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Mar 2017

    Please note we currently have a backlog of submitted material, our volunteers are working through this as quickly as possible and all names, stories and photos will be added to the site. If you have already submitted a story to the site and your UID reference number is higher than 230777 your submission is still in the queue, please do not resubmit without contacting us first.

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Did you know? We also have a section on World War Two. and a Timecapsule to preserve stories from other conflicts for future generations.


Mud, Blood and Bullets: Memoirs of a Machine Gunner on the Western Front.

Edward Rowbotham


It is 1915 and the Great War has been raging for a year, when Edward Rowbotham, a coal miner from the Midlands, volunteers for Kitchener's Army. Drafted into the newly-formed Machine Gun Corps, he is sent to fight in places whose names will forever be associated with mud and blood and sacrifice: Ypres, the Somme, and Passchendaele. He is one of the 'lucky' ones, winning the Military Medal for bravery and surviving more than two-and-a-half years of the terrible slaughter that left nearly a million British soldiers dead by 1918 and wiped out all but six of his original company. He wrote these memoirs fifty years later, but found his memories of life in the trenches had not diminished at all. The sights and sounds of battle, the excitement, the terror, the extraordinary comradeship, are all vividly described as if they had happened to him only yesterday. Likely to be one of the last first-hand accounts to come to light, Mud, Blood and Bullets offers a rare perspective of the First World W


Durham Pals: 18th, 19th, 20th and 22nd Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry in the Great War

John Sheen


The Durham Pals were the volunteer Geordie battalions of the Durham Light Infantry raised in the north-east in the Great War. The 18th Durhams had the proud distinction of being the first unit of Kitchener's New Armies to come under enemy fire before even leaving Blighty when German ships shelled Hartlepool in December 1914. The 19th were raised as Bantams ( men blow the minimum height requirement) ; the 20th (Wearside) hailed from Sunderland; while the 22nd was the last raised - and fought through the hard battles of 1918. After their baptism of fire while training in Hartlepool, the 18th were seriously blooded on July 1st 1916 as the battle of the Somme opened, when they fought in support of the Leeds and Bradford Pals. After fighting in the successful Messines offensive in June 1917 the 20th were sent to the Italian front; while the 19th distinguished themselves in Flanders during the final Allied advance of 1918. This book pay tribute to them all.


A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918

G. J. Meyer


The First World War is one of history’s greatest tragedies. In this remarkable and intimate account, author G. J. Meyer draws on exhaustive research to bring to life the story of how the Great War reduced Europe’s mightiest empires to rubble, killed twenty million people, and cracked the foundations of the world we live in today.


To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

Adam Hochschild


World War I stands as one of history’s most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation. In a riveting, suspenseful narrative with haunting echoes for our own time, Adam Hochschild brings it to life as never before. He focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Thrown in jail for their opposition to the war were Britain’s leading investigative journalist, a future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and an editor who, behind bars, published a newspaper for his fellow inmates on toilet paper. These critics were sometimes intimately connected to their enemy hawks: one of Britain’s most prominent women pacifist campaigners had a brother who was commander in chief on the Western Front. Two well-known sisters split so bitterly over the war that they ended up publishing newspapers that attacked each other.


Hard as Nails: The Sportsmen's Battalion of World War One

Michael Foley


This is the history of the Sportsmen's Battalion, Royal Fusiliers 23rd service battalion, which consisted almost entirely of men from the world of sport or entertainment. The battalion was privately raised and took men up to the age of 45. The battalion included a champion boxer, cricketers, footballers, MPs and the author John Chessire. They were men who did not need to serve in the First World War but had an unquestioning sense of duty. The history is enhanced by the letters and drawings by John Chessire, giving a first-hand account of their experiences. A man from the upper classes, a writer, poet and artist, he chose to serve as a private so he could do his duty, even when it conflicted with his religious beliefs and love for his family. The book covers the battalion's beginnings in London and progression to Hornchurch, France and then Germany. It includes their time at Vimy Ridge, at the Somme and at the Battle for Deville Wood.


