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DrBob

They shall not grow old

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    It is very sobering to realise WW1 was fought by very ordinary people from ordinary places. They weren't soldiers they were sons, fathers, husbands and uncles. Stop at a little village war memorial and see all those names. Ruislip, where I live was a hamlet in 1914 with out lying farms. Yet they lost over 70 according to the war memorial. Staggering losses for such a small community.   

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    I’ve been looking into one of my family who lost his life and is buried at resevoir cemetery Ypres, I think it was in one of the pushes at the battle of Pachendaele looking at maps of the front lines at the time of his death. He died the day after the push to the next line started, found the co ordinates of where his body was found and exhumed from a unmaintainable grave and centuries but it don’t refer to which out the six maps with same number. Terrible war that they were not prepared for.  Coming from small towns and villages they knew nothing of war like we dontoday with modern media. 

    Some of the footage on tv this past week and recounts from old soldiers is good to see being recorded for posterity.

    When I asked relatives questions as a child who fought in the war, a clip round the lug was sometimes given and or shut up was all the answers I got. The stiff upper lip and lid firmly on the box was the way of it. Me look at that big coin on the mantle piece, clout sit down and be quiet. Most of my older relatives had one or more death pennies. But very rarely were they or the people who were lost spoken about. 

    Watching these old films, feels a little odd as we could be watching our relatives and not know as none of my family are alive who would recognize them now. Waving their hats smiling, then going over the top and seeing them die on film. Very emotional viewing. 

    Edited by figgy

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    Just had a couple of days in Ludlow,  went into the church where they had a WWI exhibition,so moving it brought tears to my eyes,to think what they went through,    lions led by donkeys .

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    Just to make a point, the "lions led by donkeys" phrase was coined in the 1960s by a particular group of people who had nothing to do with the First World War but wished to make money out of a theatre production. Although there were many disasters there the fact is that as a percentage rate General Officers had a far higher casualty rate than ordinary soldiers.

     

    David.

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    Good watch on BBC IPlayer the now,100 Days To Victory.

    Tells how Haig had to take a back seat of a kind and let the Canadian and Aussie Generals devise new strategies which have stood for most wars after and changed things dramatically to counter the huge German offensive in early 18.

     

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    On 05/11/2018 at 19:39, DrBob said:

    So much looking forward to this. 👍

    6 hours ago, Kalahari said:

    Just to make a point, the "lions led by donkeys" phrase was coined in the 1960s by a particular group of people who had nothing to do with the First World War but wished to make money out of a theatre production. Although there were many disasters there the fact is that as a percentage rate General Officers had a far higher casualty rate than ordinary soldiers.

     

    David.

    Not sure what you mean by ‘General Officers’ but don’t you mean Subalterns? These junior officers had a lifespan very similar to RFC pilots once in combat. 

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    6 hours ago, Kalahari said:

    Just to make a point, the "lions led by donkeys" phrase was coined in the 1960s by a particular group of people who had nothing to do with the First World War but wished to make money out of a theatre production. Although there were many disasters there the fact is that as a percentage rate General Officers had a far higher casualty rate than ordinary soldiers.

     

    David.

     

    12 minutes ago, Scully said:

     Not sure what you mean by ‘General Officers’ but don’t you mean Subalterns? These junior officers had a lifespan very similar to RFC pilots once in combat. 

    Line officers was the term I believe.

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    7 hours ago, figgy said:

    I’ve been looking into one of my family who lost his life and is buried at resevoir cemetery Ypres, I think it was in one of the pushes at the battle of Pachendaele looking at maps of the front lines at the time of his death. He died the day after the push to the next line started, found the co ordinates of where his body was found and exhumed from a unmaintainable grave and centuries but it don’t refer to which out the six maps with same number. Terrible war that they were not prepared for.  Coming from small towns and villages they knew nothing of war like we dontoday with modern media. 

    Some of the footage on tv this past week and recounts from old soldiers is good to see being recorded for posterity.

    When I asked relatives questions as a child who fought in the war, a clip round the lug was sometimes given and or shut up was all the answers I got. The stiff upper lip and lid firmly on the box was the way of it. Me look at that big coin on the mantle piece, clout sit down and be quiet. Most of my older relatives had one or more death pennies. But very rarely were they or the people who were lost spoken about. 

    Watching these old films, feels a little odd as we could be watching our relatives and not know as none of my family are alive who would recognize them now. Waving their hats smiling, then going over the top and seeing them die on film. Very emotional viewing. 

    Would agree Figgy ,WW1 wasn`t really talked about but I suppose the previous generation had just had to deal with the 2nd unpleasantness ,which was no doubt much more potent in their minds. Wish I could go back and talk to the family members who did get through WW1 tho`....

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    No I meant General Officers. Officers of General rank. This really  is a pretty well completely ignored truth.

     

    David.

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    10 minutes ago, Kalahari said:

    No I meant General Officers. Officers of General rank. This really  is a pretty well completely ignored truth.

     

    David.

    Really, I thought they were far behind the front line.

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    No, lack of modern communication meant they had to be pretty close to the front, and the fact that it is a good idea to spread confusion by shelling the command so that confusion reigned meant they were pretty well a favourite target.

    David.

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    3 hours ago, matone said:

    Wish I could go back and talk to the family members who did get through WW1 tho`....

