Monday, 30 April 2012
Friday, 27 April 2012
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
THE LANDING THAT COULD NOT SUCCEED—BUT DID
Picture yourself on a ship that was more crowded with men than ever ship had been before, in a harbor more crowded with ships than ever harbor had been crowded before, with more fears in your mind than had ever crowded into it before, knowing that in a few hours you would see battle for the first time. Having comrades crowding round, bidding you good-bye and informing you that as your regimental number added up to thirteen, you would be the first to die, remembering that you hadn't said your prayers for years, and then comforting yourself with the realization that what is going to happen will happen, and that an appeal to the general will not stop the battle, anyway, and you may as well die like a man, and you will feel as did many of those young lads, on the eve of the 25th of April, 1915. There was some premonition of death in those congregations of khaki-clad men who gathered round the padres on each ship and sang "God be with you till we meet again." You could see in men's faces that they knew they were "going west" on the morrow—but it was a swan-song that could not paralyze the arm or daunt the heart of these young Greathearts, who intended that on this morrow they would do deeds that would make their mothers proud of them.
"For if you 'as to die,
As it sometimes 'appens, why,
Far better die a 'ero than a skunk;
A' doin' of yer bit."
As soon as church-parade was dismissed, another song was on the boards, no hymn, maybe not fine poetry, but the song that will be always associated with the story of Australia's doings in the great war, Australia's battle-song—"Australia Will Be There"—immortalized on the Southland and Ballarat, as it was sung by the soldiers thereon, when they stood in the sea-water that was covering the decks of those torpedoed troop-ships. It was now sung by every Australian voice, and as those crowded troop-ships moved out from Lemnos they truly carried "Australia," eager, untried Australia—where?
The next day showed to the world that "Australia would always be there!" where the fight raged thickest. Her sons might sometimes penetrate the enemy's territory too far, but hereafter, and till the war's end, they would always be in the front line, storming with the foremost for freedom and democracy.
The landing could not possibly be a surprise to the Turks; the British and French warships had advertised our coming by a preliminary bombardment weeks previously—the Greeks knew all about our concentration in their waters—and wasn't the Queen of Greece sister to the Kaiser?
There were only about two places where we could possibly land, and the Turks were not merely warned of our intentions, but they were warned in plenty of time for them to prepare for us a warm reception. The schooling and method of the Germans had united with the ingenuity of the Turks to make those beaches the unhealthiest spots on the globe. The Germans plainly believed that a landing was impossible.
Think of those beaches, with land and sea mines, densely strewn with barbed wire (even into deep water), with machine-guns arranged so that every yard of sand and water would be swept, by direct, indirect, and cross fire, with a hose-like stream of bullets; think of thousands of field-pieces and howitzers ready, ranged, and set, so that they would spray the sand and whip the sea, merely by the pulling of triggers. Think of a force larger than the intended landing-party entrenched, with their rifles loaded and their range known, behind all manner of overhead cover and wire entanglements, and then remember that you are one of a party that has to step ashore there from an open boat, and kill, or drive far enough inland, these enemy soldiers to enable your stores to be landed so that when you have defeated him, you may not perish of starvation. Far more than at Balaclava did these young men from "down under" walk "right into the jaws of death, into the mouth of hell!" And the Turks waited till they were well within the jaws before they opened fire. No one in the landing force knew where the Turks were, and the Turks did not fire on us until we got to the zone which they had so prepared that all might perish that entered there. They could see us clearly, the crowded open boats were targets of naked flesh that could not be missed. Was there ever a more favorable setting for a massacre? The Turks in burning Armenian villages with their women and children had not easier tasks than that entrenched army. Our men in the boats were too crowded to use their rifles, and the boats were too close in for the supporting war-ships to keep down the fire from those trenches. How was any one left alive? By calculation of the odds not one man should have set foot on that shore. Make a successful landing, enabling us to occupy a portion of that soil! What an impossible task!
