Happy Thanksgiving!

Is the pie all gone: Here’s a recipe from the 1916 manual for Army cooks, thanks to the Pilgrim Hall Museum:


4 1/2 pounds of flour
2 1/2 pounds of lard
1 oz salt

Rub lard and flour together in the hands and mix well; add sufficient water to make a moist dough. Have everything cool and work as little as possible.


25 pounds pumpkin
6 pounds sugar
20 eggs
1 nutmeg
1/8 ounce cloves
1/8 ounce ginger
1 ounce salt
2 cans evaporated milk.

Peel and clean the pumpkin; cut into pieces about 2 ounces each; pour 1 inch of water into a boiler, then put in the pumpkin. One inch of water will be sufficient, even though the boiler be filled with pumpkin, as pumpkin contains much water. Boil slowly until done, about 40 minutes. Then mash well, add the beaten eggs, sugar, milk, and spices, and mix well; make the pies without a top crust, and bake slowly. This recipe may be improved by the addition of a small amount of cream.

The museum has another recipe and more information about World War I. Here’s the link: http://www.pilgrimhall.org/thot-ww1.htm



“Gilbert’s War”

Gary Myers, digital producer at Isle of Man Newspapers, is working on an animated film that will tell the story of his grandfather, who fought with the Leeds Rifles and was in the Battle of Cambrai. Myers released the trailer of the 20-minute film on 11/11 and hopes to have the film completed in time for the centenary.

Here’s a link to an article about him: http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/isle-of-man-news/animator-to-release-ww1-film-gilbert-s-war-1-5113781

This is a blog following Myers’ work on the film: http://www.gilbertswar.blogspot.com/

And here’s the trailer: https://vimeo.com/53223751

This is a really exciting project to follow. I’m eager to watch how it progresses and see the finished result.

This is a screenshot Myers posted showing the tanks in position.


Carnacki and the Western Front

Do you know the work of William Hope Hodgson? He was a writer of horror famed for his short stories. Though Hodgson was killed on April 19, 1918, his most famous character, the ghost hunter Carnacki, long out-lived him with other writers adding to his tales.

Today is William Hope Hodgson’s birthday. He is celebrated on Sam Gafford’s blog here:


A Canadian family’s story

Here’s a granddaughter writing about her granddad, James Cooney, and his wartime experience in France. Cooney, who was born in Greenwich, England, lived in a tiny town in Alberta when the war began, but as we well know, it had a long reach.

Scientist Heather Pringle’s blog post: http://www.lastwordonnothing.com/2012/11/14/the-trainman-and-the-nobel-laureate/

An Aussie family remembers — 2nd try

I’ve tried twice to put up this post about an Australian family’s blog about the father/grandfather who served in Europe and the Middle East. I give up — here’s the link:

Don’ t miss this, especially those of you interested in the Battle of Fromelles.

Remembrance Day

I can’t imagine that anyone who isn’t a cyborg can visit the cemeteries and memorials on the Western Front and not be moved by reflections on what it must have been like to fight there, and how terrible the losses were.

I always thought the saddest sight was the repetition of the words “A Soldier of the Great War Known Unto God.” Here he is, someone’s son or brother or husband, and the family doesn’t know it. Those graves seemed to me so tragic.

Then someone in my family died, in 2011. His ashes were scattered in the forest he loved. It was what he wanted, it was fine.

But when the anniversary of his death arrived, and my grief was renewed, it was magnified because he wasn’t … anywhere. My religion teaches that when we die, we leave our bodies behind – that’s why we call them “the remains” – so it isn’t as though having him lying in a cemetery would mean he was still with us. But there isn’t even a stone. He just isn’t anywhere.

No U.S. cemetery of the First World War has even 1,000 unknown soldier graves. We had a fraction of the casualties compared to other armies, and our dead could be buried without expectation that they would be blown up again later by artillery. They were easier to find and then to identify – most of them, anyway. They were buried so far from home, few families ever were able to visit. Maybe it seemed as though their boys were missing, too.

Stand my family’s sorrow against the 73,000 names at Thiepval, or the 11,000 names on the Vimy memorial – I could go on and on. But listing them by the thousands is numbing. It only hurts when you reflect that each name belongs to a family mourning someone who was no longer anywhere at all.

Nail-biting in 1916

Today’s vote is not the only one that had America on the edge of its seats. Blog GlobalPost recently wrote of the 1916 election:

“(Woodrow) Wilson, a Democrat seeking a second term against Charles Evans Hughes, was staring down the barrel of World War I, which had been sweeping though Europe for two years leading up to the election. Wilson had respected America’s desire for neutrality, and campaigned on the slogan ‘He kept us out of war,’ Yahoo Voices reported.

“Though it initially seemed like Hughes, a moderate Republican and former member of the Supreme Court, had won, the results were neck-and-neck right across the country and came down to California. The west coast ultimately gave Wilson a narrow win, with 49.2 percent of the popular vote and 277 electoral votes to Hughes’ 254, according to InfoPlease’s Campaign database.

“Wilson ultimately had to renege on his promise to the American people, and entered World War I when Germany began attacking U.S. ships.”

Here’s a link:


Here’s a red-and-blue map of the 1916 results:


This is a fascinating account of how the news of the election returns was spread — no Facebook, tweets or endless droning analysis in those days:

“SEVEN thousand wireless telephone operators within a radius of 200 miles of New York City received election returns from the New York American. Three hundred and fifty moving-picture theaters; special bulletin boards in different parts of the city, and the principal hotels of Manhattan obtained the news from the above office, as fast as it was received. Fifty extra telephone lines were run into the American office, the theaters were placed on lines that were in continuous operation, and while the news of the closest Presidential election in years was being given to the public thru these channels, the editorial staff compiled the returns without the slightest confusion. announcer broadcasting.”

Here’s the link:

Anyway, the campaign is almost over and we hope to have the results tonight (or tomorrow, or the day after that). May the odds be ever in your favor!

The Battle of Coronel

The Battle of Coronel, on Nov. 1, 1914, was the worst British naval defeat of the war. It was fought off the coast of Chile between Vice-Admiral Graf von Spee and Rear Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock, who went down with all hands on the HMS Good Hope, one of two British cruisers sunk by the Germans.

Blogger Darren Milford begins the story with this ominous detail:

“When the two forces first sighted each other the light was in favour of the British, the sun would be in the eyes of the German gunners.  By the time firing started the sun was just below the horizon, reversing the visibility advantage.”

Read his account at www.worldwar1.co.uk/coronel.html

Cliff McMullen has a Web page with a pictorial record of the Battles of Coronel and the Falklands. Find it here:



Dave Webster has a beautiful photo of the church window in North Yorkshire that was created in memory of Cradock. You can see it and read about it here: