The Perils of Technology: Aviation During the First World War

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The First World War was the first in which air warfare played a significant part. While aircraft were ultimately to change the face of warfare, the demands of the war provided a rapid boost to this very new technology.

At the outbreak of the war effective powered flight was a technology not much more than ten years old, but each of the participating countries already had an armed air service of some sort. The allies had 208 aeroplanes between them, and Germany 180.  There were also airships, which initially seemed better-tried and more practical, although their importance diminished as the war progressed.  The British aircraft were split between the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), under the command of the army, and the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), under the command of the Navy.  These were merged to form the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1918.

The types of aircraft in use were very varied, because each country had several of their own manufacturers and models of aircraft, and almost any machine which was available might be pressed into service. Aircraft models evolved rapidly, as technology was improved, and the needs of the war changed.

Initially, aeroplanes were regarded as primarily useful for reconaissance, and stable two-seaters, such as the British B.E.2, were preferred.  These were not very manoeuvreable and were poor at defending themselves or evading enemy anti-aircraft guns, which led to the development of fast, single-seater fighters, such as the French S.P.A.D.

The Germans made parallel developments; their early reconnaisance aircraft including monoplanes with distinctive swept-back, birdlike wings, such as the Rumpler Taube.  By the end of the war bigger, heavier aircraft designed for bombing had been developed.

From the beginning of the war both allied and German air forces had to establish, for the first time, how to make their aircraft recognisable, both to other airmen and to those on the ground. National markings were rapidly adopted, and by the beginning of 1915 both French and British authorities had produced posters showing silhouettes of enemy aircraft, entitled ‘Fire on these’.

In late 1914 or early 1915 the French produced the very first book of aircraft silhouettes for recognition purposes, Silhouettes D’Avions, Diagrams of Aeroplanes. These were produced with text in French and English and distributed to both troops and airmen.  An alternative version was produced on cards, for better durability.  Updated editions and supplements were issued to reflect new developments.  We hold two versions of this in our collections – the very first edition, showing French, British and German aircraft of late 1914, and a supplement of French aircraft from September 1915

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Examination of the two shows just why these publications were of limited success in preventing both ground troops and airmen from attacking the wrong aircraft. The pictures are not very high quality, and do not show up the main features of the individual aircraft particularly clearly, especially to an untrained eye.   Take the picture of the B.E.2 – it is quite difficult to make out that it is trying to indicate that the upper wings are longer than the lower ones.

The illustrations for the two editions are printed from different artwork, which shows up ambiguities in the lines.  The Parasol Morane is included in both.  In one illustration there are lines which might be either substantial structural struts, or nearly invisible cable, but all of which are omitted from the other picture entirely.

The S.P.A.D. was a very common aeroplane type, but it takes some effort to work out from its picture that the propeller was located in the middle of its fuselage.

There is even one illustration we have not been able to identify, the Avion de Chasse Morane, which does not seem to entirely correspond to any aircraft made by the Morane company and which was used during the war, that we can find a modern record of!

These manuals were all produced in a hurry; they illustrate only a selection of models, and do not show variants or all the latest developments of equipment. Even more confusing, not to say downright unhelpful, is the earlier edition, which summarises all the other British models of aircraft as being similar to the ones illustrated.

Towards the end of the First World War the problems of distinguishing aircraft, while not solved, were somewhat reduced. In 1917 the RFC ordered 1000 Bristol Fighter aircraft, so that although there were still many different models of aeroplane in the skies, there began to be some standardisation.  More successfully, in early 1918 the French set up a ‘Flying circus’ which toured examples of the different models of their aircraft around the British airfields.  This had the happy result of not only familiarising the RFC with the appearance of the different models, but the opportunity to compare performance and develop some camerarderie with the French aviators.

Despite the shortcomings of these identification manuals, this approach continues to be used today, better pictures and combining it with other methods of teaching improving its effectiveness, although today it is more likely to be used by enthusiasts for civilian aircraft, and combined with a mobile phone app for detecting and tracking aircraft.

 

Victory Medal (aka Inter Allied Victory Medal) – a medal of the First World War

CAMPAIGN MEDAL AWARDED TO WILLIAM HUNTER (1861-1937) – GREAT WAR

Victory narrowThe Victory Medal was also called the Inter Allied Victory Medal. It was awarded to those received the 1914 Star or the 1914-15 Star and, with certain exceptions, to those who were awarded the British War Medal. The medal was never awarded singly.

Recipients of the Victory Medal were those having been mobilised in any of the fighting services and having served in any of the theatres of operations, or at sea, between midnight 4th/5th August, 1914, and midnight, 11th/12th November, 1918.

Women who served in any of the various organisations in a theatre of operations were eligible, such as nurses, members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, Women’s Army Auxiliary Corp, Women’s Royal Air Force, canteen staff and members of the many charitable services, also received the medal.

Victory narrowThe Victory Medal – a medal of the First World War – was established on 1 September 1919, and more than 6,334,522 were awarded. The medal was designed by the Aberdeen-born sculptor William McMillan (1887-1977).

Victory Medal - awarded to William Hunter (Centre for Research Collections, Coll-1146)

Victory Medal – awarded to William Hunter (Centre for Research Collections, Coll-1146)

The medal is a bronze disk, 36 mm in diameter.  The ribbon is 32 mm wide and coloured (from the centre outwards) red, yellow, green, blue and violet merged into a rainbow pattern. On the medal obverse is the winged, full length figure of Victory, with her left arm extended and holding a palm branch in her right hand. The remaining space is left bare.

Victory Medal - awarded to William Hunter (Centre for Research Collections, Coll-1146)

Victory Medal – awarded to William Hunter (Centre for Research Collections, Coll-1146)

On the reverse of the medal is the inscription: THE GREAT WAR FOR CIVILISATION, 1914-19. This is surrounded by a wreath. Those personnel who were ‘mentioned in despatches’ between 4 August 1914 and 10 August 1920 were able to wear an oak leaf on the ribbon.

Victory Medal - oak leaf on ribbon awarded to William Hunter who was 'mentioned in despatches'. (Centre for Research Collections, Coll-1146)

Victory Medal – oak leaf on ribbon awarded to William Hunter who was ‘mentioned in despatches’ (Centre for Research Collections, Coll-1146)

The Victory Medal shown here was the one awarded to Edinburgh University alumnus William Hunter who served in Serbia during the Great War. Hunter was President of the Advisory Committee, Prevention of Disease, in the Eastern Mediterranean and Mesopotamia (Gallipoli, Egypt, Salonika, Malta and Palestine), and he also served with the Eastern Command, 1917-1919. His service is described in greater detail in the May 2015 post to Untold Stories, ‘William Hunter & the Order of St. Sava’.

The Medal is contained within the collection of Medals, awards and decorations of William Hunter (1861-1937) curated by the Centre for Research Collections (CRC), Edinburgh University Library, Coll-1146.

