Heroes of The Line Book
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RBL Donation Update: October and November Sales of ‘Heroes of The Line’

Today I have added the donations from the October and November sales of my  ‘Heroes of The Line’ e-book. As a reminder, the target for the book is to raise £1500 by the end of 2018 (during the WW1 centenary years), if I can get up to £50 per month from sales then that will […]

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A polite notice to politicians re: The First World War Centenary

As I write this we are currently six days into the centenary year of 2014. Six days into what will be four years of (hopefully) respectful, considered and thoughtful remembrance of, and teaching about, the First World War. Yet someone has forgotten to tell our politicians what the Centenary years should be used for. Just two […]


A visit to La Boisselle

Earlier this week I was lucky enough to travel to France and spend a couple of days with the team of the La Boisselle Study Group. If you don’t know of the group, please check out their website here. They are currently excavating and studying a small but hugely significant portion of the old Somme […]

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Hero of The Line: 76645 Lance Corporal John Rimmer M.M., Tank Corps

John Rimmer was born in Blackburn in 1895, and as a child attended both the Norfolk Street Day School and St Francis’ Church Sunday school. There is little detail available of his early life, but what is clear is that after leaving school John took an apprenticeship as a weaver at the Gordon Street mill […]

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17 New Infographics Added to The Great War 100 App

It has been a while since an update to The Great War 100 app has been issued, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy working on numerous fab infograpics on The First World War. During the past weeks graphics on bravery awards such as the Pour le Merit, the Medal of Honor,  the Iron Cross […]

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New Kindle e-book launched: Heroes of The Line

I am delighted to announce today that my latest  e-book ‘Heroes of The Line’ has now been launched on Amazon Kindle. Priced at £2.49 it tells the story of my Cycling the Line tour of the Western Front as well as uncovering some of the soldiers that are buried or commemorated in the many cemeteries and […]

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Survey reveals poor WW1 knowledge – but what can be done?

A recent YouGov survey of 1,955 British adults seems to indicate that there is a general lack of knowledge and understanding in Britain about even the basic facts of the First World War. Some of the headline results of this survey, taken on the eve of the centenary of the conflict, are certainly a little […]

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A Much Needed Boost: Messines Ridge

Today, 7th June marks the anniversary of the Battle of Messines Ridge… The Messines Ridge, situated a few thousand yards to the south of the town of Ypres, had been taken by the Germans in 1914 and they had fought tenaciously to keep it ever since. Strategically this ridge was hugely important; although at 260 […]

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Big new ‘Battles’ update to The Great War 100 app.

Today we have added 8 big new infographics to our popular ‘The Great War 100′ app. This latest update covers 7 new ‘battle’ graphics covering the decisive battles at Mons, the Marne, Cambrai, Amiens, Neuve Chappelle, Loos, First Ypres, and the Brusilov Offensive. Another graphic covering the Battle of Tannenberg is not quite finished and […]

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Distinguished Flying Cross added to The Great War 100 Infographic App

Yesterday, 8 new infographics were added to the ever-growing ‘The Great War 100′ app. This latest update covers the Distinguished Flying Cross gallantry award. These new graphics cover a general overview of the award including award criteria, size, material, as well as some facts and figures as to how many were awarded, what they were […]

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War Memorial Database Launched

A new online database covering British War Memorials has been launched  on thegenealogist.co.uk. Currently the database comprises over 100,000 records, providing valuable details about civilians and soldiers killed during conflicts ranging from the Boer War to the more recent clashes in Northern Ireland. Each record  includes details of the memorial with overview images of the […]

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Battered Suitcase Provides a Treasure Chest of WW1 Memories.

Earlier this week I read a great story in the Daily Mail about a recently found old suitcase that held a plethora of items relating to the life of a WW1 nurse. Margaret Maule was a nurse for 52 years, until she retired in 1969 aged 82. During that time, she cared for wounded WW1 […]

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A Guide to British and Commonwealth Campaign Medals of WW2

Over the coming weeks and months I will be building various medal guides for both the Second and First World Wars and uploading them to Slideshare.net Here is the first one – A guide to British and Commonwealth Campaign Medals of WW2. I hope you like it and find it of interest!!   WW2 British […]

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WW1: Are You an Expert or a Layman?

