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Coming soon: - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
Coming soon:
AEJ Collins was a fortnight shy of his nine-and-twentieth birthday, and a few months married. At the age of thirteen years, as a Clifton schoolboy, he had set the record – yet to be broken – for the highest recorded score in cricket: 628 not out. Now he was an officer of Royal Engineers. He had three months left to live.
Rear-Admiral Charles Lucas VC was eighty years old. Born in Armagh, he now lived in Kent, just across the Channel from Picardy. In June of 1854, sixty years gone, now, he had served aboard HMS Hecla, in the Crimean War. His ship was engaged in bombarding Bomarsund’s Russian fortifications in the Åland Islands when returned fire from the shore batteries resulted in a live shell’s landing, fuse sputtering, on her deck. The young Charles Davis Lucas rushed to the shell and threw it overboard. He was neither the first to be gazetted nor the first to be invested with the Victoria Cross, but this action of his was the first in time to result in the award of the VC. He had been immediately promoted lieutenant by his captain – whose daughter he was in time to wed – and began his rise towards his flag. Now the First VC was old, and drowsy, and death was waiting upon him; he had three days to live.
It was 4 August 1914.

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steepholm From: steepholm Date: November 9th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've often passed the plaque devoted to Collins in Guthrie Rd, and wondered what became of him in later life. Sigh...

wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 9th, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

Killed 11 November (of all dates) 1914.

Captain RE; Mentioned in Despatches.

Buried Ypres (Menin Gate).
fpb From: fpb Date: November 9th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

This is not to demean the valiant dead we celebrate on 11-11

That is the last thing I want to do. And yet, one day I have to write a history of the peace, to make the point that there was no peace after 1918, that the peace congress at Versailles was a tragic and ultimately murderous farce, and that the war really only ended about 1923 with the effective defeat of the Alliance, thanks to that unspeakable man Woodrow Wilson - and to the befuddlement and incapacity of the other Allied leaders. Chesterton and Kipling were right: already by 1922, Kipling was furiously remarking on the mockery of victory:

All that they had they gave—they gave—
In sure and single faith.
There can no knowledge reach the grave
To make them grudge their death
Save only if they understood
That, after all was done
We they redeemed denied their blood,
And mocked the gains it won.

Chesterton was even harsher:

The men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And bees and birds of England
About the cross can roam.

But they that fought for England,
Following a falling star,
Alas, alas for England
They have their graves afar.

And they that rule in England,
In stately conclave met,
Alas, alas for England,
They have no graves as yet.

It was then that the universal sense arose that all the slaughter and agony and destruction had been for nothing; a sense of futility that did more than any actual item of fact to foster pacifism, defeatism and the discrediting of the political leaderships that had driven all of Europe into this slaughter for no purpose. And the collapse of self-confidence led in turn to the immediate unravelling of the results of war: Turkey destroyed its Greek and Armenian minorities and re-formed a military state in the face of the Allies, Russia was lost, Britain abandoned Ireland, Italy lost both democracy and its alliance with the West – Mussolini’s noisy anti-British stance being the foretaste of evils to come; and Germany being effectively allowed to become again the leading economy of the continent, while its armed forces had neither been eliminated nor neutered.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 9th, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Wait for the book.

I agree w MSP's longstanding view: 1914 - 1945 was a Thirty Years' War w/ a truce just long enough for a new generation to be old enough to put on uniform.
fpb From: fpb Date: November 9th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wait for the book.

CS Lewis, in a 1939 letter, quotes an unnamed Frenchman: "Well, that was a good armistice!"

If I started work on a book on the disastrous 1918-1924 period, along the lines I mentioned, would you be interested in publishing it?
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 9th, 2011 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)


Like a shot.

And that applies, I may add, to any author I've the privilege of knowing here, from Steepholm to Noe to Brammers, Right, Left, foreign, or home.
fpb From: fpb Date: November 9th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Absoballylutely.

You're on (probably). The thing is, I have been writing a long essay (9000 words and counting) about Turkey and the rise of Ataturk, which has given me a number of new ideas on the larger picture. It's in Italian, but I can probably render the same material and ideas in English.
wemyss From: wemyss Date: November 9th, 2011 07:05 pm (UTC) (Link)

I make certain you can.

And am chuffed by prospect.

Also, is it me, or does Kemal really, really look like Kevin Kline?
pathology_doc From: pathology_doc Date: November 10th, 2011 01:21 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Wait for the book.

CS Lewis, in a 1939 letter, quotes an unnamed Frenchman: "Well, that was a good armistice!"

Didn't one of the French generals of the time (i.e. 1919) say "This isn't a peace treaty; it's a twenty-year ceasefire", or something along those lines? (I have a vague recollection that it was Foch, but I've been away from my sources for quite a while.)
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