To the men in those boats and the men watching from the ships, it appeared as if not merely the expedition had failed, but that not a man of the landing force would survive. Boats were riddled with bullets and sunk—other boats drifted helplessly as there were not enough alive to row them—men jumped into the bullet-formed spray to swim ashore but were caught in the barbed wire and drowned. Who could expect success, but it nevertheless happened! The Turks were sure that we could not land, yet we did. Not only did those boys set foot on those beaches, but the remnant of that landing-party drove the Turks out of their entrenchments up cliffs five hundred feet high, and entrenched themselves on the summit. How did they do it? No one knows; the men who were there don't know themselves. Did heaven intervene? Perhaps spiritual forces may sometimes paralyze material. It must be that right has physical might, else why didn't the Kaiser get to Paris? Mathematics and preparedness were on his side; by all reasoning Germany ought to have overwhelmed the world in a few months, with the superiority of her armament, but she didn't. The Turks ought to have kept us off the Peninsula, by all laws of logic and arithmetic, and they didn't. I really think the landing succeeded because those boys thought they had failed.
They must have believed themselves doomed—they could see that there were too few to accomplish what was even doubtful when the force was intact. When they were on the shore they must have felt that it was impossible that they could be taken off again. All the time more were falling, and soon it seemed that every last man must be massacred. They made up their minds that, at any rate, they would get a few of the swine before they went.
Every man believed that in the end he must be killed, but determined to sell his life as dearly as possible, and that made them the supermen that could not be "held back." A whole platoon would be cut down, but somehow one or two would manage to get into the trench, where, of necessity, it was hand-to-hand work, and with laughing disregard of the odds would lay out a score of the enemy and send the others fleeing before them, who would yell out that they were fighting demons from hell. After the confusion in the boats, and from the fact that in most cases companies were entirely without officers, there was no forming up for charges—indeed, there were no orders at all, but every man knew that he could not but be doing the right thing every time he killed a Turk, so they just took their rifle and bayonet in their naked hands and went to it. There was no line of battle, it was just here, there, and everywhere, khaki-clad, laughing demons, seeking Turks to kill.
Never was there fighting like this. All that day it went on. On the beach, up the cliff, in the gullies, miles inland were men fighting. It was not a battle; it would have made a master of tactics weep and tear his hair, but these man-to-man fights kept on. Many were shot from behind, many were wounded and fell in places where no one would find them—some, fighting on, went in a circle and found themselves back on the beach again. However, at nightfall some had begun to dig a shallow line of trenches, well inland across the cliff. Single men and small groups of them, not finding any more Turks where they were, fell back into this ditch and helped deepen it.
Fresh Turks were massing for counter-attack, and soon came on with fury, but we were something like an army now, and although the line had to be shortened it never broke. The landing had been made good, the impossible had been achieved. But there were many who died strange deaths, many left way in, helpless, who could not be succored—many whom the fighting lust led so far that when they thought of seeking their comrades they found the barrier of a Turkish army now intervening. Strange, unknown duels and combats were fought that day. Unknown are the "Bill-Jims" who killed scores with naked hand—there were many such. Though we beat the Turk with the odds in his favor, yet this day and afterward he earned our respect as a fighting man.
"East is East and West is West, and never the twain shall meet
Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God's great Judgment Seat.
But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,
When two strong men stand face to face, tho' they come from the ends of the Earth."
The Australian had proved himself the fiercest fighter of the world… As one naval officer remarked, they fought not as men but devils. Many have said that much of the loss of life was needless, that had the Australians kept together and waited for orders not so many would have been cut off in the bush. It was true that the impetuosity of many took them too far to return, but it was that very quality that won the day. They did not return, but they drove the Turk before them and enabled others to dig in before he could re-form. You would have to go back to mediaeval times to parallel this fighting. There were impetuosity, dash, initiative, berserker rage, fierce hand-to-hand fighting, every man his own general.
These were not the only qualities of the Australian fighting men, but these alone could have succeeded on that day. When the time came for evacuation of those hardly won and held trenches, these same troops gave evidence of the possession of the opposite attributes of coolness, silence, patience, co-ordination; every man acting as part of a single unit, under control of a single will—which is discipline!
Tuesday, 24 April 2012
It captures the early mood of the nation just a few months after the war had begun.
THE QUEEN AND GERMAN GOODS
An interesting story of the Queen illustrating once more her common sense and breath of view, is told by the London correspondent of the “Sheffield Telegraph.”
