First World War in the News is an edited review of hand-picked World War I (1914-1918) articles - covering everything from the soldiers and generals to the trenches and militaria.

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World War II

American Civil War

Bloodiest battlefield casualties of War

Latest hand-picked First World War news. See also: See also 'Archives: WWI Ancestry research', 'Military History Tours', 'WW1 Trenches', 'Medals: Most decorated Soldiers'.

Exhibition explores how shell-shocked Australians coped after World War I
An exhibition at the National Archives in Canberra explores the consequences of war on Australians after the end of the war. "Shell-Shocked: Australia After Armistice" includes stories of the men and women who returned physically and mentally wounded and how families coped with the loss of loved ones. Curator Tracey Clarke says many soldiers and their families were left shell-shocked. "There's been a lot of research into the war itself but not so much into what happened after the war... over 300,000 servicemen were sent off... at the time there were only 5 million people in Australia." Of those 300,000 men, some 150,000 were wounded and 61,000 killed.
(abc.net.au)

Casualty Figures: How Five Men Survived the First World War by Michèle Barrett
Even today the First World War is the icon of the horror and inhumanity of armed conflict. Our picture of the war is vivid: the poems still speak as freshly to students today as they did to older generations and the poignancy of the photos and newsreels touches us still. Those smiling young faces marching into Flanders, and those drained bodies struggling through the mud of the trenches. Michèle Barrett's Casualty Figures is an account of 5 servicemen who pulled through this hell, scarred and damaged for the rest of their lives, but the book also is a broader account of the psychological damage inflicted.
(telegraph)

Tragedy of 4 sons lost to the Great War
The tragic story of a Croydon family who lost 4 of their sons during a 2-and-a-half year period in the Great War has been disclosed by local historian Brian Roote. The tale echoes the film Saving Private Ryan. Albert, Stephen, Charles and Frank - the sons of Elijah and Mary Ann French - are all on Croydon's Roll of Honour after dying in combat. "The first one to be killed was Albert who volunteered to join the Canadian Infantry Central Ontario Division. He was killed on April 10, 1916... The next brother to die was Charles Ernest, of the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment 7 Battalion. He died on February 27, 1917, at Arras."
(croydonguardian)

3 brothers who died in one day of the first world war
It was a tragedy that shows the sacrifice of the Great War. Three brothers, in different regiments, all killed on the same day in one of the WWI's bloodiest battles. James, Matthew and Robert Mochrie died separately, on the opening day of the Battle of Loos on 25 Sept., 1915. A fourth brother Andrew survived but died in battle a year later. The story of the Mochrie brothers has now been disclosed by local historian Kevin O'Neill. "The memorial... only mentions the names and regiments... when I cross-referenced the names with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and researched their families, I discovered the tragedy of the Mochrie brothers."
(scotsman)

Culture and Mass Killing in the First World War By Alan Kramer
Alan Kramer argues that WWI was more than simply a new industrial form of warfare that brutalized the modern world. Destruction became a deliberate policy in many, if not all, of the combatant countries. This made possible not only conscious hooliganism against cultural monuments but also the creation of an actual culture of violence. As the fighting intensified the combatants embraced the annihilation of soldiers and civilians as a policy. Dynamic of destruction was not a law of nature: It was man-made. Opening with a series of deliberate acts of vandalism: in August 1914, German forces in Louvain murdered 248 civilians, and burned the city's ancient library to the ground.
(iht)

The largest mutiny in modern military history
The battle is seared into French collective memory and has fascinated historians as the moment when man said "no" to the machine gun. The military story is horrific, if not unusual for WWI. On April 16, 1917, General Robert Nivelle sent 1.2 million men into a battle 130km northeast of Paris that would be go-for-broke gamble to end WW1. Underestimating the German advantage of entrenched hilltop positions, offensive was catastrophe. Soldiers mutinied. They did not retreat, but they refused to obey orders for further attack. Many officers had been killed, and replacements were green. Military records are confusing, but about 40,000 men in 130 regiments took part.
(iht)

James Lincoln Page and African-American 370th Infantry Regiment   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In Sept 1918, James Lincoln Page was serving in the all African-American 370th Infantry Regiment, which took part in a 5-day assault on the heavily fortified German position of Mont de Signes. One of the regiment's platoons captured part of the German fortifications, turned the enemy's own guns on them and then held it for 36 hours without food or water until re-enforcements arrived. 20% of his comrades in the 370th were killed or wounded in combat. In one instance, a single German artillery shell killed or wounded 80 soldiers as they stood in a mess line. The Germans called the 370th "the Black Devils" for their fierceness.
(wcfcourier)

1,459 dead in one hour - 3 British Navy Warships sunk in 1914
A photograph on our Look back page of five fishermen from Lynn's North End who served in the Royal Navy during World War I sparked a flurry of interest. Among those who got in contact was Paul Rose, whose grandfather John Rose was one of 11 Lynn men drowned when 3 British Navy warships were sunk in 1914. Submarine warfare tends to be something many of us associate with the Second rather than First World War, and the huge losses incurred at sea are overshadowed by the later mass slaughter in the trenches. But when news was first received about the sinking of 3 British ships, just over a month into WW1, the loss shook the confidence of the nation.
(forumeerstewereldoorlog.nl)

