Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Limes Oblitus - The Forgotten Frontline

Many thanks to Ray Laurence, Karla Pollmann and Dunstan Lowe from the School of European Culture and Languages, Department of Classical & Archaeological Studies at the University of Kent for their help and advice in providing a translation for 'The Forgotten Frontline' - 'Limes oblitus'.

Here the phrase on Google Translate

Custard Cream Castle - Could we do something like this in Kent...??

Could we do something like this in Kent..??

Carlisle Castle has been recreated in cake form by a team of volunteers armed with thousands of custard creams.

Staff from three local baking firms used 5,000 of the biscuits to help create the structure as part of the city's summer pageant celebrations.

It took the group three days to complete the castle, which measures about 1.2m (4ft) square. Visitors were able to sample a piece of the creation during the pageant.

Volunteers came forward after a Facebook appeal from English Heritage, which runs the castle.

Let us know if you have any suggestions.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Boy Scouts - The the greatest moral force that the World had ever known?

In 1912, former British Prime Minister Lord Rosebery provided some memorable observations, made in the course of an address he gave to the Boy Scouts of Midlothian:

"If I were to form the highest ideal for my country, it would be a nation of which the manhood was exclusively composed of men who had been, or were, Boy Scouts, and were trained in the Boy Scout theory...

Such a nation would be the honour of Mankind...

It would be the greatest moral force that the World had ever known."

Scout's War Book - Lloyd's Weekly News 1914

Published by Lloyd's Weekly News in 1914 - the "Scouts War Book" provided advice and guidance on a range of tasks and activities for Boy Scouts involved,or hoping to become involved, in the war effort, including:

What to do in air raids 

First Aid 

Facts about Army Navy flying 

Wolf Cubs 

How to become a Scout 

From the Guardian's Archive "The Scout's part in the War"- December 1914

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian in December 1914, this short article highlights the role of the Boy Scouts during the First World War entitled- "The Scout's part in the War"

The time perhaps has come when we may usefully consider to what extent the Boy Scout movement has justified its existence as a helpful agency in time of war. Only a few years back we were most of us smiling at the mimic warfare of the bare-kneed youngster with the broomstick. Now that the country is up against the real thing, and even a boy counts, what do we find that this same small warrior has learnt to do? What real service does he render that has won his picturesque and healthy uniform official recognition? In what way has he, adding his little contribution to the common store, deserved well of his Fatherland?

Most of us know, for the press was generous, what he did at the outbreak of the war – how he helped the police and Territorials in guarding bridges and culverts, telegraph and railway lines, often keeping night watch, and running what might have proved serious risks; how on foot and cycle he delivered countless messages, and reported several not imaginary spies; and how he enjoyed it all, feeling that at last he was playing the real game, as a recognised servant of the King. 

For the Scouts, too, in all countries, were mobilised, and I imagine that in varying ways they have equally proved their value everywhere. 

In Belgium they have seen much active service. 

In France many have made their way to the front, and serve as despatch riders – one such, after being wounded in Alsace, near Rheims, and at Ypres, is in Manchester, and many more have been organised for ambulance work and for replacing minor cogs in the administrative wheel.

Personally, I shall not easily forget the sight of French Scouts piloting our own soldiers round at Havre in August acting as guides, interpreters, and very faithful squires. "Please tell Baden-Powell that I don't know how we should get on without these little chaps," was the repeated request of officer and private alike.

In England some fourteen hundred Scouts have, since the war began, been patrolling the coasts keeping watch, signalling ships, and generally replacing coastguards now on active service. 

A motor ambulance manned by expert Scouts is being sent to France. 

Over ten thousand ex-Scouts are known to be with the colours, and officers have abundantly recognised the value of their training and their spirit. 

The Boy Scouts have offered to raise for service at the front a full battalion of cyclists, provided with machines and a guaranteed proficiency in scouting and despatch-riding.


FFL Blogger - Social Network Update

We have now added Google + and Linkedin to The FFL Blogspot profile.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Faversham Air Raid 1915 - Latest research

Good work by FFL Researcher John Stone - who has been spending some time in local libraries undertaking research into the German air raid on Faversham, Sittingbourne and Sheppey in April 1915. 