On the back of my latest Kindle e-book (World War One: A Layman’s Guide) I thought it might be interesting to put together a short online questionnaire to test the nation’s knowledge of The First World War! So, get your clever face on and help us get a better understanding about the nation’s general knowledge […]

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New Update to ‘The Great War 100′ app – Trench Weapons

Today we have issued a another small update  to our popular “The Great War 100″ app  consisting of 8 new infographics covering some of the various trench weapons used by the infantrymen whilst serving in the front line. In the close confines of a front line trench, the rifle was often too big and cumbersome […]

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15 WW1 Victoria Cross Facts

I have spent much of my spare time this Christmas period working on the next wave of infographics for ‘The Great War 100′ project I am working on. In particular I have been working on a number of Victoria Cross infographics, some of which will appear as an app update in a few weeks time… […]

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Rifles: An update to “The Great War 100″ Infographics app

Today we have issued a small update  to our popular “The Great War 100″ app  consisting of 7 new infographics covering the rifles used by the infantrymen of the main protagonists of the First World War; (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the USA). Each graphic includes a nice image along with the vital […]

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World War One: A Layman’s Guide is launched today on Amazon Kindle

I know what you are thinking: Not another book on the First World War!! To a certain extent, I do sympathise with you. If you type in ‘WW1′ in the books section of Amazon.co.uk you will be confronted with a list of 11,186 books to choose from. That is quite a bookcase. So, do we […]

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Sign the HM Government e-petition to open up WW2 medal rolls to aid family war service research

Researching WW2 family members can be awkward at the best of times. There are things that can be done – my blog post ‘Researching Your WW2 Ancestors‘ covers the most common research avenues, however, for service records and medal information you have to be a direct family descendant, and you need to know some basic […]

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New Update to The Great War 100 App

Here at Research Towers, we are delighted to announce a new update to our popular The Great War 100 app. This new update sees 27 infographics added covering two different subjects: Tanks and (fittingly) The Armistice. Those of you who have already downloaded the app onto your phone or tablet will find the new images […]

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A cottage, a chalk badge, some ANZACs and an ‘Old Contemptible’.

I went to look at a prospective new house at the weekend. It was a lovely cottage that is older than America, in a pretty village called Codford, nestled in the Wylye valley. The place we looked at was lovely, a bit too near to the main road, but that is by-the-by. I was with […]

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Britain plans 3-day tribute to mark WW1 centenary

According to a recent article in The Sun, Britain will hold three special days of remembrance to mark the centenary of World War One, The days that have been pencilled in are:  4th August, 2014 (centenary of the beginning of the war), 1st July, 2016 (centenary of the 1st day of the battle of the […]

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Calling all History Teachers!

If you are a history teacher in a secondary school then we may have something that interests you… Following on from the success of our WW1 infographics app we have printed a short run of full size posters of our overview infographic that would look great in any history department! The posters are sized to […]

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The Battle of the Somme – Infographic.

In an effort to remember the sacrifices made during the Battle of the Somme, and in particular the first day of the battle that saw so many casualties for the British Army, here is an infographic overview of the battle. This infographic is taken from a project called ‘The Great War 100′ that I am […]

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New Facebook page!