Out in the Dark: Poetry of the First World War in Context and with Basic Notes

David Roberts


This anthology, based on "Minds at War" - by same author - has been prepared for the general reader who requires less background information, and for students, including GCSE and A Level. One of mankind's greatest tragedies was the First World War. For over four years whole nations unleashed the full might of their new-found destructive powers. Poets played their part in this war as promoters of it, soldiers, victims and onlookers. Their stories and their responses to their experiences are deeply moving, and their work includes some of the greatest poetry of the 20th Century. Many of the poems in Out in the Dark are currently selected by exam boards. The 19th Century poems, examples of the culture of Empire and militarism, help to explain both the rush to war and the nature of the early poetry of the First World War - 140 poems in all.


Anthem for Doomed Youth

Jon Stallworthy


This is an excellent introduction to the lives and work of twelve poets of WWI, many of whom were killed in action. The book was produced to accompany an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum and is illustrated with many photographs and original manuscripts. The famous are here - Owen and Sassoon- but there are also less well-known names - David Jones and Francis Ledwidge - whose work deserves recognition. I've read some of these poems many times, and I never fail to be moved by "Dulce et decorum est" (Owen), "Anthem for doomed youth" (Owen) and "When you see millions of the mouthless dead" (Sorley). The savagery and sarcasm of "The General" (Sassoon) and the grim humour of "Break of day" (Rosenberg), a meditation on a rat moving between the German and British lines, are also moving. Stallworthy tells the stories of their (mostly) brief lives sparingly, concentrating on the poetry and offering some interesting criticisms and insights. This poetry has influenced our imagery of the Great
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Anthem for Doomed Youth




Journey's End

Robert Cedric Sherriff


Set in the First World War, Journey's End concerns a group of British officers on the front line and opens in a dugout in the trenches in France. Raleigh, a new eighteen-year-old officer fresh out of English public school, joins the besieged company of his friend and cricketing hero Stanhope, and finds him dramatically changed ... Laurence Olivier starred as Stanhope in the first performance of Journey's End in 1928; the play was an instant stage success and remains a remarkable anti-war classic.
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Journey's End




A World Undone: The Story of the Great War, 1914 to 1918

G.J. Meyer


One only has to look at a few of today's "hotspots" (the Balkans and the Middle East) to realize that World War I's effects remain a determining factor in international relations. It may seem impossible to write an "intimate" account of such a global catastrophe, but Meyer has succeeded in doing just that: a masterful narrative history that eloquently conveys the sense of a civilization engaged in massive self-destruction, while its leaders, blinded by hubris, nationalism, or outright ignorance, led the charge. Although Meyer pays ample attention to the broad themes of causation and military strategies, he consistently reminds us that the war was a compilation of millions of individual tragedies. He captures the horror and futility of trench warfare, the slaughter at Gallipoli, and the genocide of Armenians as experienced by those who were there. Meyer also offers interesting and controversial insights into the motivations of many of the key participants. This is an outstanding survey


The First World War


In a riveting narrative that puts diaries, letters and action reports to good use, British military historian Keegan (The Face of Battle, etc.) delivers a stunningly vivid history of the Great War. He is equally at easeAand equally generous and sympatheticAprobing the hearts and minds of lowly soldiers in the trenches or examining the thoughts and motivations of leaders (such as Joffre, Haig and Hindenburg) who directed the maelstrom. In the end, Keegan leaves us with a brilliant, panoramic portrait of an epic struggle that was at once noble and futile, world-shaking and pathetic. The war was unnecessary, Keegan writes, because the train of events that led to it could have been derailed at any time, "had prudence or common goodwill found a voice." And it was tragic, consigning 10 million to their graves, destroying "the benevolent and optimistic culture" of Europe and sowing the seeds of WWII. While Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War (Forecasts, Mar. 8) offers a revisionist, economic int
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The First World War