John has found a book called: ‘A Glint in the Sky' – German WW1 air attacks on Folkestone, Dover, Ramsgate and Margate and other Kentish Towns. This book describes the raids on Faversham along the lines of previous newspaper but with the following differences:
  • They refer to the plane as being an Albatross B11 rather than a Taube. (From what I have found on the internet, the early version of the Albatross was a two seater with the pilot at the rear and the observer at the front. The observer’s view of the ground was totally obstructed by the wings! The Taube was a single seater.) 

  • One bomb landed close to the Kingsferry Bridge.
  • 12 Planes were scrambled from RNAS Eastchurch, Manston and Dover. I have tried without success to obtain operational details on Eastchurch but will now try Manston and Dover. They say that the raider escaped.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

WW1 - What does it mean to you?

With the start of the First World War Centenary one year away, what does it mean to you? 

Join the conversation on Twitter @IWM_Centenary and on Facebook/FirstWorldWarCentenary and let everyone know your thoughts on the commemorations. #WW1Centenary

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

1915 - Aeroplane Raid on Faversham, Sittingbourne & Sheppey


Wanganui Chronicle , Issue 20333, 19 April 1915, Page 6

Edrich Taube "Dove" Monoplane
Is this the type of aeroplane that bombed the people of Faversham, Sittingbourne and the Isle of Sheppey in 1915?

Monday, August 05, 2013

'The Forgotten Frontline' - In Action!!

Since 2009 'The Forgotten Frontline' team have been telling the story of invasion and conflict in the frontline County of Kent. 

In 2012, artist Dave Chisholm and archaeologist Mark Harrison created 'The Tankerton Tapestry' a cartoon depicting the defence works and fortifications at Tankerton and Whitstable in 1940. 

And now, in 2013, 'The Forgotten Frontline' comes to life with the arrival of animator Stuart Clark.

This short animation provides a snapshot of the high-quality research, artwork and production standards of this embryonic partnership. 

We are actively seeking new partners and funding opportunities that will allow the team to produce even more detailed and spectacular characters, cartoon animated projects for 'The Forgotten Frontline'.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

'Your Country Needs You' - The myth about the Kitchener WW1 poster

“Your country needs YOU”
It is perhaps the best known and most enduring image of the First World War: the commanding, moustached face of Lord Kitchener, his accusing, pointing finger and the urgent slogan - “Your country needs YOU”

The picture is credited with encouraging millions of men to sign up to fight in the trenches, many of them never to return. But new research has found that no such poster was actually produced during the war and that the image was never used for official recruitment purposes. In fact, it only became popular and widely-used after the conflict ended. 

James Taylor, who has researched the history of recruitment posters, said the popular understanding of the design and the impact it had was almost entirely mistaken.

“It’s widely believed to have been the most popular design of First World War, instrumental in recruiting millions of men. But the truth is: that simply wasn’t the case. It’s an urban myth,” he added.

As part of his research, he studied the official records of the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee, the body responsible for recruitment posters, in the National Archives at Kew.

These documents provided details of the production of almost 200 official recruitment posters produced during the war and indicated which ones were deemed popular. The so-called ‘Your Country Needs You’ poster is absent. He also analysed thousands of photographs of street scenes and recruitment offices from the period in search of the image, again, without finding it.

In his new book, Your Country Needs You, Mr Taylor traced the picture back to its origins, on 5th September 1914, barely a month after the start of the war.

On that day, the image was used on the front cover of the popular magazine London Opinion, beneath the masthead, and alongside two promotional offers: “This paper insures you for £1,000” and “50 photographs of YOU for a shilling”. 

It had been designed by Alfred Leete, a graphic artist, who had adapted a portrait of Kitchener to give him the distinctive pointing finger. The slogan was adapted from the official call to arms, which said: “Your King and Country Need You”. 

In a subsequent edition, a week later, the magazine, which had a circulation of almost 300,000, said readers would be able to buy postcards of the image for 1s. 4d for 100. 

Despite this, Mr Taylor has not been able to track down any surviving examples in public or private collections, found that the original artwork for the magazine was acquired by the Imperial War Museum in 1917 and was mistakenly catalogued as part of the poster collection, contributing to later misunderstanding about its use. 

“There has been a mass, collective misrecollection. The image’s influence now is absolutely out of all kilter with the reality of its initial impact. It has taken on a new kind of life. It is such a good image and saying that it was later seized upon. Some many historians and books have used it and kept repeating how influential it was, that people have come to accept it.” 