We have a new Facebook page – www.facebook.com/militaryresearchUK – and we would love it if you join us. On our page you will find pictures, photos and stories from our military history, plus tips and tricks on how to track down your military ancestors. We have over 800 ‘likes’ already and lots of interaction going […]

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The Great War 100 app is now available on both Android and iOS

We are delighted to announce that The Great War 100 app is now available on both Android and iOS platforms for just £1.49 The idea of the app is to try and tell the story of the First World War using infographics. In the first version of this app there are over 65 separate graphics […]

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The Great War 100 Android App – Available on Android

The Android version of our App – The Great War 100 is now live and available for download at the bargain price of £1.29. This application is the forerunner to the book of the same name, which is due to be published by The History Press in early 2014 for the centenary of the war. […]

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Researching Your Airforce Ancestors

Earlier this week saw the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Royal Flying Corps, so as a tip of the hat to the pioneers of British military aviation, I thought I would write a few words on how to uncover your aviation heroes. But first a history of the RFC in about 3 paragraphs: […]

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Kaiserschlacht I: Operation Michael.

The situation Germany found herself in at the end of 1917 was somewhat mixed. Yes, the defeat of Russia in the East had released a huge number of troops and supplies that could be switched to the Western Front, but the window of opportunity for effective action in the West was rapidly diminishing as the […]

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War Horse Exhibition at NAM

 The National Army Museum are planning a brand new exhibition exploring the true story behind the epic stage production and novel called ‘War Horse’. The touching real life stories of the horses, and the men who depended on them will be illustrated throughout the collection, encouraging visitors to think about the ‘patient heroes’ who supported the British Army in […]

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Cycling the Line Videos!

It has taken him the best part of 2 years, but finally Steve, my buddy with whom I cycled the WW1 Western Front back in 2009 has uploaded some video snippets from our trip onto YouTube. They are small, taken with an iPhone, completely random and contain some tasty language, but they bring back some […]

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The Battle of Mons

Just a matter of weeks after declaring war on Germany, 80,000 members of the BEF, along with 30,000 horses and 315 guns of assorted size were in France and unwittingly marching straight towards an enemy who had already passed through Luxembourg and was now putting Belgium to the sword. The Schlieffen plan was working beautifully. […]

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Fromelles – “The worst 24hrs in Australia’s entire history.”

At 19:00 CET today, a ceremony will be held at the Commission’s newest cemetery at Fromelles in northern France, to dedicate the newly erected headstones of 14 Australian soldiers who died 95 years ago, during the Battle of Fromelles. This public event forms the latest chapter in the Fromelles story, which has seen the discovery […]

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The Plugstreet Archaeological Project

Exploring, through forensic archaeology, the human story of the Battle of Messines The Plugstreet Project is a non profit project lead by No Man’s Land Archaeology Group, a multinational team of volunteers specialising in the study of the First World War though archaeological excavations, historical research, map work and aerial photography. Working with academic departments, local and […]

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That Contemptible Little Army – the BEF (in 589 words)

After the Boer War, Richard Haldane, the War Minister, spearheaded a reform of the British Army. Hindered by a nation obsessed with its Navy, and a political system opposed to conscription, the opportunity to grow the army was limited, so instead Haldane concentrated on modernisation and training, with the aim of building an elite force […]

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The Battle of the Somme (1916) in 833 Words.

The Somme offensive was the main Allied attack along the Western Front in 1916. Launched on July 1st along a 19 mile front line north of the River Somme between Amiens and Péronne, it eventually ended on 18th November due to bad weather. Originally intended to be an offensive dominated by French forces, with the […]

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‘For Conspicuous Gallantry…’ Special Offer for the last few remaining copies!

As I was taking part in the annual event that is clearing out my garage yesterday, I came across one box of my book  – For Conspicuous Gallantry…Winners of the Military Cross During The Great War (Volume 1: 2 Bars and 3 Bars). As well as possibly having the longest book title in the world, […]

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Heroes of the Line: Lt. Col. Randle Barnett Barker, DSO & Bar. Royal Fusiliers.

Here is another ‘hero of the line’. This is a series of researched officers and men who were killed during the First World War and whose gravestone we photographed during our ‘cycling the line‘ trip in 2009. Today’s hero is Lt. Col. Randle Barnett Barker, DSO & Bar. Royal Fusiliers. Record of Service: Born London, […]

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More Little Known Facts on WW1.

