The Library is open: The Ypres Times

Screenshot 2014-08-13 21.18.58With the Centenary already underway, i thought it was about time I made some documents I have originals of available to those who might find them useful or interesting.

As a start, I will be uploading six copies of The Ypres Times from 1922 & 1925 – the first three have been added today – January & October 1922 and April 1925 – with the remaining three to follow over the next week.  I will gradually add other document as they emerge from the archives.

I do hope you enjoy them – they are a fascinating insight into the postwar commemoration of the “sacred earth” and include many personal accounts that, in all likelihood, were not published elsewhere.

The Library

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“Statistics of the military effort of the British Empire during the Great War, 1914-1920 (1922)” available online

Statistics of the military effort of the British Empire during the Great War, 1914-1920 (1922)” – Internet Archive.

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Just a quick pointer to the availability online at the Internet Archive of the 880 pages of fascinating statistical detail compiled after the war and published in March 1922 by the War Office.

My thanks to the University of Toronto for digitising this last November and to John Lewis-Stempel (@JLewisStempel on Twitter) for highlighting it this morning.

The 1912 Balance of Power in Central Europe

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This map was found in the 1912 files of the Directorate of Military Operations, a part of the War Office, and shows how Henry Wilson and his staff saw the struggle for overall power. Apart from the obvious colour coding which shows both the Central Powers and the Triple Entente allying against each other – it also illustrates the degree to which Britain was unprepared for war on a continental stage. The six division Expeditionary Force that was envisaged could do little other than play a subsidiary role next to the sixty-six French divisions that would line up along the Western Front.

Of far greater importance was the political significance of the BEF’s involvement which had been summed up in the following conversation between Wilson and Foch in 1909:

Wilson: “What would you say was the smallest British military force that would be of any practical assistance to you in the event of such a contest as we have been considering?”

Foch: “One single private soldier and we would take good care that he was killed.”

Great War Sites in the UK

A listing of the extant Great War sites that can be found around the UK. If you would like a site added to the map, please leave a comment below or contact me with the details.

https://briancurragh.wordpress.com/great-war-sites-in-the-uk/

This is the result of a small mapping project that started back in 2009 in a discussion thread on the Great War Forum. The original concept was to collate extant Great War sites within the UK and provide a resource that would be useful when visiting an area but could also help with the recording and preservation of the sites.

Thanks to David Faulder from the Great War Forum, who introduced me to the possibilities of Google Maps and set the initial map up, and the Western Front Association who have placed the map on the Maps page of their website.

The Maps, Plans & Drawings collection of Military Barracks in Ireland

The Defence Forces Ireland have started to make their archives available online on their website – http://www.militaryarchives.ie/home – with two areas released to date: The Bureau of Military History & The Maps, Plans and Drawings collection of Military Barracks in Ireland.

The Irish Military Barracks Maps, Plans and Drawings Collection is described as “a unique collection pertaining to the construction and maintenance of military barracks in Ireland from c.1830 to c 1980” and “contains many previously unseen architectural drawings from the British War Office, the Royal Engineer Corps, the Ordnance Survey and latterly the (Irish) Defence Forces Engineer Corps.” Of their collection of 4,000 maps and drawings, 650 have been released online already.

From a Great War point of view, there are several gems hidden within the collection, three of which are highlighted here.

Clandeboye Camp, Down, Ireland

This plan is dated 5th May 1915 and captures the layout of the camp right before the 36th (Ulster) Division vacated the camp on its way to Seaford in Sussex before embarking for France in October 1915.

Ballykinler Camp, Down Ireland


The other two plans show Ballykinler Camp – the overall map is dated 1903 while the plan of the camp layout is from 1919. Ballykinler was also used by the 36th (Ulster) Division for training before becoming an internment camp initially during the Irish War of Independence, this use continuing after partition in 1921.

For any researcher looking into the activities of the British Army in Ireland, the online archive can be highly recommended.