GENERAL STORIES AND SNIPPETS 1914-1918

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1. In August 1914 an organisation called “The Order of the White Feather” was founded to encourage women to hand out white feathers to young men who had not joined the British Army.

2. It is estimated that between 10 and 11 per cent of the French population died during the First World War.

3. In the early days of the war many pilots in the Royal Flying Corps had only 2 or 3 hours of flying instruction before being expected to fly solo. Once they arrived at the front, most survived an average of 3 weeks.

 

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On 10th November 1920 the mail train that arrived at platform 8 of Victoria Station had the roof of one of its carriages painted white, this was the carriage in which the coffin containing the remains of the unknown warrior were being transported. Today a small wooden memorial on the platform commemorates the event, the following day the unknown warrior was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey with a guard of honour which included 74 winners of the Victoria Cross.

A memorial near Mons commemorates the B.E.F’s First shot of the war, fired by CPL E Thomas of ‘C’ Squadron of the Royal Irish Dragoon Guards on 22nd August 1914. Almost opposite is a similar Plaque commemorating the last shot of the war some 4 years and millions of lives later.

“Big Bertha” Germany’s 48 ton howitzer was named after the wife of its designer Gustan Krupp, it could fire a 2,050lb shell a distance of 9 miles. Germany had 13 of them.

Fake trees made of steel and wrought iron and designed by a special camouflage team of Royal Engineers were used by the British Army as observation posts on the western front.

Private Henry Tandey of the Duke of Wellington’s regiment was haunted for the rest of his life by an incident in September 1918. During fierce fighting at Marcoing in France, when Tandey’s heroism led to the award of the Victoria Cross, he took aim at a German soldier, but because the soldier was wounded couldn’t bring himself to pull the trigger. Twenty years later the man he had spared relayed his gratitude through Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. His name was Adolf Hitler.

On the last day of the 1914-18 War 863 British and Commonwealth deaths were recorded

There are 52 Villages in England and Wales, from which all soldiers returned.

On May 7th 1915 off the Irish coast the British Ocean Liner RMS Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by a German U Boat with the loss of 1,198 lives. This was condemned round the world and caused outrage in Britain “war had reached a new barbarism” – “so many women, children and babies” – The Captain of the U Boat was Captain Walter Schwieger.

A silent menace crept over in autumn 1918 and January 1919; a flu pandemic killed millions of people around the world, in Middlewich several families were left with only one member remaining.

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