RESOURCES FOR CHAPLAINS AND MILITARY INSTRUCTORS
(Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Newfoundland, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Italy)
On this page, we will examine Combat Stress as evidenced in and among our Canadian and British allies and friends as well as some additional material on Australian and New Zealand soldiers. Our examination will include the early use of Canadian troops in a little-talked-about 'dry run' of the D-Day invasion, which went horribly wrong.  We will also examine in detail the misuse of the Canadians in a last-ditch effort to save Hong Kong and Singapore from the invading Japanese.  This is still remembered by the men and families of those who participated in thoset debacles, but not widely written about in books or explored in TV films and documentaries.  The men in those 'adventures,' endured horrible POW experiences at the hands of the Japanese soldiers which has gotten 'zero attention' in Japanese school textbooks.

The instructor should notice the similarity of combat stress themes on this page when compared to the previous page dealing with that of the Australian soldiers.  Students should also take note of the differences, especially when different theater's of conflict are examined, especially climate, terrain, weather, and enemy tactics.
VIEWER ADVICE:  This webpage contains some language, themes, and images that may disturb some viewers.  It was developed only for Chaplains and other military instructors.
We look first at some introductory short films and data concerning Canada's role in WW2.
Untold Canadian stories:
Canadian soldiers were sent to Hong Kong, just prior to the Japanese invasion there.
Canadian newspapers told the folks back home what was happening:
The Dieppe Debacle
The Dieppe Raid was a spectacular failure, just as Operation Market-Garden in Holland.  Some information has recently revealed that the Raid had a subrosa agenda: to insert a Commando group into the Dieppe area and secure an updated Enigma machine that had 4 rotors. This part of the raid, orchestrated by Ian Flemming, was also a total failure: no documents or machine was obtained.  Also in recent years, there has been historian apologists who state that the Raid was a rehersal or trial run of the later D-Day invasion in 1944.  This has no basis in fact.  The so-called 'lessons learned' from the failed Dieppe Raid were forthcoming from other sources.
For many years no one knew why the Dieppe Raid was proposed.  Many theories were put forth: to divert German troops from their Eastern front war with Russia or as a rehersal for D-Day landings.  The men who survived the failed operation were never told and went to their graves believing that it was all in vain. 

But that was not the Raid's sole purpose and now there is a book and documentary film that describes the true purpose for the Dieppe raid:
The book which inspired "Uncovered" the documentary film, written by a Canadian history professor and military historian:
Professor O'Keefe tells of his discovery:
Dieppe - from the History's Raiders film series:
A French film with English subtitles, details in pictures not seen elsewhere, the failed Dieppe Raid:
The Raid was featured in the "History's Raiders" series now in public domain:
A French-produced film showing the Dieppe raid and aftermath:
The raid was a massacre.......
Canadian soldier tells of his experience:
GERMAN PROPAGANDA ABOUT THE DIEPPE RAID:
CANADA STRIKES BACK
(A film series)
In 1964, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) released a 17-part  radio program, "Flanders' Fields" which used actual veterans voices of WW1, to tell the story of how Canada entered the war and what happened.  It is now in public domain. (Some programs are illustrated with photos from the events described).

War Weariness in the Canadian Corps in the First World War:

Photos of Canadian soldiers, WW1 and WW2 that can be integrated into a slide presentation:
Hot work for Canadian soldiers manning artillery in next two photos:
Sucide prevention is explored in the main page, "CH Hughes products" concerning American troops.  
Here is some information about the problem that occurred among Canadian soldiers during and after WW1 and beyond.
After WW1, Canadian soldiers were in England for some time.  Trouble sometimes erupted, as seen in the next video.
Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland) also is examined on this page.  Most of the British soldiers in WW2 served in the European and North African theaters of operation.  Of course, they were also in the Far East and the RAF played a vital role in the re-capture of Port Moresby. in WW1, they were on the Western Front.
The National Anthem (God Save the Queen):
The National Anthem of the United Kingdom, (current: God Save the King):
British soldier:
1914: BRITAIN GOES TO WAR
British soldiers with their pets and recreation in their spare time:
THE ROYAL FLYING CORPS
In 1977-78, BBC Britain produced an excellent television series, "Wings," which portrayed the Royal Flying Corps.  It is now available on DVD and is also in public domain.
Sailor saved from sinking ship by a Canary
Britain in WW2

ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW WITH: Sydney Whitehead a British aircraftman with No 52 Wireless Interception Unit, RAF in Singapore, Malaya and Java, Dutch East Indies, 2/1945-3/1945; POW in Bandung Camp, Bandung and Boei Glodok Gaol Camp, Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies, 5/1942-9/1943, aboard SS Makassar Maru from Batavia, Java, Dutch East Indies to Singapore, Malaya, 26/9/1943-29/9/1943 and in Changi and Kranji Camps, Singapore, Malaya, 9/1943-8/1945.

