Tag Archives: Great War

July 4, 1916 – Battle of the Somme greeted with ‘the greatest enthusiasm’

There’s no denying the effect of the murders. Austria-Hungary and its ally Imperial Germany rallied to the cause of war and one month later Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The declaration drew Germany, Russia, France, Belgium, Montenegro and Great Britain shortly after. The worst war in human history up to that time was underway. Eventually, more than 9 million soldiers and 8 million civilians would die in the war. Millions more were maimed and wounded by killing that occurred on an industrial scale. Empires were wiped from the map, new nations emerged, and the world was reshaped by more upheaval than anything that had occurred since the fall of Rome. {The Great War changed everything}

Satirical drawing by R. Ferro [Cupidity – Greed]

Cupidity

– See more at: http://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/articles/the-debate-on-the-origins-of-world-war-one#sthash.uzXCjY4z.dpuf

Establishing the responsibility for the escalation of the July Crisis into a European war – and ultimately a world war – was paramount even before fighting had begun. The governments of Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary tried desperately to ensure that they did not appear to be the aggressor in July and August 1914. This was crucial because the vast armies of soldiers that would be needed to fight this war could not be summoned for a war of aggression. Socialists, of whom there were many millions by 1914, would not have supported a belligerent foreign policy, and could only be relied upon to fight in a defensive war. Populations would only rally and make sacrifices willingly if the cause was just – and that meant fighting a defensive war.The French and Belgians, Russians, Serbs and British were convinced they were indeed involved in a defensive struggle for just aims. Austrians and Hungarians were fighting to revenge the death of Franz Ferdinand. Germans were assured by their Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and their Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, that Germany’s neighbours had ‘forced the sword’ into its hands. {The debate on the origins of World War One}

War has no mercy for non of the parties involved. All going to the battlefields (or battlespace) bring misery to their families and others.

At one moment fighters are taken by excitement (uphory) at an other by dismay. Dejection belongs to all involved.

Experienced newspaper and magazine journalist who is currently the Director of the Leicester Centre for Journalism at De Montfort University, John Dilley, looks at the Great War whilst he conducts research into how local and national newspapers covered this first horrible experience which caught the whole world.

Today we should realise how people were used in the war-machine and how every time in such battles letters from loved ones are as important as bullets and shells for the the fighters serving in the battle places. At first they might have felt full  of energy and ambition but from their letters we know this changed quite quickly.

Cyril Newman, a lance corporal, wrote to his fiancée Winnie on receiving two letters from her:

“I feel a different person. Ten years younger – a hundred times lighter of heart. We all feel like this. The arrival of mail is vital to our happiness. ‘No Post’ gives us a kind of malaise.” {April 25, 1916 – Words of war play a vital role in saving sanity at the Front}

Though

Most of the letters were dull and repetitive but local papers did a fantastic job in spotting the extraordinary nuggets nestling among the ordinary exchange of everyday life. {April 25, 1916 – Words of war play a vital role in saving sanity at the Front}

He notices how The Daily Telegraph was typical in its eulogies saying:

“The British Empire has just sustained one of the heaviest losses which it has been called upon to bear during the whole war. The news came upon London yesterday like a crushing and senseless blow. The sorrow was unfeigned, the distress universal.” {June 13, 1916 – Grief-stricken nation mourns for Lord Kitchener sunk by the German Navy}

but also let us know how The Advertiser story gives an insight into how eagerly the public sought as many details as they could. The account goes on:

“The evening papers were quickly bought up and at first there were hopes that Lord Kitchener might be saved. {June 13, 1916 – Grief-stricken nation mourns for Lord Kitchener sunk by the German Navy}

For those who felt they could not go to the battle there was often (not to say in most of the cases) no understanding.

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This wonderful cartoon depicting a man trying to avoid First World War conscription before a Tribunal of local worthies sums up the working man’s lot in 1916. {April 18, 1916 – Laughter as men try to avoid WW1 conscription}

You may question how many listened to their inside voice or to the Words of God. And how many listened to those who  experienced the hell of German artillery.

“I had a narrow escape from at least a serious wound. I had my water bottle smashed by a piece of shrapnel. The following day I got my touch of gas – not badly – bit I felt it more as the time passed on.” {March 28, 1916 – Bells toll for mankind but peal for Fred Kilborn}

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Preceding articles

Reflections on the Great War #1 100 years on

Reflections on the Great War #2

Too Young To Fight?