The blog post I did a while back: 9 Little Known Facts of WW1 has been very popular, so I thought I would add a few more bite sized nuggets…so here we go:  Little Known WW1 facts, Chapter 2… When the British mines laid under the Messines Ridge near Ypres were exploded on 7th June […]

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Don’t Let Veteran’s Stories Fade Away…

With the sad but inevitable news that Claude Choules, the last surviving veteran from WW1 passed away earlier this week, I guess the press will be full of articles about their lives, television programmes dedicated to their memory and a renewed interest, for a while, in the “Great War”. That we remember those who fought […]

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John Alexander McCrae (1872-1918)

Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae (November 30, 1872 – January 28, 1918) was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres. He is best known for writing the famous war memorial poem “In Flanders Fields”. Born in Guelph, Ontario, on November 30, […]

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Holocaust ID Project Launched.

A project to trace hundreds of children who were displaced by the Holocaust has been launched by am American museum. The campaign, run by the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum is calling for information about more than 1100 children, depicted in a series of photographs which can be seen online. The photos were taken at refuge […]

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What are your favourite WW1 books?

I read a lot. Mostly history (which is a yawn for most people, I know), and mostly WW1 related. However, after reading my last book ‘In Flanders Fields – The 1917 Campaign’ my WW1 bookcase is dry… So here is a heart-felt plea to the 1500 or so people who read this blog every month […]

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Heroes of The Line: Major Edward Corringham ‘Mick’ Mannock RAF

Today, April 1st, sees the anniversary of the birth of the Royal Air Force (RAF).  The RAF came about from the amalgamation of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service and announced in the London Gazette on April 2nd 1918. “All Officers serving with the Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying […]

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Heroes of the Line: Major E A Chisholm, MC and 2 Bars. RFA

Major Edward Alexander Chisholm, MC and 2 Bars, RFA Record of Service: Born in Canada 26/7/1892 Previous to the outbreak of war had served with the 18th Battery, Canadian Garrison Artillery, rising to the rank of Captain. Volunteered for service as part of the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force on 27/11/1914 Transferred to the 161st Brigade, Royal […]

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The Origins of the British ‘Tommy’

The name Tommy or Tommy Atkins has long been used as a generic nickname for the British Soldier for hundreds of years. There are many opinions as to where/how/why this name came about, my favourite is the one that suggests it was chosen by the Duke of Wellington… The Duke was standing on a path […]

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£50 fine for burning poppies

As I was driving home this evening, I heard on the radio that a man who was found guilt of burning poppies and singing ‘British Soldiers burn in hell’ on Armistice Day has been fined £50 (fifty pounds). Now, I don’t know about you, but I find this disgusting. £50 is a desultory amount for […]

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Some famous (and not so famous) quotes from WW1

Here are a selection of  quotes (both well known and slightly more obscure), from people who lived and fought through the First World War. These are just a few of my favourites, I hope I have quoted them correctly (I am sure I will get told if I haven’t!) If you have a favourite quote […]

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Heroes of the Line: Major H W F B Farrer MC and 2 Bars.

Major Henry Wyndham Francis Blackburne Farrer Military Cross and 2 Bars, RFA Record of Service: Born  Salisbury 10/8/1894 Volunteered for service on 12/8/1914 and joined as a 2nd Lieutenant with the 39th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery Left for France on 17/10/1914 from Southampton on SS Winifriedan. The 39th Brigade was part of the 1st Division. One of the […]

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War Medals and Militaria As An Investment?