 

(Courtesy of the IWM)

ORAL HISTORY INTERVIEW WITH: Ernest Warwick, POW:
British soldiers killed at Dunkirk during evacuation:
British troops return on D Day:
The British also had to be concerned with attacks on their coastline by German ships and subs.  Even Lightships came under attack, adding to the stress of those guarding the coast.
OPERATION MARKET-GARDEN
A few of the lucky Brits who made it back from the failed and flawed Operation Market Garden:
Several small reenactor groups have developed short films for the internet.  Here are two created concerning Operation Market-Garden:
"A BRIDGE TOO FAR" - excellent film gives an overview of Operation Market-Garden and uses a 'cast of thousands.'  Film Trailer:
Some Brits did not make it as seen in photo below of dead and wounded:
British and Germans during Operation Market-Garden:
Four Waffen SS troopers taken prisoners from the 9th SS Reconnaissance BN at Arnhem Bridge:
Canadian soldier at Arnhem:
Story of Major General Stanislaw Sosabowski, CBE, who was blamed for the failure of Operation Market-Garden:
Chaplains at Arnhem

The Chaplains at Arnhem

On 29 September 1944 the Church Times wrote of the sorrow and disappointment of the nation on hearing of the withdrawal of Airborne Forces from Arnhem. The article concluded with these words:-
"One BBC correspondent, describing the escape, remarked that the men slipped off into the darkness after a prayer by the Padre. The Church may be proud of her clergy who go into the hazards of such battles with their men."


Fifteen chaplains were present at Amhem. On Sunday 17 September 1944, eight [nine]took off by glider and four [six] parachuted in.


The Rev John Rowell, with the Border Regiment took off in a thick mist from Burford. As they came out of the clouds they were so out of position in relation to their towing aircraft that the pilot had to cast off and the glider landed in a field of stubble close to Oxford. The rest all arrived safely.The Rev John Morrison, a Presbyterian Minister with the King's Own Scottish Borderers, was most heartened to hear the skirl of Pipe Major Laidlaw's pipes as he left his glider.


Late that afternoon the three Parachute Battalions moved off on their six mile approach to the bridge at Amhem. The Glider Borne troops were to secure the dropping and landing zones for the second lift. Already the chaplains were occupied in burying the dead and in assisting with the wounded. The 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment got through and held the northern end of the bridge until the Thursday morning. The fighting here was bitter, with lightly armed Airborne troops holding off repeated tank and infantry attacks. The Regimental Aid Post was set up in a cellar underneath the battalion's headquarters. Here Fr Bernard Bemard Egan SJ MC who had been the battalion's chaplain since 1941 assisted the two doctors. At one time there were over two hundred wounded in that cellar. On the Tuesday evening German tanks shelled the headquarters and the building was filled with acrid, choking smoke. Fr Egan was hit and was evacuated into captivity the next day.


The German respect of the Red Cross, even in the confusion of battle was of a high standard. The Rev George Pare on the second day went to some injured in a small clearing. A covering party was left at the edge of the clearing, and Pare, after committing himself to God, went out alone and then summoned his medical orderlies and their jeeps. As they left the clearing there was a fusillade of shots from the Germans on the far edge of the wood.


The other two battalions were increasingly pinned down on the outskirts of Amhem. Whole companies were wiped out and the situation began to be precarious. The Rev GL Phillips with the 3rd Battalion moved into the outskirts of Amhem. They went to ground and Phillips found himself in a house with the doctor, and their brigade and divisional commanders on the floor above. German tanks clanked along the sweet outside. On the Tuesday the doctor decided to visit a nearby hospital where there were British wounded. The chaplain went with him and they slipped in through the back door. A little later Phillips found that the Germans had surrounded the place, and he was taken prisoner. Fr D McGowan though, who came with the Parachute Surgical Team working In that hospital, was allowed to remain there throughout the battle. The Rev A Buchanan with the South Staffordshires was also taken prisoner in the vicinity of the hospital.