A Coward If I Return, a Hero If I Fall: Stories of Irish Soldiers in World War I

Neil Richardson


IRELAND'S FORGOTTEN LEGACY In 1914-1918, two hundred thousand Irishmen from all religions and backgrounds went to war. At least thirty-five thousand never came home. Those that did were scarred for the rest of their lives. Many of these survivors found themselves abandoned and ostracised by their countrymen, their voices seldom heard. The book includes: * The Irish soldier firing the first shot * The first Victoria Cross * Leading the way at Gallipoli and the Somme * North and South fighting side by side at Messines Ridge * Ireland's flying aces * Brothers-in-arms -- heart-rending stories of family sacrifice * The lucky escapes of some; the tragic end of others * The homecoming -- why there was no hero's welcome


The Complete Idiot's Guide to World War I

Alan Axelrod Ph.D.


For history buffs, students, and anyone interested in the 20th century, this book reveals why World War I began, explores the "guns of August," describes the horrors of trench warfare and the first uses of poison gas, and explains why the Americans were so slow to enter the war. From the eastern front to the west, from Gallipoli to the Marne, from the Lafayette Escadrillo to Lawrence of Arabia, the book tells the whole story of "the war to end all wars."


Wipers: A Soldier's Tale From the Great War

Jeff Simmons


The World War One battlefield that bulged out around Ypres, Belgium, was one of the most horrific killing grounds of the bloody, four-year conflict. Not familiar with the proper pronunciation of "Ypres," (EE-pruh), the Allied soldiers called the sector "Wipers." The Allies took thousands of casualties daily there from 1914 to 1918. Unable to break the German line, a plan was made to dig 5 miles of tunnels under No Man's Land, planting charges, and blowing up the enemy from below. This novel follows a British miner-turned-soldier and his unlikely companion: a mischievous, wisecracking soldier who was a magician in civilian life and joined the army under shady circumstances. Their struggle to survive is often tragic, yet often humorous. The story climaxes with the tunnel attack and the shocking aftermath. Ultimately, it shows war is not glorious; it ruins lives, even among those who survive.


Adventures of a Motorcycle Despatch Rider During the First World War

W.H.L. Watson


The Battle of Mons, The Battle of le Cateau, The Great Retreat, Over the Marne to the Aisne, The Battle of the Aisne, The Move to the North, Round la AssÉe, The Beginning of Winter 1914, St Jans Cappel, Behind the Lines


Hell in the Holy Land: World War 1 in the Middle East

David R. Woodward


In the modern popular imagination, the British Army's campaign in the Middle East during World War I is considered somehow less brutal than the fighting on European battlefields. A romantic view of this conflict has been further encouraged by such films as Lawrence of Arabia and The Light Horsemen. In Hell in the Holy Land, David R. Woodward uses graphic eyewitness accounts from the diaries, letters, and memoirs of British soldiers who fought in that war to describe in rigorous detail the genuine experience of the fighting and dying in Egypt and Palestine. The massive flow of troops and equipment to Egypt eventually made that country host to the largest British military base outside of Britain and France. Though many soldiers found the atmosphere in Cairo exotic, the desert countryside made the fundamentals of fighting and troop maintenance extremely difficult. The intense heat frequently sickened soldiers, and unruly camels were the only practical means of transport across the soft sa


The First Day on the Somme 1 July 1916

Martin Middlebrook


On 1 July, 1916, a continous line of British soldiers climbed out from the trenches of the Somme into No Man's Land and began to walk slowly towards dug-in German troops armed with machine-guns and defended by thick barbed wire. By the end of that day, as old tactics were met by the reality of modern warfare, there had been more than 60,000 British casualties - a third of them fatalities. Martin Middlebrook's classic account of the blackest day in the history of the British army draws on official sources, local newspapers, autobiographies, novels and poems from the time. Most importantly, it also takes in the accounts of hundreds of survivors: normal men, many of them volunteers, who found themselves thrown into a scene of unparalleled tragedy and horror. Compelling and intensely moving, it describes the true events behind the sacrifice of a generation of young men - killed as much by the folly of their commanders as by the bullets of their enemies.


