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World War One

A Reason to Read Twitter

It’s easy to view the events of the two World Wars with the benefit of hindsight. For some people, removed from the events by at least half a century, everything seems to lead to an inevitable win by the Allies. A triumphant win by good over evil if you will.

The Experiences of an English Soldier certainly brought the events of ninety years ago back to life for a lot of people. The life of Private Harry Lamin was revealed to us through his intermittent letters home to his family, 90 years to the day after they were written. The gaps kept everyone guessing about his fate; hoping that he would survive the war and make it home safely.

winston churchill union flag

The UK National Archive (@ukwarcabinet [^]) is following in that tradition, posting tweets from the Cabinet Papers day by day 70 years on from the original events. For anyone who wants more there are links in the tweets back to the original papers.

We have just been through the Battle and Evacuation of Dunkirk [^]. Mr Winston Churchill has just made a speech [^]: “We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”. Plans are being made for the defence of England against the anticipated Nazi invasion, and the Battle of Britain [^] is just a month in the future.

The immediacy of watching the events as they are revealed in real-time show how delicately balanced the two sides were. So, after almost two years on Twitter [^] I have finally found a use for it – to keep up to date with the events of seventy years ago!

90 Years of Remembrance

Today marks the 90th anniversary of the end of the Great War, “The War to End All Wars”.  This was a heart-felt wish of a war-ravaged world, a world that had just witnessed a bloodshed on a scale never seen before.

Poppy Appeal

Poppy Appeal

The past couple of years have seen a steady thinning of the World War One survivors ranks.  Thankfully, this has not meant that the commemoration has been forgotten.  The BBC will televise the two minute silence [^] at the London Cenotaph to commemorate the anniversary.  Leading the country will be Britain’s remaining three veterans: Henry Allingham, Harry Patch and William Stone.

Some have claimed that the days like Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day, and ANZAC Day are a celebration of this horror.  This over looks the intention of these days, a remembrance of those who lost their lives in the service of their country, and the loss suffered by their families.  It is worth remembering that:

“Without their sacrifice the world would be a very different place today and we might not have the freedoms that we take for granted today.”

UK Veterans Minister, Tom Watson. [^]

Remembrance Day has since widened it’s scope to commemorate the sacrifices of all conflicts since 1914 up to the present day.

The least that any of us can do is buy a poppy [^] and observe the two minute silence on the the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

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.

Lt.-Col. John McCrae – “In Flanders Fields”