Victory narrowDr. Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives & Manuscripts, CRC

Sources: (1) Online resources. (2) British battles and medals. Lawrence L. Gordon. London: Spink, 1979. Ref. .7372(42) Gor. (Closed stack)

‘BLAST’ – a journal that will ‘try and brave the waves of blood, for the serious mission it has on the other side of World-War’

‘…THIS PUCE-COLOURED COCKLESHELL […] HAS TO SPRING UP AGAIN WITH NEW QUESTIONS AND BEAUTIES WHEN EUROPE HAS DISPOSED OF ITS DIFFICULTIES…’

Detail from the 'puce-coloured' front cover of 'Blast', issue 2, July 1915, in the A.H. Campbell Collection.

Detail from the ‘puce-coloured’ front cover of ‘Blast’, issue 2, July 1915, in the A.H. Campbell Collection.

These were the words of Wyndham Lewis (1882-1957), editor of Blast, in his editorial piece published in the July 1915 issue (only the second issue) of the journal. About that issue, he said that it ‘finds itself surrounded by a multitude of other Blasts of all sizes and descriptions’.

Detail from the front cover of 'Blast', showing month of publication of issue 2... being July 1915... in the A.H. Campbell Collection.

Detail from the front cover of ‘Blast’, showing month of publication of issue 2… being July 1915… in the A.H. Campbell Collection.

Blast was the literary magazine of the Vorticist movement in Britain and it only survived two issues. The first issue came out only weeks before the beginning of the War, and the second came out a year later in 1915. It featured a woodcut by Lewis on the cover.

Detail from the front cover of 'Blast', issue 2, a woodcut by Wyndham Lewis, in the A.H. Campbell Collection.

Detail from the front cover of ‘Blast’, issue 2, a woodcut by Wyndham Lewis, in the A.H. Campbell Collection.

 

The vorticists were an avant-garde group formed in London in 1914 – with Wyndham Lewis as its founder – aiming towards an art that expressed the dynamism of the modern world. Vorticism was launched with the journal Blast which, within its content included manifestos ‘blasting’ the effeteness of British art and culture and proclaiming the vorticist aesthetic.

Detail from the title page of 'Blast' issue 2, July 1915, in the A.H.Campbell Collection.

Detail from the title page of ‘Blast’ issue 2, July 1915, in the A.H.Campbell Collection.

Vorticist painting combined Cubist fragmentation of reality with an imagery derived from the machine and the urban environment. In its embrace of dynamism, the machine age and all things modern, it is more closely related to Futurism.

One of the signatories to the Vorticist manifesto was Jessica Dismorr (1885-1939). Her illustrations show a sharing of the involvement with the dynamism of the machine-age city. In 'Blast', issue 2, July 1915, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

‘The Engine’ by one of the signatories to the Vorticist manifesto Jessica Dismorr (1885-1939). Her illustrations show a sharing of the involvement with the dynamism of the machine-age city. In ‘Blast’, issue 2, July 1915, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

Blast, issue 2, included designs by painter and illustrator Jessica Dismorr (1885-1939), artist and architect Frederick Etchells (1886-1973), artist and sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska (1891-1915), painter Jacob Kramer (1892-1962), and by figure and landscape painter, etcher and lithographer, Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson (1889-1946).

'On the way to the trenches' by Nevinson, in 'Blast' issue 2, July 1915, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

‘On the way to the trenches’ by Nevinson, in ‘Blast’ issue 2, July 1915, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

It also contained graphic contributions from the figure and portrait painter William Roberts (1895-1980), Helen Saunders [or Sanders] (1885-1963), Dorothy Shakespear (1886-1973) artist and wife of Ezra Pound, artist Edward Alexander Wadsworth (1889-1949), and also Wyndham Lewis.

'The Design' by Jessica Dismorr (1885-1939), in 'Blast', issue 2, July 1915, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

‘The Design’ by Jessica Dismorr (1885-1939), in ‘Blast’, issue 2, July 1915, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

Other contributions were made by Ezra Pound (1885-1972), Ford Madox Hueffer [Ford Madox Ford] (1873-1939), and T. S. Eliot (1888-1965).

The poem, 'The old houses of Flanders' by Ford Madox Hueffer (Ford Madox Ford) in 'Blast', issue 2, July 1915, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

The poem, ‘The old houses of Flanders’ by Ford Madox Hueffer (Ford Madox Ford) in ‘Blast’, issue 2, July 1915, p.37, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

It had been the unfolding human drama, the unimagined industrial scale of death borne out of the machine-age, and the absolute disaster of the War – known to that generation as the Great War – that came to drain the Vorticists of their creative zeal. The real war experience of Ford Madox Ford influenced his poem ‘The old houses of Flanders’.

The poem, 'A vision of mud' by Helen Saunders in 'Blast', issue 2, July 1915, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

The poem, ‘A vision of mud’ by Helen Saunders in ‘Blast’, issue 2, July 1915, pp.73-74, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

Ford writes of the mournful eyes of the houses watching the ways of men, and of the rain and night settled down on Flanders; how the eyes look at great, sudden red lights and the golden rods of the illuminated rain; how the old eyes that have watched the ways of men for generations close for ever, and how the gables slant drunkenly over.

'Vortex Gaudier-Brzeska (Written from the trenches', in 'Blast, issue 2, July 1915, pp.33-34, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

‘Vortex Gaudier-Brzeska (Written from the trenches’, in ‘Blast, issue 2, July 1915, pp.33-34, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

Unlike Ford, Helen Saunders had no first-hand knowledge of the trenches and the shell blasted Flanders but in her poem ‘A vision of mud’ she took the image of the mud of the trenches to describe a wider sense of foreboding and anxiety. She imagined what would happen to a body underground and about what it would feel like to drown in mud with eyes, nose, mouth and ears filled with it. She imagined the distortion of awareness, and how the body would swell and grow as it filled with mud. She described a muddy soup of bodies.

‘…There is mud all round […]

They fill my mouth with it. I am sick. They shovel it back again.

My eyes are full of it […]

It is pouring into me so that my body swells and grows heavier every minute […]

I have just discovered with what I think is disgust, that there are hundreds of other bodies bobbing about against me.

They also tap me underneath…’

 

Artwork in 'Blast', issue 2, July 1915, p.49, in A. H. Campbell Collection.

Artwork in ‘Blast’, issue 2, July 1915, p.49, in A. H. Campbell Collection.

The trenches were also described by Frenchman Henri Gaudier-Brzeska. He wrote:

Human masses teem and move, are destroyed and crop up again.

Horses are worn out in three weeks, die by the roadside.

Dogs wander, are destroyed, and others come along.

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It had been Lewis’s hope that with the end of the War – when Europe had ‘disposed of its difficulties’ – Blast and the Vorticist movement would ‘spring up again with new questions’ in order to tackle the ‘serious mission’ that it would have ‘on the other side of World-War’.

'Design for programme cover - Kermesse', by Wyndham Lewis, in 'Blast' issue 2, July 1915, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

‘Design for programme cover – Kermesse’, by Wyndham Lewis, in ‘Blast’ issue 2, July 1915, p.75, in the A. H. Campbell Collection.

The War brought Vorticism to an end for the reasons already described in paragraphs above, but in 1920 Lewis did make a brief attempt to revive it with ‘Group X’,  a short lived group of British artists formed to provide a continuing focus for avant-garde art in Britain.