Remembrance isn’t only about those who fought, but also those who refused

In Flanders Fields II – a new poem in response to the original

Lessons of the Somme

The Somme (1916) Working Class Holocaust

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Read also

  1. All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting… George Orwell
  2. Parade’s End and Saint Flora Castle
  3. 1914 – 2014 preparations
  4. 11 November, a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation
  5. 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation
  6. Mons 2014 remembering the Great War
  7. Liège 2014 remembering the Great War
  8. August 4, 1914 to be remembered
  9. Honouring hundreds of thousands of victims of the brutal Somme battle
  10. Ulster Tower ceremony for the Irish at the Somme battle
  11. Aftermath
  12. Juncker warns for possible new war

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Related reading

  1. Anatomy of a World War I Artillery Barrage
  2. History is Personal 1916-2016
  3. One hundred years ago
  4. Centenary of the Battle of the Somme — July 1, 2016
  5. The Battle of the Somme
  6. Battle of the Somme – 100 Years
  7. 24 June 1916
  8. 25 June 1916
  9. 28 June 1916
  10. 29 June 1916
  11. 30 June 1916
  12. June 30, 1916
  13. 1 July 1916 – Somme
  14. Remembering Harry, a casualty of the Battle of the Somme
  15. The Last Day Of The Somme.
  16. The Lochnagar Mine
  17. The Absolutist by John Boyne – book review
  18. Review: The Great War (Sacco)
  19. The Great War changed everything
  20. Red Poppies
  21. Europe, war and the imagination

newspapers and the great war

Deeply moving events to commemorate one of the most infamous milestones of the First World War were held on Friday, exactly a century after the first British and French soldiers climbed out of the trenches at the Battle of the Somme.

We now know that July 1, 1916, was one of the bloodiest days in British military history. By nightfall, some 57,000 Commonwealth and 2,000 French soldiers had become casualties – more than 19,000 of whom had been killed.

The Battle of the Somme continued for another 140 days and when the offensive was halted in November, more than 1,000,000 Commonwealth, French and German soldiers had been wounded, captured, or killed.

Inevitably, the July 4, 1916, edition of the Market Harborough Advertiser did not report those terrible losses. However, despite the slowness of the technology a century ago, the editor manages to include the news sourced from an official Press…

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by | 2016/07/04 · 1:17 pm

The Somme (1916) Working Class Holocaust

When certain people or countries want to expand their territorial we can see they often use the common people to get to their goal. Because of many believing their politicians and being encouraged by the many lies and falsely presented hopes and dreams they fall in the trap to go into the battle killing other human beings, going in against the law of nature and the law of God.

In case all those who claim to be Christian would keep to the Law of God and would refuse to kill others we would have many less wars and much less agony.

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Preceding articles

Reflections on the Great War #1 100 years on

Reflections on the Great War #2

Too Young To Fight?

Remembrance isn’t only about those who fought, but also those who refused

In Flanders Fields II – a new poem in response to the original

Lessons of the Somme

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Read also

  1. All the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting… George Orwell
  2. Parade’s End and Saint Flora Castle
  3. 1914 – 2014 preparations
  4. 11 November, a day to remember #1 Until Industrialisation
  5. 11 November, a day to remember #2 From the Industrialisation
  6. Mons 2014 remembering the Great War
  7. Liège 2014 remembering the Great War
  8. August 4, 1914 to be remembered
  9. Honouring hundreds of thousands of victims of the brutal Somme battle
  10. Ulster Tower ceremony for the Irish at the Somme battle
  11. Aftermath
  12. Juncker warns for possible new war

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Related reading

  1. Europe, war and the imagination
  2. The Battle of the Somme 1 July 1916-1 July 2016– a very personal memoir
  3. July 4, 1916 – Battle of the Somme greeted with ‘the greatest enthusiasm’
  4. The Battle of the Somme 1 July 1916-1 July 2016– a very personal memoir | Enough of this Tomfoolery!
  5. He is Not Missing, He is Here.
  6. The Somme (Battlefield Tour)
  7. Monet, the battle of the Somme and a mitraillette
  8. My Road to Thiepval – 16th July 2015
  9. The Somme….lest we forget.
  10. Bush Premiere “People At War” Music Video For The U.N. Refugee Agency’s World Refugee Day
  11. We’re in a Hundred Years’ War With Islam!
  12. Only 10 Countries in the Entire World Are Not Currently at War
  13. Stupid Reporting: “Obama at War Longer Than any US President…”
  14. The King’s Army

