Monday, August 13, 2012

EThOS – Electronic Thesis Online Service

What a fantastic research resource I wish I’d found it earlier…….

EThOS is the Electronic Theses Online System which allows individuals to find, access and archive e-theses that are produced in UK Higher Education institutions. For this purpose a UK database of theses is being established at a ‘Central Hub’ at the British Library. The aim is to offer a 'single point of access' where researchers the world over can access ALL theses produced by UK Higher Education. This is a list of the participating institutions (

Below is a sample of Great War related thesis available for immediate ‘free’ download, all you have to do is to create and account here (

The operational role of British corps command on the Western Front, 1914-18.
The expansion of the Indian army during the Great War.
The Great War and Australian memory : a study of myth, remembering and oral history.
'Have you forgotten yet?' : shell shock, trauma and the memory of the Great War in Britain, 1914-1930
A war remembered : commemmoration, battlefield tourism and British collective memory of the Great War
British casualties on the Western Front 1914-1918 and their influence on the military conduct of the Second World War
'Swords trembling in their scabbards' : a study of Indian officers in the Indian Cavalry, 1858 – 1918
Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon : from early poetry to autobiography
British Cavalry on the Western Front 1916-1918
The British Expeditionary Force and the battle of Loos
The British Infantry Officer on the Western Front,in the First World War : with special reference to the Royal Warwickshire Regiment
British generalship on the Western Front in the First World War, 1914-1918
The theory and practice of tank co-operation with other arms on the western front during the First World War
The 46th (North Midland) Division T.F. on the Western Front, 1915-1918
The evolution of the British Army's logistical and administrative infrastructure and its influence on GHQ's operational and strategic decision-making on the Western Front, 1914-1918.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“Crumps” The Plain Story of a Canadian Who Went – Louise Keene

This narrative published in 1917 provides a series of inter-connected vignettes written by Louise Keene a Captain in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). Although not dated the vignettes cover the initial creation, training and deployment in France of the CEF, they finish sometime, probably late 1915 when Keene was injured and returned to Canada. In 1917 when the USA found itself in the same position as the Canadians had in 1914 the vignettes were published, with a forward written by US Major General (Leonard Wood), and made available to the newly recruited US soldiers. The intent as Wood stated was that as ‘many young Americans are about to undergo experiences similar to those of Captain Keene … a perusal of this modest and straight-forward narrative will help in the great work of getting ready’ . As it did in 1917 this narrative continues to provide an insight into the realities of the Western Front as can be evidenced by this sample of vignettes taken from the book:

A trip to No Man's Land is an excursion which you never forget. It varies in width and horrors. My impression was similar to what I should feel being on Broadway without any clothes--a naked feeling. Forty-seven and one half inches of earth are necessary to stop a bullet, and it's nice to have that amount of dirt between you and the enemy's bullets. The dead lie out in between the lines or hang up on the wire; they don't look pretty after they have been out some time. It's a pleasant job to have to get their identification disks, and we have to search the bodies of the enemy dead for papers and even buttons so that we can know what unit is in front of us. Flowers grow in between, butterflies play together, and birds nest in the wire. When the grass becomes too high it has to be cut, because otherwise it would prevent good observation. In some places grass doesn't have a chance to even take root, let alone grow. The shells take care of that.

Enemy snipers give us a great deal of trouble. It is very difficult to locate them. One of our men tried out an original scheme. He put an empty biscuit tin on the parapet. Immediately the sniper put a bullet through it. Now thought the Genius, "If I look through the two holes it will give me my direction,"--so getting up on the firestep he looked through, only to roll over with the top of his head smashed off by a bullet. The sniper was shooting his initials on the tin.

We are all used to dead bodies or pieces of men, so much so that we are not troubled by the sight of them. There was a right hand sticking out of the trench in the position of a man trying to shake hands with you, and as the men filed out they would often grip it and say, "So long, old top, we'll be back again soon." One man had the misfortune to be buried in such a way that the bald part of the head showed. It had been there a long time and was sun-dried. Tommy used him to strike his matches on. A corpse in a trench is quite a feature, and is looked for when the men come back again to the same trench.