'Snow-scene' by Dorothy Shakespear, in 'Blast' issue 2, July 1915, p.35, in A. H. Campbell Collection.

‘Snow-scene’ by Dorothy Shakespear, in ‘Blast’ issue 2, July 1915, p.35, in A. H. Campbell Collection.

The real stories, real imagery, and real maimed victims of War – the horrors of War – had brought about a rejection of the avant-garde in favour of traditional art, and there was a ‘return to order’ and the more traditional approaches to art creation.

'War-engine' by Wadsworth, in 'Blast', issue 2, July 1915, in A. H. Campbell Collection.

‘War-engine’ by Wadsworth, in ‘Blast’, issue 2, July 1915, in A. H. Campbell Collection.

Nevertheless, the typography of the Vorticists possibly places them as important forerunners of the revolution in graphic design that occurred in the 1920s and 1930s.

A copy of Blast, Issue 2, July 1915, was re-discovered in the Papers of Archibald H. Campbell, a collection which had been undergoing preliminary listing.

Dr. Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives & Manuscripts, Centre for Research Collections, Edinburgh University Library

Used in the construction of this blog-post, in addition to the issue of Blast (2) 1915, were:  (1) ‘ Beyond the trenches’, Dr. Kate McLoughlin, in Research & teaching, Review 2013, pp.30-31, from Birkbeck web-pages [accessed 27 July 2016]; and, (2) ‘Vorticism’ and other pages on the website of the tate.org.uk [accessed 27 July 2016].

 

 

I: Edinburgh University Battery Officers’ Training Corps – OTC

LIFE IN THE ARMY, AT STOBS CAMP AND ELSEWHERE… AND SOME FACES OF THE FALLEN…

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Edinburgh University Battery Officers’ Training Corps was one of Scotland’s oldest military volunteer Units. By 1860 undergraduates of the University had formed No.4 Company of the Queen’s Edinburgh Rifles and in 1872 they also supplied recruits to the 1st Edinburgh City Royal Garrison Artillery Volunteers. A Medical Volunteer Company was also formed in 1890. In 1908, they combined to form one of the original eight University Officers Training Corps (OTC) contingents.

Badge of Edinburgh University Battery, Officers' Training Corps, on an invitation card inserted in 'Minute Book. Artillery Unit. Officers ' Training Corps', Dec. 1914 - Nov. 1920. EUA. Acc.99/017

Badge of Edinburgh University Battery, Officers’ Training Corps, on an invitation card inserted in ‘Minute Book. Artillery Unit. Officers ‘ Training Corps’, Dec. 1914 – Nov. 1920. EUA. Acc.99/017

Also in 1908, and as part of the Haldane Army Reforms, the OTC was formally established as a distinct unit in the British Army. It had the remit of supplying officers for the Special Reserve and the Territorial force. Against this background of Army reform, the Royal (Dick) Veterinary College OTC was also formed… in September 1912.

Officer recruits at a School of Instruction, Barry Camp, August 1914. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

Officer recruits at a School of Instruction, Barry Camp, August 1914. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

On the outbreak of war in 1914, the OTCs would become officer-producing units, but as the war progressed high attrition rates meant that the demand for officers soon outstripped supply. Local Edinburgh recruits would pass through Stobs Camp, near Hawick, in the Scottish Borders, and attend the Officers’ School of Instruction at Barry Camp, near Carnoustie, in Angus.

A group of Sergeants at Stobs Camp, 1914. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

A group of Sergeants at Stobs Camp, 1914. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

By the end of 1914, thousands of recruits were arriving at Stobs Camp to begin their transition from civilian to military life with up to 5,000 men being accommodated. Indeed, there were so many visitors to the Camp that an Exclusion Order was implemented to prevent civilians entering unless issued with a pass.

Specimen 'kit' displayed by a Sergeant at Stobs Camp, 1914. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

Specimen ‘kit’ displayed by a Sergeant at Stobs Camp, 1914. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

It had been intended that the Camp be used mainly as a summer training ground, and so the troops were only provided with tents. By 1917 however, the Camp contained at least 80 huts, a hospital with 150 beds, its own light railway, stores, workshops, Post Office, and a YMCA outside the perimeter. From October 1914, Stobs also served as a prisoner-of-war camp.

Photograph showing the Gun Team at Stobs, 1914. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

Photograph showing the Gun Team at Stobs, 1914, with Chilton, Balleny, Yorston, Robertson, Wedderburn, Calver, Laidlaw, Hill, Milne, Fraser and Waddy. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

The Gun Team of Edinburgh University Battery OTC was photographed in group at Stobs Camp in 1914. The Roll of Honour 1914-1919 of the University of Edinburgh notes that Medical student Frank Chilton, 1912-1914 (standing back left), from Christchurch, New Zealand, served in the OTC Infantry unit from October 1913 to August 1914. He became a Cadet in the 13th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, before becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in August 1914 and then Lieutenant in January 1915. He was then attached to the 2nd Hampshires, 29th Division, and was killed in action at Gallipoli on 4 June 1915 aged 23. He is honoured at the Helles Memorial (panel 183/184) which stands on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.

Photograph showing the Band at Stobs, 1914, with W.M.Hutchison, Mackay, W.M.McPhail, J.A.Robertson, N.McRury, C.G.N.Edwards, T.F.Murdoch, R. Hill, Duff, W.A.Sinclair, Younie, R.Coull, and J.D.Russell. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

Photograph showing the Band at Stobs, 1914, with W.M.Hutchison, Mackay, W.M.McPhail, J.A.Robertson, N.McRury, C.G.N.Edwards, T.F.Murdoch, R. Hill, Duff, W.A.Sinclair, Younie, R.Coull, and J.D.Russell. Album in EUA. Acc.99/017.

Because of the lack of initials and the common surnames on the group photograph other Fallen from the Gun Team are difficult to identify. However, the general records of service of some war survivors from the group – with less common surnames – can be summarised. William Balleny (standing next to Chilton) for example, was an Arts student, 1913-1914, and like Chilton served in the OTC Infantry unit, though from October 1913 to September 1914. He became first a Cadet, then 2nd Lieutenant, then in September 1916 a Lieutenant with the 2nd Gordon Highlanders.

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Robert MacDonald Yorston, a Science student from Montrose, 1912-1914, 1918, (and standing next to Balleny), served in the OTC Infantry unit from October 1912 to September 1914. He served as a Cadet with the 4th North Staffordshire Regiment, and then became a 2nd Lieutenant in August 1914, a Lieutenant and then a Captain in 1917. He served in France and was wounded at the Somme in July 1916. He was posted to Dublin from 1918 to 1919.

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Edmond William Waddy (seated front right) had been a student at Merchiston Castle before becoming an Arts student, 1912-1915. He was a member of the OTC from 1908 and became involved with the University Battery OTC, Infantry unit, from October 1913 to October 1914. He was a Cadet with the Scottish Rifles, becoming a 2nd Lieutenant in October 1914, then a Lieutenant in November 1915, before assignment to the 56th Training Reserve Battalion in December 1916. He served in France in 1916 and 1917 an became an Acting Captain in July 1917. He was wounded during his war service.

