Category: military history

French troops move the fuselage of a German Al…

French troops move the fuselage of a German Albatros C.1. through the streets of Salonika, 1916.

Officers of the Russian Military Mission at …

Officers of the Russian Military Mission at the French heavy artillery repair park of the Group of Armies North at La Neuville-Sire-Bernard, February 1917.

French Renault FT tanks resting after an attac…

French Renault FT tanks resting after an attack near Grisolles, 28 July 1918.

French gunners installing a battery of 155 Sch…

French gunners installing a battery of 155 Schneider guns in the field. The arrtillery tractor is named Marcelle. South of La Faloise, 6 April 1918.

A French gunner placing 164 mm shell cases, …

A French gunner placing 164 mm shell cases, still warmed by the explosion, in heaps by the railway gun, near Caix, August 1916.

Cases for artillery guns were collected, inspected and repaired for refilling and reuse on the Western Front. Many shell casings that you can buy today have stamps showing how many times the shell was reused.

French Schneider CA1 tanks on their way to t…

French Schneider CA1 tanks on their way to the station to be entrained for the offensive in the neighbourhood of Rheims, April 1917.

A French observation balloon in the air at t…

A French observation balloon in the air at the Vadenay aerodrome, 6 June 1917.

Scene of the Gatehouse at Welbeck Abbey, Notti…

Scene of the Gatehouse at Welbeck Abbey, Nottinghamshire – Arthur Spooning, 1918.

French troops working on a 155 mm gun at the…

French troops working on a 155 mm gun at the equipment repair park of northern group of French armies at La Neuville-Sire-Bernard, 29 July 1916.

historia-vitae-magistras: scrapironflotilla: …

historia-vitae-magistras:

scrapironflotilla:

Welp, self doxxed.

Me talking about what’s missing from Canadian First World War history for 10 minutes with poor sound quality.

Sorry for commenting so long after this was posted but: That was a great talk! The snowblindness metaphor is certainly fitting for the great white north. You have a liveliness to the cadence of your speaking that kept it very watchable. Is this dearth of leadership biography, as you have studied it, a uniquely Canadian quality amongst the commonwealth with regards to the Great War? I ask because I had a German-speaking history professor who commented that most of the English speaking world seemed to enjoy biographies in any topic less than other languages due to what he described as basically the ‘tall poppy’ phenomenon. 

Thanks heaps, it was a really interesting day with a lot of disparate topics on display.

I’m sadly monolingual so I can’t vouch for the rest of the world but the whole lack of military biography in Canada is a kind of a unique thing.
Elsewhere in the Anglosphere biographies are a pretty popular genre for both scholarly and popular histories. Britain of course has spilt a lot of ink on its generals and the second half of the 20th century has seen a lot of growth in biography at the bottom of the social ladder.
In Australia it’s been largely the same, although at a bit of a slower pace. We have quite a bit of the “tall poppy” feeling here and so much of our cultural though has been directed at the men in the trenches rather than our generals. But in the last two decades nearly all of them have received biographical treatments.
Even New Zealand, although it only really had one or two senior commanders, has produced biographies.

I’d highly recommend have a look at biography in the Oxford Companion to Canadian Military History. J.L Granatstein and Tim Cook have both been pretty vocal about the fact that it’s a bit of a black hole and slowly researchers seem to be working around the edges of it. My thesis is going to have a pretty deep look at these guys, at the divisional level at least, so I’m trying to do my part, even if its not biographies.