The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

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Mikedunford
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The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#1

Post by Mikedunford » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:14 pm

As I'm sure you know, the 100th Anniversary of the end of WWI is this Sunday. A number of different commemorations have been going on. The one I went to today - Shrouds of the Somme - is one of the most touching I've seen yet. It's the creation of one artist, Rob Heard, and consists of figures which are approximately 9" tall, encased in calico shrouds:


IMG_3385.jpg
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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#2

Post by Mikedunford » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:16 pm

Each figure represents one British Commonwealth soldier who died at the Somme.

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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#3

Post by Mikedunford » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:17 pm

And whose final resting place remains unknown.

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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#4

Post by Mikedunford » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:18 pm

There are 72,396 in total.

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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#5

Post by Mikedunford » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:23 pm

If you were curious, the point when blinking back the tears got really, really hard was when I heard the elderly gentleman behind me talking to the people he was with:

"You know, no one ever discussed it. And my...my father was four...he was only four when his brother was killed."


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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#6

Post by Kendra » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:30 pm

Thank you for starting this thread Mike. I can't believe it's getting no coverage in the US.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#7

Post by Azastan » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:02 pm

Kendra wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:30 pm
Thank you for starting this thread Mike. I can't believe it's getting no coverage in the US.
Partially because Americans think of it only as 'Veterans Day', not as Remembrance Day.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#8

Post by Mikedunford » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:14 pm

Azastan wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:02 pm
Kendra wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:30 pm
Thank you for starting this thread Mike. I can't believe it's getting no coverage in the US.
Partially because Americans think of it only as 'Veterans Day', not as Remembrance Day.
It's also partly scale, I think. There were "only" 53,402 Americans killed in combat in WWI (with another 63,114 dying from disease, primarily Spanish Flu.)

So for comparison, the number of combat deaths suffered by American soldiers is about 3/4 of the total number of figures in the display in the figures above - which only represents the dead from the Somme who were never identified.

You really only start to get a sense of the impact, I think, when you look at the small memorials - like this one:

IMG_0699.jpg

This is the memorial for the dead employees of Kew Gardens. The shinier part at the bottom is WWII; the top is WWI.
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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#9

Post by Azastan » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:26 pm

Mikedunford wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:14 pm



It's also partly scale, I think. There were "only" 53,402 Americans killed in combat in WWI (with another 63,114 dying from disease, primarily Spanish Flu.)

So for comparison, the number of combat deaths suffered by American soldiers is about 3/4 of the total number of figures in the display in the figures above - which only represents the dead from the Somme who were never identified.

You really only start to get a sense of the impact, I think, when you look at the small memorials - like this one:


IMG_0699.jpg


This is the memorial for the dead employees of Kew Gardens. The shinier part at the bottom is WWII; the top is WWI.
Yes, that as well. Many of the Americans I know vaguely know that their great great uncle or other distant relative was somehow involved in the Great War. My relatives in England, however, have a much clearer idea of how many of their family members were in the Great War, and in the second World War. I have relatives who were in POW camps, others who were evacuated from Dunkirk, etc. It's much more immediate to them.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#10

Post by Kendra » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:37 pm

I really don't recall learning much about WWI in high school, but about 5-10 years ago I got addicted to historical fiction and have read some novels set during that period. My God, the trench warfare and the mustard gas. :crying:

A list of HF novels on the period at Goodreads if anyone is looking for ideas to read: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/169 ... al_Fiction_



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#11

Post by kate520 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:46 pm

If it’s this affecting in pixels, it must be overwhelming in person. :crying:


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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#12

Post by Suranis » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:19 pm

Marshal Foch’s Tribute to the Irish Soldiers who died in the First World War.

PARIS, FRIDAY, Nov. 9th, 1928

THE Heroic Dead of Ireland have every right to the homage of the living for they proved in some of the heaviest fighting of the world war that the unconquerable spirit of the Irish race— the spirit that has placed them among the world’s greatest soldiers—still lives and is stronger than ever it was.

I had occasions to put to the test the valour of the Irishmen serving in France, and, whether they were Irishmen from the North or the South, or from one party or another, they did not fail me.

