In pictures: World War One battlefields 100 years on
Photographs of the landscapes of World War One battlefields as they are today, by photographer Michael St Maur Sheil, are to go on show in St James's Park from 4 August, the centenary of Britain's declaration of war. The Fields of Battle/Lands of Peace exhibition, sponsored by The Royal British Legion, features 60 pictures.
Inside France's secret WWI bunker: Urban explorers find wartime weapons stowed away in underground quarry
A sprawling military bunker containing a treasure trove of vehicles and weaponry spanning more than two world wars has been discovered at a secret location deep within a French forest. Like a giant time capsule, the huge installation, carved out of solid rock, contains wartime relics from a German 77mm Model-1896 World War One cannon to military vehicles dating from the 1960s and 1970s. It was discovered by a team which specialises in exploring urban areas. Although they will not reveal the exact location, the bunker once formed part of the Maginot line.
WWI relics - like coins, uniforms, helmets - help id soldiers buried in Fromelles
Experts trying to id hundreds of Australian and British First World War soldiers buried in mass graves are revealing what they do and how. In a field next to Pheasant Wood at Fromelles in France they retrieve and examine the remains and prepare them for a respectful reburial. Several temporary buildings are being used as an on-site lab where the remains are put through a process which includes being X-rayed, cleaned and photographed. Items unearthed from the battlefield include coins, military uniforms, helmets and even a heart-shaped leather pouch hand-stitched by a loved one and containing a lock of hair.
Trench maps solve the location of the battle London Scottish Regiment fought at Messines
On Hallowe'en night, 1914, London Scottish Regiment fought a major battle at Messines, suffering heavy casualties. Though marked many ways, the location of the battle has been unknown. After discovering McMaster's collection of trench maps online, Pipe Major John Spoore contacted staff at the Lloyd Reeds Map Collection at Mills Memorial Library for assistance in locating the windmill near which the battle was fought. Map specialist Gord Beck reasoned that the mill had been between Huns Farm and Middle Farm, near the woods at L'Enfer. Using these clues, Beck examined a trench map in the collection and located a windmill symbol, ending a near century-long mystery.
The WWI killing fields - More British people visit the battlefields now than ever before
World War One does not grow old, as other wars grow old. Memories of the war refuse to die, but the physical traces are, like the WWI survivors, fading away. Historian Martin Middlebrook: "After the 80th anniversary of the Somme in 1996, I would have told you that two things were inevitable. We will see declining numbers of people at future commemorations. Interest in the war will gradually reduce. The opposite has been true." There are now more British visitors to the Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries than ever before. The nightly ceremony of the playing of the Last Post at the Menin gate in Ypres drew in a fistful of people 30 years ago. Now, there is a healthy crowd.
Couple explores horror of WWI's Western Front through films, exhibit
Ed Klekowski and his wife Libby have been examining WWI battlegrounds in France for the last 5 years, picking up artifacts. They set up an exhibit of WWI battlefield artifacts in the University of Massachusetts. Klekowski is also preparing two documentaries on New England volunteers and soldiers in WWI. He will return to the Western Front with Elizabeth Wilda to finish the films. "Model T's to Glory: 1914-1917" is about volunteer New England war-time ambulance drivers. Another documentary "Yankees Fight the Kaiser" tells the story of a group of soldiers from New England who fought along the Western Front.
On a First World War battlefield tour - The Western Front today
The actor starts to recite and our group hears the deadly patter of gunfire. Some of us may even flinch, imagining the impact. Something thrilling is going on in this copse in France. A poem is being reconnected to the moment of its birth. In aerial photos the trenches of the Western Front look like wounds. From one of these ditches, a support-trench near Fricourt, Siegfried Sassoon observed the opening of the Battle of the Somme. "Have just eaten my last orange. I am staring at a sunlit picture of hell," he writes in Memoirs of an Infantry Officer. As the World War I recedes into history, it exerts fresh interest, fuelled by the online genealogy hype.
Slovenia's forgotten World War I front, Pictures from mountain trenches
Slovenia: Bloody WW1 campaign above the Soca River echoes in the mountains today. "The Italians were up there on the Kolovrat ridge," remarked Edward Granville. "When the fighting started in earnest in 1915 they selected their best troops, bersaglieri and alpini mountain fighters, to attack the Austro-Hungarians. But after a year they were using pretty much anyone..." There were 11 major Italian offensives on the Soca Front (the Isonzo Front) trying to break eastward into Austria. What these armies were doing, entrenched opposite each other along the Soca River mountains a few hundred feet apart, mirrored their Allies on the Western Front in Flanders.
In depth: Army Officer Sgt. York Battle Site Located
Last December a group announced that they had found the battle site where Sergeant Alvin C. York won the Medal of Honor on Oct 8, 1918. US Army Lieutenant Colonel Douglas Mastriano says the researchers are simply in the wrong place. "The claim by Mr. Birdwell that they found the spot where York earned the Medal of Honor is completely wrong. Their declaration is not supported by battlefield archeology, German archival data, military doctrine or terrain analysis and most importantly, the Germans that York fought and captured were never there." But what about the artifacts found? Mastriano explained many of the artifacts are French light Chauchat machine gun bullets.