WWI Book recounts America`s deadliest battle: Meuse-Argonne
It`s been 5 years since military historian Michael Clodfelter spent 3 days exploring America`s bloodiest battlefield: the Meuse-Argonne in France. "Most people don`t realize it, but this was the greatest battle in our history." That is why Clodfelter spent years researching and writing the book "The Lost Battalion and the Meuse-Argonne, 1918, America`s Deadliest Battle." More than 26,000 Americans were killed during this World War I battle with the Germans. The book also tells the story of Maj. Charles Whittlesey and "the lost battalion," which was cut off for 5 days during the battle before being rescued.
(ljworld)

German-American lynched by mob in 1918 - Anti-German hysteria
A small group of members of a Odd Fellows lodge gathered at the burial site of a long-dead brother Odd Fellow killed by a mob. The group came to dedicate a new granite gravestone for Robert Prager, a German-American, who was lynched April 5, 1918 in Collinsville by a mob that suspected him of pro-German sentiments. The incident was widely publicized at the time and today is seen as a key example of anti-German hysteria during World War I. "It was never really found out that he said anything derogatory. To me, it's the most shameful time in Collinsville's history."
(suburbanjournals)

WWI casualties - dozen women died without leaving Jersey
They licked the tips of their paint brushes, not realizing the lethal furies they would unleash. The doughboys holed up in the trenches in France needed watches they could read in the dark and glowing radium mixture made it possible. But painting those thin lines on watch faces required a fine tip on one's brush and the young women working at the U.S. Radium Corp. plant in Orange never had a second thought. But what researchers would discover is that the radium was often fatal. They started painting the radium dials in 1917 and within 3 years, more than a dozen women died.
(-)

World War I casualties table
The number of World War I casualties -- military and civilian -- was over 37 million, over 15 million deaths and 22 million wounded. This includes almost 9 million military deaths and about 6.6 million civilian deaths. The Allied Powers lost more than 5 million soldiers and the Central Powers more than 3 million. Casualty numbers are much debated.
(wiki)

French battlefield Memorial: 3000 dead or wounded within half an hour
A memorial has been unveiled to remember hundreds of East Midlands soldiers who died on a World War I battlefield in France in Oct 1915. The men were killed at a site known as the Hoenzollern Redoubt which had remained unmarked for decades. "It was the East Midlands' black day - with enormous casualties from towns and villages across the region." The soldiers who died in the battle at Loos, which was a fortified series of German trenches, were mostly from the 46th North Midlands Division. "They were immediately cut down by machine guns in the no-man's land and 3,000 men were dead or wounded within half an hour. It was a useless waste of infantry."
(bbc)

In just 30 minutes the Newfoundland Regiment was wiped out   (Article no longer available from the original source)
In the morning of July 1, 1916, the Newfoundland Regiment went over the top in the battle of the Somme. Just 30 minutes later the battle was over, the Regiment had been wiped out and with it a generation of young Newfoundland men. That night only 68 members answered the roll call; 710 had been killed, wounded or were missing. King George V later granted the Regiment the addition of "Royal" for the contributions made on the battlefield. Newfoundland and Labrador`s Lieutenant Governor described July 1 as "an important anniversary in our history."
(southerngazette)

Memorial to honour Leeds Pals WW1 sacrifice
The Leeds Pals who saw 750 of their 900 members killed, wounded or captured on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, are to be honoured in France. A memorial will be unveiled in the town of Bus les Artois on the eve of the 90th anniversary of the first day of the World War I battle. Members of the Great War Society, dressed in full uniform, will also travel to France for the ceremony.
(bbc)

Somme: Australia's bloodiest battle is overshadowed by Gallipoli
It was July 23, 1916, and Australian soldiers were in hand-to-hand combat in the ruins of the French village of Pozieres. It was an inferno of machine-gun fire, shouts and falling shells. Australians were throwing bombs into holes, bayoneting Germans, taking others prisoner. In just six weeks at Pozieres, Australia suffered 23,000 casualties, including 6000 to 8000 deaths. By contrast, 8500 died in the whole eight months of the Gallipoli campaign. An Australian Government website says 23,000 Australians died in the 1916 and 1918 campaigns on the Somme, half of all those who died in France.
(theage)

The Somme: Bloodiest offensive in the history of the British Army
The first day of the Somme offensive was the bloodiest in the history of the British Army. More than 20,000 were killed and 60,000 injured. 60% of all the officers were also killed on the first day. The offensive, which took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916, was intended as a decisive breakthrough. Instead it became a slow battle of attrition which led to more than a million casualties. After an eight-day preliminary bombardment, in which 1.7 million shells were fired at German positions, the allies attacked. But the shells were often of poor quality and failed to destroy German dugouts.
(bbc)


See also

'Archives: WWI Ancestry research'

'Military History Tours'

'WW1 Trenches'

'Medals: Most decorated Soldiers'.