This place isn't somewhere in France, it's somewhere in Hell! It has been the scene of a great many encounters; decayed French uniforms, old rifles, ammunition and leather equipment and bundles of mildewed tobacco leaves are strewn all over the place. I found the chin-strap of a German "Pickelhaube" in the grounds, the helmet of a French cuirassier, and the red pants of a Zouave, close together. When digging in the trenches or anywhere near the firing line you have to be careful: corpses, dead horses, and cattle are buried everywhere. I'm building a trench to my emplacement and we have a stinking cow in the direct line; this will have to be buried before we can cut through.’  “Crumps” The Plain Story of a Canadian Who Went – Louise Keene

Monday, July 9, 2012

On the Right of the British Line by Captain Gilbert Nobbs

Gilbert Nobbs was a Captain in the 1/5th (City of London) Battalion London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade). He joined the Battalion on 8 August 1916 during the battle of the Somme. As B Company commander he was involved in the Battalions attack at Leuze Wood on 9 September 1916 where he was wounded and taken prisoner. His narrative of this engagement provides a vivid description of the confusion and disarray surrounding the operations at this stage of the Somme battle whilst that of the final assault captures the bravery of the men involved and the hell many of them did not survive.

Extract from: On theRight of the British Line by Captain Gilbert Nobbs. (pp 106 – 115)

Half my strength had gone, and the real attack had not yet begun. I sent for the remaining platoon commanders and explained the situation:
"No. 6 Platoon will now become the first wave. Form up and extend along the edge of the wood and await my signal to advance into the open. No. 7 Platoon, form up immediately in rear; and No. 8 Platoon, assemble in the trench close up. Bombing section of No. 6 will proceed along the trench parallel with the advance, bombing it out as they go along."
The men formed up. The minutes seemed to be like hours. We were facing the inside of the square trench, which was a mass of shell-holes, and as though anticipating our intention, shells were bursting and bullets whistling on all sides. ………………………………..
At last the thunder of our guns towards the German lines confirmed the hour. Zero hour had arrived; the barrage had begun.
"No-. 6 Platoon will advance."
The front line jumped up and walked into the open. Wonderful ! Steady as a rock ! The line
was perfect. On the left the front line of C Company has also emerged from the wood; the bombers of No. 6 Platoon disappeared along the mystery trench.
The tut-ut-ut-ut of machine-guns developed from several parts of the square, while the crack of rifles increased in intensity. No. 7 Platoon jumped up and advanced into the open, followed by the third wave. I extended my runners and followed.
What followed next beggars description. As I write these lines my hand hesitates to describe the hell that was let loose upon those men. No eye but mine could take in the picture so completely.
Will the world ever know what these men faced and fought against these men of the City of London? Not unless I tell it, for I alone saw all that happened that day; and my hand alone, weak and incapable though it feels, is the only one that can do it.
Barely had I emerged from the wood with my ten runners when a perfect hurricane of shells were hurled at us, machine-guns from several points spraying their deadly fire backward and forward, dropping men like corn before the reaper. From all three sides of the square a hurricane of fire was poured into the centre of the square upon us, as we emerged from the wood.
In far less time than it takes to record it, the attacking waves became a mere sprinkling of men. They went on for a yard or two, and then all seemed to vanish; and even my runners, whom I had extended into line, were dropping fast.
The situation was critical, desperate. Fearful lest the attack should fail, I ran forward, and collecting men here and there from shell-holes where some had taken refuge, I formed them into a fresh firing-line, and once more we pressed forward.
Again and again the line was thinned; and again the survivors, undaunted and unbeaten, reformed and pressed forward.
Men laughed, men cried in the desperation of the moment. We were grappling with death; we were dodging it, cheating it; we were mad, blindly hysterical. What did anything matter? Farther and farther into the inferno we must press, at any cost, at any cost; leaping, jumping, rushing, we went from shell-hole to shell-hole; and still the fire continued with unrelenting fury.
I jumped into a shell-hole, and found myself within ten yards of my objective. My three remaining runners jumped in alongside of me. They were Arnold, Dobson, and Wilkinson.
Arnold was done for! He looked up at me with eyes staring and face blanched, and panted out that he could go no farther, and I realised that I could count on him no more.
I glanced to the left, just in time to see three Germans not five yards away, and one after the other jump from a shell-hole which formed a sort of bay to their trench, and run away.
Wishing to save the ammunition in my revolver for the hand-to-hand scuffle which seemed imminent, I seized the rifle of Arnold and fired. I missed all three; my hand was shaky.
What was I to do next? The company on my left had disappeared; the trench just in front of me was occupied by the Bodies. I had with me three runners, one of whom was helpless, and in the next shell-hole about six men, the sole survivors of my company.
Where were the supports? Anxiously I glanced back toward the wood ; why did they not come?
Poor fellows, I did not know it at the time, but the hand of death had dealt with them even more
heavily in the wood than it had with us.
My position was desperate. I could not retire. My orders were imperative: "You must reach your objective at any cost." I must get there somehow. But even if we got there, how long could I hope to hold out with such a handful of men?
Immediate support I must have; I must take risks. I turned to brave Dobson and Wilkinson:
"Message to the supports: 'Send me two platoons quickly; position critical.’"
Without a moment's hesitation they jumped up and darted off with the message which might save the day.
Dobson fell before he had gone two yards; three paces farther on I saw Wilkinson, the pet of the company, turn suddenly round and fall on the ground, clutching at his breast. All hope for the supports was gone.
At this moment the bombing section, which by this time had cleared the mystery trench, arrived on the right of the objective; and to my delirious joy, I noticed the Germans in the trench in front of me running away along the trench.
It was now, or never! We must charge over that strip of land and finish them with the bayonet. A moment's hesitation and the tables might again be turned, and all would be lost. The trench in front must be taken by assault; it must be done. There were six or seven of us left, and we must do it.
I yelled to the men:
"Get ready to charge, they are running. Come on! Come on!"
I jumped out of the shell-hole, and they followed me. Once again I was mad. I saw nothing, I heard nothing; I wanted to kill! kill!
Pf ung!
Oh ! My God ! I was hit in the head ! I was blind!

