World War I
"The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime." - Edward Grey, July 1914.
Balloon Explosion at Fort Sill, 1918
Hydrogen filled balloons were used at Fort Sill (Oklahoma) for observation of artillery fire. In 1918, a spark of static electricity caused a balloon to explode while the ground crew was still holding onto the guide ropes. The above photograph shows soldiers running away from the explosion – they were then ordered to go back and keep the balloon from drifting and igniting nearby wooden barracks. Six Soldiers were killed and another 30 injured in that incident.
Ypres then and now … 11 November 1917: Soldiers stand at the ramparts in Ypres, Belgium, during the first world war. The town was reduced to ruins during the four years of the war as it held a strategic position on the route of the German advance into France, the Schlieffen Plan. December 2013: the scene today. In 1920, the decision was made to rebuild Ypres exactly as it was before the war with its medieval and renaissance architecture reconstructed and its remaining fortifications restored.
Obit of the Day
Pvt. Henry Gunther was killed at 10:59 a.m. on November 11, 1918 in an inexplicable charge against a German machine gun battery. His fellow troops - and even the enemy - tried to stop his charge. Instead he was shot and killed one minute before the armistice that ended World War I went into effect. Pvt. Gunther was the last soldier killed in action during the Great War.
WWI Y.M.C.A. Eagle Hut
When the United States entered the First World War, U.S. Commander-in-Chief General John Pershing signed General Order #26-II-1 which established servicemen’s centers in Europe. The General Order, published on August 28, 1917, stated that the Y.M.C.A. would “provide for the amusement and recreation of the troops by means of its usual programme of social, physical, educational, and religious services”. The Eagle Hut in London opened on September 3, 1917 and was staffed by around 800 volunteers.