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

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Unsolved Mysteries

Latest hand-picked First World War news. See also: See also 'Battlefield Tours', 'First World War Medals'.

Russian submarine hunts the last czars' hoard of gold from the depths of a Siberian lake
Legend has it that a series of railway wagons filled with gold sank into a lake in Siberia during the chaos of Russia's civil war. Now, researchers, exploring the depths by submarine, may have located the lost gold. As Bair Tsyrenov guided his Mir submersible up a slope, a shimmer of gold was seen in the headlights, 400 meters below the surface of Lake Baikal. First the ship's 3-man crew discovered "steel girders that looked like railway bridges." Then they spotted the "bars with a particular golden radiance," Tsyrenov reports. Experts think that the finds might be the gold taken by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak.
(spiegel.de)

Did Russian gold remain buried in remote woodland near the city of Kazan
A huge gold trove dating from the time of the last tsar Nicholas II, with possible British claimants, may be buried in Kazan. Historian Valery Kurnosov says evidence of the treasure, worth half a billion pounds, lies in the files of both the KGB and MI6. In the months before July 1918, when Nicholas II and his family were shot on Lenin's orders, 73% of the world's largest gold reserves were in Kazan. Much of the gold was smuggled to the West by Admiral Alexander Kolchak to pay for assistance to the White Russian forces. However, recurring claims say a sizeable stash remains hidden near Kazan.
(express.co.uk)

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.
(physorg.com)

Miniature submarines continue treasure hunt for Tsarist gold in Lake Baikal
£4.5m expedition (partly set up by the Russian Academy of Sciences) has returned to Lake Baikal with 2 minisubmarines to continue a treasure hunt for a fortune in Tsarist gold that, legend has it, was carried by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak's White Army as it fled the Bolsheviks during Russia's civil war. Tales abound about the fate of the gold (1,600 tonnes). Some say that troops travelling across Baikal's icy surface froze to death as temperatures hit minus 60C. When the spring arrived, the sacks of Imperial gold sank to the bottom of the lake. Others say that the gold was lost when railway carriages fell into the lake from a branch of the Trans-Siberian line at Cape Polovinny.
(timesonline.co.uk)

ANZAC letters claim there were Female Turkish sharp shooters in Gallipoli
Mete Tuncoku, director of the Atatürk and Battles of Çanakkale Research Center (AÇASAM), came across letters and journals of Australian and New Zealand soldiers that mentioned Turkish female warriors fighting against them during the Battle of Gallipoli. It is not commonly known that women also fought during the battle, Tuncoku explained, so he researched the issue in the Australian and NZ archives. Tuncoku, author of "Çanakkale 1915: The Tip of the Iceberg," discovered letters and diaries referring "Turkish female warriors" and "female Turkish sharp shooters."
(todayszaman.com)

Mystery of 1919 soldier riots
In a cemetery in a Denbighshire village, 5 soldiers' graves have for decades attracted interest from both locals and historians. They lie amongst 85 of their Canadian comrades who were buried in Bodelwyddan during the First World War. But these 5 soldiers were not killed fighting the enemy. They were killed during riots in the town's Kinmel Camp in March 1919 after the war - and their deaths are still a mystery. Historians still do not know exactly what took place and who killed the five men. They also think more people could have died in the riots than the official numbers reveal.
(bbc.co.uk)

Divers: Lusitania carried arms - 4 million rounds of .303s discovered so far
It was May 7, 1915, a day that became one of the most important for the U.S. in the Great War. The Lusitania, a passenger ship carrying almost 1,200 people (128 U.S. citizens), was cruising along the coast of Ireland, when a German torpedo hit her. Soon a second explosion from somewhere within the ship rocked the giant ocean liner. In less then 20 minutes she had been taken under - with her 1,119 of the people onboard. It persuaded the U.S. to join the British in their battle against the Germans. But the divers say the Germans may have been right: The Lusitania was holding more then just people. So far 4,000,000 rounds of .303s were found on board.
(chattahbox.com)

Search fails: Mystery of Australia's first submarine HMAS AE1 remains
Searchers have failed to solve the mystery of what happened to Australia's first submarine, lost off Papua New Guinea in 1914 at the start of World War I. Navy search teams had hoped an object on the seabed off PNG would be the submarine AE1. Instead it turned out to be a submarine-shaped rock formation - located earlier by the navy survey ship HMAS Benalla in an area where it was believed AE1 sank with all 35 crew on Sept 14, 1914. The next step was a close-up examination by a camera-equipped remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from one of the navy's minehunters. The examination by the minehunter HMAS Yarra proved a disappointment.
(theage)

Who shoot down German fighter pilot the Red Baron during WWI
It has raged as one of the most disputed Australian war mysteries for more than 80 years. Now a council has honoured the person it believes was responsible for shooting down famed WW1 fighter pilot the Red Baron. Robert Buie, a gunner with the 53rd Battery of the Australian Field Artillery, has been immortalised by a plaque and memorial at Brooklyn, north of Sydney. It's a move sure to outrage families of other soldiers, such as fellow gunner Cedric Popkin, who have laid claim to the historic feat. But for the Buie family there's no doubt who was manning the gun that brought down Manfred von Richthofen on April 21, 1918.
(dailytelegraph)

There is mystical side to almost every war
The unknown pages of history come to light as the secret archives become declassified and accounts are published. However, many are still perplexed over some cases that took place, like the disappearance of the 4th Royal Norfolk Battalion on August 21, 1915. According to accounts by 3 New Zealand soldiers, the 4th was assisting a unit launching an offensive against the enemy lines on Position 60. A strange cloud fell over the soldiers: "very dense as if it was some solid structure". The people were gone after the cloud floated away. At the war the Turks confirmed that they had not captured any personnel of the 4th Royal Norfolk Battalion.
(pravda)

WW1 U-boat UB-85 attacked by seamonster?
April 30, 1918, in the waning days of World War I, the crew of the British patrol boat were astounded to find a German submarine (the UB-85) floating on the surface of the North Atlantic. With almost no provocation, the entire crew of the UB-85 abandoned ship. According to U-boat's commander, his submarine had surfaced in order to recharge its batteries. Suddenly, a "strange Beast" climbed onto the side of his ship. The shaken crew of the UB-85 noted that during the struggle the forward deck plating had been damaged and the U-boat could no longer submerge. The entire account was chronicled by members of the British Navy, only hours after the event.
(americanmonsters)

WW1 wreck mystery -- "It's a wreck that shouldn't be there"
Archaeologists are to investigate a wreck reported to be that of a German warship previously said to have been salvaged and scrapped. Records claim the V81, which was at the Battle of Jutland in 1916, was raised in 1937. However, members of Diving Club said it was still on the seabed. Information on the fate of the V81 is "cloudy". The destroyer was part of the German High Seas Fleet which fought the Royal Navy in the Battle of Jutland, off Denmark's coast. Some 8,648 British and German sailors lost their lives in one day's fighting on 31 May into 1 June 1916. In 1919, the vessel and 73 other German warships were scuttled in Scapa Flow, Orkney.
(bbc)


See also

'Battlefield Tours'

'First World War Medals'.