Monday, June 11, 2012

WW1 Online Research - My TWEET's Page 4


1 Jan - 28 Feb 2012

Report on the effect of the bombing by the 8th Brigade and Independent Force, Royal Air Force (Bombs)  (2 Jan 2012)

Report on the effect of the bombing by the 8th Brigade and Independent Force, Royal Air Force (Hostile counter-measures)  (4 Jan 2012)

Report on the effect of the bombing by the 8th Brigade and Independent Force, Royal Air Force (Misc photos)  (8 Jan 2012)

With the British Army in the Holy Land, Published 1919  (12 Jan 2012)

Official historical account [Turkish] of the Dardanelles Campaign.  (15 Jan 2012)

Why did Great Britain go to War in August 1914? (blatant self-promotion)  (17 Jan 2012)

Origins of Aerial Photographic Interpretation, U.S. Army, 1916 to 1918  (21 Jan 2012)

Genesis, execution and collapse of the German Offensive in 1918: part 1, the preparation of the offensive  (29 Jan 2012)

Genesis, execution and collapse of the German Offensive in 1918: part 2, the execution and failure of the offensive  (30 Jan 2012)

Boff, Jonathan  ‘Air/Land Integration in the 100 Days: The Case of Third Army’, Air Power Review, 12, (3), (Autumn 2009)  (3 Feb 2012)

Dye, Peter  ‘Sustaining Airpower – Influence of Logistics on RAF Doctrine’ Air Power Review, 9, (2), (Autumn 2006)  (4 Feb 2012)

Curzon  Report of the Committee on Royal Aircraft Factory, and report to War Committee by the Air Board on the subject of the Royal Aircraft Factory (London, HMSO, 1916)  (6 Feb 2012)

Rember, Bruce  ‘Operational Lessons from the Dawn of Air Power’, Fort Leavenworth Thesis, (May 1993)  (10 Feb 2012)

King, H.F.  ‘British Naval Flying’, Flight Magazine, 20 April 1951, pp. 467-471  (13 Feb 2012)

Studies in minor tactics 1915 (US), revised edition 1916.  (15 Feb 2012)

John Terraine on Douglas Haig - A General Discussion: The 1996 Haig Fellows address'Addresses96.html  (16 Feb 2012)

"it is impossible to carry on warfare unless we have mastery of the air" General Grierson 1912:  (19 Feb 2012)

Reprint from the Journal of the Royal Artillery, May, 1922. The Development Of Artillery Tactics—1914–1918 Pt 1  (22 Feb 2012)

Dr John Bourne – Haig’s Army: The 2002 Haig Fellows address'Addresses02.html  (23 Feb 2012)

The Battle for Air Supremacy over the Somme, 1 June-30 November 1916, T Bradbeer Fort Leavenworth Thesis, (June 2004)  (28 Feb 2012)