Helion First World War Prizes for Scholarship

In conjunction with the Western Front Association, those nice people at Helion & Co* have introduced three annual prizes for book proposals coming out of research carried out either privately, as part of a Masters Degree study or as part of a PhD project. The three prizes will total £6,000 per annum so represent a very significant investment into research currently being carried out. The three awards will be entitled the Terraine Prize for private research; the Holmes Prize for MA research and the Edmonds Prize for PhD research. The 2015 Prizes will be announced in November so if you are involved in projects that are relevant, get your book proposal in the running. More details here.

* – I might be slightly biased as Helion published “Stemming The Tide” (now out in paperback) so clearly have enormous promise in spotting new talent!



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

Daily Telegraph – Monday, 3rd August 1914

One hundred years ago, it was a bank holiday Monday – but the clouds were gathering.

“Germany has drawn the sword. On Saturday night, she formally declared war on Russia.”

“Germany has deliberately commenced war with France without a formal declaration.”

“The Germans have seized the roads and railways of Luxembourg.”

“German troops in Switzerland.”

Our response – “Cheering crowds at Buckingham Palace.”

Screenshot 2014-08-02 12.28.36

All you need to know about Robert Fisk & Remembrance

appalled … those bloody poppies again … this obscene fashion appendage … demands yet further human sacrifice … sacrifice … Passchendaele … this wretched flower … butcher Haig … these sickly and fake petals … hypocrisy… “sepulchre of crime” … “Sacrifice to the fallacy that war can end” … this monstrous crime against humanity … The pity of war… the flower of youth cut short … Dead soldiers … generals, admirals or emperors worthy of entombment … soldiery were simply dumped into mass graves … remains of the dead were shipped off…to be used as manure … this preposterous poppy … fake flowers … blood-red soil of the Flanders dead … war was ultimately devoid of meaning … “just one great waste” … cast poppies aside….that terrible, almost orgiastic poem … “In Flanders fields” … our duty to kill more human beings … A bloody poppy! … Passchendaele…

The above is a distillation of an article Robert Fisk posted on the Independent’s website on 7th November 2013 – “Poppycock – or why remembrance rituals make me see red” – as part of that paper’s run up to Armistice Day.

There is really little to be said about it. The author is a respected journalist, the Middle East correspondent of The Independent for more than twenty years, but this is not the first time he has used the paper to repeat his tired and increasingly challenged views. Sadly he is not alone, there was an article the following day in the Guardian that follows a similar line – “This year, I will wear a poppy for the last time”.

As the Centenary looms, there will be an increasing need to get the message out that these hackneyed views do not portray a true picture of the Great War. But it is not going to be easy…

PS – note to Robert, you forgot to include the word futile.

PPS – the measure of how difficult it is going to be to correct this attitude is shown by the 2,400+ who either “strongly agree” or “agree” with Fisk which compares to the 991 who “strongly disagree” or “disagree” with him. But then this is the Independent.
(Results as at 12:30 Saturday 9th November.)