculptures of naval interest. The surrounding area has been developed as a park.

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The American Cathedral Avenue George V in the 8th Arrondissement of Paris is the site of a little-known memorial to the American Expeditionary Forces.  Its cloister is lined with a system of panels each dedicated to a unit or branch of the American military and volunteer organizations that supported them. The panels identify the unit by name and insignia and lists their number of casualties. The memorial cloister was dedicated on 30 May 1923 by Marshal Ferdinand Foch and the American ambassador, Myron T. Herrick, in the presence of President Raymond Poincaré.

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The State of Tennessee contributed this monument honoring the achievements of its sons in capturing the St. Quentin Canal, thus breaking the Hindenburg Line in September 1918. It is located at the village of Riqueval and the opening of the canal tunnel. It mentions two brigades of the U.S. 30th Division, a formation that was composed mainly of National Guardsmen from Tennessee and the Carolinas.

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The ABMC's Bellicourt American Monument is nine miles north of St. Quentin (Aisne), France on the highway to Cambrai and one mile north of the village of Bellicourt. It is 97 miles north of Paris and three miles from the Somme American Cemetery. Erected above a canal tunnel built by Napoleon I, the monument commemorates the achievements and sacrifices of the 90,000 American troops who served in battle with the British armies in France during 1917 and 1918.

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This new Doughboy statue located at the village of Cantigny is a recent contribution sponsored by the First Division Foundation. Cantigny was captured by the First Division on 28 May 1918 in the first American offensive operation of the war. Your editor, just to the right of the statue, is shown here with his 2011 battlefield tour group.

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The ABMC's World War I Kemmel American Monument is six miles south of Ieper (Ypres), Belgium, near Vierstraat, on the Kemmelberg (Mont Kemmel) Road overlooking the bitterly contested Ypres battlefield. This small monument on a low platform consists of a rectangular white stone block in front of which is carved a soldier's helmet upon a wreath. It commemorates the services and sacrifices of the American troops who, in the late summer of 1918, fought nearby in units attached to the British Army. Some are buried in Flanders Field American Cemetery at Waregem, Belgium, ten miles to the west.

Sources: The ABMC and American Cathedral websites.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Your World War I Poetry Library

Your World War I Poetry Library
Recommended by Professor David Beer, PhD

To enhance one's remembrance experience, there is nothing like reading some of the great verse created by those who served in the war or who were trying to understand it better.  Regular Roads contributor, David Beer, PhD, has made a lifetime study of the Great War's poetry.  For the September issue of our sister publication, Over the Top magazine, he contributed a full issue on some of the forgotten poets of the war, which also included his recommendations for experiencing the full range of  the poetry of the war.  Here is the full list, which he presents in a recommended reading sequence.