THE SANGHA KOMMUNE

The Battle of the Somme

British working class men in the British Army go ‘over the top’ in WWI during the Battle of the Somme which took place between July 1st and November 18th, 1916.  On the first day, the British Army lost 60,000 men – and throughout the entire battle, the British Army lost 1 million men.  It is the worst battle the British Army has ever fought, certainly its most bloody and destructive, and the soldiers were all ‘volunteers’ from the grass-roots of the British working class, and the devastation caused by their deaths has probably never been recovered from in the UK from a population and cultural perspective.  The German working class men the other-side, also lost nearly a million men, whilst the related royals of Europe threw their working classes against one another in a brutal war of royal egos.

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Crimes & Atrocities, History, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Social affairs

In Flanders Fields II – a new poem in response to the original

Each year in Europe first they have November 1 and 2 and then 11 when suddenly graves have to be cleaned , flowers to be put on the graves and services are held to remember the deceased.

November the 11th takes a special place because then not only the dead are remembered but also those who nearly lost their life or those whose life came to a standstill or got broken for ever, though not many are conscious about that damage done in the deepest of their heart.

On Remembrance Day or Armistice day we want to remember that war came to an end, but many forget war is still going on in many countries. Many families all over the world are torn by grief. A never ending sorrow has come over humanity.

100 years after the beginning of the Great War we should seriously reconsider how we want to solve the world problems and would seriously work for getting peace to be something everybody in the world can share.

Who we take the time to reflect on the cost of our freedom is around that time the issue of the day, but for the rest of the year, we largely take that freedom for granted.

Bryan Ens reacted on the current situation with the original poem, by penned by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in 1915 the day following the death of his friend, Alexis Helmer, in his mind.

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Preceding articles:

Reflections on the Great War #1 100 years on

Reflections on the Great War #2

On Veteran’s Day

Janice Brittain’s music version of In Flanders fields

On the 11th hour…

Remembrance isn’t only about those who fought, but also those who refused

Too Young To Fight?

Royal British Legion poppy

Royal British Legion poppy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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  • Soldiers’ real stories are the best defence against Remembrance Day conditioning | Paul Daley (theguardian.com)
    This year, yet again, the keepers of our national myths will tell us that the soldiers of the “Great War” have passed from life into our collective memory.Some of us knew a first world war soldier. But, a century after the war began, for most of us who’ll stop today to mark a minute’s silence for Remembrance Day, the soldiers of the first world war long ago passed into – or always have been part of – our imaginations rather than our memories.

    Good men, all, and brave too, we have long been assured, were those who were “lost” to the war. The fog of hindsight has inaccurately rendered them a rarefied, almost saintly, generation, whose terrible experiences have become cloaked in benign euphemism and cliché.

  • Remembrance Day (wattlerangenow.com.au)
    From a population of under five million; 417,000 enlisted, 332,000 served overseas, 152,000 were wounded and 61,000 never came home.
    It was sacrifice on a stupendous scale.
    After the Armistice, we vowed never to forget and today, we renew that vow.
  • Palmer dismisses Lambie over Remembrance Day Coalition snub (sbs.com.au)
    The Tasmanian Senator has urged the public to turn their backs on any Coalition politicians speaking at Remembrance Day commemorations, as a protest against a wage offer made to Australian Defence Force members.”This Remembrance Day I invite all Australians, including our Veterans, to turn their backs on Government members if they are silly enough to give speeches, pretending that they care for our military families,” she said.

    “Their actions regarding defence pay clearly show that they don’t care or they are cowards.”

  • Final Tower of London poppy ‘planted’ on Armistice Day (onenewspage.us) (video)
    A young army cadet lays the final poppy at the Tower of London as Britain marks an especially poignant Armistice Day, 100 years since the start of the First World War.
  • Jessica Murphy – DC honours Great War, Remembrance Day (sunnewsnetwork.ca)
    The brainchild of the British Embassy in the U.S. capital, a Sunday service to commemorate Remembrance Day at the Washington National Cathedral brought together countries on both sides of the First World War.”On the centennial it seemed appropriate to try to do it on a bigger canvas and bring in as many and to involve as many of the nations who had a key role in the war as possible,” said British Major General Buster Howes.

    “As much as anything it’s in the spirit of reconciliation, those who fought in 1914 are now, largely speaking, allies and friends.”

