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The release of the Filmed not Forgotten archive

Context

http://www.westernfrontassociation.com/video/3512-filmed-and-not-forgotten-a-project-from-the-yorkshire-film-archive.html

http://www.yorkshirefilmarchive.com/content/filmed-and-not-forgotten-lottery-funding-research-yorkshire-first-world-war-soldiers-friends

The Western Front Association is delighted that The Yorkshire Film archive has made available superb footage of troops prior to their departure for France in 1915.

Moving (movie) images from the First World War are quite rare, and those that are available are of varying quality. What the Yorkshire Film Archive has put into the public domain is a large amount of footage of excellent quality showing what seems to be territorial (or "weekend") soldiers prior to their embarkation for France in Easter 1915.

One of the clips shows an inspection of the men by high ranking officers, and another of the battalion's officers posing for the cameraman. It would be intriguing to use lip-readers to see if any of the (silent) footage can be "heard" - this technique has been used on other footage and would add another dimension to the already superb footage.

The 1/5th Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment (which recruited heavily from Rotherham) was soon in the front line trenches, firstly on the French/Belgian border, before moving up to the infamous Ypres salient in the summer of 1915 as part of the 49th (West Riding) Division. It is possible some of the men shown here were involved in the battalion's first major action on 10 July 1915. The battalion was attacked by German infantry - artillery shell fire and gas were also used. The battalion lost about 30 men killed plus many more wounded in this first major encounter with the Germans.

This superb footage is a tribute to the men from the battalions who were killed in this and later actions.

Other footage shows the sister battalion (the 1/4th Y&Ls) - known as the Hallamshires - marching through their home town of Sheffield in November 1914, prior to leaving for further training in the UK. Both battalions were heavily involved in fighting for the rest of the war, ending up in the little-known Battle of Valenciennes in November 1918.

To be able to see the footage of these men prior to their service in the Great War is a privilege and enables us to gain a deeper understanding of this period of our history - something that The Western Front Association was set up to do. The WFA is keen to increase the understanding of the First World War and welcomes applications to join from anyone who wishes to learn more about this fascinating subject.

David Tattersfield

Development Trustee,

The Western Front Association

 

Note for Editors
The Western Front Association (WFA) was formed by eminent Great War historian John Giles in 1980. Our primary aim is furthering interest in The Great War of 1914-1918. We also aim to perpetuate the memory, courage and comradeship of all those on all sides who served their countries in France and Flanders and in other countries during The Great War.

The WFA, a registered charity, has now grown to some 6,000 members worldwide, with over 50 local branches around the world.. [The Association does not seek to justify or glorify war. We are not a re-enactment society, nor are we commercially motivated. We are entirely non-political. The object of the Association is to educate the public in the history of The Great War with particular reference to the Western Front.]

Applications for membership are warmly welcomed from anyone of a like mind.

Some additional key facts:
· The WFA produces an eminent journal (Stand To!) and a members' Bulletin six times a year.
· Some five years ago, the WFA saved the Great War Medal Index Cards from destruction and has since made them available online via Ancestry.
· The WFA bought the Butte de Warlancourt, a major feature on the Somme Battlefield, in order to prevent its destruction and to preserve it as a memorial.
· The WFA holds its own ceremony at the Cenotaph on Armistice Day - 11 November - every year (except Remembrance Sunday).
· The WFA has digitised large numbers of Great War maps held by the Imperial War Museum. The WFA has contributed resources to digitise Oral History tapes held by the Imperial War Museum.


Website: http://www.westernfrontassociation.com

Contact: David Tattersfield - development@westernfrontassociation.com.

 

 

The digitisation of unit war diaries

The Western Front Association is delighted that the War Diaries of First World War units are being made available to the public.

These diaries (written by battalion adjutants in accordance with orders) had to be provided on a daily basis to record a unit's activity. Sometimes hand written (and therefore difficult to decipher) and occasionally typed, these are not to be confused with officially banned personal diaries.

The daily entry in the unit's official War Diary may have been a short sentence or sometimes several pages long. Much depended on the officer's (usually the battalion adjutant's) motivation.

Rarely emotional, and hardly ever mentioning soldiers by name, these are nevertheless a vital source of information for individuals wishing to find out "what happened to great uncle Bert". These fragile documents, which have been accessed by historians and researchers at The National Archives (previously the Public Record Office) at Kew for many years, are likely to be much used in the coming years and - the originals having been written on thin paper -  are in many cases suffering from wear and tear.

Whilst it will take some time for the documents to be fully scanned and tagged, it is hoped that the resultant work (volunteers are being asked to read the diaries and "tag" them to enable digital research easier) will enable much more in depth research to be undertaken, as searches under "keywords" should be possible. Nothing can compare to handing these documents themselves - literally "touching history"  - as these documents were often written immediately after battle, in a damp dugout lit only by a few candles, but to have these available on line is a great step forward.

David Tattersfield

Development Trustee,

The Western Front Association


Note for Editors
The Western Front Association (WFA) was formed by eminent Great War historian John Giles in 1980. Our primary aim is furthering interest in The Great War of 1914-1918. We also aim to perpetuate the memory, courage and comradeship of all those on all sides who served their countries in France and Flanders and in other countries during The Great War.

The WFA, a registered charity, has now grown to some 6,000 members worldwide, with over 50 local branches around the world.. [The Association does not seek to justify or glorify war. We are not a re-enactment society, nor are we commercially motivated. We are entirely non-political. The object of the Association is to educate the public in the history of The Great War with particular reference to the Western Front.]

Applications for membership are warmly welcomed from anyone of a like mind.

