Americans sleeping in Surrey

Here’s a post on the Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial, near Brookwood, Surrey, and about 28 miles southwest of London.

Here’s a photo taken in November 2009:

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers stand at attention during a Veterans Day observance at the Brookwood American Military Cemetery on Nov. 8. The 7th Civil Support Command color guard participated in the event, which honored the 468 American servicemembers laid to rest here and the 561 Soldiers, sailors and Marines missing in action, or lost at sea with names inscribed on the Brookwood chapel wall. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Resciniti, 7th CSC Public Affairs)

and here are specifics about the cemetery from the ABMC:

The Graveyard Detective also has other posts of particular interest related to the First World War.

The Battle of Orleans

How much do you know about the U-boat that attacked Massachusetts?

Naval History & Heritage Command’s Facebook page has photos of the planes that counterattacked.

Here’s more about the USS San Diego, sunk by a submarine on July 19, 1918.  Just in case you’d like to dive down and see it.

Who was at fault in the Lusitania sinking?

Obviously, the Germans sank the Lusitania on May 7, 1915, with a torpedo. The question seems to be: Did the British deserve it?

I can’t grasp how the passengers of any ship deserve to be dragged to the bottom of the sea, whether the German government warned them or not — advertisements ran in major American newspapers advising would-be passengers that the ship was likely to be attacked by submarines. Was it easy to change your tickets? Imagine trying to get on another flight a couple of days before your plane takes off — you’d pay so much in penalties, you might as well write off the fare and start over.

The principal reason that so many lives were lost on the Lusitania, although the ship was only 8 miles off the Irish coast, was the it rolled so far onto its side, half the lifeboats hung uselessly in the air. About 1,200 people died, including 114 Americans.

I read that the Lusitania was used as bait for U-boats on Churchill’s theory that the death of innocent Americans would bring the U.S. into the war. Instead, as reported by the Detroit Free Press of May 9, 1915, “Wilson to Use Firmness and Deliberation.” I believe he sent a sharp note.

Read the comments for insistence that the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California lied about its findings to protect the British government, as well as the usual finger pointing on completely unrelated issues.

This has nothing to do with the controversy, but it’s entertaining:


News from Texas

The 100-year-old battleship USS Texas, the last of the dreadnoughts that fought in World War I, has been closed indefinitely to repair several holes allowing 500 to 2,000 gallons of water a minute to enter the vessel.  Repairs are underway.
The museum is docked permanently off the Houston ship channel near the San Jacinto monument.  Fund- raising is underway to finance a major overhaul.  Museum staff found several holes in the hull that appear to be the result of popped rivets.
The Texas was launched in 1912 and commissioned in 1914.  Serving with the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet in 1917 and 1918, the Texas was present at the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet at Scapa Flow in 1918.  Modestly modernized and converted to oil firing, the Texas — armed with 14-inch naval rifles — served as a shore bombardment vessel in both the Atlantic and Pacific in WWII before becoming a museum ship in 1948.
USS Texas, date unknown. San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives.
As it happens, it actually was the second USS Texas. The first one — America’s first battleship — was built in the 1890s and blockaded the coast of Cuba during the Spanish-American War in 1898. It was thought to be unlucky, because it flooded several times, including a sinking in New York in which several of the crew were drowned and running aground on Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, in September 1917. It was renamed the San Marcos in 1911 to allow its name to be used by the new battleship.

Under the sea

The Telegraph reports that submarine HMS E14 has been found on the ocean floor in the Dardanelles. The sub was sunk by the Turkish in 1918.

The newspaper cheerfully reports that it probably contains the remains of the crew, which at least means the families will know where they are, surely a rare situation for sailors. Where are their names recorded? Where is the Menin Gate, so to speak, for those lost at sea?


1915 photo. Australian War Memorial caption : “Group portrait of the crew of the British Royal Navy submarine E14 as she came out from the Dardanelles straits. Identified, left to right, Lieutenant (Lt) Edward Courtney Boyle VC RN (centre), Lt Stanley (right) and Lt Lawrence (left), standing high on the conning tower.”

The Battle of Jutland

The war’s major sea battle began today in 1916.

This is how The Western Front Association describes it:

“The last great naval battle fought solely with surface ships, Jutland (or the Skagerrak as it was called by the Germans) was a strategic victory for the British; the High Seas Fleet never again challenged British dominance in the North Sea and in future the German naval effort was concentrated on unrestricted submarine warfare. Tactically it was a drawn battle, there being considerable British disappointment at the failure to bring the enemy to a decisive action. British losses were heavier than the German and for this reason the battle was claimed to be the latters victory. The British had suffered 6,784 casualties, and lost three battlecruisers, the cruisers and eight destroyers; the Germans lost one old battleship, one battlecruiser, four light cruisers and five destroyers, as well as 3,099 casualties.”

This YouTube video shows the action as it unfolded:

Here’s the story of John Travers Cornwell, who posthumously received the Victoria Cross for remaining at his post on the Chester despite mortal wounds. He was 16.

Here’s the battle from the other side (yes, it is in German):

For more, here’s our Storify version:

The SMS Seydlitz, damaged in the battle.

The HMS Queen Mary explodes.

Small town, Great War: The Lusitania

If you haven’t been following the news from Hucknall, a mining town in Nottinghamshire, I heartily recommend it. Here’s the link to the Facebook page’s many accounts from survivors of the Lusitania disaster:


At the Battle of Jutland in the North Sea, just off Denmark.


I’ve just finished reading Anne Perry’s five-book WWI series. It begins just as the war begins, with a locked-room mystery at Oxford. Book 2 is set in 1915, and so on. All of the novels are diverting enough, and No. 2, “Shoulder the Sky” has a crackerjack ending as one of the two brothers returns from Gallipoli and meets with a U-boat.

But No. 3, “Angels in the Gloom,” is just terrific. The hunt for a spy who may have killed a brilliant scientist and a mock flirtation with a beautiful Irish radical leads to one of the brothers trying to pass as a sailor and winding up at the Battle of Jutland. Perry’s descriptions are awesome — how the devil did any ship see to sink any other in the smoke and splashing of shells? The battle, in the North Sea off Denmark, began at 4:30 on May 31 and went on till nightfall, about 10 o’clock.

The battle pitted the British Grand Fleet against the German High Seas Fleet. It involved 250 ships and 100,000 men. By the time the fighting broke off, the British had lost 6,784 men and the Germans 3,058. The British lost 15 ships to the Germans’ 10, but the High Seas Fleet had many more ships that were badly damaged and basically was out of the war. From then on, Germany did its fighting on the sea via submarines.

Sinking ship at the Battle of Jutland.