Balloon with gas filling apparatus in Veneto F…

Balloon with gas filling apparatus in Veneto Feb 20 1918 Fesselballon mit Gasfüllapparat in Venetien

Feb 1918 “German troops using a tracti…

Feb 1918 “German troops using a traction engine to tow a damaged British Mk IV Tank through the village of Fontaine” – 

IWM (Q 45406)

How to Remember a War Without Glory?

How to Remember a War Without Glory?: undefined

greatwar-1914: No. 2 Construction Battalion F…

greatwar-1914:

No. 2 Construction Battalion

Fighting for a country that didn’t want them.

On March 25 1917, Canada’s first and only black military unit left Halifax harbor for the Western Front. Six hundred soldiers, mostly from Nova Scotia, formed up as No. 2 Construction Battalion. Many had been trying to enlist since 1914,  but winning this privilege had been an up-hill fight: for two years military authorities had turned down black recruits, telling them “This is a white man’s war.”

Finally, in 1916, Canada allowed black recruits entry into a segregated united of laborers. An additional 165 African-Americans crossed the border to join them, creating a full complement of 600 men. Winning the struggle to join up hardly ended discrimination. Except for the reverend, all officers were white, and even when they went to board their transport ship on March 25 the captain initially refused to let them on, saying that he would not let them travel on the same vessel as white soldiers.

The recruits hoped to be allowed to fight when they reached France, but instead the Canadian Expediotnary Force immediately downgraded them from a battalion to a company and assigned them to fell trees and prepare positions for white soldiers. They were not ever even issued with rifles. Their work was tedious and demoralizing, and many considered themselves failures even as they suffered casualties from artillery shells and poison gas.

The unit returned to Canada in 1919, but received no fanfare upon arrival. Much like America’s black soldiers, they returned to a country that did not value them or their sacrifice and actively oppressed their rights. Most of these veterans returned to poverty and unemployment. When they finally had their first reunion in 1982, only nine could attend from twenty known survivors. Their legacy and sacrifice has been revived since then. Although very few men were allowed the chance to serve, they began the first crack in the Canadian military’s institutionalized racism.

greatwar-1914: No. 2 Construction Battalion …

greatwar-1914:

No. 2 Construction Battalion

Fighting for a country that didn’t want them.

On March 25 1917, Canada’s first and only black military unit left Halifax harbor for the Western Front. Six hundred soldiers, mostly from Nova Scotia, formed up as No. 2 Construction Battalion. Many had been trying to enlist since 1914,  but winning this privilege had been an up-hill fight: for two years military authorities had turned down black recruits, telling them “This is a white man’s war.”

Finally, in 1916, Canada allowed black recruits entry into a segregated united of laborers. An additional 165 African-Americans crossed the border to join them, creating a full complement of 600 men. Winning the struggle to join up hardly ended discrimination. Except for the reverend, all officers were white, and even when they went to board their transport ship on March 25 the captain initially refused to let them on, saying that he would not let them travel on the same vessel as white soldiers.

The recruits hoped to be allowed to fight when they reached France, but instead the Canadian Expediotnary Force immediately downgraded them from a battalion to a company and assigned them to fell trees and prepare positions for white soldiers. They were not ever even issued with rifles. Their work was tedious and demoralizing, and many considered themselves failures even as they suffered casualties from artillery shells and poison gas.

The unit returned to Canada in 1919, but received no fanfare upon arrival. Much like America’s black soldiers, they returned to a country that did not value them or their sacrifice and actively oppressed their rights. Most of these veterans returned to poverty and unemployment. When they finally had their first reunion in 1982, only nine could attend from twenty known survivors. Their legacy and sacrifice has been revived since then. Although very few men were allowed the chance to serve, they began the first crack in the Canadian military’s institutionalized racism.

British Forces Enter Jericho

today-in-wwi:

A watercolor by James McBey depicting the repairing of a bridge on the road to Jericho that had been destroyed by the Turks.