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At least two OTC men from the Band (photographed at Stobs) were killed in action. William Murray Hutchison from Sefton Park, Liverpool, had attended the Liverpool Institute, and been an OTC Cadet Colour-Sergeant there before studying at Edinburgh University. He had been part of the University Battery OTC, Infantry unit, October 1912 to August 1914. He was a Cadet then 2nd Lieutenant (August 1914) then Lieutenant (1915) then Captain (1916) with the Liverpool Regiment. He served in France in 1915 and was awarded the Military Cross as well as being Mentioned in Dispatches in May and September 1915. He died on 27 April 1916 after wounds received in France, aged 22. He lies in plot A.11 at Bruay Communal Cemetery Extension in the large village of Bruay, Pas-de-Calais, France.

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Prior to studies at Edinburgh University and participation in the University Battery OTC, Infantry unit, from November 1909 to October 1914, Norman McRury (in front of Hutchison) had been a student at George Watson’s College. He was a Cadet Pipe-Major, then 2nd Lieutenant (October 1914) then Lieutenant (February 1915) with the 11th Royal Highlanders (Black Watch). He was attached to the King’s Own Scottish Borderers (KOSB) and was in Gallipoli in May 1915. Like Frank Chilton, McRury was killed in action at Gallipoli on 4 June 1915, aged 24. He too is honoured at the Helles Memorial (panel 144) which stands on the tip of the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.

A second blog on the Edinburgh University Battery Officers’ Training Corps – OTC will appear before November 2018. The website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was also used in building this picture of University alumni associated with the OTC.

Edinburgh University Battery Officers’ Training Corps is now part of the City of Edinburgh Universities OTC.

Dr. Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives & Manuscripts, Centre for Research Collections (CRC)

II: ‘The Times’ History and Encyclopaedia of the War – the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolutions 1917, and of the declaration of Finnish independence

‘…AN ACCOUNT OF THE GREAT CONTEST NOW IN PROGRESS…’

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On the approach of the 100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolutions, this second look at The Times History and Encyclopædia of the War, focuses on how the publication reported on Russia and Russian campaigns during the First World War. The blog-post nods towards the 100th Anniversary of the February Revolution 1917 – which led to the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II and which was followed by a second revolution a few months later in October 1917… and which also led to the independence of Finland.

Chapter heading for a part of the history concerned with Russian action in East Prussia during the First World War, in Part 32, Volume 3, p.223.

Chapter heading for a part of the history concerned with Russian action in East Prussia during the First World War, in Part 32, Volume 3, p.223.

Detailed accounts of the Eastern Front of the First World War can be read elsewhere, but this thumb-through of various issues and volumes of The Times History presents a brief description of reports and illustrations from the Front, and offers a countdown to the Russian Revolutions of February and October 1917.

In contrast to the Western Front stretching from the North Sea to Switzerland, the vast Eastern Front stretched from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. While action in the west focussed on Luxembourg, Belgium and France, and involved the armies of the British and French Empires against Imperial Germany, action in the east stretched deep into Central Europe and involved the armies of Imperial Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire (the Central Powers) against Imperial Russia and Romania, providing ‘shatter’ to the region that would pale into insignificance in a second round of destruction in the early-1940s. There was of course a Southern Front in Europe too, pitching Italian forces against the Central Powers.

Map accompanying the account of Russian action in East Prussia during the First World War, in Part 32, Volume 3, p.223.

Map accompanying the account of Russian action in East Prussia during the First World War, with Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes shown, in Part 32, Volume 3, p.224.

As the First World War opened, the Central Powers were met with a war on two fronts. On the Eastern Front, the Russian army attempted an invasion of East Prussia, striking the historical and ancestral heartlands of the German Empire. The Russians achieved some success initially but then they were beaten back at the Battle of Tannenberg in late-August 1914, with Imperial Germany securing the routes to its ports of Danzig (Gdansk, now in Poland) and of Königsberg (Kaliningrad, now a Russian exclave on the Baltic).

'The Times History' included pictures of ruined villages and towns as a result of fighting in East Prussia during the First World War, in Part 32, Volume 3, p.227.

‘The Times History’ included pictures of ruined villages and towns as a result of fighting in East Prussia during the First World War, in Part 32, Volume 3, p.227.

Tannenberg saw the near complete destruction of the Russian 2nd Army, and a series of follow-up battles around the Masurian Lakes destroyed most of the Russian 1st Army as well, and knocked the country off balance until early-1915.

Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sukhomlinov (1848-1926), Cavalry General of the Imperial Russian Army and Minister of War until 1915, on front cover of 'The Times History', Part 44, Volume 4.

Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sukhomlinov (1848-1926), Cavalry General of the Imperial Russian Army and Minister of War until 1915, on front cover of ‘The Times History’, Part 44, Volume 4.

Early Russian defeats fell on the shoulders of the Minister of War, Vladimir Alexander Sukhomlinov, who was forced out of office in 1915 and replaced by Infantry General Alexei Andreyevich Polivanov.

Russians preparing to blow up a bridge in order to hinder the German advance on Warsaw, in Part 61, Volume 5, p.329.

Russians preparing to blow up a bridge in order to hinder the German advance on Warsaw, in Part 61, Volume 5, p.329.

Although the Russians achieved successes in Galicia (now part of western Ukraine), and in the Carpathian Mountains, by mid-1915 they had been pushed out of ‘Russian Poland’ so removing the threat – at this very early point in the war as it would unfold – of any Russian invasion of Imperial Germany or Austria-Hungary.

A Russian motor-cycle battalion. In 1914 the Russian Army was the largest army in the world but poor roads and railways made the effective deployment of soldiers difficult, illustration in Part 97, Volume 8, p.204.

A Russian motor-cycle battalion. In 1914 the Russian Army was the largest army in the world but poor roads and railways made the effective deployment of soldiers difficult, illustration in Part 97, Volume 8, p.204.

This ‘Great Retreat’ by Imperial Russia from Polish territory – carved up between themselves, Austria-Hungary, and Prussia back in the 18th century – was a severe blow to Russian morale.

Blessing of the Russian forces at Kazan Cathedral, in Part 97, Volume 8, p.220.

Blessing of the Russian forces at Kazan Cathedral, St. Petersburg, in Part 97, Volume 8, p.220.

Polivanov, the new Minister of War, started transforming the Russian army’s training system and tried with limited success to improve its supply and communications systems. Army losses in manpower were easily filled from the vastness of the Empire.

Russian war loan poster, in Part 97, Volume 8, p.226.

Russian war loan poster, in Part 97, Volume 8, p.226.

The huge size of the Russian population and the loyalty of large swathes of the people to the Tsar and to the Russian Orthodox Church – and thus to the protection of ‘Holy Russia’ with the Tsar at its head – meant that a formal draft of able-bodied men was unnecessary. Instead, the government of Nicholas II released pamphlets encouraging people to buy government bonds to fund the war with rates for the loans standardised at 512% return per month.

Tsar Nicholas II visiting a munitions factory, in Part 97, Volume 8, p.203.