Her Majesty was examining some goods from a West End shop the other day and asked the girl who was showing them whether she had any of a certain kind. The girl replied that she was afraid there was nothing English of the sort to be had as all the goods had been bought from Germany.
“That,” said Queen Mary, “is not the point. The goods are in English shops. They were bought before the war. People ought to support the shopkeepers, and take the stock off their hands. When they have been sold, we shall buy nothing but English goods.”
“The Evening News.”
Monday, 23 April 2012
Sunday, 22 April 2012
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Friday, 20 April 2012
In his wonderful book, ‘Before the lamps went out’, Wingfield Stratford describes the early days of aviation from his unique view point.
“In 1908, the long expected advent of the aeroplane came to reinforce that of the motor: and how excited one was on hearing that a man called Latham had attempted the almost incredible feat of flying the Channel, and actually got some way before falling into it; and then that another man called Bleriot had got safe across and landed in a field near Dover!
But after the wonderful and horrible things we had been taught to expect of aeroplanes in the prophetic romances of the nineties, these actual planes seemed a feeble anticlimax. If they were a source of danger to anybody, it was the devoted men who flew them, and never seemed to survive many flights. We were slightly acquainted with Charlie Rolls, whose inventive genius survives in the style Rolls-Royce, and who shortly afterwards capped Bleriot’s feat by flying from
Another famous early aviator, Hamel, made a forced descent on one flight from France in a field belonging to a cousin of mine, a mile or two from our Kentish home, and was put up for a night and tremendously lionized, while most of the horse and man power in the village was enlisted to deal with the plane. Not so long afterwards we heard that he too had gone what seemed to be the way of all aviators.”
Thursday, 19 April 2012
The have been a few attacks on the Houses of Parliament, this one was one of the less threatening. Helen Atkinson describes how the pre-war suffragettes took their cause to
It was decided to attack
When Parliament was next assembled Mrs. Pankhurst, Mrs. How-Martyn, who later founded the suffragette’s fellowship, Annie Kenney and a few other women went to the House of Commons to plead the cause. When they got there, to their dismay they learned that not the slightest consideration would be given to the women’s claims. But the occasion must not be wasted, the Lobby was full of M.P.s, so first one woman and then another jumped up on a settee, and began to speak. The police immediately seized them and hustled them out.
Next morning, ten offenders were charged, Annie Kenney and nine more. Sylvia Pankhurst was not arrested at the time, but because of a protest she made in court, she was also included. All received prison sentences. These women were the first Suffragettes to be imprisoned in
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
In ‘The Melodies linger on,’ W. MacQueen-Pope tells this story about a dinner party:-
"Jimmy White, the famous millionaire, when at the height of his fame and fortune, once gave a dinner party to a crowd of other very wealthy men. There was always a streak of mischief and malice in the make-up of the ex-bricklayer from Rochdale, and on this occasion he engaged the Brothers Egbert to act as waiters, giving them a free hand.
Plates crashed round their ears, the rolls were of cement, the knives and forks of India rubber, the spoons collapsed, and the few who managed to consume their soup found sets of false teeth at the bottom.
The Brothers Egbert surpassed themselves."
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
King Edward VII appetite for food was on a gargantuan scale. In her book ‘Edward VII and
‘Although King Edward ate a Continental breakfast when he was abroad, he always liked ‘an English Breakfast’ consisting of haddock, poached eggs, bacon, chicken and woodcock, before setting out on a day’s shooting or racing.
Luncheon and dinner, of course, were meals that stretched from ten to fifteen courses, and tea was an elaborate affair with every sort of scone and crumpet, tart and roll and cake. Besides this, snacks consisted of lobster salad and cold chicken were often served at eleven in the morning to appease the King’s hunger, and even after dinner a plate of sandwiches, and sometimes a quail or a cutlet, was sent to the Royal apartments.’
Monday, 16 April 2012
An Italian cleric, Dominic Mancini, visited
“Their bows and arrows are thicker and longer than those used by other nations just as their arms are stronger than other peoples’, for they seem to have hands and arms of iron. As a result their bows have a long range as our crossbows. Almost every man has a helmet and carries an iron shield and a sword which is as long as our sword; but heavy and thick as well. Only the wealthy wear metal armour; ordinary soldiers prefer comfortable tunics (stuffed with tow) which reach down to their thigh. They say that the softer they are the better they withstand blows; besides which in summer they are lighter and in winter more useful than iron.”
