Race riots


Great War London

So far, the black history month posts have been fairly positive stories – two young officers of mixed race, and a  successful propaganda speaker. Sadly (if unsurprisingly) it was not all plain sailing where race relations in Great War London were concerned. There were several incidents of race riots.

It was not quite all quiet on the home front. At least two race riots took place in London during the Great War.

In July 1917, the Times reported a ‘disturbance’ on Victoria Dock Road in West Ham. A police sergeant told magistrates that “in consequence of the infatuation of the white girls for the black men in the district, some of the inhabitants are greatly incensed against the coloured men.”

The previous Saturday night, a gang of white youths attacked houses inhabited by black men in Victoria Road causing considerable damage. In response, several black men came out into the…

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Battlefields in WW2: A British War Cemetery in 1943


Great War Photos

In the years that followed 1940 most of mainland Europe was occupying by German forces. Many of the German soldiers forming part of this occupying force stayed for years. On the battlefields of the old Western Front, German serviceman whose fathers had no doubt been veterans of the Great War often toured sites and with a pocket camera recorded their journeys in the same pilgrims past and present did.

This photograph was taken by a German soldier in 1943 and shows Caterpillar Valley Cemetery near Longueval on the Somme. Many wonder what the cemeteries looked like during the occupation and it is clear from this image that this was a site being well maintained; many Imperial War Graves Commission gardeners had stayed behind in 1940 and were still doing their pre-war work. In some cases local French people were carrying on with the task. The Germans appear to have let the work…

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The new victims of WW1


Some WW1 Photographs...

This post is dedicated to the new victims of the Great War: our families. My wife and my (now 9-year old) daughter are obliged to live with our passion, which means that our home is full with dusty books, photographs, military maps, and even uniforms (which were for a while in our closet).

This means too that a good part of the vacation time is dedicated to the visit of battlefields and war cemeteries. We almost never go in a new place by chance, as there’s always a link with the Great War. They know that our journeys can be marked by several stops, if some monuments are spotted.

This means that a (good) part of the home budget is dedicated to this passion and that we in fact don’t live in 2012, but some time between 1914 and 1918. But they accept it because they love us and they…

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Spitfire pilot poet dies at 99


Letter From Britain

Flight Lieutenant William Walker – the oldest surviving Battle of Britain pilot – has died at the age of 99.

The airman was shot down in his spitfire on August 26, 1940, ambushed by a Messerschmidt, and bailed out over the English Channel. He was part of No 616 (South Yorkshire) Auxiliary Squadron.

In later life he wrote poetry in honour of his colleagues who lost their lives in one of Britain’s darkest hours.

He was a supporter of the Battle of Britain Memorial Trust and wrote his most famous poem, Our Wall,which was inscribed alongside the 2,937 names of those who died in the Battle, at the memorial on the White Cliffs of Dover at Capel-Le-Ferne.

 

You can read more about Flight Lieutenant Walker’s life here

, at The Telegraph.

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