8 Memorials to Animals in the First World War

The First World War saw the development of industrialised mechanised warfare – machine guns, tanks, and aeroplanes.  In addition to this modern technology, millions of animals were used both in warfare and on the home front. They died in their hundreds of thousands. An estimated six million horses and mules were engaged by the combatants.  They hauled food, equipment, ammunition and other supplies for the troops.  Tens of thousands of horses and camels were used by cavalry units. Messenger pigeonsRead more

The Silvertown Tragedy: Explosion on the Home Front

100 years ago today, on 19th January 1917 at 6.52pm, a catastrophic explosion at the Brunner Mond and Company’s high explosive TNT factory in Silvertown, East London killed 73 people and injured hundreds. Most were local residents, including children and babies. The force of the explosion was tremendous.  Streets of houses were flattened. Across the river from Silvertown, on the Greenwich Peninsula at a gas works, now the site of the O2 Arena, one of the gas holders exploded. UpRead more

Thou Shalt Not Kill: 7 Sites of Memory to Conscientious Objectors

It is believed that as many as 20,000 men from all walks of life were originally on record as conscientious objectors between 1916 and 1918, refusing to fight in the First World War for religious, political or humanitarian reasons. They appeared before local tribunals to have the sincerity of their claim interrogated – often humiliatingly and aggressively – in public. These tribunals were biased towards believing the objectors were acting from cowardice not conscience.  It was a time when whiteRead more

6 Sites of Memory for Overseas War Heroes

The First and Second World Wars were truly global in scale and involvement. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers died supporting the British army, including troops from the colonies, and European countries that had been invaded by enemy forces. Here are 6 sites in England which pay homage to the enormous contribution made by foreign soldiers during the First and Second World Wars. Header image: No. 305 Polish Bomber Squadron taken in 1942 at RAF Cammeringham in Lincolnshire. 1. The Polish War Memorial, Hillingdon, Grade IIRead more

7 Things You May Not Know About the Battle of the Somme

This year marks the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, which took place between 1st July and 18th November 1916. The battle was a joint offensive by the British and French forces – fought along both sides of the River Somme in France – aimed at decisively defeating the Germany Army. Britain fielded a one million strong ‘New Army’ made up of inexperienced but enthusiastic volunteers from all walks of life, raised in a fervour of patriotism by FieldRead more

10 Exceptional First World War memorials

1. Liverpool Cenotaph Architect Lionel Budden, unveiled 1930. Grade I listed Designed by local architect Lionel Budden, the altar-like Liverpool Cenotaph is adorned with some of local sculptor Herbert Tyson-Smith’s most powerful work. The craftsmanship of these bronze reliefs is outstanding, with powerful and modern designs forming a poignant reminder of the effects of the war on Liverpool. 2. Royal Navy War Memorial, Portsmouth Designer Sir Robert Lorimer, Sculptor Henry Poole, unveiled 1924. Grade II listed The memorial commemorates 25,000 British andRead more

21 Amazing Places in England Recently Given Protected Status

1. Ennerdale, Cumbria. About 2000 BC to present Despite being clothed in over 1,200 hectares of coniferous plantations, the Ennerdale valley retains evidence for human occupation from the Bronze age through to the present day. New historic sites to have been identified include prehistoric cairnfields, numerous medieval settlements, and longhouses and an ironworking site. 2. Mere End Down Romano-British field system, Letcombe Bassett, Oxfordshire. AD 100 to 400 A fortuitous survival of earthworks representing a small part of a Romano-BritishRead more