Anzacs' landscape: Gallipoli battlefield threatened
Large retaining walls to be built to stop erosion at Anzac Cove will fundamentally change the historic Gallipoli battlefield, historians and the RSL fear. Don Rowe urged the Australian Government to try to stop any further development at Gallipoli: "They are now planning for the 100th anniversary and I hope they can preserve the battlefield rather than do more road widening and build walls to stop erosion." In 2005, a road into Anzac Cove was expanded after a request from the Australian Govt to cater for buses taking 18,000 Australians to the Cove for the 90th anniversary of the Anzac Day dawn service. This year, 10,000 people are expected to make the pilgrimage on April 25.
World War I training trench preserved as military history monument
A World War I training trench on Cannock Chase in Staffordshire has been preserved. The government has designated the site an ancient monument due to its significance in military history. The location of the trench is being kept secret. It is believed to have been used by troops based at a training camp on the Chase in WW1. Cannock Chase was the location of a large training camp during World War I, which was used by 250,000 Allied troops.
Uncovering the secrets of Ypres - Seeking battlefield bunkers
90 years after the battle of Passchendaele, the third battle of Ypres, a group is attempting to dig up some of the key trenches of World War 1. Geophysicist Malcolm Weale specialises uncovering battlefield history that has lain hidden for generations. In this case, a muddy Flanders landscape beneath shields secrets of WWI. But Malcolm and the archaeologists who called him in are looking for one specific piece of history. Somewhere nearby is a remnant of the hidden war, the shelters, tunnels and deep bunkers that protected troops from the hail of explosive. British historian Peter Barton has written several books on the subject.
Govt warns historians not to dig up World War 1 battlefields
The Australian Government has warned amateur historians against any unauthorised digging on the Great War battlefields in France. Bruce Billson says French authorities contacted him about groups wanting to dig up private property near the village of Fromelles in a bid to discover if the remains of 160 WW1 diggers are buried there. The Australian Army has asked experts to check the site using methods that avoid any digging. The Govt appreciates that amateur groups are interested, but unauthorised digging is counterproductive: "An amateur dig would no doubt incur the wrath of the local authorities."
The Complete Guide To: Great War Travel
The First World War lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11.11am on 11 November 1918. It claimed about 10 million lives and caused the disintegration of 4 empires: Austro-Hungarian, Russian, German and Ottoman. Almost as soon as the fighting was over, many of the battlefields started getting visitors. Most popular was the Western Front: Many visitors went to Flanders, where hundreds of thousands of soldiers died. The main place of pilgrimage is the Flemish town of Ieper, known as Ypres in French, and Wipers by British troops who fought there. It receives more than 200,000 visitors every year.
U.S. war dead from foreign battlefields identified
For the first time, a Pentagon group charged with identifying U.S. war dead from foreign battlefields has identified the remains of a soldier killed in World War I. Army Pvt. Francis Lupo was killed on July 21, 1918, during an attack on German forces near Soissons, France. His remains were discovered in 2003 and identified by the Pentagon's Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab. Larry Greer, a spokesman on POW-MIA issues, said it was the first time the remains of a WW1 service member have been recovered and identified since the office was established in the 1960s.
Gallipoli battlefield study to reveal hidden secrets
Australia is to be part of a major 3-nation archaeological survey of the Gallipoli battlefield. It will combine conventional mapping with electromagnetic surveying to produce the most comprehensive historical and archaeological study ever conducted at the site. "One of the things we'll be spending a great deal of time on is the mapping of the trenches to see how they cohere with maps of the trenches and exploring what lies beneath." Professor Mackie says there is a "distinct possibility" that a wealth of material dating back to the days of antiquity lies buried beneath the battlefield.
The battlefield land itself does not forget at Ypres
It is hard to comprehend the level of slaughter caused by the First World War. In just one day on the Somme 20,000 British soldiers were killed. A weekend trip out to the battlefields of Flanders proved an interesting experience. A new exhibition, "The Last Witness" at the In Flanders Fields Museum aims to keep the memories alive. One of the first things which strikes you are the photos of the devastation caused by four years of warfare. By 1918 Ypres lay flattened, the countryside was an unrecognisable quagmire and a generation of men had been lost. Despite all that, the front line barely moved.
Verdun battlefield - US Army Garrison Soldiers gathered
Along the battlefield where so many perished and scars from the fighting remain, soldiers from U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern gathered for a day. Verdun, the World War I battleground that saw 300 days and nights of uninterrupted fighting, served as a solemn backdrop. From February 1916 to December 1916, more than a quarter-million people died or went missing, and almost a half-million were wounded during the trench warfare and artillery barrage that marked the battle. Some villages were shelled in oblivion. The group members toured Ossuaire Douaumont, a memorial built for those lost during the fighting around Verdun.