Some of the hardest fighting in the terrible days that followed the last offensive of the Germans fell to the Irishmen, and some of their splendid regiments had to endure ordeals that might justly have taxed to breaking-point the capacity of the finest troops in the world.

ON THE SOMME

Never once did the Irish fail me in those terrible days. On the Somme, in 1916, I saw the heroism of the Irishmen of the North and South, I arrived on the scene shortly after the death of that very gallant Irish gentleman, Major William Redmond. I saw Irishmen of the North and. the South forget their age-long differences, and fight side by side, giving their lives freely for the common cause.

In war there are times when the necessity for yielding up one’s life is the most urgent duty of the moment, and there were many such moments in our long drawn- out struggle. Those Irish heroes gave their lives freely, and, in honouring then I hope we shall not allow our grief to let us forgot our pride in the glorious heroism of these men.

They have left to those who come after a glorious heritage and an inspiration to duty that will live long after their names are forgotten. France will never forget her debt to the heroic Irish dead, and in the hearts of the French people to-day their memory lives as that of the memory of the heroes of old, preserved in the tales that the old people tell to their children and their children’s children.

A GERMAN TRIBUTE

I know of no better tribute to Irish valour than that paid after the armistice by one of the German High Command, whom I had known in happier days. I asked him if he could tell me when he had first noted the declining moral of his own troops, and he replied that it was after the picked troops under his command had had repeated experience of meeting the dauntless Irish troops who opposed them in the last great push that was expected to separate the British and French armies, and give the enemy their long-sought victory.

The Irishmen had endured such constant attacks that it was thought that they must be utterly demoralised, but always they seemed to find new energy with which to attack their assailants, and in the end the flower of the German Army withered and faded away as an effective force.

“THEY NEVER FAILED”

When the moment came for taking the offensive all along our line, it was these same worn Irish troops that we placed in the van, making call after call on their devotion, but never finding them fail us. In the critical days of the German offensive, when it was necessary that lives should be sacrificed by the thousand to slow down the rush of the enemy, in order that our harassed forces should have time to reform, it was on the Irish that we relied repeatedly to make these desperate stands, and we found them responding always.

Again and again, when the bravest were necessary to delay the enemy’s advance, it was the Irish who were ready and at all times the soldiers of Ireland fought with the rare courage and determination that has always characterised the race on the battlefield.

"WE SHALL NEVER FORGET”

Some of the flower of Irish chivalry rests in the cemeteries that have been reserved in France, and the French people will always have these reminders of the debt that France owes to Irish valour. We shall always see that the graves of these heroes from across the sea are lovingly tended, and we shall try to ensure that the generations that come after us shall never forget the heroic dead of Ireland.
https://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Histor ... _War_.html


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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#13

Post by Addie » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:23 pm

My mother, who was born in 1915, always called it 'Armistice Day' as I recall.
Azastan wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:02 pm
Kendra wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:30 pm
Thank you for starting this thread Mike. I can't believe it's getting no coverage in the US.
Partially because Americans think of it only as 'Veterans Day', not as Remembrance Day.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#14

Post by Azastan » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:31 pm

Addie wrote:
Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:23 pm
My mother, who was born in 1915, always called it 'Armistice Day' as I recall.

Yes, many in England still call it Armistice Day. It was broadened to Remembrance Day to include the second World War, etc.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#15

Post by John Thomas8 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 8:32 pm

It's sad what folks don't know about World War I. The generalizations and mythology are sadly misleading.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#16

Post by Sam the Centipede » Sat Nov 10, 2018 1:51 am

Here's a surprisingly chilling piece from the BBC last year about something that one would expect to be good news but actually has a dark side: Thankful villages: The shame of surviving World War One. The opening paragraph:
A thankful village is a community where everyone who went to fight in World War One came back alive. But what seems like it should have been a cause for celebration was actually a source of embarrassment and shame for many.
There are a few "doubly thankful" villages which lost no residents in either world war. Many (most?) villages in western Europe have a war memorial, often in a churchyard, memorializing their dead; of course one does not notice its absence in such places.

Again from the BBC, here's a piece explaining that some villages won't ring church bells or have a remembrance service on Armistice Day, World War One: The villages whose heroes all came home:
In two Welsh villages, no bells will ring on Remembrance Sunday, no wreaths will be laid nor silences observed.

