Who Do We Think He Was?

Thursday saw the start of the latest series of the popular BBC TV family history programme, Who Do You Think You Are? which will be repeated tomorrow, Tuesday. The first subject was comedian and presenter, Sue Perkins and there was – in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment – the very briefest mention of the Salonika campaign.

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Gas! 22 April 1915

Thursday, 22 April, was a beautiful spring day: warm, sunny, with a faint breeze. German guns shelled French and Canadian trenches throughout the morning but fell silent in the afternoon. The brief period of peace suddenly ended at 4:00 p.m. when the Germans unleashed a violent bombardment, first on the salient and then gradually extending to nearby roads and Ypres, turning the town into a flaming inferno and causing its citizens to flee. An hour later an ominous greenish-yellow wall of fumes was seen drifting slowly across no-man’s-land toward the French line.

Cassar, G.H. (2014), Trial By Gas – The British Army at the Second Battle of Ypres; Potomac Press, University of Nebraska Press.
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A Royal Connection

When I last read Alan Palmer’s classic history of the Macedonian campaign (The Gardeners of Salonika, 1965) several years ago, I came across a story which I thought would be worth sharing here; needless to say I then completely forgot about it … until now. With the death of Prince Philip, it is a good time to remind ourselves of his connection with the Greek royal family and the war in Salonika.

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28th Division – The Prequel!

Towards the end of October 1915, units of the 28th Division entrained for Marseille, sailed to Egypt and then, after a period of training and reorganisation, to Salonika. Barely a month before, the Division had been embroiled in a bloody and confusing battle to hold the German Hohenzollen Redoubt at Loos; a battle they had subsequently lost.

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Remembering the Indian Army on VJ Day

It was pointed out today that the one thing everyone remembers about the 14th Army is that it was ‘The Forgotten Army’! It is to be hoped that today’s VJ Day commemorations will get people beyond that fact, to recognise what an incredibly diverse force it was and that it was, by and large, an Indian Army that won victory in Burma. Continue reading “Remembering the Indian Army on VJ Day”