The navigation bar at the top
of the page should enable you to find your way fairly easily round the website.
You'll find (as time goes on) that most of the major headings will lead you
to an index page giving more detail of the range of articles dealing with a
panel will be changed regularly to give details of new, or amended pages within
And the following list, while not comprehensive,
focuses on some of the main pages:
Page One provides a general
introduction to the themes of this website.
Clips This is the most frequently
updated part of the site. Around Remembrance (Armistice) Day
every year the newspapers here in the UK and abroad return again to the topic of
the Great War. Since 1998 this part of the site has built into a very
useful reference archive which confirms, if confirmation were needed, that the
Great War still casts a very long shadow indeed.
The Unknown Warrior tells the story of the emotional occasion in
November 1920 when an unknown hero was brought back from an anonymous
battlefield grave as a representative of all those who had no known grave. The Great
Silence looks at how the two minutes
silence at 11 o'clock on Armistice Day came to be regarded as a central, almost
sacred part of remembrance ceremonies. Peace Day was
a celebration on Saturday July 19th 1919 of the official end of the war, marked
by the signing three weeks earlier of the Versailles Treaty. This article
sketches in some of the main events of that day, which saw the debut of London's
contains a brief account of the way in which English villages and towns decided
to commemorate those who had died in the Great War. A second page looks at some more unusual memorials.
The subject of
Bereavement features in the stories of three women; Vera Brittain
writes about her fiancé Roland Leighton, killed in 1915 in a letter to her
brother about the return of his kit and in the account from Testament of Youth about her 1921 visit to his grave,
92 year old Lucy Walter shares her recollections of her father who died
in East Africa of dysentery in 1917, and Peace of
Mind is a touching little story about Mary Beddoes whose brother died in
1914, and who Mary believes to be buried - well, I'll let you find out.
Remembrance Some thoughts and
ideas about the meaning of remembrance. In Poppycock, Guardian journalist Mark Steel offers a jaundiced
and (for some at least) controversial few ideas on the subject.
The war cemeteries of the Western front and
elsewhere are still provide the most moving, and telling testimony of
the dreadful losses of the Great War. Silent
Cities gives a brief account of how
those cemeteries came into being. Pilgrimage recalls the flood
of visitors to the "Devastated Regions" which began almost as soon as the
fighting stopped. They saw themselves as pilgrims, and the journey to the place
where their loved ones had died was another way of mourning their loss. The Ypres
League was an organisation devoted
to helping those wishing to visit the battlefield areas. They published a guide
for pilgrims The Immortal Salient and a leaflet
describing their aims and organisation is featured
A Land Fit For
Heroes focuses on the grim peacetime
reality for too many heroes. J.B.Priestley's account of a battalion reunion is particularly moving.
The Lost Generation - myth &
reality is a
look at the 1920s notion that Britain's troubles were due to the fact that all
the finest of its young men died in the Great War.
Disenchantment contains a chapter from the 1922 book of the same name by
Manchester journalist C.E.Montague. Enlisting at the age of 47 in 1914, he
served in France and was invalided out. The book chronicles his disillusionment
with the way the ideals of the war were twisted by those at home, to the
detriment of the serving soldier.
The View in
Winter written by Ronald Blythe was published in 1979. George the Walking Wounded
and Douglas Haig's Batman are moving
pieces about Great War veterans.Retrospectives on people and places provides a chance to look in some detail at
individual topics, from different viewpoints. Douglas Haig is the first subject,
with pieces from Gerard DeGroot , the
Clark and others.
Aftermath USA is a small
beginning to what I hope will grow into a large number of pages, looking at the
post-war experience in America. I don't pretend to be any kind of expert on the
history of the United States, but I do often come across interesting bits and
pieces which ought to be seen more widely. There is an account of Armistice Day 1918 and
the story of how America's Unknown
Soldier came home.
Short Stories The beginnings of a
collection of pieces of short fiction written (more or less) in the decade after
the Great War. I'm hoping to track down some long-forgotten stories which mirror
in one way or another the results on everyday life of the war. The Fly by Katherine
Mansfield, who died in 1923, is a very strange story. Like the two mentioned
below by Kipling and Mrs Belloc Lowndes it is about the loss of a son, and the
effect of that loss on the father. I'd be interested to know what others make of
it; I'm not absolutely sure I know quite what it all means! The
next story is very well known. Written by Rudyard Kipling,
The Gardener tells of a woman whose nephew is killed in 1915, and learns after
the war that his body has been found. Much of the story is based on Kipling's
experience as a member of the War Graves Commission, and of course on
tragic loss of his own son.It's a story which covers a lot of ground in a few pages -
and everything is not quite what it seems... The Unbolted Door , is by
Mrs Belloc Lowndes, who was the sister of Hillaire Belloc. I found this one in a ghost
story collection called A Century of Creepy Stories (!) but it is more than just a tale of the
Arthur Machen's The
Bowmen is in a different category from the
other stories. Written in 1914 it is the tale which inspired the still enduring
legend of the
Angels of Mons . I have now added
introduced the collection of stories which included The Bowmen.
Poetry is in two sections, with the
concentrating mainly on work written during or soon after the Great War, and the
featuring more modern, even contemporary poems. Recent additions include
and Vernon Scannell's The Great
Writings from the 1920s by a noted journalist and travel writer, about the
Lutyens designed Cenotaph, the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, and Behind the Window: the author's account of a poignant
encounter with an ex-soldier, a disabled veteran wearing the Mons star, Ghosts of the Fog is an atmospheric evocation of a foggy
day in London town. There is also a short biography
of the writer.
Hall - an era coming to an end
recalls the post-war decline in a form of entertainment hugely popular before
the war years. There are examples of vintage recordings by musical hall artistes
(in RealAudio format).
Crimes of the Times looks at some of the "law and order" stories which captured the
public imagination after the war.
Bicycle Mystery , in which an ex-serviceman was
accused of the murder of a young woman called Bella Wright, and
Horatio Bottomley - the soldier's friend
follows the career of one of the more flamboyant and notorious
characters of the Aftermath period.
Memories of Christmas features two pieces written in
adult life by men who grew up in the years after the Great War. The piece by
Dylan Thomas has
all the energy of that writer with the words tumbling down the page like
snowballs down a hill. The second piece is written very differently,
, born in Stockport near Manchester in
1913 waited till 1981 to put down his memories. In many ways his story seems
more rooted in the realities of everday life at a time when poverty and hardship
were suffered by too many people.