Category Archives: Life Stories

The Battle of Cambrai – ‘Use tanks boldly, press success and demoralise the enemy’

As the Third Battle of Ypres drew to a close in the Passchendaele mud, Sir Douglas Haig gave his approval for General Sir Julian Byng, Third Army, to prepare for an attack on Cambrai in late November 1917. This would be the first time that … Continue reading

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Remembering Cecil Kinross: An Unconventional Hero

By October 1917, the Third Battle of Ypres had been raging for more than 2 months. The next target was the village of Passchendaele – which became the informal title given to the whole campaign. An ill-prepared attack in pouring rain was … Continue reading

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“The unwritten story of a great air fight” – William Reason Bishop and Douglas Fraser Mackintosh

On 2 October 1917, William Reason Bishop and Douglas Fraser Mackintosh were killed when their aircraft crashed during a fight in the skies above Belgium. The German army buried them with full military honours, and their graves were tended by two … Continue reading

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‘Shot at dawn’ – the story of Herbert Morris

During the First World War, more than 300 men serving with British forces were executed for offences including desertion, disobedience and violence. Those punished for cowardice or desertion received a posthumous pardon from the UK government in 2006, yet the subject of those ‘shot … Continue reading

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Society hostess and social reformer: Remembering Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland

Many women seized the opportunity to do ‘their bit’ during the First World War. Women provided support in numerous ways, including telephone operating, war industries, military auxiliaries, agriculture and medical care. Millicent Sutherland-Leveson-Gower was one such motivated individual, setting up … Continue reading

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Remembering the first daylight air raid

13 June 1917 marks the centenary of the first daytime air raid on London. On this day, 20 Gotha bombers dropped more than 100 bombs on the capital, killing 162 people. This was the highest death toll from a single … Continue reading

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‘Exceptional courage, determination and skill’: remembering Albert Ball VC

7 May 2017 marks the centenary of the death of Albert Ball, one of Britain’s greatest air aces of the First World War. He shot down 44 German aircraft and received the Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order with two bars and the … Continue reading

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Remembering Arras and Vimy Ridge

April 2017 marks 100 years since the start of the Battle of Arras, where British and Commonwealth troops successfully seized German-held ground in northern France – including the famous capture of Vimy Ridge by Canadians. Fighting continued until mid-May, with heavy casualties. In this blog … Continue reading

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“The only boy I love” – a poignant story for Valentine’s Day

During the First World War, letter writing was the main form of communication between soldiers and their loved ones, helping to ease the pain of separation. The British Army Postal Service delivered around 2 billion letters during the war. In … Continue reading

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Remembering the Barnbow Lasses

On 5 December 1916, an explosion at Barnbow Shell Factory in Leeds killed 35 female workers and injured many more. Today, the site of the factory is protected as a scheduled monument by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, but … Continue reading

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