I was on the phone today with a good friend of mine and the discussion got round (inevitably) to military stuff, specifically this time, the investment potential of militaria and medals. I have been collecting medals and militaria on and off (more off than on recently, to be honest) for the last 20 years. And […]

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Ypres and south of the salient

You may remember several months ago I re-visted some places in and around the Ypres Salient, specifically to the north around Passchendaele, as we hadn’t had much time to properly visit some of these areas during our Cycling the Line trip in November 2009. Well, today I was able to get back to the Salient […]

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Some Holocaust / Auschwitz facts on Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, on this day in 1945 Russian soldiers finally liberated the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz. To mark this anniversary here are a few interesting facts about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. Auschwitz II – Birkenau, was built in October 1941. It held more than 100,000 prisoners and housed gas chambers capable […]

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Boer War records now online

Details of thousands of Boer War soldiers have been digitised and compiled into a single on-line collection, making it much easier for family historians to search for their family heroes. The records are at www.findmypast.co.uk  and list more than 260,000 soldiers, nurses and civilians who served with the British Imperial Forces between 1899 and 1902. […]

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Great War Heroes Weblog: 2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health: The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever. Crunchy numbers A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 7,900 times in 2010. That’s about 19 full […]

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Christmas in the Trenches

The lyrics below are from a wonderful song from John McCutcheon. It describes the Christmas Truce of 1914 where British and German soldiers put aside their hostilities for one day as a spontaneous truce was recognised up and down the Front Line. You can see a you tube video of John singing his song here […]

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A Christmas poem from the front line.

I received an email this evening from one of my military research customers. The content of the email was a poem and a message from the soldier who penned it. Both are transcribed below… This poem was written by a Peacekeeping soldier stationed overseas. The following is his request. I think it is reasonable. Would […]

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New visitor centres to be built in Flanders by CWGC

Earlier this month (Remembrance Day to be exact) the Commonwealth War Graves Commission signed an agreement with the Flemish government which will mean closer working ties between the two parties in the run up to the centenary of the Great War (2014-2018). The result of which will be brand new visitor centre in or near the […]

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Help The British Legion Become Number 1 in the Charts!

What a great idea – the British Legion has released an iTunes track to raise money for this years Poppy Appeal, and many music experts think it could reach number one in the charts — despite being two minutes of silence. The track “2 minute silence” is being released by The Royal British Legion on […]

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Somme Ceremony for Football Battalions

A couple of years ago I wrote, on this blog, about the famous ‘Football Attack’ on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and how some of the war diaries for these football battalions were now available online to view. The Footballers’ Battalions were formed partly in response to criticism that the 1914-15 […]

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How will you raise money for the 2010 Poppy Appeal?

This time last year I was in the final preparations for my cycle ride along the entire WW1 Western Front  trench lines. Steve and I raised about £3500 for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, of which we are both very proud.  This year, unfortunately I have not been able to repeat such a feat, however […]

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Using the Internet to search for Militia Ancestors

If your ancestors served in the Militia it may seem that trying to trace their careers is significantly more difficult than those men that served in the regular army. But there are some great websites that can help you in your search. What is the Militia? The Militia was a part-time voluntary civilian force organised […]

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Why The Bomber Command Memorial Matters.

Now, I don’t normally read too many newspapers, firstly because I don’t get a great deal of time to do so, but mainly because I am not that interested in which footballer is bedding which whore, or if Paris Hilton is partying in Vegas without any knickers… But today is different, because as I was […]

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Finding War Graves and Memorials on the Internet

The are literally ‘some’ splendid websites out there where you can find details of the final resting place of your family hero who made the supreme sacrifice so we can eat cheeseburgers in peace…here are a few of my faves.  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (www.cwgc.org)  In my opinion, this is the daddy of them […]

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‘The Few’ 70 years on.

Today, at 15.52BST to be precise, marks the 70th Anniversary of the famous ‘So Few’ speech from Sir Winston Churchill as he paid tribute to the RAF as they threw everything they had against the mighty Luftwaffe in The Battle of Britain. To commemorate this anniversary, the speech will be replayed outside Churchill’s war-time bunker in Whitehall, at 1552 BST […]

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Re-visiting some old friends on the Ypres Salient

Perhaps the only disappointing thing from ‘Cycling the Line’ was the fact that we couldn’t really spend much time looking around the places we were travelling through. This was especially true when we hit Ypres at the very end of the trip. My bike was in such a bad state I dared not do a […]