Llanfihangel y Creuddyn near Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, and Herbrandston in Pembrokeshire have good reason.
(That item is from their news service for Wales, hence its reference only to a couple Welsh villages.)

Seems a little over-parochial to only concentrate on one's own dead, but I'm less into this type of event than most folk. Why not commemorate all the suffering?



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#17

Post by Sam the Centipede » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:11 am

A little bit of family history from an English second cousin once or twice removed who was born in 1920 in southern England. His father had been a medical orderly in WW1 and each Armistice Day in the 1920s and 30s the family would attend the solemn church service on Sunday, which included a procession to the local memorial to lay wreathes and then visit the cemetery.

So far, nothing unusual. But after the service, their father would take him and his sister up to a local war cemetery for German soldiers (PoWs, I guess) and they'd stand there quietly as a reminder that war hurts everybody and that the enemy are also ordinary men with grieving families, and fighting for the same patriotic principles as our side.

I am amazed and humbled by that generosity of spirit. And it worked on my cousin, who was always very humane and good at appreciating and empathizing with others' viewpoints, be they friends, opponents or enemies.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#18

Post by NMgirl » Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:16 am

If you stop and read the names on some WWI memorials in smaller towns and villages in England, you will see the same surname listed several times. So many families lost multiple, in some cases, all, their sons to this war. Every war is appalling; but WWI was especially brutal, annihilating a large proportion of a single generation of men. It was a needless, useless war, essentially fought for ... nothing.


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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#19

Post by Sam the Centipede » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:15 pm

NMgirl wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:16 am
If you stop and read the names on some WWI memorials in smaller towns and villages in England, you will see the same surname listed several times. So many families lost multiple, in some cases, all, their sons to this war. Every war is appalling; but WWI was especially brutal, annihilating a large proportion of a single generation of men. It was a needless, useless war, essentially fought for ... nothing.
I remember reading Vera Brittain's Testament Of Youth and being chilled because I thought "huh, for clichéed dramatic effect, that brother will die next" before my brain belatedly woke up and I remembered that it wasn't fiction and it wasn't a nonexistent character being written out to complete the story arc; no, it was a real man, a real brother, a real son, a real friend, dying horribly and pointlessly.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#20

Post by Volkonski » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:53 pm

This is not a very good copy of this film but watch starting about 1:24:00 as a pair of boots passes from one soldier to another then another.



A better copy is here where that boot scene starts at about 1:07-



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#21

Post by Northland10 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:55 pm

Nimrod from Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar. Played at the Centopath in London on Remembrance Day. I am also playing it for the prelude tomorrow morning at church.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#22

Post by GlimDropper » Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:12 pm

There is a quote, traditionally attributed to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and is set in stone on a Gallipoli memorial in Turkey that always moved me:

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours ... You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#23

Post by TollandRCR » Sun Nov 11, 2018 12:23 pm

NMgirl wrote:
Sat Nov 10, 2018 2:16 am
If you stop and read the names on some WWI memorials in smaller towns and villages in England, you will see the same surname listed several times. So many families lost multiple, in some cases, all, their sons to this war. Every war is appalling; but WWI was especially brutal, annihilating a large proportion of a single generation of men. It was a needless, useless war, essentially fought for ... nothing.
Could you say more about how needless and useless WWI was? That has long been my view, and there is scholarship to support that view. Moreover, WWI was the major cause of WWII.


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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#24

Post by PaulG » Sun Nov 11, 2018 3:37 pm

I still enjoy P.G. Wodehouse. It's about a bunch aimless young men, cranky aunts and mad uncles. What is never mentioned is where all the fathers went. I can't help but think they form a missing generation who all died in WWI, the sons grew up aimless, the aunts are bitter and the uncles and grandparents mad with grief. As I say, I still enjoy the stories, when I don't think about them.

My own grandparents and great uncles were all too young (one by a couple of months) to serve during the war, otherwise I might not be here. WWI and the Spanish influenza together cut a slice through an entire generation, almost like girdling a tree.



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Re: The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

#25

Post by GlimDropper » Sun Nov 11, 2018 4:28 pm

Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcast has a very interesting six part series on WWI titled Blueprint for Armageddon. I believe they're available from iTunes and on his personal website as well. Highly recommended.



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