British artillerymen at Gallipoli, 1915


Two 60-pounder (5-inch) guns of 90th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (RGA) prepare for action at Cape Helles, Gallipoli.

The gun in the foreground features rudimentary camouflage on its barrel and identification numbers on its carriage.

The battery would later be posted to Egypt before being sent to the Western Front.

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An Army Service Corps driver and his truck, 1916


A soldier of the 34 Auxiliary Patrol Company, 960 Motor Transport Company, Army Service Corps (ASC) stands by his truck in a photograph probably taken in 1916.

Although it is an organisation that is often forgotten in the context of the First World War, it performed a crucial function for the British Army.

At its peak, the ASC numbered 10,547 officers and 315,334 men. There were also thousands of Indian, Egyptian and Chinese under ASC command.

Nicknamed Ally Sloper’s Cavalry, after a cartoon character of the time, the moniker may have had unkind overtones of ‘sloping off’ somewhere relatively safe when the heat was on.

Soldiers of the ASC were often exposed to danger, however, either taking ammunition and supplies to the front line or having to act as emergency infantry when the need arose.

The ASC was granted the title ‘Royal’ following the First World War.

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Lost VC goes on show in Brighton


A ‘mislaid’ Victoria Cross has gone on show at the Brighton Museum in Sussex. The medal was awarded posthumously to 42-year-old Major George Godfrey Massy Wheeler of the 7th (Hariana ) Lancers.

It was found by museum staff who were searching for items to display to mark the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.

Andy Maxted, curator at Brighton Museum said: ‘We were searching through our collections database last year, looking for objects that might enhance the War Stories exhibition. During the search we came across a reference to the Massy Wheeler VC along with a full size and miniature copy, strangely enough, in a box of Decorative Arts jewellery.

‘We then tracked down the remainder of the medals which we found in a general medals box that also contained a telegram from the King to Massy Wheeler’s widow expressing sympathy on the news of his death. We were obviously delighted when we found the VC.

The medal is display alongside Major Massy Wheeler’s other campaign medals in the Prints and Drawings gallery at Brighton Museum until 7 June 2015.

Massy’s commendation for the Victoria Cross stated: ‘For most conspicuous bravery at Shaiba, Mesopotamia. On the 12th April, 1915, Major Wheeler asked permission to take out his Squadron and attempt to capture a flag, which was the centre point of a group of the enemy who were firing on one of our picquets.

‘He advanced and attacked the enemy’s infantry with the lance, doing considerable execution among them. He then retired while the enemy swarmed out of hidden ground and formed an excellent target to our Royal Horse Artillery guns.

‘On the 13th April, 1915, Major Wheeler led his Squadron to the attack of the “North Mound.” He was seen far ahead of his men riding single-handed straight for the enemy’s standards. This gallant Officer was killed on the Mound.’

Major Massy Wheeler is buried in Basra War Cemetery.

For more information about the dispay, click here.

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Exhibition focuses on Dartmoor in WW1


Dartmoor Life in the First World War is an exhibition that marks the Centenary of the First World War and offers a snapshot of what life was like on the moor in the years 1914-1918.

Consequences of the First World War

The exhibition considers how life for many on the moor continued as normal, how farming changed and women came to work in agriculture and forestry. It also considers the recruitment of soldiers and the lives of the wounded men who were brought to Dartmoor to recuperate as well as the impact on the area of the Conscientious Objectors who were housed in Dartmoor Prison.

The show is presented by the Dartmoor Trust in partnership with Dartmoor National Park and is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with a £10,000 grant.

The exhibition is on show at the National Park Visitor Centre, Princetown and runs for six months.

Far-reaching impact of the war

Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: ‘The impact of the First World War was far-reaching; touching and shaping every corner of the UK and leaving a lasting legacy. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we’re pleased to have played a funding role in ensuring Dartmoor’s unique memory of the impact of the conflict is shared for generations to come.’

For more about the exhibition, click here.

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Events announced for Gallipoli commemorations


The 100-year anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign will be one of the key centenaries marked by the UK as part of its First World War commemorations.

More than 550,000 Allied troops took part in the campaign and events to mark the conflict will be held across the world.

On Friday 24 April a Commonwealth and Ireland Commemoration Service will be held at the CWGC Helles Memorial on the Gallipoli peninsula.

On Saturday 25, Anzac Day, Australia and New Zealand will also conduct three services at Gallipoli: a joint Dawn Service at the Anzac Commemorative Site, an Australian Memorial Service at Lone Pine, and a New Zealand Memorial Service at Chunuk Bair.

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A female RFC driver of the First World War

RFC driver

A female driver of the Royal Flying Corps aboard a motorcycle and sidecar, possibly in early 1918.

The Women’s Rotal Air Force (WRAF) was formed in April 1918 and by the end of the First World War there were more than 25,000 women in its ranks. They performed a wide variety of roles, from fitters, to clerks, to cooks. Many went on to serve with the occupation forces in the Rhineland.

By 1920, more than 50 trades were on offer for WRAF recruits. Among the best paid were shorthand typists and there were plenty of more eclectic roles on offer – such as carrier pigeon keeper.

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Overseas VC winners saluted at National Memorial Arboretum


The British government’s communities secretary, Eric Pickles, will make a speech at an unveiling ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum on 5 March to commemorate the overseas-born First World War recipients of the Victoria Cross.

Pickles will be drawing attention to the 145 servicemen from 19 different countries who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.

As part of the Centenary commemorations paving stones will be laid in the birthplace of each Victoria Cross recipient.

First World War Victoria Cross winners came from countries as diverse as Belgium, China, Japan and Ukraine.

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