Tsar Nicholas II visiting a munitions factory, in Part 97, Volume 8, p.203.

In August 1915 Polivanov became aware of the plan by the Tsar to replace his Romanov relation Grand Duke Nikolay Nikolayevich as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and to himself lead the Russian armies at the front, and made strenuous efforts to persuade him not to. This was in vain, and in 1915 Nicholas II took personal command of the Russian armed forces and spent long periods at Mogilev (now in eastern Belarus) as Commander-in-Chief hundreds of miles from events unfolding in the capital… events on the home front.

Illustration of 'Grand Duke Nicholas in the Caucasus' accompanying a chapter on the Russian Campaign in Armenia, 1915-1916, in Part 124, Volume 10, 2 January 1917.

Illustration of ‘Grand Duke Nicholas in the Caucasus’ accompanying a chapter on the Russian Campaign in Armenia, 1915-1916, in Part 124, Volume 10, 2 January 1917.

Polivanov’s efforts to prevent the Tsar from taking control helped alienate him from the Tsarina, who then conspired to have him sacked. This was achieved when the Tsar dismissed the Minister of War in March 1916.

Illustration of 'The Tsar at the Front Blessing the Troops', in part 122, Volume 10, p.162.

Illustration of ‘The Tsar at the Front Blessing the Troops’, in part 122, Volume 10, p.162.

On the home front, opposition and revolutionary sentiment was increasing. There were disruptions to the fuel supply, inflation was escalating, the price of meat, sugar and firewood was increasing, and there were continuous shortages of flour and coal. Added to these problems were the difficulties caused by refugees fleeing east, deeper into Russia, both from the army’s own scorched-earth policy entailing the destruction of entire villages and the indiscriminate forced removal of civilians, and from territories that had become controlled by the enemy.

Illustration, 'Russian refugees returning home', from the front cover of Part 122, Volume 10.

Illustration, ‘Russian refugees returning home’, from the front cover of Part 122, Volume 10, 19 December 1916.

With the collapse of food supplies, and with growing food queues, the breakdown of authority on the home front began to accelerate. Strikes and street demonstrations broke out in the first few days of March 1917 (towards the end of February in the old-style Julian calendar still retained in Russia). On 8 March strikers were joined in their protests by those celebrating International Women’s Day and those protesting against food rationing. On 9 March some 200,000 people were on the streets of Petrograd (St. Petersburg) demanding the end of the war and the abdication of the Tsar.

The official announcement of the tsar's abdication, Part 169, Volume 13, p.434.

The official announcement of the Tsar’s abdication, Part 169, Volume 13, p.434.

On 10 March, from his front-line base at Mogilev the Tsar requested the Petrograd garrison commander to disperse the crowds with gunfire but this was met with reluctance among the soldiers. Rioting broke out and on 11 March the Tsar ordered suppression of the rioting by force. This was met with mutiny and by nightfall of 12 March, the Russian Imperial capital was in the hands of revolutionaries. Army Chiefs and government Ministers advised the Tsar to abdicate the throne, and this he did on 15 March 1917.

Alexander Kerensky who replaced the first head of the Provisional Government, Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov, in July 1917, in part 169, Volume 13, p.435.

Alexander Kerensky who replaced the first head of the Provisional Government, Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov, in July 1917, in part 169, Volume 13, p.435.

On 16 March, a centre-left Provisional Government was announced and it was headed by the liberal Prince Georgy Yevgenyevich Lvov (1861-1925), although socialists had formed a rival body a few days earlier – the Petrograd Soviet (the Petrograd Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies). In a power-sharing agreement, the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet held ‘Dual Authority’.

Illustration howing 'Russian troops in France taking the oath of allegiance to the new Russian government'. It shows General Lohvitzky and officers in fron tof the troops, in Part 169, Volume 13, p.451.

Illustration showing ‘Russian troops in France taking the oath of allegiance to the new Russian government’. It shows General Lohvitzky and officers in front of the troops, in Part 169, Volume 13, p.451.

Meanwhile the Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Ulyanov Ilyich Lenin arrived in Petrograd in April 1917 and immediately began to undermine the Provisional Government, calling for ‘all power to the soviets’ (not simply dual power) and an end to the ‘predatory imperialist war’. Lenin did not have widespread support, even among Bolsheviks, and during the spontaneous armed demonstrations by soldiers and industrial workers – protests during the ‘July Days’ – he was unable to direct them into a organised coup against the government. Lenin was forced to flee to Finland and other Bolsheviks were arrested.

Illustration showing 'Delegates to the Soviet (Council of Workmen's and Soldiers' Delegates) holding a meeting in the Duma', in Part 169, Volume 13, p.457.

Illustration showing ‘Delegates to the Soviet (Council of Workmen’s and Soldiers’ Deputies) holding a meeting in the Duma’, in Part 169, Volume 13, p.457.

One outcome of the ‘July Days’ however was the replacement of Lvov as head of government. He was replaced by Alexander Kerensky of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. Kerensky declared freedom of speech, ended capital punishment, released thousands of political prisoners and did his best to maintain Russian involvement in the War.

Illustration showing aftermath of the 'July Days' 1917, in Part 180, Volume 14, p.361.

Illustration showing aftermath of the ‘July Days’ 1917, in Part 180, Volume 14, p.361.

The ‘July Days’ unrest had been precipitated by continued Russian involvement in the War. Nevertheless, in an ill-timed move, Kerensky ordered a new military offensive in July 1917 – the ‘Kerensky Offensive’, or ‘July Offensive’. It was led by General Brusilov, aided by Romania forces, and was launched against Austro-Hungarian and Imperial German armies in Galicia. The offensive was initially successful but Russian losses soon mounted and their advance collapsed. They were met with a counter-attack and in the end had to retreat around 240 kilometres. Mutiny and demoralisation within the Russian military had also played a part in the collapse.

Illustration showing 'The Russian offensive of July 1917', part 170, Volume 14, p.23.

Illustration showing ‘The Russian offensive of July 1917’, part 170, Volume 14, p.23.

The events of July, coupled with continued military defeat and striking and unrest in the cities, encouraged a resurgence of right-wing forces. In August 1917, with Kerensky’s agreement initially, General Lavr Kornilov, Commander-in-Chief of the Provisional Government forces, directed an army to Petrograd with the intention of restoring order to the country. However fearing an army putsch Kerensky reversed his agreement for this, but Kornilov pressed forward with his plans anyway. Kerensky was forced to turn to the Petrograd Soviet for help, the outcome of which was the rearming of the Bolshevik Military Organization and the release of Bolshevik political prisoners, including Leon Trotsky. Bolsheviks, Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries confronted Kornilov and convinced the army to stand down.

Illustration showing 'The Smolny Institute, Petrograd, Headquarters of the Bolshevists and guarded by Red Guards and Militia-Police', in Part 180, Volume 14, p.387.

Illustration showing ‘The Smolny Institute, Petrograd, Headquarters of the Bolsheviks and guarded by Red Guards and Militia-Police’. The Smolny was Lenin’s residence for several months until national government was moved to Moscow and the Kremlin in March 1918. Image in Part 180, Volume 14, p.387.

