Sky

& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.

 

With reviews of books that cover these topics

Contact

sandb@paulsmiddy.co.uk

WWI cont'd

A Letter Home

 

 

Dear Uncle Jim,

 

I have just got your letter about Uncle Guy [Lt Col Guy du Maurier DSO]. You said it hasn’t made you think any more about the danger I am in. But I know it has. Do not try to let it. I take every care of myself that can decently be taken. And if I am going to stop a bullet, why should it be with a vital place?

 

It is very bad about Uncle Guy. I wonder how he was killed. As he was a colonel, I imagine his battalion was doing an attack. Poor Aunt Gwen. This war is a dreadful show.

 

The ground is drying up fast now, and the weather far better….

There have already been doings in various parts of the line, and I would rather be George Davies than Sir John French just now. He must have got some hard decisions in front of him. Well, let’s hope for a good change in the next month.

 

Meanwhile dear Uncle Jim, you must carry on with your job of keeping up your courage. I will write every time I come out of action. We go up to the trenches ina few days again.

 

Yours Affectionately,

 

George.

[2nd Lt George Davies KRRC]

 

A few days later George was shot through the head whilst sitting on a bank listening to his own colonel. He was 21.

 

Taken from The Final Whistle - see review

 

My Boy Jack  by Rudyard Kipling

 

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”

Not this tide.

“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”

Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

 

“Has anyone else heard of him?”

Not this tide.

For what is sunk will hardly swim,

Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

 

“Oh dear, what comfort can I find?”

None this tide,

Nor any tide,

Except he did not shame his kind –

Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

 

Then hold you head up all the more,

This tide,

And every tide;

Because he was the son you bore,

And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!

 

 

The context of this poem:

Kipling encouraged his only son, John, to enlist when WW1 started. John was turned down by the Royal Navy due to poor eyesight. He then tried for the Army and was twice refused, for the same reason. Kipling snr. then approached his friend, Field Marshal Lord Roberts, who secured a commission in the Irish Guards for young Jack. From Kipling’s beautiful home in Sussex, Bateman’s, he could hear the artillery barrages across the Channel, and would no doubt ponder Jack’s fate each time.

 

The young officer was killed at the Battle of Loos in 1915, and Kipling’s sorrow over the loss of his son was magnified by the guilt he felt for sending him to war.

 

 

WW1 Air Power

A free online course has been compiled by the University of Birmingham’s Centre for War Studies, in conjunction with the RAF Museum, examining the evolution of air power in WW1. The credentials of the leader, Dr Peter Gray, certainly look very sound (ex F4 nav). A trailer can be found here. It appears to be used also as a means of relaunching the new/old Claude Graham White factory at Hendon.

continued