Update on the WW1HA Annual Seminar

Evacuation of our troops from the Peninsula. Barges conveyed them from transports to the Island. Photo (cropped, some digital retouching) of a black and white photographic print in an album titled Photographs of the Third Australian General Hospital at Lemnos, Egypt & Brighton (Eng.) / taken by A. W. Savage 1915-17 held at the State Library of NSW. December, 1915.

Evacuation of our troops from the Peninsula. Barges conveyed them from transports to the Island.
Photo (cropped, some digital retouching) of a black and white photographic print in an album titled Photographs of the Third Australian General Hospital at Lemnos, Egypt & Brighton (Eng.) / taken by A. W. Savage 1915-17 held at the State Library of NSW. December, 1915.

Here’s news of the seminar, Oct. 2-3, at the Hilton/Lisle in the Chicago suburb of Lisle, Ill. And here’s the link for more details and to register: http://ww1ha.org/2015-annual-conference/

Speakers

Jack Tunstall: Eastern Front, 1915 (with an eye on Aerial Ops)
Kelley Szany: In the Shadow of War: The Armenian Genocide 1915-1918
Jon Guttman: Through, Above and Around: Arming the First Allied Fighters in 1915
Dick Church: The Kaiser’s U-Boats: Unrestricted Submarine Warfare, the Lusitania, and Will They Bring America into the War?
Steve Suddaby: Aerial Bombing, 1914-1915: Crossing the Rubicon with Baby Steps
John Mosier: Western Front, 1915
Lance Bronnenkant: Early German Aces and the Interrupter Mechanism
Paul Grasmehr: Gallipoli

Also, 1st Infantry Div. Museum Tour, Friday pm
Modeling Contest, Re-enactors, Strategy Games and vendors

Program Outline

Friday, October 2
8:00 AM to 12 Noon: Seminars with breaks
Noon to 1:00 PM: Lunch
1:00 to 5:00 PM: Buses to Cantigny and Museum tour
6:00 PM: Cash bar before dinner
7:00 PM: Dinner

Saturday, October 3
8:00 AM to 11:30 AM: Seminars with breaks
11:30 AM to 12:30 PM: Lunch
12:30 to 3:15 PM: Seminars and briefings on WW1HA and League

Movie: “The Devil Dogs”

New on Kickstarter:
My name is Jean- Christophe Labrunye and I’m the producer of an author documentary film project called “ The Devil Dogs”
This film is part of the centenary of the First World War. Its main subject is the first great battle the American Marines won in June 1918 at Belleau Wood, at only 90 km from Paris.
This battle was, without a doubt, the bloodiest in American Military History before the Second World War. It is considered as “The” battle that gave birth to the Marines Corps as we know it today.Is on this woods, after loosing 7000 of their men, that they became the “Devil Dogs”.
Since the beginning of this project, the feedback from the United States has always been really encouraging. On January 27 we were honoured to receive “ The United States World War One Centennial Commission” label. Every year, hundreds of Marines come to the Belleau Wood as a testimony of the importance of this battle in their own history.
We have also been given the « Mission centenaire 14-18 » french Label (ministère des anciens Combattants) in april 2014, the writing and documentary development Aid from the Picardie region in November 2014, and the « Aisne 14-18 » label from the the Aisne General council.
The film is currently in production, and we would like to begin spreading the word and getting people to talk and share our project. I invite you to visit our website where you will find a preliminary trailer: www.devildogs-themovie.com

A musical interlude (plus war animals!)

Trench mortar school mascot on a German trench mortar Man standing next to a captured German trench mortar. There is a tiny monkey sitting on the barrel of the trench mortar. The man is holding the monkey's hand and is looking closely at the monkey's face. Many soldiers adopted animals, often abandoned or left behind by their owners, and kept them as pets or mascots. From the National Library of Scotland

Trench mortar school mascot on a German trench mortar
Man standing next to a captured German trench mortar. There is a tiny monkey sitting on the barrel of the trench mortar. The man is holding the monkey’s hand and is looking closely at the monkey’s face. Many soldiers adopted animals, often abandoned or left behind by their owners, and kept them as pets or mascots. From the National Library of Scotland

From Michael Gubser of James Madison University:

I am a professor of modern European history (including World War I) in Virginia, and I have recently had a musical that I have co-written accepted into the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) as part of its Developmental Reading Series.  The musical, entitled “Into the Sun,” takes place in World War I and is based loosely on the experiences of the British World War I poets, such as Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon, and others.  Some of the songs in the play use their poems as lyrics.

NYMF is a major festival of new musicals that takes place each year in July, and it attracts producers and theatre representatives looking for new plays to develop and produce.  As part of this festival, ‘Into the Sun’ will have three staged reading performances in New York City on July 15 and 19.  It will hopefully be a great opportunity to raise awareness of World War I and of the war pets during this centenary.

