17 September 1918

It was not until the early evening of 16 September that Serbian troops finally reached the summit of the Kozyak, having had attack after attack thrown back. Even then they came across a German battalion on the northern slopes, covering the withdrawal of the Bulgarian defenders, so keeping up momentum was difficult.

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Why Dobropolje?

That the Bulgarians and Germans were not expecting an assault on the Dobropolje is hardly surprising, given the nature of the terrain. Alan Palmer describes it thus, in ‘Defeat of Bulgaria – The Central Powers Begin to Crack’ (published in History of the First World War No. 107 by Purnell for BPC Publishing Ltd, London, in cooperation with the Imperial War Museum):

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‘… the success of the entire offensive depends upon rapid penetration …”

In his book Balkan Breakthrough – The Battle of Dobro Pole 1918  (Indiana University Press, 2010), Richard Hall writes that several days before the start of the offensive, Serbian soldiers were told by their high command: Continue reading “‘… the success of the entire offensive depends upon rapid penetration …””

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”

Do you have a spare £1750?

If so, this fascinating album and diary – for sale on eBay – may be just the thing for you! Serbia 1916-17 – The WW1 diary of Kathleen May Jenner Davies of Gloucestershire, covering her time near the front line as a volunteer with the Serbian Relief Fund. Continue reading “Do you have a spare £1750?”

Faces of Salonika : photo album for sale

My thanks go to Brian Goodison-Blanks of Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood Limited, Fine Art Valuers and Auctioneers in Exeter, for telling us of a splendid photograph album which will be in their Sporting and Collectors auction on 15 and 16 November. Continue reading “Faces of Salonika : photo album for sale”

Celebrating ‘Canada 150’

As Canada celebrates 150 years since confederation, it seems appropriate to remember the role played by Canadian medical services in the Macedonian campaign. I believe these were Nos. 4 and 5 General Hospitals and No. 1 Stationary Hospital, but please correct me if I am wrong. Continue reading “Celebrating ‘Canada 150’”

The death of Lady Harley

Lady Harley, the sister of Sir John French, was killed in Bitola, Serbia, on 17 March 1917. The New Mosquito issue 17 (April 2008) contained an article – Lady Harley and her Gravestone in Two Languages – by Philp Barnes. This is an extract from the article giving the circumstances of Lady Harley’s death and subsequent burial. Continue reading “The death of Lady Harley”