This 'myth' surrounding the poster echoes that around the “Keep Calm and Carry On” sign, which has been widely reproduced in recent years. That poster, designed in 1939, had limited distribution and no public display.

Mr Taylor’s book shows how the Kitchener image did inspire similar posters, which were used, including one, which was produced by LO, with the word BRITONS, above the same picture of the Field Marshal pointing, with the words “wants YOU – Join Your Country’s Army!”, beneath, and the words ‘God Save The King’ printed along the bottom. However, Mr Taylor said there was no evidence the poster was particularly popular or a dominant design of the war, as some historians have claimed.

The only occasion in which the image and the wording did appear in poster form was an elaborate design, when the words and picture appear, in a smaller scale, below five flags and surrounded by details or rates of pay and other information, including the additional slogan – “Your Country is Still Calling. Fighting Men! Fall In!!”.

He found that the most popular poster of the era, in terms of numbers produced, did feature Kitchener, but without the pointing finger and featuring a 30-word extract from a speech he had made.

Horatio Kitchener had been appointed Secretary of State for War at the outbreak of the conflict - the 99th anniversary of which is this weekend - and correctly predicted that victory would take several years and require huge new armies.
He instigated a huge recruitment campaign to form “Kitchener’s Army”, or the “New Army” – whose men were later to die in campaigns such as the Somme. 

He was already the country’s most famous soldier, a recognisable and influential figure having served in a number of Imperial campaigns, including in the Sudan, and South Africa, during the Second Boer War. 

He died two years before the end of the First World War when he was travelling to Russia on a diplomatic mission, aboard the warship HMS Hampshire. The vessel struck a mine and sank west of the Orkney Islands. Kitchener, his staff, and 643 of the crew of 655 were drowned or died of exposure. Survivors who saw him in his final moments testified to his outward calm and resolution.

How to build your own Royal Oberserver Corps Monitoring Post

 1. Dig a large hole

  2. Add concrete & steel reinforcement

  3. Add access shaft and hatch

  4. Add monitoring equipment...

  5. And there you go one ROC Monitoring Post
Members of Bravo 2 Post Stratford, London
 Thank you to the ROC National Archive for use of the images.

ROC Monitoring Post by Dave Chisholm
See more of Dave's work here

Paving Stones to Honour WW1 Heroes

Special paving stones will be laid in the home towns of every UK soldier awarded the Victoria Cross as part of 2014's World War I centenary events.

The specially-commissioned stones will be given to councils in the areas where the VC recipients were born.

A total of 28 will be unveiled next year to commemorate medals awarded in 1914 and others will be laid in every year up to 2018.

Plans to restore war memorials around the country have also been announced.
Help will be given to local communities and a website will be launched so people around the UK can obtain funding and support to ensure all memorials are in good condition by November 2018.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles revealed there will be a national competition to design the paving stones, which will have a QR barcode , which people can scan with a smartphone to learn more details about the recipient.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: 

"The First World War had a fundamental effect on the course of our history but as time passes, the living links that connect that terrible time and the present day have dwindled."

"So it is really important that we mark the centenary which saw some of the darkest days in our history and remind everyone of the sacrifice that was made - and how it has affected all our lives today."

The Heritage Lottery Fund has also announced the first grants under its new £6m First World War - Then and Now small grants programme.

A campaign is also being launched to get 100 employers signed up to the new Centenary Apprenticeship scheme in 100 days.

The aim is to get companies who existed 100 years ago, which focus on crafts with a modern application, to join up.

There will also be a programme of cultural events presented by the First World War Centenary Partnership, led by the Imperial War Museums who are launching an online centenary cultural events calendar on the centenary website at 1914.org.

Plans for two pupils and a teacher from every state-funded secondary school in England to visit the Western Front battlefields and for a service at Glasgow Cathedral on August 4 next year were announced last month.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

WW1 Whitstable - Fletcher's Battery Isle of Sheppey

WW1 Whitstable - research by conflict historian Victor Smith reveals that the guns of Fletcher Battery on the Isle of Sheppey had an arc of fire that would have been capable of striking Whitstable.  

The coastal batteries could be turned to fire on sea and land targets in an anti-invasion role.

WW1 Whitstable - Harbour Blockade

WW1 Whitstable - research by conflict historian Victor Smith reveals that in 1914 the Commander in Chief Nore Command WW1 directed two loaded barges to be placed at readiness in order to block the inner & outer harbour.