One hundred years ago....

By: sandiquiz , 9:12 AM GMT on August 04, 2014

Today, AUGUST the 4th, marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

There is no one alive who actually served in the First World War so why should we remember?

Keith Simpson, military historian on why we should mark the centenary, by remembering.

"The First World War is within our living memory. For those of us of a certain age we can remember talking and listening to our grandparents' generation, while the last survivors only died recently. We have vast quantities of physical evidence still to be seen in the scars of the battlefields, the cemeteries and memorials.

Apart from official documents and histories, we have the diaries and letters of tens of thousands of men and women, a literate generation. We can reach out to them through photographs and film so that although their hair styles, uniforms and clothes might look old fashioned they still look like us.

And that is without taking into account the sheer enormity of the casualties and the political instability after the war which contributed to what we were to call the Second World War."

By the 11th November 1918, in all the countries that took part, millions were affected.
The war touched almost everyone’s life in some way or other.

"Children grew up in the shadow of battle, their fathers absent or lost. Women became directly involved, picking up the pieces of industry and agriculture as the men went off to fight. By early 1918, they too could join the army and serve their country. Sometimes I don't think about it for months on end, then I dream about it and it all comes back. How really extraordinary it was. I can't quite get it out of my system."

Stephen Williamson looking back at the First World War in 1985

Millions of men were sent to fight in places that many had never heard of before.
It was a global struggle. Life changed forever. Nothing was ever the same again.

The power unleashed by rapidly invented modern war resulted in previously unimagined losses.

Over 9 million soldiers died directly as a result of fighting; more than 6 million civilians died from disease or starvation caused by gas attacks and food shortages. In all, the estimate of dead resulting from the war stands at over 16 million.

On top of the dead, more than 21 million were injured. Some recovered, others were never the same again, either in body or in mind.

Millions of people across the world still feel some connection with the "Great War". They knew the people whose lives were changed by it. They remain moved by the enduring words and works of art that were created as a response to it.

The Flanders Poppy was first described as the "Flower of Remembrance" by Colonel John McCrae who, before the First World War, was a well-known Professor of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal.

He had previously served as a gunner in the South African War, and at the outbreak of the First World War he became in A Medical Officer in France, with the first Canadian Army contingent.

At the second battle of Ypres in 1915 when in charge of a small first-aid post, during a lull in the action he wrote the following verses -

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders' fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders' Fields.

Major John McCrae. 1915

"Gassed" by John Singer Sargent, 1919

Two verses from "For the fallen" by Robert Lawrence Binyan

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


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14. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:39 PM GMT on August 07, 2014
sandiquiz has created a new entry.
13. sandiquiz
9:30 PM GMT on August 06, 2014
Quoting 12. Ylee:

Being a Very Busy Lady? :' )

Yes, lol
I have been busy all day working on my Family story ... I had several old one inch photos from the album to take photos of, then edit out the dust, blemishes etc and adjust colour and clarity before posting into the story .... resizing and positioning. I also researched the Wars in 1066 between the Anglo Saxons and the Vikings, and the Anglo Saxons and the Normans! So you see, a busy bee!

Hi Mike :-)
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12. Ylee
8:58 PM GMT on August 06, 2014
Being a Very Busy Lady? :' )
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11. clearlakemike
4:55 PM GMT on August 05, 2014
Interesting and timely blog, Sandi. This comment by Briar jumped out at me as it appears to be coming back on the 100th year anniversary, whether intended or not, to haunt the world.

I can't help but think of the idiocy of the leaders of the time, who drew arbitrary lines in the sand to divvy up the Middle East, ignoring the cultural and religious differences of the people.

Can't think of any personal stories regarding WWI other than that I know that a grandfather fought in it and survived.
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10. sandiquiz
3:27 PM GMT on August 05, 2014
Good afternoon :)
Thanks for all the lovely comments made in the blog. The BBC has been mentioning this for weeks leading up to yesterday. BBC 2 did several moving stories about it last week, and covered the anniversary in detail.

I don't intend to leave it here for long, but thought it could not pass without some mention.
My own grandfather fought in World War I, as did two of his brothers. Granddad came home, his brothers didn't.
If my granddad hadn't survived the war I wouldn't be here now.

On a lighter note, here is a funny story.

