5 thoughts on “Remembrance

    • They bothered because they could. And because it was right so to do.

      What people forget is that much fewer than half of British and Imperial soldiers were conscripted. Conscription was never allowed by the Dominions and the Empire, and was only introduced in Britain about the beginning of 1916, when men not in reserved occupations began to be “combed out”. Trained British conscripts only began appearing in field formations towards the end of 1916.

      The 1916 Somme campaign – which “finally broke the spirit of the German Armies In The West” (I quote a German General here, I could probably find out which one, but later!) and forced Germany into unrestricted submarine warfare and thus pulling the USA into the War and ensuring Allied victory – was the last battle-series of the volunteers of “Kitchener’s Pals Battalions”.

      There was no guarantee even by 1917 that the USA would remain a “friendly neutral”. It was odds on, in fact, which side America would come down on, as their administration disliked the Allies almost as much as it disliked the Central Powers….

      Haig didn’t want to fight at the Somme, but in Flanders if he had to, as the ground was better for attacks. The Government forced him, to take heat off the French, for, had they lost Verdun and the railway hubs emanating, France would have had to leave the war in 1916. French troops mutinied massively in early 1917 after a failed and badly planned assault. So, Haig…had also to fight 3-Ypres (Paasschendaele)… while French morale recovered while delivering no attacks.

      Poor maligned Haig and his staff, after the Somme, were shocked, and they then fiercely discouraged the formation of more “Pals’ Battalions”. They’d learned the same lesson that Americans did in their 1860s civil war – never recruit an entire formation from one locality or town only, but distribute the drafts randomly on a national basis…for obvious reasons.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. One of the most significant artistic creations – at once being both mute and also transmitting a strident message – to come out of the dark history of the 20th Century.

    107 years ago today, “half-time” was signalled. The wrong “treaty” was forced, and so there had to be a second-half playoff.

    Liked by 1 person

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