I’m sending two sites: 1) the announcement of the show on the NYMF website:  http://www.nymf.org/festival/2015-events/sun/   and 2) our Kickstarter site which provides a succinct summary of the musical as well as two videos — one an artist’s statement and the other a documentary-style promo video — that describe the show:   https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/intothesun/into-the-sun-nymf-2015

Notre Dame de Lorette: Artois 1915

Notre Dame de Lorette 207

Steve Miller writes:

!00 years ago today, the Second Battle of Artois was underway. An excellent account can be found here (scroll down to the second article): http://roadstothegreatwar-ww1.blogspot.com/

Notre Dame de Lorette 400 View South
The largest French military cemetery on the Western Front marks the high ground, the Notre Dame de Lorette.
200 Notre Dame de Lorette
Notre Dame de Lorette Map-2
Notre  Dame de Lorette  205

World War One Historical Association 2015 Seminar

Anzac Day

Anzac Day 2015 at Gallipoli. Taken by David Pedler

2015 League of WWI Aviation Historians and World War One Historical Association Collaboration Symposium
Lisle, Illinois, Oct. 2-3
1915: Warfare Evolution; New Tactics and Strategies

In conjunction with the WWI Centennial Commission; the League of World War One Aviation Historians and the World War One Historical Association will present their Collaboration Symposium at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville.

The symposium’s 1915 focus covers a broad range of topics including aviation and significant battles and events of the second year of the First World War. For a
list of the featured speakers, some of the best historians, writers and researchers in the world, go to ww1ha.org/2015-annual-conference.

The Hilton Lisle/Naperville provides easy access to the 1st Infantry Division Museum at Cantigny Park, Wheaton, IL where we will spend Friday afternoon touring
the museum and grounds.

The registration fee of $210 (US) per person includes luncheon, dinner and transportation to and from the hotel to the museum on Friday, Oct. 2; lunch on Saturday; admission to all presentations, reenactor and model displays, and much more. The cost to add a guest for the Friday night dinner is $40 (US).

Symposium registration fees will increase to $250 (US) per person starting Sept. 10,
so act now for the lower rate.

Accommodations are at the Hilton Lisle/Naperville, 3003 Corporate West Drive in Lisle, Ill. Call 630-505-0900 and ask for the favorable “WW1 Seminar” rate of $99 per night (with free parking) to reserve a room for Oct. 1-3. A limited number of rooms have been secured, but the cut-off date to reserve rooms at this rate is Sept. 10.

Consult the WW1HA website at www.ww1ha.org for details and a registration form, or email our Symposium Chairman, Randy Gaulke, at lavarennes@meuseargonne.
com. All registrations will be handled through WW1HA.

“The Lost Boy”

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Inscription on the Menin Gate.

 

From Tracey McRory:

This is a new WW1 song and a special collaboration between Northern Ireland songwriter Richard Laird, Irish Songwriter Tracey McRory and Belgian Songwriter Jo Lottegier. Tracey and Richard have been working on music and Remembrance of WW1 for the last 10 years and along with Sam Starrett wrote the haunting song “John Condon.”

“The Lost Boy” tells the story of George Llewelyn Davies, who along with his four younger brothers was the inspiration for playwright J. M. Barrie’s characters of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. George was killed in Flanders, Belgium, on the 15th March 1915, he was just 21 years old. On his 100 Anniversary, Tracey McRory played a special version of this song on violin at his grave, and also at The Menin Gate Ceremony, Ypres. The song is not for sale, but exists only to let people know the story of George Llewellyn Davis.

Another young boy killed too soon….. Lest We Forget

 

We will remember him.

Remembering Neuve-Chapelle

By Steve Miller
Britain’s first offensive of 1915 began a century ago today at Neuve-Chapelle. Although it might be deemed a minor success, major lessons of trench warfare were written here and reinforced by further battles in 1915. These included:
1. Loss of communications due to enemy shelling which destroyed the telephone lines.
2. Insufficient artillery preparation.
3. Immediate German counterattacks which might nullify any gains.
4. High casualties, on the order of 28 percent in this battle. I cite it as an early example of the futility of khaki uniforms and bayonets against barbed wire and machine guns.
Neuve-Chapelle is southwest of Lille. The Memorial to the Army of India and its missing from 1914-18 is located at the roundabout intersection of the routes D171 & D947.
Neuve Chapelle 1
On the panels inside the monument itself are the names of 4742 Indians who have no known grave.
Neuve Chapelle

Book review: Freedom Struggles

Crowds waiting for the parade of the famous 369th [African American] Infantry, formerly 15th New York regulars, New York City. From the U.S. National Archives.

Crowds waiting for the parade of the famous 369th [African American] Infantry, formerly 15th New York regulars, New York City. From the U.S. National Archives.

Review by Len Shurtleff, WW1HA president

Freedom Struggles: African-Americans in World War I. Adriane Lentz-Smith, Harvard, 2009, 318 pages, illustrations, index, notes, ISBN978 0 647 03592 8, $35 cloth. The author is a Professor of History at Duke University.