The ‘Kornilov Affair’, was followed by renewed military action and the fleeing of Russian forces from Riga (now capital of Latvia) when the city was attacked and captured by advancing German troops in September 1917. Throughout September and October there were mass strike actions by the Moscow and Petrograd workers, miners in Donbas, metalworkers in the Urals, oil workers in Baku, textile workers in the Central Industrial Region, and railway workers throughout the Russian network. More than a million workers took part in strikes, and workers took control over production and distribution in many factories and plants in a social revolution. In September, Lenin had returned to Petrograd too.

On 7 November 1917 (or 25 October in the old-style Julian calendar) the Bolsheviks led their forces in the uprising in Petrograd against the Kerensky Government – the October Revolution. On 6 December 1917, Finland – an Imperial Russian Grand Duchy since 1809 and before that part of a greater Sweden from the 12th and 13th centuries – declared itself independent. After the revolutions, both countries would undergo deeply rending civil wars.

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A further look at The Times History and Encyclopædia of the War will be taken in the next few months… possibly looking at reporting by the publication on heavy industry and armaments.

Dr. Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives & Manuscripts, Centre for Research Collections (CRC)

 

 

“Dear Mr President…” Robert Wallace’s letters to Woodrow Wilson, 1914-1917

Professor Robert Wallace, from the glass slide collection partially amassed by him (Coll-1434/3200)

Professor Robert Wallace, from the glass slide collection partially amassed by him (Coll-1434/3200)

Robert Wallace (1853-1939) is not a widely-known name today, although in his time he was an important agriculturalist who travelled the world. He was Professor of Agriculture and Rural Economy at the University of Edinburgh between 1885 and 1922, and established the Edinburgh Incorporated School of Agriculture. Edinburgh University Library Special Collections holds some material relating to Wallace, namely, a collection of glass slides partly amassed by him and some written material. Among these papers is a collection of Wallace’s copies of a number of letters sent to President Woodrow Wilson during the First World War.

'Letters to President Woodrow Wilson...' (Gen.867F)

‘Letters to President Woodrow Wilson…’ (Gen.867F)

Over the course of 27 letters dating between 30 August 1914 and 3 April 1917, Wallace addresses the President on the perceived dangers to allied prisoners of war under the system of “frightfulness” (a term which was used to describe an assumed military policy of the German Army towards civilians in World War I, particularly during their invasion of Belgium in 1914). Wallace also expresses concern about the dangers of starvation to the Belgian people, and about what course of action America, who was then neutral, ought to take. In his first letter, Wallace sets out his aims:

My object is to inform you of the root-causes of the present war and of the nature of the German autocracy with which the civilised world is confronted, for it is to my mind certain that America is destined to play an important part in that compact among the leading nations which must make a gigantic war in the future an impossibility.

Wallace enclosed a number of press cuttings and pamplets, such as Morals and German Policy by Arthur Conan Doyle and an article on the Neutrality of the United States in relation to the British and German Empires by Joseph Shield Nicolson, then Professor of Political Economy at the University of Edinburgh.

These letters were by no means Wallace’s first brush with American political figures. He had visited the United States on a number of occasions as part of his work, and on a visit in 1898 he met James Wilson, Minister of Agriculture at Washington (who had emigrated from Scotland aged 18 and, it was discovered,  happened to be related to Wallace). Wilson introduced him to President McKinley, the 25th President of the United States, who spoke warmly to Wallace of Britain’s support of America during the Cuban War. Wallace clearly hoped that his letters to the 28th President would encourage a return of this favour.

However, although the White House confirmed that his letters had been received, it appears that Wallace was never granted a response from the President himself. Undeterred, he continued to collect and send press cuttings and articles, and as the war progressed his tone became more urgent. In a letter dated 5 February 1917, Wallace expressed his “profound disappointment and my public, as well as private, regret” at the President’s address to Congress on 3 February that his country was “sincere friends of the German people and earnestly desire to remain at peace with the Government which speaks for them.” This statement was made following Germany’s proposal to form a military alliance with Mexico in the event of the US entering the war (the ‘Zimmerman telegram’), and many were critical of Wilson’s minimal reaction. After the sinking of several American ships, however, Wilson called a cabinet meeting on 20 March, in which America’s entry into the war received a unanimous vote.

Wallace himself did not necessarily believe that entering the war was the desired solution. In his final letter to the President (which he titled his “final supreme effort”) dated 3 April 1917, Wallace urged Wilson to commission all German and Austrian ships in USA harbours to carry food to Belgium, and suggested that America should unite with the Chinese Republic as a deterrent to Germany.

'President Wilson Leads Parade' - a glass slide from the collection partially amassed by Wallace (Coll-1434/3261)

‘President Wilson Leads Parade’ – a glass slide from the collection partially amassed by Wallace (Coll-1434/3261)

Yet on the following day, a declaration of war by the United States against Germany passed Congress by strong bipartisan majorities.

In 1919, Woodrow Wilson spent six months in Paris at the Peace Conference, where he was a staunch advocate of the creation of a League of Nations. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in the same year. Wallace published his letters to Woodrow Wilson in book form in 1931.

 

 

Although Woodrow Wilson’s reaction to Wallace’s letters remain unknown, they provide a fascinating insight into the subject of America’s entry in the First World War, as well as an unusual insight into Wallace’s personality against a backdrop of international conflict.

Clare Button
Project Archivist

 

 

Over the line – a German medic’s war

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In this month’s edition, Louise, Archivist in Lothian Health Services Archive (LHSA), finds a different view of the First World War….

Ernst Levin (1887 – 1975) was a German-born neurologist who first came to Edinburgh in 1933 to work with neurosurgeon Norman Dott in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Since Levin was Jewish, the Nazi rise to power meant that he could no longer work in his then-home of Munich, where he had just received a Chair in neurology at the city’s University.

ernstErnst Levin (1887 – 1975)

We knew about Levin’s medical work in hospitals across the city and for the German consulate in Scotland through his medical papers, donated to LHSA in the 1970s. However, although we had a record of Ernst’s career, we knew little of his time in Germany or his experiences as an émigré, leaving a lot of blanks when interested researchers asked to know more about the man behind the archive.

In 2015, I was given the opportunity to acquire Levin’s personal papers for LHSA – letters, photographs and mementos that added to the clinical profile we already held. This was a first for us in combining private and career records to give a more complete picture of a prominent personality in Edinburgh’s medical life.

Through this new collection, I learnt that Levin served during the First World War and later, along with his wife Anicuta Belau, had a wide circle of friends in the artistic movements of the decadent Weimar Republic. With the Nazi rise to power, Levin came to Edinburgh, subsequently joined by Anicuta and their daughter, Anna. Levin (like many other European exiles) was interred (in the Isle of Man) during the Second World War – but still returned to live the rest of his life in Edinburgh.