Angels in the Gloom: A Novel (World War I)

Anne Perry


With this latest entry in a bestselling series that evokes all the passion and heroism of history’s most heartbreaking conflict–the war that was meant to end all wars–Anne Perry adds new luster to her worldwide reputation. Angels in the Gloom is an intense saga of love, hate, obsession, and murder that features an honorable English family–brothers Joseph and Matthew Reavley and their sisters, Judith and Hannah. In March 1916, Joseph, a chaplain at the front, and Judith, an ambulance driver, are fighting not only the Germans but the bitter cold and the appalling casualties at Ypres. Scarcely less at risk, Matthew, an officer in England’s Secret Intelligence Service, fights the war covertly from London. Only Hannah, living with her children in the family home in tranquil Cambridgeshire, seems safe. Appearances, however, are deceiving. By the time Joseph returns home to Cambridgeshire, rumors of spies and traitors are rampant. And when the savagely brutalized body of a weapons sc


The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916

Sir Alistair Horne


The battle of Verdun lasted ten months. It was a battle in which at least 700,000 men fell, along a front of fifteen miles. Its aim was less to defeat the enemy than bleed him to death and a battleground whose once fertile terrain is even now a haunted wilderness. Alistair Horne's classic work, continuously in print for over fifty years, is a profoundly moving, sympathetic study of the battle and the men who fought there. It shows that Verdun is a key to understanding the First World War to the minds of those who waged it, the traditions that bound them and the world that gave them the opportunity.


Naval Aces of World War 1 part 2 (Aircraft of the Aces)

Jon Guttman


Part 2 of Naval Aces looks at the many flying Naval heroes who flew alongside or against those of the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). While the RNAS operated its own formidable arsenal of Nieuport and Sopwith scouts over the Flanders coast, the German navy countered with its own Land Feld Jagdstaffeln and Seefront Staffeln. In addition, German floatplane units, most notably at Zeebrugge, produced at least three aces of their own at the expense of British flying boats, airships and other patrol craft. Unique to World War 1 was the use of flying boats as fighters in combat, which figured at least partially in the scores of Russian aces Aleksandr de Seversky and Mikhail Safanov. Austrian ace Gottfried Banfield scored all nine of his victories in flying boats and Friedrich Lang claimed two of his total of five in one. The best flying boat fighter, however, was Italy's Macchi M 5, flown by three aces and also the mount of Charles H Hammann, the first American to earn the Medal of Honor in a


British Aviation Squadron Markings of World War I: RFC - RAF - RNAS

Les Rogers


Years in the making, this book covers the wide variety of markings used by British aviation units in World War I. Organized numerically by squadron number the book includes both textual and photographic examples for nearly all RFC, RAF, and RNAS squadrons. Many of the photographs are published here for the first time, and the color profiles offer a representative selection of units, aircraft, and color schemes. A classic book.


SE 5/5a Aces of World War I (Aircraft of the Aces)

Norman Franks


The SE 5/5a British single-seat aircraft was one of the major fighting scouts of the last 18 months of the war in France during World War I and was a true workhorse of the Royal Flying Corps, handling fighter-versus-fighter actions, combating the high-flying German photo-reconnaissance planes as well as balloons. A total of five SE 5/5a pilots, including the legendary Albert Ball, received the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for gallantry. A detailed account of the SE 5/5a, this title covers the development of the machine and its first tentative initiation into combat on the Western Front until it grew in stature to become a machine feared by the German Air Service. Packed with first-hand accounts and combat reports, this is a thrilling insight into the dangerous dogfights and fearless actions of the pilots who flew the SE 5/5a, bringing to life the deadly exploits of these "knights of the air" as they dueled for dominance over the Western Front.