  • Former PM Howard to mark Remembrance Day (news.com.au)
    Liberal MP Sharman Stone, whose Victorian electorate of Murray had six Victoria Cross recipients in WWI, has encouraged people to pause at 11am and remember those who suffered or died during wars. “It is just as important to think about those who are serving our country overseas now. We still have troops in Afghanistan who are helping the Afghan army and we have troops on advise-and-assist roles in Iraq,” she said.
  • Remembrance Day across Quebec (cbc.ca)
    “I’m glad to see so many people turn out,” said Jason MacCallum, a former military reservist. “I think it’s the largest crowd I’ve seen in years actually out today.”In St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, about 1,500 soldiers and observers took part in an emotional commemoration.
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    More than 650,000 men and women from Canada and Newfoundland served in the war.

    Approximately 66,000 died and 172,000 were wounded.

  • Lest We Forget (collinesblog.com)
    During my first year in in the city, I never understood why people wore red flowers on the lapels of their coats. It was only after a few years that I came to understand. The moment of understanding was definitely the case of children teaching the adult: my children were able to explain to me why they came home bringing the imitations of the red flowers with them as they had been taught the reasons at school.
  • Australia Marks 96th Anniversary Of The End Of World War One (realnewsone.com)
    When the Great War started Australia had a population of under five million. 417,000 Australians enlisted, 332,000 served overseas, 152,000 were wounded and 61,000 never came home.
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    In related news Clive Palmer has criticised Jackie Lambie for wanting to use Remembrance Day as a political protest against the Government for the appalling wage offer and stripping back of the army’s conditions. Mr Palmer has said “All Australians, particularly politicians, should show the utmost respect on RemembranceDay. It is never a day for political actions”
  • Remembrance Day (edwardbrainblog.wordpress.com)
    If you are grateful for the freedoms we enjoy in Canada, thank a veteran.
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    Canada remembers the sacrifices of all our military personnel, especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Your duty and sacrifice will not be forgotten.
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  • In Flanders Fields II – a new poem in response to the original
    One of the great poems. We honor the great Poets by reading their words.
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    A Sergeant Joyce Kilmer poem and one of my poems.

Quest for Whirled Peas

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
Is heard on each Remembrance Day
And on that day, with heads bowed low
We think of those who fought the foe
“We will remember”, we all say

Yet in that pose, we do not stay
And soon enough we walk away
To let forgotten poppies blow
In Flanders Fields

Those young men died, so that today
In freedom we can work and play
They paid a hefty price, and so
Let’s not forget the debt we owe
To those who will forever stay
In Flanders Fields

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The original poem, by penned by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae in 1915 the day following the death of his friend, Alexis Helmer.

In Canada, his poem is read at Remembrance Day services (November 11) each year.  My poem was written in response to the fact that for one day out of each year, we take the…

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Poetry - Poems, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Social affairs, World affairs

Remembrance isn’t only about those who fought, but also those who refused

Too often is not seen or forgotten how much more important it would be not to take up the guns? Those who did not want to go to war are often considered as cowards, but more often they should be considered as lovers of man. Out of love for the other creations we should not kill any other creature of God without any serious reason, like killing plants and animals for food.

We also should remember those strong lads who out of their believe in God and love for their fellow man, did not want to take up weapons and kept speaking against war.
No war today can ever be justified. Other ways should be able to be found to find a solution for the ongoing conflict.

Also we should respect more those who went to the battle field but were confronted with such horror and pain that their life broke, and that they had to escape from that horror to be able to stay a human being and not becoming an animal only willing to kill anything on its way. Much more thought should be given to those courageous men who were fractured by war-violence and got shell shock and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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  • Old remedy provides new treatment for veterans with PTSD (kdvr.com)
    It’s an ancient remedy, that’s become a new option in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.  Instead of prescription drugs, a Front Range clinic is taking a more holistic approach to helping local veterans.
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    Volunteers say their services decrease pain, anxiety and depression, alleviate symptoms of PTSD and improve sleep.  And it doesn’t just help veterans.

    “My son has had PTSD and had trouble getting back into society, and we all live in the same house, and at times it’s like walking on egg shells,” said Deborah Bailey.  Both she and her son receive treatment at the clinic.