One of the first things that I noticed about our new donation was a group of photographs and mementos from the First World War, when Levin served as Assistant Surgeon of the Reserve of the Bavarian Infantry Regiment. These images from the German lines were extremely striking, and gave an immediate view of the trenches that are rare from British troops. Although smaller cameras were popularising photography as a hobby by the time of the First World War, the British Army had imposed restrictions on private camera use by 1916. In contrast, personal photography was tolerated more on the German side.  It appears that Levin was a keen photographer, and noted chemicals used in the development process on his photograph envelopes. There are a large number of First World War images in the collection, from photographs of the German lines:

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… to soldiers relaxed and enjoying themselves:

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As a first for us, LHSA has also acquired images of German field hospitals thanks to Levin’s collecting:

acc15_001_german_hospitalnurse_soldiers

What really sticks out about Ernst’s First World War archive is the mixture of battlefield images and snatched moments of life for civilians under occupation – something that is reflected in his photography:

childsoldiers_children

… but also by handmade postcards which were intermingled with his war memorabilia:

occupation

The postcards are signed, but we cannot be sure whether they were created under a pseudonym by Ernst himself or by an acquaintance. The word ‘Postkaart’ on their reverse may imply that they were drawn in Holland or Belgium, though:

postcard_montage

We can guess where Ernst may have been stationed on account of the paper memorabilia he collected, from postcard books of places like Bruges and Tournai to maps of the front-lines:

maps

As a medic, Levin far from escaped the dangers of the Front. In fact, he won a Military Medical Medal for his heroism in the Battle of the Somme. In August 1916, Levin was ordered to set up a dressing station in Cléry. Not only did he achieve this in an exposed area without artillery protection, but also showed bravery under fire when the station was shelled. The following is taken from Bavaria’s Golden Roll of Honour, compiled from the Bavarian War Archive:

“Whilst everyone took what shelter they could from the artillery fire, Dr Levin, hearing a wounded man cry out, immediately went to the aid of the casualty despite the firing and at the risk of his life. He bandaged the wounds and carried the man to the dug-out. Throughout the Battle of the Somme, Dr Levin distinguished himself by his spirit of sacrifice, his calmness and level-headed-ness and his strong sense of duty.”

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Ernst Levin in uniform

It is lucky that a good proportion of this war archive is largely visual – most of Levin’s personal collection is written in German. There are, for example, bundles of letters like this one, sent home to Munich through the German military mail system, Feldpost:

letters

And it is this language barrier that, at the moment, we are looking for ways to overcome, from involving academics to better understand the content of Levin’s archive to tracing the content of the collection through methods that do not involve deciphering the older-style German script in which manyof the letters are written. However, the visual clues I can decipher have already given me a privileged view behind the German lines.

hospital

All images from LHSA accession, Acc15/001.

Architectural monuments of Belgium, 1915 – ‘Opulence in the worst distress’

A LOST BUT RECONSTRUCTED HERITAGE… FROM THE LIBRARY OF SIR ROBERT STODART LORIMER (1864-1929), ARCHITECT

Decorative bandIn the book collections curated by the CRC is the work entitled La Belgique monumentale: 100 planches en phototypie by Karel Sluyterman (1863-1931), the Dutch architect, designer and illustrator, and Jules Jacques van Ysendyck (1836-1901) the Belgian architect and propagandist for the neo-Flemish Renaissance style.

Title-page, 'La Belgique monumentale', by Karel Sluyterman and Jules

Title-page, ‘La Belgique monumentale’, by the architects Karel Sluyterman and Jules Jacques van Ysendyck, published by Martinus Nijhoff, 1915.

The work published in 1915 in the neutral Netherlands by Martinus Nijhoff – a prestigious publishing house in The Hague (La Haye) – contains dozens of collotype prints (a salts based photographic process) showing gems of Belgian architecture.

Decorative bandA foreword to the collection of prints states that: ‘As Belgium suffers the devastating horrors of war, it seemed appropriate to circulate images of some Belgian monuments already irreparably damaged and destroyed, and those which are threatened with destruction’.

The 15th century Church of Notre Dame in Anvers (Antwerpen), Belgium... its tower and spire.

The 15th century Church of Notre Dame in Anvers (Antwerpen), Belgium… its tower and spire.

It goes on in very high-flown style: ‘In a very small space, Belgium offers an unparalleled accumulation of ancient cities and monuments, all standing witness to past greatness, offering the evidence of, and paying tribute to, the hard work always known in the country, and showing opulence in the worst distress’.

Old buildings in Tournai (Doornik), Belgium. 12th century Romanesque houses (Maisons Romanes).

Old buildings in Tournai (Doornik), Belgium. 12th century Romanesque houses (Maisons Romanes).

The plates listed include important buildings in the towns and cities of Aerschot (Aarschot), Anvers (Antwerpen), Courtrai (Kortrijk), Dinant, Dixmude (Diksmuide), Louvain (Leuven), Malines (Mechelen), Tournai (Doornik), and Ypres (Ieper).

15th century Town Hall, Louvain, Belgium.

15th century Town Hall, Louvain (Leuven), Belgium.

Some of these towns and cities escaped major damage but others suffered catastrophic destruction inflicted by massive bombardment by both sides in the Great War.

In 1914 the University in Louvain was destroyed. This was the 14th century University Library.

In 1914 the University in Louvain (Leuven) was destroyed. This was the 14th century University Library.

In Louvain, for example, on the 25 August 1914, the University Library was destroyed using petrol and incendiary devices. Some 230,000 volumes were lost in the destruction, including Gothic and Renaissance manuscripts, a collection of 750 medieval manuscripts, and more than 1,000 incunabula (books printed before 1501). The city lost one fifth of its buildings during the War.

In 1914 the University in Louvain was destroyed. This was the original Hall.

In 1914 the University in Louvain (Leuven) was destroyed. This was the original 14th century Hall.

In Ypres too, massive destruction was suffered, with the 13th century Cloth Hall – Lakenhalle – being reduced to rubble.

The Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) in Ypres, Belgium, which during the course of the War was reduced to rubble. Reconstructed after the conflict, the original building was constructed between 1200 and 1304.

The Cloth Hall (Lakenhalle) in Ypres (Ieper), Belgium, which during the course of the War was reduced to rubble. Reconstructed after the conflict, the original building was constructed between 1200 and 1304.

A label on the inside of the front cover of the portfolio of prints reads: ‘From the library of the late Sir Robert Lorimer. Presented by his Family February 1934’.

Lorimer was a prolific Scottish architect and furniture designer noted for his sensitive restorations of historic houses and castles, for new work in Scots Baronial and Gothic Revival styles, and for promotion of the Arts and Crafts movement.

This new addition to the Cloth Hall, called Nieuwerck, dated from the 17th century. This too was reconstructed during the 1920s.

This new addition to the Cloth Hall, called Nieuwerck, dated from the 17th century. This too was reconstructed during the 1920s.

La Belgique monumentale: 100 planches en phototypie can be accessed by contacting the CRC and quoting shelfmark: RECA.FF.116.

Merchants Houses in Ypres, Belgium, originally dating from 16th-17th centuries.

Merchants Houses in Ypres (Ieper), Belgium, originally dating from 16th-17th centuries.

Dr. Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives & Manuscripts, Centre for Research Collections

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Roll of the Fallen

We are pleased to announce that the University’s Roll of the Fallen for the First World War is now searchable online.