    But would they talk? My great-uncle, whom I well remember from my childhood,  was, according to my mother, apparently posted as missing presumed dead sometime in 1916 or 17 whilst fighting against the Turks. I suppose it must have either been at Gallipoli or in Mesopotamia. Anyway, in 1921, three years after the war, he just walked back into the farmhouse one day. He wouldn't say where he'd been and never ever talked about the war again as long as he lived. He was a great old boy actually. He had a Velocette LE that he rode into town on market day once a week,.and (probably after he'd had a couple) he'd sometimes let me sit on it and rev the engine. But talk about the war? I"m sure not at any price. 

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    1 hour ago, TIGHTCHOKE said:

    I found the following;

    892 Lt Colonels

    105 Colonels

    102 Brigadiers

    29 Major Generals

    6 Lt Generals

    2 General

    3 Field Marshall's

    But no 2nd Lieutenants/Subalterns. It is claimed that of all the officer ranks, this rank lost the most of it's numbers. Mostly ex public school.

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    15 hours ago, Scully said:

    But no 2nd Lieutenants/Subalterns. It is claimed that of all the officer ranks, this rank lost the most of it's numbers. Mostly ex public school.

    I quite agree, I was looking for the senior officers.

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    On ‎07‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 20:48, Scully said:

    But no 2nd Lieutenants/Subalterns. It is claimed that of all the officer ranks, this rank lost the most of it's numbers. Mostly ex public school.

    I was watching something this afternoon having my breakfast on world war 1, it was on BBC 2 and quite good, they said that Lieutenants life expectancy was around six weeks!!

    Another interesting thing was that the prog said how people especially the very poor were better off after war, the men that came back were better fed and stronger, there was more work during and after the war so people could afford more food, mortality rate in infants dropped, think they said it had been 2 in 4 were likely to die before the war.

    It also said how women were better off as they had had the chance to work in areas never open to them before.

    I had never thought of something good coming from world war.

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    On 07/11/2018 at 20:48, Scully said:

    But no 2nd Lieutenants/Subalterns. It is claimed that of all the officer ranks, this rank lost the most of it's numbers. Mostly ex public school.

    In the first world war "Brigadiers" were actually ranked as "Brigadier Generals" which is one of the reasons for the statistic I quoted.

     

    What is also interesting is, like women, most of the young men who went off to fight didn't have the vote either, when women got the vote after the war an awful lot of men did too. Interesting times.

     

    David.

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    Well that was stunning. The point at which the image filled the screen and went to colour was jaw dropping. An incredible amount of work has gone into the restoration of the footage and the sound mixing was brilliant. The way they have smoothed our the frame rate digitally to avoid the sped up Charley Chaplin look we’re familar with is a technical marvel. A really well done production.

    ...BUT why was this tucked away on bbc2 with barely any promotion? It deserved a much larger audience. Sadly some folk probably aren’t interested and would rather watch X Factor. If you missed it I urge you to catch it on IPlayer, I think it’s only there for a week. 

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    On 07/11/2018 at 20:48, Scully said:

    But no 2nd Lieutenants/Subalterns. It is claimed that of all the officer ranks, this rank lost the most of it's numbers. Mostly ex public school.

    Think their percentage would be shocking high right enough given they were there to persuade the men to go over the top.

    Generals will never be that high given they are General Officers compared to Brigadiers and below who are obviously Field Officers.Brig-Generals were also considered General Officers which bump the number of high rankers killed considerably. The numbers of COs at 892 is astounding but as said with the lack of comms in those days they had to be closer to the action.

    Fair bit different now although still happens.

    Edited by sako751sg

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    Beautifully constructed film. Glad I watched it without my 9 year old as I think she'd have nightmares. I wonder if the Germans and French have similar archives that could be restored in the same way?

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    On 07/11/2018 at 10:05, Kalahari said:

    Just to make a point, the "lions led by donkeys" phrase was coined in the 1960s by a particular group of people who had nothing to do with the First World War but wished to make money out of a theatre production. Although there were many disasters there the fact is that as a percentage rate General Officers had a far higher casualty rate than ordinary soldiers.

     

    David.

    I agree with your point that officers had a relatively far higher casualty rate than enlisted men. The number of brigadiers generals killed was, IIRC, 87. But i have to point out that the "lions led by donkeys" quote is actually attributed to a discussion between  Lundendorff and Hoffman in 1916. It was the heavily biased "historian" Alan Clark who brought it into later parlance when he set out to blame the generals, especially Haig, for - as he saw it - unnecessarily sacrificing 100s of thousands of lives.

    The reality is that once the german spring offensive had been halted in August 1918, primarily by the 5th army,  Haig was the right general at the right time to launch the counter offensive using the 4th & 5th armies. From 1916 on Haig had been instrumental in utilising new methods and revised tactics which enabled him to beat the far larger german forces by fighting a mobile campaign which allowed the germans no respite from virtually continuous assaults. A tactic which not only prevented the germans from creating effective defensive positions but also disrupted their ability to maintain essential war supplies.

    For those truth seekers out there I strongly recommend reading "Mud, Blood and Poppycock" by Gordon Corrigan. It comprehensively refutes the popular held beliefs and the propaganda from assorted sources from war poets to historians that WWI was all about 100s of thousands of naive volunteers being slaughtered in a futile cause, whilst stupid and uncaring officers sat safely in their chateaux, miles behind the lines, smoking and drinking brandy.

     

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