Some additional key facts:
· The WFA produces an eminent journal (Stand To!) and a members' Bulletin six times a year.
· Some five years ago, the WFA saved the Great War Medal Index Cards from destruction and has since made them available online via Ancestry.
· The WFA bought the Butte de Warlancourt, a major feature on the Somme Battlefield, in order to prevent its destruction and to preserve it as a memorial.
· The WFA holds its own ceremony at the Cenotaph on Armistice Day - 11 November - every year (except Remembrance Sunday).
· The WFA has digitised large numbers of Great War maps held by the Imperial War Museum. The WFA has contributed resources to digitise Oral History tapes held by the Imperial War Museum.


Website: http://www.westernfrontassociation.com

Contact: David Tattersfield - development@westernfrontassociation.com.

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 14 January 2014 22:18 )

WFA L&C Chairman Terry Jackson discusses the release of the War Diaries on the BBC

WFA L&C Chairman Terry Jackson discusses the release of the War Diaries on the BBC

WFA Lancashire and Cheshire Branch Chairman Terry Jackson discusses the announcement of the release of the War Diaries today on the BBC.

 

Reburial of Private William McAleer and 19 unknown British soldiers of the First World War at Loos British Cemetery

Reburial of Private William McAleer and 19 unknown British soldiers of the First World War at Loos British Cemetery

On 14 March 2014, there will be a re-burial service for Private William McAleer and 19 unknown British soldiers of the First World War at Loos British Cemetery. 

These servicemen will be laid to rest at 10am in Plot 20, Row G, Graves 20 – 26 of the cemetery and the service will be presided over by representatives of the MoD.  The ceremony is open to the public.

For more information, please contact:

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency

Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre

Post Death Administration – Commemorations & Licensing

Room 35, Innsworth House

Imjin Barracks

Gloucester, GL3 1HW

 

Editor's note (with thanks to David Tattersfield)

It is thought the soldiers - certainly Pte McAleer - will have perished in the Battle of Loos. William has, up to now, been commemorated on the Loos Memorial.

William was a member of 7th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers which, in turn was part of the 15th (Scottish) Division which had only landed in France on 9 July 1915. William had hardly been in France for any time before he was killed on 26 September 1915.

The battalion was (on the day William was killed) attacking the infamous Hill 70 at Loos.

This extract is also relevant, courtesy of The Long Long Trail:

25 September

3.00pm: 8/East Yorkshires and 10/Yorkshire of 62nd Brigade, 21st Division, are ordered forward towards Loos, to reinforce the units of 15th Division and if necessary retake Hill 70. After coming under shrapnel fire as they marched in column of fours - which destroyed their transport - these battalions lost direction and ran into intensive machine gun fire from the Southern end of Chalk Pit Copse, sustaining very heavy casualties. Other reserves of 21st Division - expected by Division to have been available at 10.30am - finally arrived at 7.30pm, and were clearly exhausted. They were ordered to reinforce the line between Hill 70 and Puits 14 bis. Around 8.30pm, the remnants of the first waves that had attacked in the morning were finally relieved on the slopes on Hill 70. Nightfall therefore saw both Divisions in this sector in scratch positions between the old German first and second lines, consolidating their position. The enemy was in possession once again of the dominant height of Hill 70. A German attack in the night against the 7/Royal Scots Fusiliers, on the Eastern side of the Loos Crassier, was repulsed.

26 September

5.00am: Orders are received by 15th (Scottish) Division. Reinforced by 21st Division, they are to recapture Hill 70 with an attack at 9.00am. It was proving virtually impossible to move artillery forward to support this attack, and ammunition supplies were dwindling - fresh ones being held up in traffic. The attack would be supported by artillery firing from their original positions, and the second German line would barely be touched. A bombardment of two rounds per gun per minute was ordered. In confusion, some units did not receive an order to withdraw from the most advanced positions, and British shells fell on their own infantry in places. Many infantry units did not receive orders to attack until 7.00am, and in at least one case, 8.00am.

5.30am: Another heavy German attack against the 7/Royal Scots Fusiliers, on the Eastern side of the Loos Crassier, was repulsed with the assistance of the 11th Motor Machine-Gun Battery.

Image: Dud Corner Cemetery where Pte McAleer is currently commemorated (courtesy David Tattersfield)

 

 Image: Loos British Cemetery where William will be re-buried (courtesy CWGC)

 

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 January 2014 17:48 )

WW1 Centenary Medal award by the Conseil General de la Somme

WW1 Centenary Medal award by the Conseil General de la Somme

Celebrated authors and leading battlefield guide experts Major and Mrs Holt are to be awarded the WW1 Centenary Medal from the Conseil General de le Somme.

The award, which is for their contribution to 'Remembrance Tourism' and dissemination of knowledge of the First World War, will be one of only six medals to be awarded. They will also be the first and the only Britons to receive it. The award will be presented in a ceremony taking place in Amiens on 22 January 2014.

Tonie and Valmai are well known authors in the field of military history and literature. Their knowledge of the Great War is extensive, having spent over thirty-five years researching and leading tours to the battlefields, and writing books about them. They have located, described and recorded some 1,000 memorials to our fighting services in mainland Europe and through their books have made the battlefields accessible to the general public.

In 1978 they pioneered the modern battlefield tour and founded the highly successful Major & Mrs Holt's Battlefield Tour Company. They later took over the running of the Royal British Legion Pilgrimage programme.

Their Battlefield Guides to the Somme, Ypres, Gallipoli, Normandy, Market-Garden, the Great War Western Front - North and South  - are among the best-selling books to those areas, each known to local specialists as 'The Bible'. Their other works include: Poets of the Great War; My Boy Jack, the biography of Rudyard Kipling's son, John; and In Search of a Better Ole, a biography of First World War Cartoonist Bruce Bairnsfather.

Article and image supplied by Pen and Sword Books


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