SE 5/5a Aces of World War I (Aircraft of the Aces)

Norman Franks


The SE 5/5a British single-seat aircraft was one of the major fighting scouts of the last 18 months of the war in France during World War I and was a true workhorse of the Royal Flying Corps, handling fighter-versus-fighter actions, combating the high-flying German photo-reconnaissance planes as well as balloons. A total of five SE 5/5a pilots, including the legendary Albert Ball, received the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for gallantry. A detailed account of the SE 5/5a, this title covers the development of the machine and its first tentative initiation into combat on the Western Front until it grew in stature to become a machine feared by the German Air Service. Packed with first-hand accounts and combat reports, this is a thrilling insight into the dangerous dogfights and fearless actions of the pilots who flew the SE 5/5a, bringing to life the deadly exploits of these "knights of the air" as they dueled for dominance over the Western Front.


Naval Aces of World War 1 Part I (Aircraft of the Aces)

Jon Guttman


Though understandably overshadowed by their army colleagues, naval aviators played a significant role in World War 1, including some noteworthy contributions of fighter aviation. At a time when the Royal Flying Corps was struggling to match the 'Fokker Scourge' of 1915-16, the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) was first to use Sopwith's excellent line of scouts, such as the Pup, Triplane and Camel. Some RNAS pilots such as Raymond Collishaw, Robert A Little and Roderick Stanley Dallas rated among the most successful in the British Commonwealth. Their ranks also included David Ingalls, the only US Navy pilot to 'make ace' with eight victories in Camels while with No 213 Sqn RAF. The Germans, too, formed Marine Feld Jagdstaffeln to defend the northern coast of Flanders, and also produced a number of aces, led by Gotthard Sachsenberg and Theo Osterkamp. Besides these land fighters, the Germans produced at least two floatplane aces. Unique to World War 1 was the use of flying boats as fighter


War Bird Ace: The Great War Exploits of Capt. Field E. Kindley (C. A. Brannen Series)

Dr. Jack Stokes Ballard Ph.D.


Capt. Field E. Kindley, with the famous Eddie Rickenbacker, was one of America’s foremost World War I flying aces. Like Rickenbacker’s, Kindley’s story is one of fierce dogfights, daring aerial feats, and numerous brushes with death. Yet unlike Rickenbacker’s, Kindley’s story has not been fully told until now. Field Kindley gained experience with the RAF before providing leadership for the U.S. Air Service. Kindley was the fourth-ranking American air ace; his exploits earned him a Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster from the United States and a Distinguished Flying Cross from the British government. In February 1920, during a practice drill Kindley led, some enlisted men unwittingly entered the bombing target area. “Buzzing” the troops to warn them off the field, Kindley somehow lost control of his plane and died in the ensuing crash. Using arduously gathered primary materials and accounts of Great War aces, Jack Ballard tells the story of this little-known hero


WORLD WAR ONE AIRCRAFT CARRIER PIONEER: The Story and Diaries of Captain JM McCleery RNAS/RAF

Guy Warner


Jack McCleery was born in Belfast in 1898, the son of a mill owning family. He joined the RNAS in 1916 as a Probationary Flight Officer. During the next ten months he completed his training at Crystal Palace, Eastchurch, Cranwell, Frieston, Calshot and Isle of Grain, flying more than a dozen landplanes, seaplanes and flying boats, gaining his wings as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant. In July 1917 he was posted to the newly commissioning aircraft carrier HMS Furious, which would be based at Scapa Flow and Rosyth. He served in this ship until February 1919, flying Short 184 seaplanes and then Sopwith 1.50 Strutters off the deck. He also flew a large number of other types during this time from shore stations at Turnhouse, East Fortune and Donibristle. He served with important and well-known naval airmen including Dunning, Rutland (of Jutland) and Bell Davies VC. He witnessed Dunning's first successful landing on a carrier flying a Sopwith Pup in 1917 and his tragic death a few days later. He als