  • PTSD: A Marine Corps Veteran’s Battle and Victory (accidentvictimsalliance.com)
    “We are on the cusp of a wave of PTSD,” says Dr. Sandro Galea after presenting a 300-page Congress-sanctioned report earlier this year suggesting the Pentagon and VA are unprepared for the impending wave of post traumatic stress disorder among troops.
  • Federal legislation ignores PTSD toll on civilians (eurekalert.org)
    Purtle found that in federal legislation introduced explicitly to address PTSD, an overwhelming majority of the language – more than 90 percent of the mentions of PTSD in these bills – showed efforts were targeted exclusively at military personnel. More than 90 percent of mentions of PTSD in the bills were likewise intended to address consequences of combat exposure.

    This emphasis does not match with the frequency of PTSD in the U.S. population.

    “Although trauma and PTSD are serious issues affecting military populations, the raw number of people affected by PTSD includes substantially more civilians simply because the civilian population is so much larger,” said Purtle.

  • New method shows progress for veteran PTSD sufferers (peoplestrusttoronto.wordpress.com)
    They fight the enemy and witness death and destruction before returning home. But sadly, the mental effects of war don’t go away for many veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

    Vía Veterans Today http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/10/31/new-method-shows-progress-for-veteran-ptsd-sufferers/

  • Scots children as young as five blighted by post-traumatic stress disorder after suffering abuse or witnessing catastrophic events (dailyrecord.co.uk)
    “Acute external events such as accidents and natural disasters, a range of violence-related traumas such as domestic or community violence or abuse can cause this condition.

    “It is certainly more recognised now because of a higher awareness of PTSD.”

    Statistics from health boards who responded to our freedom of information requests for PTSD cases recorded in children since 2010 make grim reading.

    Children in Greater Glasgow, Lothian and Grampian are suffering the same psychological trauma seen in kids in war-torn Gaza.

    More than half of 15 to 18-year-olds in Gaza show signs of full or partial post-traumatic stress disorder after seeing dead bodies and witnessing heavy shelling.

    In Glasgow, two children aged under 10, 21 aged 11 to 15 and 15 aged 16 to 18 were found to have PTSD.

    In Grampian, nine children were diagnosed in 2010, eight in 2011 and 17 in 2012-13.

  • Doctor who treated Siegfried Sasson ‘pioneered’ anthropology (theguardian.com)
    William Rivers, the doctor who treated officers including Siegfried Sassoon for shell shock during the first world war, and who was memorably brought to life in Pat Barker’s Booker prize-winning Regeneration trilogy, was also one of the fathers of social anthropology, according to a new book which claims his work in the field was written out of history by subsequent academics.

    Rivers is best known for his work at Craiglockhart war hospital in 1917, where he treated soldiers including Sassoon and Wilfred Owen for the condition then known as shell shock, now referred to as post-traumatic stress disorder. Rivers pioneered a humane, “talking cure” for the soldiers, as opposed to electric-shock treatment.

  • Jailed Marine released (wgntv.com)
    Tahmooressi was staying in San Diego to get treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan.

Stop Making Sense

RAF Veteran Harry Leslie Smith writes for The Guardian:

‘As an RAF veteran of the second world war I know that November is a cruel month for both remembering and forgetting the cost of armed conflict. During these past few days when the light grows dim, I have stumbled around London and remembered a time when, as a young man, I witnessed our capital face death from swarms of Nazi bomber planes.

In this day and age we like to impose uniformity on our past conflicts. We see them through a nostalgic lens of wartime propaganda films in which the hero gladly sacrifices his life for a green and pleasant land. But the past is not as simple or as clear-cut as our TV presenters like to suggest during Remembrance Sunday services. For every act of unique heroism we remember, we often forget or ignore all those who, because of…

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Filed under Activism and Peace Work, Being and Feeling, Health affairs, Re-Blogs and Great Blogs, Religious affairs, Social affairs, World affairs

Too Young To Fight?

Hate against some other nation or love to take revenge may bring people a long way from human sense.

After two great wars, where so many countries were involved and so much blood was shed, still lots of people do not realise how ridiculous it is to have so much lives being offered for showing the ‘right for power’. Still today we can see that in many countries war is still romanticized and lots of people do find it an honour to have their sons going to war. Today in this world we can still find lots of child soldiers, and when it is not for the right country people find it horrible, but when it is for the ‘right country’ or ‘the right cause’ people find them heroes.
For sure it has to do with some form of making value judgements about the rightness of the cause , by our twisted minds.