For about a week left arm of my glasses was beginning to feel loose, so this morning I took myself, and my glasses, to the opticians. I took them off and held them out to the assistant who came to help me. She took them from me so she could see what the problem was and as she took them from me the arm fell off! Lol

To cut a long story short, she, and another assistant, spent 30 minutes trying to put the arm back onto the lens. The problem is my glasses are frameless, so the lens has a small hole in it for the arm to be fixed to it. In the process of trying to fix it one of the young girls managed to scratch the face of the glass. So now I have to go back tomorrow morning with my glasses, wearing my old prescription, and they will send the glasses away for a complete new lens to be fitted.

If it's not one thing, it's another!! lol

Thank you GG, Ylee, Poppy, Data, Ozgalah, Briar and Pros for your input, yours stories, and links.
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9. Proserpina
1:47 PM GMT on August 05, 2014
Hi Sandi, thank you for this wonderful blog.

You probably already know that my life was shaped by two wars, WWI (Italy allied with USA, Britain, France), and WWII (Italy not allied with the above mentioned nations until after 1943-45, but my father chose to defy the Nazis and Mussolini and ended up in a concentration camp for 2 years). I have a blog on my ancestors and the town where they were born, one of my entries is about my maternal grandfather who fought in WWI and died as a result of that war leaving. If interested the story can be found here Link I hope you do not mind me pointing you and others to my other blog and family history. I've neglected that blog for quite some time but the old stories are pretty good, so I think. Thank you so much!
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8. GardenGrrl
10:11 AM GMT on August 05, 2014
Good Morning. Was wondering if they still have people selling poppies? As a kid, all through the South at nearly every store or restaurant there was a cigar type box full of red poppies on the clerks counter. It was a fundraiser for Veterans Of Foreign Wars.
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7. BriarCraft
11:50 PM GMT on August 04, 2014
Very nice tribute to all the people whose lives were lost in that horrid war. If only it truly had been the war to end all wars, as was said at the time.

Even while I honor the soldiers, I can't help but think of the idiocy of the leaders of the time, who drew arbitrary lines in the sand to divvy up the Middle East, ignoring the cultural and religious differences of the people.


Another Lumix update in September? That's not far off. A n t i c i p a t i o n . . .

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6. ozgalah
11:15 PM GMT on August 04, 2014
Well written piece Sandi, I think if we forget the past as GG said we may be in danger of repeating it.
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5. DataPilot
8:21 PM GMT on August 04, 2014
My father's mother's family fled Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic) a decade before WWI broke out, due to the political turmoil that was taking place at that time. If it hadn't been for my great-grandparent's prescience of the upcoming war, that branch of my family would not be Americans. They were very lucky that they missed that "terrible war".

Regarding your posting on my blog:
I'm doing fine, and Vicki still is looking good. My car died last week, but it was resurrected at the expense of its manufacturer - yay! It was out of warranty, so I was very glad that they agreed to pick up most of the tab for the $1500 repair.

I need to get back to work. Belated White Rabbits X3!
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4. calpoppy
7:02 PM GMT on August 04, 2014
16 million dead, wow! And no help for the ones that came back with PTSD, they just had to suffer through it. We should all remember all the wars, and the horrors that go with it. One day our remembering will make a difference.

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3. Ylee
1:58 PM GMT on August 04, 2014
I saw the title, and decided not to be cheeky, and left it alone, lol! I thought that this may have been a WW1 blog, as I had listened to a broadcast of the details of Ferdinand's assasination a few weeks ago.

As for my family, WW1 was never mentioned, as those that lived in those days had passed by the time I was born.
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2. GardenGrrl
9:55 AM GMT on August 04, 2014
"We learn from history that we do not learn from history." Georg Hegel

Then again if we don't remember our history, we tend to repeat it with more of the same. I think the only thing we learned from those battles is that to have peace, the peaceful must be stronger than the madmen that bring war.
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1. sandiquiz
9:28 AM GMT on August 04, 2014
From the last blog :)

Briar ... how strange your choice of camera should be a Panasonic... by the time you get around to purchasing one, the next number will be out... the 250 is launched in September, I think.

Wabit - it has been more like normal temperatures for the last few days..... more bearable, definitely!

We have had the annual MOT for all cars over three years old, since 1960.... so nearly as old as you and me!! lol

Bug - What a wet time you are having over in SC.... I do hope you feel better today, a summer cold is no fun at all:(

GG - wow, that dinner you prepared sounds tasty, but also like a lot of work, and then you didn't eat it all! lol

My favourite summer dinner is cold salmon, honey roasted, (bought from the supermarket so I don't even have to cook it, with a green salad and hot new potatoes, coated in chives and butter... oh, yummy!
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About sandiquiz

I have been a WU member since September 2005. Now a retired teacher, enjoying my garden, writing, sketching, taking photos, and having great fun!

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