Roll of Honour homepage

Roll of Honour homepage

Principal James Alfred Ewing

Principal James Alfred Ewing

The Roll of Honour was originally published in 1921, edited by Maj. John E. Mackenzie. In his Introduction, the then Principal and Vice Chancellor, James Alfred Ewing stated that this was to “meet a strong and general desire that the names should be recorded of those members of the University of Edinburgh who took part in the war, as well as those whose service cost them their lives.”

The volume has two principal sections. The first of these is the Roll of the Fallen, containing 944 names, with accompanying photographs for most entries. Thereafter follows the Roll of War Service, with details of around 700 individuals, not included in the previous section, who saw war service. There are also smaller lists for those mentioned in Dispatches and recipients of medals, decorations etc.

At the moment, time has only allowed us to get the Roll of the Fallen into our online database. The entire volume content is however available online at archive.org

For most of the individuals concerned, we will have the records of their studies. The list also includes members of staff and they too are likely to occur elsewhere in our archives.

Links

I: ‘The Times’ History and Encyclopaedia of the War – its early issues and ambition

‘…AN ACCOUNT OF THE GREAT CONTEST NOW IN PROGRESS…’

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Printed and published by The Times newspaper, The Times History and Encyclopaedia of the War was a British weekly periodical first issued on 25 August 1914, only three weeks after the outbreak of war on 4 August. In the Preface to the first issue, the object of the enterprise was defined.

TitlePage

The Preface claimed that it would be ‘an account of the great contest now in progress’, and it would be ‘at once popular and authoritative’. It would be ‘popular in the best sense of the word’, and discuss the political factors which have led up to the crisis’, and serve ‘as a work of reference’.

TitlePageTop

As far as writing was concerned, the publisher spoke of its ‘staff of foreign correspondents […] celebrated for the knowledge and insight into political and social conditions’. These correspondents had made ‘the foreign pages of The Times the most accurate review of current foreign affairs published in any paper in the world’. The Times had ‘succeeded in obtaining the services of writers well versed in Military and Naval affairs and foreign political matters’.

TitlePageTop2

The Times History and Encyclopaedia of the War was to be issued ‘weekly in sevenpenny parts’ (7d in 1914 being roughly £3.00 in 2016), and thirteen parts were to form one volume. Special bindings were to be offered ‘in three different qualities’ – cloth, half leather, and full leather – to be ‘sold by every bookseller’. Modern 2016 prices for these various ‘qualities’ would be cloth £7.75, half leather £14.25, and full leather £26, roughly.

Ad' for the special binders that were available in which to gather the weekly parts of 'The History' together. From Volume 1, Part1, p.ii.

Ad’ for the special binders that were available in which to gather the weekly parts of ‘The History’. From Volume 1, Part 2, p.ii.

The weekly parts would also carry advertisements within the covers, and not just for The Times own products such as its binders, a weekly edition of the newspaper, a war atlas etc. Here is an advertisement for a tobacco – Player’s Navy Mixture – which was a ‘Combination of Bright Virginia, Louisiana perique, Latakia, and other scarce Eastern Tobacco’…:

Tobacco advertisement from the cover of one of the weekly issues of 'The History', in Part 21, Volume 2.

Tobacco advertisement from the cover of one of the weekly issues of ‘The History’, in Part 21, Volume 2.

At first, the publication was known as The Times History of the War but as the war progressed it would be known by the much more descriptive title of The Times History and Encyclopædia of the War. The earlier Parts 1-63 used the earlier title, and Parts 64-273 formed the later title. By war’s end the history/encyclopaedia would consist of twenty-one volumes. The individual parts of Volumes 1-21 were issued from 25 August 1914 to 27 July 1920, and Volume 22, published in 1921, formed a general index.

King Peter I of Serbia was featured on the front cover of Part 21 of Volume 2.

King Peter I of Serbia was featured on the front cover of Part 21 of Volume 2.

The earliest component parts featured graphic work on the front covers of the individual issues. Those in Volumes 1 and 2 featured the German Emperor, George V, Earl Kitchener, Field-Marshall Sir John French, Lt-Gen. Sir Douglas Haig, Peter I, General Gallieni, and Nicholas II, amongst others. The front cover was not always a statesman or military figure though…:

'Homeless' probably from communities in northern France or Belgium, featured on the front cover of Part 10, Volume 1.

‘Homeless’ probably from communities in northern France or Belgium, featured on the front cover of Part 10, Volume 1.

Refugees fleeing assault on their communities were featured on a front cover in Volume 1, and in Volume 2 a cover features an enlistment poster ‘appealing’ for recruits after attacks on the east coast of England. It was an appeal to the ‘Women of Scarbro’ (Scarborough) to help ‘avenge slaughter of the innocent women and children’ of the town and ‘encourage’ men to ‘Enlist at Once’…

In the 'East coast raid number' this poster was featured on the front cover of Part 23, Volume 2.

In the ‘East coast raid number’ this poster was featured on the front cover of Part 23, Volume 2.

The Preface to the first issue also commented on its maps. These were to be reproduced from those appearing in the pages of the daily newspaper – The Times – though ‘in some cases special maps will be prepared for particular purposes’. It went on, ‘special pains have been taken to secure their accuracy in every particular’.

Map showing Africa and South America in 1914, appended to part 23, Volume 2, p.357.

World map showing Africa and South America in 1915, appended to part 23, Volume 2, p.357.

An insert world map appended to Part 23 (February 1915), Volume 2, showed ‘the combination of powers and principal events of the first months of the war’. The map impressed on the reader how global the war had become, with naval action around the Falkland Islands in December 1914, naval action in the south eastern Pacific off Chile, and actions in south western Africa and west Africa.

Same map showing action in the Middle East in 1915, appended to part 23, Volume 2, p.357.

Same map showing action in the Middle East in 1915, appended to part 23, Volume 2, p.357.

The same map showed action taking place in Cyprus, Egypt, and Basra (then simply a city in the Ottoman Empire, rather than in the yet to be configured Iraq), and action in the Indian and western Pacific Oceans, and in China.

Siege Howitzer illustrated in Part 6, Volume 1, p.223.

Siege Howitzer illustrated in Part 6, Volume 1, p.223.

Very early in the work too, it would become clear to the reader how ‘modern’ and ‘industrial’ warfare had become. The issues would feature pictures of aeroplanes of all warring parties, the siege howitzer and other heavy artillery, airships…:

French aroplane illustrated in Part 15, Volume 2, p.54.

French aeroplane illustrated in Part 15, Volume 2, p.54.

'Zeppelin' illustrated in Part 16, Volume 2, p.81.

‘Zeppelin’ illustrated in Part 16, Volume 2, p.81.

and bombing…:

'Air bombing' illustrated in Part 18, Volume 2, p.196.

‘Air bombing’ illustrated in Part 18, Volume 2, p.196.

A further look at the content of The Times History and Encyclopædia of the War will be taken in the next few months.

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Dr. Graeme D. Eddie, Assistant Librarian Archives & Manuscripts, Centre for Research Collections (CRC)