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Dedication of Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery: 19th July 2010

The dedication of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery, Fromelles, northern France, will take place on Monday 19 July 2010. During the dedication, an un-named soldier will be buried.  He is the last of the 250 Australian and British soldiers found at the Pheasant Wood site to be laid to […]

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The Battle of the Somme

Today is the anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. Widely regarded as the blackest day in British military history, approximately 60,000 British soldiers were killed, wounded or missing as Kitchener’s New Army was blooded – quite literally – on the battlefields of France. That’s sixty thousand men…twenty thousand of them […]

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Using Ancestry.co.uk to find your family heroes

Almost all of us have a family member who fought for King and Country during the First World War. With digitisation of army and pension records, as well as medal cards, ancestry.co.uk is a great resource for anyone wanting to find out more about their family heroes from WW1. There are a vast number of service […]

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WW1 German Submarine discovered off coast of Long Beach, California.

Surrendered to Britain by Germany at the end of the First World War, the UB-88 was given to the U.S. for study and a victory lap from New York, around the Panama Canal and back up to the coastal waters off California. The agreement called for the German submarine to be sunk within two years. […]

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Using business cliches to raise money for the Royal British Legion

I had the pleasure of hosting my European marketing colleagues at work this week, along with some senior members of our corporate marketing management team. During the meetings I put together a ‘cliché tax’ system where a small fine (20p or 20c depending on where you came from!) was paid every time someone said one of a set of […]

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Army Chelsea Pension Records now online

Over a quarter of a million army pension records have now been made available online at www.findmypast.co.uk For soldiers that served in the British army before WW1, by far the best way to find any information on service and personal details is via the chelsea pensioner discharge papers. (National Archives WO97). This series holds over […]

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Finally…Cycling the Line Photos!

I know, I know. It has take absolutely ages. But after approx 4 months, the photos from cycling the line are finally on-line. You can see some of the photos we took on my flickr page. I havent got round to putting a title on them all yet (that will take another 4 months probably) but hopefully […]

Medals of the Great War, Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Campaign Medals of The Great War, 1914-1918

The Great War of 1914-18 was fought on a scale never before witnessed and caused casualties and damage beyond any battle or war previous to it. In military, social and eonimic terms it was simply immense, touching practically every single Britsh family with millions of people, military and civilian, men and women involved from Britain […]

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WW1 Websites I Cannot Do Without – Part 2

Just before Christmas I posted about the CWGC website as one of half a dozen WW1 bias websites that I believe are invaluable for researchers and family historians interested in this conflict. Next up is The Long, Long trail (www.1914-1918.net). This site is a huge website jam packed with great detail about the British Army […]

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Community Service for fake veteran.

Roger Day proudly wore ‘his’ medals at last years remembrance parade in Bedworth, Warwickshire. He is an unassuming gentlemen, however his medal bar was anything but! Seventeen medals (count them!), including what looks like from the photos (and I may be mistaken so pls forgive me) a Distinguished Service Order and Bar, a Military Cross, […]

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WW1 Websites I cannot do without – CWGC

There are hundreds and hundreds of online resources to help you learn more about the First World War and the soldiers that fought in it, indeed, if you want an (almost) exhaustive list of all military research websites, then check out my interactive pdf which lists, links to, and describes thousands of very useful websites… […]

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Adolf Hitler’s Service Record to go Online

Adolf Hitler’s war record is to be published at the ancestry.co.uk archive. The website is to publish thousands of WWI documents detailing the full military careers of troops that were based in the south east of Germany. They include details of the then 25-year-old volunteer Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler, who was described as a Catholic […]

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World Record Price for Chavasse Double VC

The double Victoria Cross awarded to Captain Noel Chavasse during WW1 has been sold privately to Lord Ashcroft for a reported £1.5million. The VC and Bar was sold by St. Peter’s College, Oxford which was founded in 1929 by Captain Chavasse’s father, the Reverend Francis Chavasse, and had been gifted the medals decades before by […]

