“508 bottles of beer will be sent to you”

Early in the morning of September 18th this apparently inconsequential message was telephoned to each British Divisional HQ. It was the signal that the attack at Doiran was to be launched at eight minutes past five that morning, one and three-quarter hours before sunrise. The offensive opened with…

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Away from the Western Front Conference : 30th October 2018

On the centenary of the Mudros Armistice, which marked the end of the First World War in the Middle East against the Ottoman Empire, we are delighted to be holding a conference reflecting on the often-overlooked campaigns which took place all over the world between 1914 and 1918.

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Introducing Desperate Frankie

As we enter September we come to the centenary of the last month of hostilities for the BSF. September 1918 saw the final allied offensive – which for the British was the Second Battle of Doiran – which brought about the Bulgarian armistice at the end of the month. Continue reading “Introducing Desperate Frankie”

Celebrating Norfolk Day : a Salonika connection

Having lived in Norfolk for just 28 years I am still an ‘incomer’ but, even so, I would like to celebrate the very first ‘Norfolk Day’ of my adopted county. The challenge, then, is to find a Norfolk connection although this is by no means obvious as you won’t find the Norfolk Regiment – a fine county regiment – in the BSF’s order of battle. Continue reading “Celebrating Norfolk Day : a Salonika connection”

1st Garrison Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment in Salonika

If you look though our order of battle of the British Salonika Force you will not find any mention of the Northamptonshire Regiment. This being the case, I was puzzled to receive an enquiry from Simon Gale who has documentary evidence that his great-grandfather, of 1st Garrison Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment, had been in Salonika. Continue reading “1st Garrison Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment in Salonika”

Labour units of the BSF

A recent enquiry sent me into the uncharted waters of labour units that served with the British Salonika Force. Our orders of battle for the BSF – including on this website – tend to focus on the fighting units, so the Labour Corps and other supporting corps rarely get a look in. Continue reading “Labour units of the BSF”

Faces of Salonika : Somerset Miners

This rather small and tatty picture – another eBay purchase – shows a group of men sitting on a quayside, which may be Salonika. The mixture of service dress (as worn in the UK and on the Western Front) with a sun helmet would certainly be appropriate for men of the BSF after about mid-1916. The extremes of the Macedonian climate make all sorts of combinations of dress possible which, for me, is one of the fascinations of the campaign. Continue reading “Faces of Salonika : Somerset Miners”