Today children are also often sold into a kind of modern-day slavery. In Raqqa, where poverty is rampant, Isis persuades parents to send their children to the camps in exchange for money, according to Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi, the pseudonym of a 22-year-old man who lived in Syria until recently. He is the founder of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a Twitter account and Facebook page.

In Iraq’s Mosul, which was taken over by IS gunmen in June, IS has replaced physical-education classes in local schools with martial-arts classes. A teacher in the city told Bloomberg that IS militants explained that “they need Mosul’s students to be the future soldiers of the caliphate.” Another Mosul resident, named as Abu Rawan, said that his 13-year-old nephew had been recruited by IS militants, who had given him a gun.

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To remember:

Commonwealth Military Cemetery at Essex Farm, near Ypres, Belgium: grave of V.J. Strudwick, killed in action January 14, 1916 at age 15.

Joe Strudwick: 6’1”, in all probability adult sized and willing to enlist; he said he was 19 and they either believed him or looked the other way. => not the lone child soldier of the Great War
his age was discovered before he reached the battlefield and he was de-mobilized.

Older men more likely to question validity of a war, more likely to have family responsibilities and less likely to unquestioningly volunteer for combat.

Young men romanticize war, older men know better.

Perhaps as many as 250,000 child soldiers, those not old enough to officially enlist, saw combat during the First World War. Probably more than that are serving today in conflicts around the world.

The United Nations has strict rules on military service for those under 18 that all member states are expected to follow.

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  • Video: South Sudan’s child soldier problem (bbc.co.uk)
    Children in the world’s youngest country of South Sudan are being forced to fight on both sides of a bloody civil war.

    The United Nations estimates that there are 11,000 child soldiers in South Sudan, where there has been a lull in the fighting, as peace talks continue between government, and rebel forces.

  • Boko Haram Using Child-Soldiers , Women As Human Shields (newsdiaryonline.com)
    Nigerian troops are concerned about the use of women as human shields as well as children as child-soldiers by Boko Haram militants in their quest to weaken military operations. A top security source in the North-East disclosed that the terrorists recruit, rape and kill some of the young captives who are reluctant to join them in their dastardly acts. In most cases, children and teenagers are forced to be in the forefront in the battle against the Nigerian troops through ambushing and suicide bombing.
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    On several occasions the Nigerian military has captured  children who were forced to take up arms against the state with some of them behaving abnormally  due to indoctrination and inducement through the use of hard drugs.

    The security source said “we are being cautious in abiding by the rules of engagement even when we are aware that the militants recruit children for spying on us and pushing them to engage in hostilities against innocent citizens and the troops. “Most of the children, especially teenagers were recruited through abduction, kidnapping and enticement with money after which they undergo brainwashing and combat training. Those that are unwilling to cooperate are punished or summarily executed.”

  • You: Afghan Parliament approves draft law to ban recruitment of child soldiers (nation.com.pk)
    The endorsement of the draft law by Afghan lawmakers comes as numerous national and international organizations criticized the Afghan government over recruitment of child soldiers. The draft law was sent to the Afghan parliament by the ministry of justice of Afghanistan around two weeks ago. Consisting of seven articles, the law was endorsed by the majority during the general session after review by parliamentary commissions.

    The law strictly prohibits the recruitment of children in security agencies, with one to seven years of imprisonment on violation. The Afghan Government reconfirmed its commitment with the endorsement of a ‘Road Map Towards Compliance,’ in August this year which laid down 15 measures to fully implement an Action Plan signed with the United Nations in 2011.

  • Boko Haram using child-soldiers, women as human shields (dailypost.ng)
    “We have lost our men in the battle-field while we tried to avoid shooting children and teenagers who are forced to confront us. How do you expect us to arrest a child with a gun? Do we accord such an armed under-age combatant with the status of a child deserving of protection under the rule of engagement?

    “It may become inevitable that some collateral damages may be recorded if we get the order especially because Boko Haram elements were using civilians as human shields to continue to gain undue advantages in the current battle in the North East.

    “However, much as troops are determined to avoid collateral damage, it has become inevitable to be decisive with armed underage combatants and female suicide bombers with the situation degenerating by the day.

  • Britain’s child soldiers: should the enlistment age be raised? (theweek.co.uk)
    Campaigners are taking legal action over the terms of enlistment for minors in the British army, accusing the Ministry of Defence of “exploiting” young recruits.