SPAD XII/XIII Aces of World War 1 (Aircraft of the Aces)

Jon Guttman


This book details the exploits of the pilots who flew the hugely successful SPAD XIII and the trickier SPAD XII. Built in response to the combat inadequacies of the SPAD VII, the XIII first entered service with the French Aviation Militaire in late 1917. Despite suffering engine unreliability, the XIII enjoyed great success on the Western Front, where it was flown by numerous French, American, Italian and Belgian aces, including Eddie Rickenbacker, leading US ace of World War I. The SPAD XII, meanwhile, was the product of numerous improvements to the SPAD VII model. Entering service in July 1917, the aircraft boasted a single-shot 37 mm Puteaux cannon, which had to be hand-reloaded in flight! Tricky to fly, the XII was only issued to experienced pilots, and was flown briefly by a number of aces.


RAF in Camera: 1903-1939 Archives Photographs from the Public Record Office and the Ministry of Defence (The Raf in Camera Series) (v. 1)

Roy Conyers


Now in paperback -- the first volume in this successful pictorial history of the RAF with more than 200 rare and previously unpublished photographs. The three handsome volumes in this series bring together a representative selection of the previously unpublished photographs offering an exciting visual history of the RAF in all its glory. This volume covers the earliest period with its early attempts at flying, the First World War, operations in the inter-war years and the preparations for World War II.


Anti-Submarine Warfare in World War I: British Naval Aviation and the Defeat of the U-Boats (Cass Series: Naval Policy and History)

John Abbatiello


Investigating the employment of British aircraft against German submarines during the final years of the First World War, this new book places anti-submarine campaigns from the air in the wider history of the First World War. The Royal Naval Air Service invested heavily in aircraft of all types—aeroplanes, seaplanes, airships, and kite balloons—in order to counter the German U-boats. Under the Royal Air Force, the air campaign against U-boats continued uninterrupted. Aircraft bombed German U-boat bases in Flanders, conducted area and ‘hunting’ patrols around the coasts of Britain, and escorted merchant convoys to safety. Despite the fact that aircraft acting alone destroyed only one U-boat during the war, the overall contribution of naval aviation to foiling U-boat attacks was significant. Only five merchant vessels succumbed to submarine attack when convoyed by a combined air and surface escort during World War I. This book examines aircraft and weapons technology, aircrew train


ALBERT BALL VC: THE FIGHTER PILOT HERO OF WORLD WAR I

Colin Pengelly


Albert Ball's individuality and his insistence on fighting alone set him apart from other fighter pilots during World War One. His invincible courage and utter determination made him a legend not only in Britain but also amongst his enemies, to whom the sight of his lone Nieuport Scout brought fear. In 1914 he enlisted in the British army with the 2/7th Battalion (Robin Hoods), of the Sherwood Foresters, Notts and Derby Regiment. By the October of 1914 he had reached the rank of Sergeant and then in the same month was made a Second-Lieutenant to his own battalion. In June 1915 he paid for private tuition and trained as a pilot at Hendon. In October 1915 he obtained Royal Aero Club Certificate and requested transfer to the Royal Flying Corps. The transfer granted, he further trained at Norwich and Upavon, being awarded the pilot's brevet on 22 January 1916. On 16 May 1916 - flying Bristol Scout 5512 - he opened his score, shooting down an Albatros C-type over Beaumont. On 29 May 1916 he


RAF in Camera: 1903-1939 Archives Photographs from the Public Record Office and the Ministry of Defence (The Raf in Camera Series) (v. 1)

Roy Conyers Nesbit


Now in paperback -- the first volume in this successful pictorial history of the RAF with more than 200 rare and previously unpublished photographs. The three handsome volumes in this series bring together a representative selection of the previously unpublished photographs offering an exciting visual history of the RAF in all its glory. This volume covers the earliest period with its early attempts at flying, the First World War, operations in the inter-war years and the preparations for World War II.



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