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Auschwitz-Birkenau: Walking in the shadow of death

Yesterday I visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, about 50km west of Krakow, Poland. It is a place I have always wante to visit, indeed it is a place, that personally, I have told myself I must visit, owing to the significant historical and humanitaria (or lack of it) story that the site has to tell. […]

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Ypres, the Menin Gate and a Remembrance Day to Cherish…

Another early start on the 10th as we tried to get out of Lens and head north (and across the border) to Ypres. Getting out of Lens wasn’t particularly easy or pleasant…but we got there in the end and headed out into the country, which, thankfully was largely flat. We passed through some sites of […]

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Another Wheelie exciting day on the road to Albert

Although the trip so far has been great, it is now, as we approach the Somme region and the areas of British involvement in the war that things start getting really interesting (for me at least). So, I was excited at the prospect of cycling upto Albert today. Albert is practically in the centre of […]

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Our Route Along the Trenches!

The countdown is well and truly on for our bike ride for the Legion. Here is a quick rundown of the schedule for those that are interested… Day 1 – We start on the Franco Swiss border at Pfetterhouse and cycle north(ish) through Seppois, Largitzen, Hirtzbach, Carspach, Altkirch, Aspach, St. Bernard, Balschwiller, Aspacht before arriving […]

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Find Your WW2 Heroes: Roll of Honour now online.

As we remember the 70th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, it is a good time to remember the 349,000 british soldiers, sailors and airmen who fought and perished during this conflict.  Ancestry.co.uk have just released the WW2 Roll of Honour which records all these heroe’s names, along with specialist information, manually […]

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Early War Images on Display

The folks at the National Army Museum have had a busy summer delving into their extensive photograph archives, the results of which are now being shown via their online exhibition entitled First Shots: Early War Photography 1848-60. The online exhibition features  the work of many celebrated war photographers including Bengal Army Surgeon John McCosh who, […]

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Can the Holocaust be taught in 1hr?

I have just read an article on the Royal British Legion’s blog that says recent research suggests that British school children are severely lacking in British historical knowledge. Not surprising given the wide spectrum of curriculum modern schools are supposed to cram into term time, and the never ending surge of political correctness that means […]

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Researching Your WW2 Ancestors

I get a large number of enquiries from people asking me to help them research their ancestors who fought in WW2. Unfortunately there is only a limited amount of help any researcher can do with this campaign, due to the fact that the MoD still hold the service records of all soldiers of this era. […]

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Should ‘The Enemy’ be invited to WW1 memorial service?

 Thousands upon thousands of British soldiers have given their lives to defeat Germany in both World Wars, so at first it does seem a little odd that German representatives could be invited to a future national memorial celebration of WW1. But, take a minute to think of the wider picture. Think of your family ancestors who […]

WW1 Time Line

95 Years Ago…

95 years ago today, the Imperial German army marched into Belgium. They were, ultimately, on route to Paris and beyond, to encircle the French army (not necessarily to capture the captial) and force France to surrender before the might of the Russian war machine mobilised and headed towards Prussia. Britain, lept to the defense of […]

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Poem for the last veterans of WWI

The BBC has asked the poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, to write a poem to commemorate the passing of two of the last WW1 veterans, Henry Allingham (who’s funeral, with full military honours is today), and Harry Patch, who’s funeral is scheduled for next week. The poem is vivid, powerful and moving, I have transcribed […]

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A Sad Week As 2 WW1 Heroes Fade Away

I suppose it was bound to happen at some time as they couldn’t physically live on forever, but nonetheless it is very sad that Henry Allingham and Harry Patch both passed away this week, leaving the UK with just one physical link to horror and carnage of the ‘War to end all Wars’. Henry Allingham […]

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Cycling the Line. in aid of the Royal British Legion.