    Child Soldiers International (CSI) is calling for a judicial review over what it calls “unethical and unlawful age discrimination”. Their lawyers argue that soldiers who enlist at 16 are forced to serve for longer under army rules.

    Teenagers cannot see active service until they are 18, but all soldiers must be available for deployment for four years. So a 16-year-old who joins the army cannot leave until that are 22.

    “These young soldiers will be forced to put their lives on the line against their will during those two extra years, all because of a decision they made at 16 and later regretted,” said CSI director Richard Clarke.

    The latest move by the campaign group has reignited the debate about the enlistment age in the UK and comes as an independent survey found that 78 per cent of people believe it should be raised. “There is overwhelming public support in this country for a minimum enlistment age of 18,” said Clarke.

    The UK is the only country in Europe and the only country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council to recruit 16-year-olds into its armed forces. It is also just one of 17 countries in the world to do so, alongside North Korea, Pakistan and Iran.

  • Isis Child Soldiers Used as Suicide Bombers and Human Shields (ibtimes.co.uk)
    Speaking to reporters at the U.N., he said the fighters “appeal” to some of the youngsters and that they have approved adept at “manipulating young men and children.” He explained that “they project an image of being victorious”.

    They impress upon the children the importance of fighting and dying for their faith. and offer the pledge that those who die in the fray will “go straight to heaven.”

    Not everyone is in favour of children going into battle. “What is striking for me is to meet mothers who [tell us], ‘We don’t know what to do,'” said Simonovic. “Our sons are volunteering and we can’t prevent it.”

    At the camps, the children who are barely bigger than AK47s, are taught how to fire and load weapons. According to Syria Deeply website, they are shown the best ways to behead someone, using dolls as practice.

    The effectiveness of child soldiers as fighters is obviously not as great as adults, so they are used in other ways. Chillingly, they have value as human shields and also to provide blood transfusions for Isis militants, according to Shelly Whitman, the executive director of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

  • Five Year Old Fighters and Girls Sold as Slaves – Videos Show Disturbing Evidence of Life in the Islamic State (breitbart.com)
    Charlie Winter, a spokesman for anti-extremist think tank The Quilliam Foundation said: “This video is yet more evidence of Islamic State seeking to indoctrinate children from a very young age in an attempt to entrench its hold over the region. Such footage is worrying, in particular because it renders apparent the fact that IS’ legacy will be long-term, even if it was to collapse tomorrow.”

    Another video documents men bartering over Yazidi slaves. Sitting on sofas in a living room, a man wearing a white cap turns to the camera and says “Today is slave market day. Today is the day where this verse – “… except with their wives and the (captives) whom their right hands possess, for (then) they are not to be…” today is distribution day, God willing. Each one takes his share.”

  • ‘IS: The Next Generation’? Militants Recruit Children (rferl.org)
    Abu Usama is not playing at being an Islamic State militant. He is one of the extremist group’s child fighters. IS social media lauded him as the youngest fighter to guard the front lines in the Syrian town of Kobani, which IS has besieged.

    Over the past weeks, more and more reports have emerged with evidence that IS militants are providing military training to schoolchildren in Syria and Iraq.

    Other reports claim that the extremist group is also using children as young as 13 as fighters.

  • Cubs of the Caliphate: ISIS Trains Boys to Go to Battle (nbcnews.com)

    Some graduates of the camps are used as human shields and suicide bombers. Other wee warriors man checkpoints, hoist heavy weapons and act as enforcers.

    Beyond the additional fighting power, analysts and experts say brainwashing young recruits is a strategic move aimed at ensuring the militant group’s longevity by providing a ready-and-willing next generation of jihadis.

random thoughts from lorne

The grave of V.J. Strudwick at Essex Farm. The grave of V.J. Strudwick at Essex Farm.

When we visited the Commonwealth Military Cemetery at Essex Farm, near Ypres, Belgium, our guide pointed out the grave of V.J. Strudwick, who was killed in action January 14, 1916 at age 15. The official age to enlist was 18, for overseas service 19.

Recruiters though generally didn`t ask probing questions, and identification documents were not all that common in those days before drivers licences, when people may not have ever even seen a car. Joe Strudwick was in all probability adult sized and willing to enlist; he said he was 19 and they either believed him or looked the other way.

It was a young man’s war, as they generally all are. With age comes maturity; older men are more likely to question the validity of a war, more likely to have family responsibilities and less likely to unquestioningly volunteer for…

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