February 21 1918, Jericho–After securing the area around Jerusalem, Allenby now turned his attention east, towards the river Jordan.  He ultimately hoped to cross it, link up with the Arab forces that were beginning to operate on the far side, then push towards Amman with the dual aims to cut off the Hejaz Railway and secure his flank for an advance north to Damascus.  The first step in the planned advance was Jericho; this required a steep descent down into the Jordan valley, far below sea level.  Thanks to Turkish sabotage during their withdrawal, and the harassment of Turkish gunners, it was slow going, but they reached and entered the city by February 21, after a week of operations.  The name had obvious Biblical connotations, and many of the men expected some great walled city; the reality, however, was far more mundane.  One New Zealander opined that “of all the cities of the east that our men had passed through, Jericho easily led the way as the filthiest and most evil-smelling of htem all.”

Sources include: Roger Ford, Eden to Armageddon; Eugene Rogan, The Fall of the Ottomans.

Today in 1917: Sarrail Plans Offensive Against Bulgaria

Today in 1916: Verdun: The First Day
Today in 1915: Russian XX Corps Surrenders in Augustów Forest

British Forces Enter Jericho

A watercolor by James McBey depicting the repairing of a bridge on the road to Jericho that had been destroyed by the Turks.

February 21 1918, Jericho–After securing the area around Jerusalem, Allenby now turned his attention east, towards the river Jordan.  He ultimately hoped to cross it, link up with the Arab forces that were beginning to operate on the far side, then push towards Amman with the dual aims to cut off the Hejaz Railway and secure his flank for an advance north to Damascus.  The first step in the planned advance was Jericho; this required a steep descent down into the Jordan valley, far below sea level.  Thanks to Turkish sabotage during their withdrawal, and the harassment of Turkish gunners, it was slow going, but they reached and entered the city by February 21, after a week of operations.  The name had obvious Biblical connotations, and many of the men expected some great walled city; the reality, however, was far more mundane.  One New Zealander opined that “of all the cities of the east that our men had passed through, Jericho easily led the way as the filthiest and most evil-smelling of htem all.”

Sources include: Roger Ford, Eden to Armageddon; Eugene Rogan, The Fall of the Ottomans.

Today in 1917: Sarrail Plans Offensive Against Bulgaria

Today in 1916: Verdun: The First Day
Today in 1915: Russian XX Corps Surrenders in Augustów Forest

thisdayinwwi:

thisdayinwwi:

Feb 22 1918 “window made from soda water bottles and cement in a dug-out occupied by men of the Royal Engineers near Cambrai” https://t.co/9TmWbsXjBL https://t.co/HhQzm4ayxT http://twitter.com/ThisDayInWWI/status/966445566266769408

greatwar-1914: No. 2 Construction Battalion F…

greatwar-1914:

No. 2 Construction Battalion

Fighting for a country that didn’t want them.

On March 25 1917, Canada’s first and only black military unit left Halifax harbor for the Western Front. Six hundred soldiers, mostly from Nova Scotia, formed up as No. 2 Construction Battalion. Many had been trying to enlist since 1914,  but winning this privilege had been an up-hill fight: for two years military authorities had turned down black recruits, telling them “This is a white man’s war.”

Finally, in 1916, Canada allowed black recruits entry into a segregated united of laborers. An additional 165 African-Americans crossed the border to join them, creating a full complement of 600 men. Winning the struggle to join up hardly ended discrimination. Except for the reverend, all officers were white, and even when they went to board their transport ship on March 25 the captain initially refused to let them on, saying that he would not let them travel on the same vessel as white soldiers.

The recruits hoped to be allowed to fight when they reached France, but instead the Canadian Expediotnary Force immediately downgraded them from a battalion to a company and assigned them to fell trees and prepare positions for white soldiers. They were not ever even issued with rifles. Their work was tedious and demoralizing, and many considered themselves failures even as they suffered casualties from artillery shells and poison gas.

The unit returned to Canada in 1919, but received no fanfare upon arrival. Much like America’s black soldiers, they returned to a country that did not value them or their sacrifice and actively oppressed their rights. Most of these veterans returned to poverty and unemployment. When they finally had their first reunion in 1982, only nine could attend from twenty known survivors. Their legacy and sacrifice has been revived since then. Although very few men were allowed the chance to serve, they began the first crack in the Canadian military’s institutionalized racism.

thisdayinwwi: Feb 22 1918 “An air mechanic han…

thisdayinwwi:

Feb 22 1918 “An air mechanic handing photographic plates to an observer in a Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 near Arras” –

IWM (Q 11982)