WW1 diaries of captain discovered after being hidden in wardrobe for 40 years
The diaries of a First World War captain whose company was massacred on the Western Front have been discovered after remaining hidden in a wardrobe for 40 years. The journal of Captain Edwin Vaughan, detailing the Battle of Ypres in 1917 in which his band of 90 men were annihilated to just 15, has been published (Some Desperate Glory), revealing the battlefield grim battlefield realities.
"From the darkness on all sides came the groans and wails of wounded men; faint, long, sobbing moans of agony and despairing shrieks. It was too horribly obvious that dozens of men with serious wounds must have crawled for safety into new shell-holes and now the water was rising about them and powerless to move they were slowly drowning."
Scots' World War One underground shelter discovered in Ypres
A World War I underground shelter made by Scottish troops has been unearthed in Ypres. The Vampire Dugout was discovered by archaeologists on the site of the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele. Now experts are preparing to enter the tunnel complex. 25 men from B company of the 9th Battalion Highland Light Infantry Regiment spent 3 months in 1918 building the shelters and headquarters. Historian Peter Barton said: "We've had to pump out gallons of water from the tunnels... items like beds, weapons, clothing... will still be intact. So far we've recovered a clip of rifle ammunition, a water container, machine parts and even a brass safety pin."
Horror of Passchendaele graphically portrayed
The horror of Passchendaele is graphically portrayed on a website that explores the impact on New Zealanders of one of WWI's most tragic battles. Historians at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage have written a section on nzhistory.net.nz featuring archival film, photos, stories and oral histories on NZ's worst military disaster. Historian Bronwyn Dalley said the impact of the battle on NZ reached far beyond the individuals: "1 in 4 New Zealand men aged 20-45 died in the Great War. The tragic events had left deep scars on communities..." nzhistory
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.
90th anniversary of Battle of Passchendaele - Third Battle of Ypres
This summer marks the 90th anniversary commemorations for the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917. From June to Nov 2007, several events and memorials will be held in the West Flanders region which will evoke nostalgic memories of one of the Great War`s most prolific battles. Often known as the Third Battle of Ypres, the offensive determined and shaped the outcome of WW1 in 1918 but not without significant casualties which had repercussions for not just Britain`s and Germany`s brave soldiers but for the Commonwealth. On 12 July 2007, the ceremony at the largest Commonwealth burial ground in Europe takes place at Tyne Cot cemetery.
Villagers erect memorial to Scots who fell at Passchendaele
The people of a Flemish village Zonnebeke plan to honour Scottish soldiers who found a last resting place in Flanders' fields at the height of one of the First World War's bloodiest battles. They hope to raise a Celtic Cross on the long ridge where the men of the 51st Highland and 9th and 15th Lowland divisions died storming German trenches during the 4-month offensive at Passchendaele. The action was the third phase of the fight for the Ypres salient and was aimed at driving through enemy lines to capture U-boat pens on the Belgian coast from which submarines were wreaking havoc on allied shipping.
Historian on the trail of the battle of Passchendaele
Historian Philip Brazier is associated with the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 near Ypres in Belgium. The museum is undertaking a project called the Passchendaele Archives and is seeking photographs, letters and reminiscences related to the battle. Passchendaele 1917 was one of the great conflicts of WW1. One hundred days of fighting resulted in over half a million Allied casualties for a gain of only a few miles. The New Zealand Division fought in two separate attacks on October 4 and 12. "The first was successful, but the second failed due to unbroken barbed wire, deep mud, undamaged German machine-gun bunkers and artillery fire."
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.
The ghosts of Ypres past return
Nearly 90 years after the guns fell silent, the mud of Flanders is still giving up its secrets. This week, in a farmer's field near Ypres, a group of amateur historians found the remains of three soldiers from the First World War. Two of the bodies bore no identification, although one still had half its uniform, as well as a spoon, fork and a bayonet. On the third, the historians found an identification tag.
Ypres dig reveals trench horror
Archaeologists excavating the route of a planned motorway near Ypres in Belgium have uncovered a series of trenches very little changed from the day they were abandoned at the end of World War I. They contained the bodies of some soldiers, together with weapons, and objects used by the troops to help pass the time. The dig has revealed a network of trenches which were home to thousands of British, Australian, Canadian and Indian soldiers between 1914 and 1918.
A pilgrimage of remembrance to Ypres
Ypres in French, Ieper in Flemish. The Tommies of the first world war could get their tongues around neither version, and so gave the medieval Belgian town their own name -"Wipers". Which came to stand for death. For, while the Somme has entered the English lexicon as the ultimate expression of chaos and disaster, in fact far more lives were lost in the mud of the Ypres salient than on the Somme over the four years of the 1914-1918 war, and the area is packed with war graves, monuments, and visual reminders of the horrific and bloody battles.