This is an elegant yet powerful social history of a crucial point in America’s history. The author identifies the decade of World War I as a watershed in black America’s fight for political equality and social justice.

Heeding the call of leaders such as W.E.B. DuBois, African Americans volunteered in large numbers for military service in hopes of validating their claims to full citizenship. As many as 200,000 served overseas in WWI mainly as laborers, construction workers and stevedores. Unfortunately, the Army enforced the segregated Jim Crow social norms of the Southern and border states, both at domestic training camps and overseas in France.

Many thousands more black people moved north to escape segregation, work in war industries and seek new educational opportunities, sparking racial tensions there as well.

The Wilson administration was not sympathetic to the calls of the newly founded (1909) NAACP for full citizenship for black people and, indeed, proceeded after 1913 to segregate the federal government, which had previously largely integrated its work force and opened post office and other patronage jobs to black people in the South. Though France had its own peculiar racial mores and barriers,white Army officers and politicians feared that French men (and particularly women) would undermine their efforts to keep black Americans under Jim Crow regimens.

Service overseas brought young African Americans in contact with many other men of color from Asia, the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean, widening their horizons and opening their minds to the concept of a vibrant African diaspora. Returning home in the “Red Summer” of 1919, black veterans found little had changed in American society.

The Red scare, which came in the wake of the November 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, was accompanied by widespread racial violence. Some 38 violent riots rocked American cities from Detroit to Omaha. Black soldiers were lynched in the South. The Ku Klux Klan rode again in the North and Midwest. Expectations of birth of a new freedom for African Americans were crushed.

On the positive side, it was also a period during which African Americans developed the sophistication they would need to expand the fight for equal rights. What was hoped for after 1919 was demanded and won after 1945 by determined and patriotic African Americans who had learned from the Great War.

Good-bye to All That: Len Shurtleff Goes West

Ambassador Leonard G. Shurtleff, past president of the Western Front Association – US Branch and the World War One Historical Association, passed away at the age of 74 on Jan. 22 in Gainesville, Fla.

LenAmbassador Shurtleff was commissioned as a Foreign Service Officer in 1962 and served for 32 years in a variety of overseas posts including Venezuela, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Colombia, Liberia, and the Congo. He served his country as the U.S. Ambassador to Congo-Brazzaville from 1987-1990. In his State Department career, he was Director for African Regional Affairs, Deputy Director of the Office of Central African Affairs, and an intelligence analyst. Ambassador Shurtleff spoke French and Spanish as second languages and was a Chevalier of the Congolese Order of Merit.

After retiring from the Foreign Service with a rank of Minister-Counselor in 1995, Ambassador Shurtleff moved to Gainesville and became active as a volunteer in a number of organizations. He was a Master Mason, a chapter president of the Sons of the American Revolution, an advisor for the DeMolay organization, and an honorary member of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honorary Society.

He served as President of the U.S. Branch of the WFA from 1996 to 2004 and was a Vice President of WFA in the U.K. and President of the WW1HA from 2013 to 2014.

Ambassador Shurtleff was an authority on the diplomatic and political history surrounding the First World War, writing and lecturing in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He contributed to the scholarship on WWI by serving on the Norman B. Tomlinson Jr. Book Prize Committee from 1999 through 2014 and by maintaining his “Len’s Bookshelf” feature of book reviews on the Web starting in 2000. http://ww1ha.org/lens-bookshelf/

His reviews appeared in many publications, including the WFA’s Stand To. westernfrontassociation.com/book-reviews

The depth of his commitment to World War I history organizations is best understood from the memories of his fellow directors of the WW1HA. Sheila Swigert of Staten Island, N.Y., wrote: “Len was such a presence on [battlefield] tours, at seminars, and as president of the WW1HA. On top if that, I really liked him. I shall miss him, as we all shall.”

David Beer of Austin, Texas, commented, “I am really saddened by Len’s death. He was a good friend, a great companion at conferences, and a vital part of our organization. And he really knew books.”

Richard VandenBrul of Livonia, Mich., described meeting the ambassador for the first time: “ I first met Len at a Western Front Association-US Branch meeting at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton. It must have been 1997. I had driven from St. Louis and I arrived at Wright-Patterson in the dark. It Len was holding court and sitting with a few people. I did not know anyone. He was very cordial and invited me to join the group. Over the years we attended many meetings. I shall miss Len. His book reviews were wonderful. Insightful. We were on several Western Front trips together. Len loved what he did and had a great retirement enjoying traveling to and attending WWI Seminars and events. He was our Ambassador at Large!”

Ambassador Shurtleff is survived by his wife, Christine M. Shurtleff, herself a former Foreign Service Information Officer and past president of the Association of American Foreign Service Women.

I knew him as a knowledgeable and entertaining traveling companion and late-night raconteur. He was an invaluable source of insight, especially during the summer leading up to the anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities, detailing the ins and outs – mostly outs – of the diplomacy of those fateful months. I will miss him.

Susan and Len in the Vosges