Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Amiens Dispatch

Kitchener’s poster declared, “Your King and Country need you”, but it was only once the Amiens Dispatch was published on 30 August that the British public realised just how much their King and country needed them. Early on the morning of Monday 24 August, the day after the British defeat at Mons, Lord Kitchener brought […]

A Contemptible Little Army

‘Contemptible’ was the proud adjective that survivors of the original Expeditionary Force used to describe themselves after the Kaiser had supposedly dismissed them as “General French’s contemptible little army” on 19 August 1914. It is my Royal and Imperial Command that you concentrate your energies, for the immediate present upon one single purpose, and that […]

Roman Catholic Prayers for the Dead

Headstone inscriptions were not part of the Imperial War Graves Commission’s original plans but came about through an awareness of the comfort they would give the Roman Catholic community. There is some difference of opinion as to whether leave should be given to relatives to add anything further … (but) it would give satisfaction in […]

The Battle of Mons

It took five days from the declaration of war for the first troops of the British Expeditionary Force to be ready to leave for France, and seven more for the exercise to be complete. In those twelve days thousands of army reservists were recalled and issued with uniforms, 120,000 horses were requisitioned and 1,800 special […]

Killed in Action: Died of Wounds

The circumstances of a casualty’s death make for an interesting category of inscription. Many of them manage to convey not only information but dignity and pathos too, despite their limited letter count. Some inscriptions simply use the phrase “Killed in action” or “Died of wounds”, the phrases of the official communiques. Officers’ next-of-kin received telegrams […]