In November, myself and a good buddy of mine will be going on a ‘bit of a bike ride’.  Starting on the Franco/Swiss border we will cycle north following as closely as we can the Western Front Trench System from WW1 until we arrive at the Beglian coastal town of Nieuport, (hopefully on Rememberence Day) […]

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May Military Cross Book Promotion – Blog Special

I am feeling generous in May, so I have decided to offer both my book on the Military Cross and my 2009 Directory of websites to help discover your military heroes both for half price, right up until May 31st! That means you can get a signed copy of my hardback book on the Winners of […]

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Imperial War Museum’s Sound Archive

The Imperial War Museum in London has a remarkable sound archive which is open to the public (by appointment). The archive holds over 56,000 hours of recordings of personal accounts from the Boer War, the Great War, WW2 and more recent conflicts such as Korea, Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan. As well as oral accounts of […]

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WW1 Graves discovered in Northern France.

Five burial pits, thought to contain the bodies of between 250-400 British and Australian soldiers have been found in Northern France, seemingly buried behind enemy lines after the Battle of Fromelles  in July 1916. A stark reminder that, even 90 plus years on, we can not and should not forget the sacrifice, heroism, and folly […]


Illinois Holocaust Museum

I know this blog is supposed to be about WW1 and the heroes that fought in it, but last Sunday I visited the Illinois Holocaust Museum just north of Chicago, and as my passion for military history spans both world wars and beyond I thought it would be reticent of me if i didn’t comment […]

WW1 Time Line

First British Casualties

Now, it is often thought that Pte John Parr of the 4th Btn. Middlesex Regiment was the first British battle casualty of the War. Not true. Although he is obviously an early casualty (killed on the 21st August 1914) he was not the first British casualty. In the early morning of August 6th 1914, with […]

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Peacocks & Chess Moves: Prelude to War.

After the assassination of the Archduke there began a period of political bicep flexing and a flurry of pacts, friendly handshakes and aggressive finger pointing as the major (and some of the not so major) powers of Europe shuffled themselves into two distinct sides ready for an August face-off. On the 6th July, Germany put […]

WW1 Time Line

The Spark that Lit A Million Fires. The Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.

28th June 1914. Archduke Franz Ferdinand had an appointment in Bosnia to oversee some army manoeuvres. He didn’t expect to be welcomed with open arms on this trip, the Archduke was the heir to the throne of the ruling Austro-Hungarian Empire, and a large percentage of the Bosnian population were unhappy at Austrian dominance, instead […]

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Famous ‘Football Attack’ diaries now online.

Now this is cool. For me, the best part of researching the Great War is the individual stories, the personal suffering and heroism, the privatethoughts of the normal man-in-the-street-turned-soldier.  So, i was very pleased to see that the Royal Surrey Regimental Museum have digitised and posted diaries from some of their soldiers/officers. One of the […]

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“New” WW1 veteran discovered.

108-year-old, Ned Hughes, from Accrington has emerged as a possible fourth surviving British veteran of the First World War. He was conscripted into the 51st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and training as an infantryman less than six months before the war ended. His personal files have been destroyed which is hampering authorities proving beyond […]

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Wilfred Edward Salter Owen (1893-1918)

More than any other conflict, the Great War inspired writers of all generations and classes, most notably among combatants. Wilfred Edward Salter Owen (1893-1918) was an English poet and soldier, regarded by many as one of the leading poets of the First World War. His shocking, realistic war poetry on the horrors of trench warfare […]

Medals of the Great War

1914 Star

Date of Institution: 1917 Campaign: France & Belgium 1914 Branch of Service: British Forces Metal: Bronze Size: Height 50mm; max width 45mm Description: A crowned four-pointed star with crossed swords and a wreath of oak leaves, having the royal cypher at the foot and a central scroll inscribed AUG NOV 1914. Uniface, the naming being […]


Pacifist on the front line

Now, I don’t often read The Sun newspaper, but on the train back from London yesterday I happened to spy a copy on the seat next to me and as i flicked through it i came across a remarkable story about Rifleman Donald McNair, a conscientious objector who was tricked into going to the front […]