July 2011

THE GUARDS

To clarify the point raised at the last meeting about the age of the Coldstream Guards, here are the facts:

The Coldstream Guards were raised in 1650 as Monck's Regiment whereas the Grenadiers were raised in 1656 as His Majesty's Regiment of Guards. However the Coldstream went over to the Parliament Army thus losing its seniority when it was later re-embodied and became the Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards.

However these facts are interpreted, it is beyond doubt that as far as the Army is concerned, the Grenadiers are senior to the Coldstream. This seniority is denoted by the grouping of buttons in ceremonial dress, thus Grenadiers in ones, Coldstream in twos, Scots in threes etc. It can be argued that the Coldstream motto Nulli Secundus is meant to convey None Better. Note: The Royal Scots were formed in 1633 although it no longer exists.

Bob

THE MAN BEHIND THE MAN BEHIND THE MAN

Von Hindenburg was proclaimed the victor of the Battle of Tannenburg in which his army inflicted an overwhelming defeat on the Russians. However many historians believe that the true victor was his chief of staff Ludendorff, and it is quite true that he was the real power and brains behind von Hindenburg throughout the rest of the waróright up to the time when in 1918 he walked away from the mess he had created. But let's look at the facts.

The Germans overestimated the time that it would take the Russians to mobilise and therefore thought that they had time to finish off the French before dealing with them. In fact the Russians were soon on the offensive and when they started to menace Prussia, the German C in C in the East panicked.

As a result he was replaced by von Hindenburg who was given Ludendorff, the hero of the Liege forts, as his chief of staff. However, on their arrival they found that the situation had been restored and that the German chief of operations had already set in motion the

moves that would lead to victory. All they had to do was approve the plan. As a matter of fact some writers believe that it was the Russian moves that brought about their defeat rather than anything the Germans did.

The chief of operations was Colonel, later General, Max Hoffmann.

Bob Butcher

 

CLEARING UP THE MESS

At the end of the war there were huge quantities of ammunition scattered about the war torn areas many in unmarked and unrecorded sites. The first task was to find and record their positions so that Ordnance could subsequently recover them.

Ammunition too dangerous to move was destroyed in situ. Any that it was decided to keep was sent back to the UK but that still left something like 350,000 tons of shells to be disposed off. Rather than blow the lot up or dump it in the sea, it was decided to salvage the large amounts of various metals, alloys, resin, chemicals and much else from the shells. Soldiers of the Ordnance Corps began the job which involved first removing the explosive and then stripping down the shell to recover the elements. With demobilisation, however, the whole lot was sold to civilian contractors for two million pounds. It has been said that they employed as many as 10,000 men and women at one time on this task.

Frank Gardner

 

THE TRUTH CAN HURT

The London Gazette is Britain's oldest newspaper. It was founded in 1665 by Charles II. It carries official announcements including citations or listings of medal winners.

On 23 July 1915 a supplement to the London Gazette announced that Second Lieutenant George Raymond Dallas Moor of the 3rd Hampshire Regiment had been awarded the Victoria Cross for most conspicuous bravery and resource on 5 June 1915, during operations south of Krithia. When a detachment of a battalion on his left, which had lost all its officers, was rapidly retiring before a heavy Turkish attack, Second Lieutenant. Moor, immediately grasping the danger to the remainder of the line, dashed back some 200 yards, stemmed the retirement, led back the men and recaptured the lost trench.

This young officer, who had only joined the Army in October 1914, by his personal bravery and presence of mind, saved a dangerous situation.

The fighting at Krithia was part of the Gallipoli campaign. Second Lieutenant Moor was eighteen and had joined the army from Cheltenham a top public school. He was born in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) the second son of W.H.Moor a colonial official who rose to be Auditor General of the Transvaal and who by 1915 was living retired in Devon. One of Lieutenant Moor's uncles was Sir Ralph Moor a former High Commissioner of Southern Nigeria.

Lieutenant Moor died of Spanish Flu on 3 November 1918 aged twenty-two. By this time he was attached to 30th Division's headquarters.

Only much later did it emerge that there was a darker side to Moor's VC. To stop the panic he had shot some of his own men. Accounts differ. A Hampshire Regiment regimental history says that he shot one or two panic stricken fugitives.

Sir Henry de Beauvoir de Lisle, who commanded 29th Division on Gallipoli said that Moor had to shoot the leading four men and the remainder came to their senses. Imagine if this had come out shortly after it happened. That is why official censorship for all its faults is absolutely essential.

The German statesman Bismarck said that there are three times when people tell most lies. They are before an election, during a war, and after a fishing trip.

J.P. Lethbridge

 

 

The Bulletin of the Birmingham Branch of the WFA

Compiled by Bob Butcher

Oval: HOME