Mancini stayed in
“On holidays the youths fight in the streets with blunted swords or staves clashing on shields. When they are older they go out into the fields with bows and arrows – indeed even the women go hunting with them.”
Sunday, 15 April 2012
On the bridge, officers congratulated themselves on a near-miss. But below the water line, the
George Rowe, was one of the quartermasters on the Titanic. This is how he describes the crash.
“The first time I knew of the disaster was when I felt a peculiar shiver run through the vessel. It became icy cold and my breath froze in the air. Then I saw the iceberg – and I shall never forget it.
At first I thought we had hit a windjammer as I caught a glimpse of something sliding past the ship on the starboard side. In the glare from the lights of thousands of portholes , the smooth surface looked just like a wet canvas.
I ran over to the side and realised that I was looking at an iceberg. It was so big that it seemed to fill the sky. It was a giant among icebergs and towered menacingly even above the bridge.
For a few seconds I gazed at it unbelievingly. It was just a few feet away and I felt I could have touched it. Then it was gone – swallowed up in the blackness.”
1,513 men, women and children lost their lives that night, ‘swallowed up in the blackness.’
Tuesday, 10 April 2012
In October 1863, shortly before the first meeting of The Football Association, a committee drew up a new revision of the Cambridge rules. These rules were soon published in the press, and were subsequently brought to the attention of the committee of the fledgling Football Association. These rules found favour with a majority of the members of the FA and influenced the draft rules that were then under discussion by the FA. The FA committee voted to adopt parts of the Cambridge rules and led to the displeasure of representative from Blackheath.
Blackheath's decision to withdraw from the FA further precipitated the subsequent development and codification of the Rugby game.
1. The length of the ground shall not be more than 150 yds. and the breadth not more than 100 yds. The ground shall be marked out by posts and two posts shall be placed on each side-line at distances of 25 yds. from each goal line.
2. The GOALS shall consist of two upright poles at a distance of 15 ft. from each other.
3. The choice of goals and kick-off shall be determined by tossing and the ball shall be kicked off from the middle of the ground.
4. In a match when half the time agreed upon has elapsed, the side shall change goals when the ball is next out of play. After such change or a goal obtained, the kick off shall be from the middle of the ground in the same direction as before. The time during which the game shall last and the numbers n each side are to be settled by the heads of the sides.
5. When a player has kicked the ball any one of the same side who is nearer to the opponent's goal line is OUT OF PLAY and may not touch the ball himself nor in any way whatsoever prevent any other player from doing so.
6. When the ball goes out of the ground by crossing the side lines, it is out of play and shall be kicked straight into the ground again from the point where it first stopped.
7. When a player has kicked the ball beyond the opponents' goal line, whoever first touches the ball when it is on the ground with his hand, may have a FREE kick bringing the ball straight out from the goal line.
8. No player may touch the ball behind his opponents' goal line who is behind it when the ball is kicked there.
9. If the ball is touched down behind the goal line and beyond the line of the side-posts, the FREE kick shall be from the 25 yds. post
10. When a player has a free-kick, no-one of his own side may be between him and his opponents' goal line and no one of the opposing side may stand within 10 yds. of him.
11. A free kick may be taken in any manner the player may choose.
12. A goal is obtained when the ball goes out of the ground by passing between the poles or in such a manner that it would have passed between them had they been of sufficient height.
13. The ball, when in play may be stopped by any part of the body, but it may NOT be held or hit by the hands, arms or shoulders.
14. ALL charging is fair; but holding, pushing with the hands, tripping up and shinning are forbidden.
Rev. R. Burn (Shrewsbury), Chairman
R.H. Blake Humfrey (Eton)
W.T. Trench (Eton)
J.T. Prior (Harrow)
H.L. Williams (Harrow)
W.R. Collyer (Rugby)
M.T. Martin (Rugby)
W.P. Crawley (Marlborough)
W.S. Wright (Westminster)