The second lift on the Monday met heavy opposition on landing. The Rev RF Bowers, with the 10th Battalion, broke his leg on the drop. He did what little he could with assisting the wounded and burials and then on the Tuesday tried to get a jeep loaded with wounded to a hospital. He came under intense mortar fire and had to turn back. He rejoined the Aid Post as it was overrun by Germans. Bowers, remaining with the wounded, found himself at the wrong end of a German bayonet and had to point firmly at his Red Cross armband. The Rev Alastair Menzies with 156th Battalion The Parachute Regiment also had the misfortune to be taken prisoner almost immediately on landing. The Rev HJ lrwin dropped with the 11th Battalion The Parachute Regiment. He moved with them towards Amhem, and ferried some wounded to a hospital set up in a hotel by the Divisional Headquarters. Here Pare encouraged him to wear a dog collar so that his men could immediately recognise him. He made one out of paper. A short time later he was killed by a mortar bomb.


By the Wednesday it was obvious that there was no hope of reinforcing the 2nd Battalion at the bridge and a perimeter began to emerge, just touching Arnhem and going to the bank of the Neder Rijn, about two miles long and half a mile wide. For the next six days this area was held by the 1st Airborne Division against continuous bombardment and repeated attacks. The Chaplains worked with the wounded with the exception of the Rev R Talbot-Watins, a Methodist minister with the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment, who had been with them, like Egan, from the beginning. Initially he assisted the doctor but after he was taken prisoner Watkins took over his duties. However, by the Wednesday the 1st Battalion was reduced to three officers and less than two hundred men. This remnant looked to Watkins for military as well as spiritual leadership. They were not disappointed.


By the Thursday nine chaplains remained with their units. This number was reduced to eight when a Tiger tank shelled the temporary hospital where Fr Benson was working. His right arm was shattered when he went to the help of other wounded. The arm was amputated immediately. When he heard that he would never be able to celebrate Mass in the usual way he lost the will to live and died two days later. His place in the hospital was taken by Pare, whose work typified that of the other chaplains. He constantly went round encouraging the wounded, helping them and the doctors, comforting the dying, scrounging food and water, and every evening taking a brief service on each of the packed wards.


The Senior Chaplain, the Rev AWH Harlow, was either at the Divisional Headquarters or assisting in an Aid Post. He was an older man with grey hair, whose calm and sense of humour gave a peace to those around him. Throughout the battle the chaplains reminded the others of normality. The prayers offered by those men were as much a part of that battle as each round fired. Harlow himself went into voluntary captivity on the Saturday. A truce had been arranged to enable the wounded to be handed over to the Germans, and Harlow was asked to accompany a group of these.


In the southern part of the perimeter the Gunners had set up their Aid Post in the house of a Dutch solicitor. His wife, Kate ter Horst, and their children remained there throughout the battle, living in the cellar. Eventually this was the only place providing medical care in the southern part of the perimeter. The house became so packed with wounded that it was only possible to move by walking on stretcher handles. The dead were piled outside. Mrs ter Horst never complained. Instead she offered every help possible. From the Saturday night onwards she went round even room reading the 91st Psalm from the Chaplain's Bible.


The Chaplain the Rev S Thorne was a quiet, shy man who never left the vicinity of the house and who was the exact opposite to Watkins and his more military approach. Mrs ter Host was surprised to see him clearing out a lavatory, a task which no German officer would have done. But this man had another side to him. On the second Monday German tanks broke into the perimeter and shelled the Aid Post. Thorne and a Bombardier Bolden went out and confronted the tank, holding up a Red Cross flag between them. The tank withdrew.


The withdrawal across the river took place on the Monday night. The Rev WR Chignell was the chaplain who said prayers in the cellars of The Divisional Headquarters. Then, with his boots bound to deaden the noise like the others, he joined the silent procession down to the river. It was a wild dirty night, ideal for a withdrawal, and Chignell was glad when he got to the bank of the river and found an assault boat, as he was a non-swimmer. The Rev J Rowell, who had reached Arnhem on the second day after his glider's emergency landing, took a party of wounded across the river. The Rev R Talbot-Watkins asked Bombardier Bolden to gather those wounded who could make it, and he took thirty severely wounded men across. Then he went back to look for more. He could find none on the other side but dawn broke, so he had to lie up during the day in the river bank, and swim across the river the next night.


Three chaplains remained with the wounded. The Rev S Thorne felt it his duty to stay, and once the withdrawal started he collapsed into a deep sleep. The Rev G Pare also fell asleep for the first time in days. He did not know about the withdrawal and was surprised at the silence the next morning. It was then his job to tell the wounded in the temporary hospital what had happened. The Rev J Morrison decided to stay with his wounded.


After the battle many of the wounded were moved to a converted barracks at Apeldoorn. Harlow, Pare, Buchanan and Thorne still had a vital ministry to perform. But eventually the numbers decreased and the chaplains themselves began to be moved into Germany. Thorne and Pare went together. Thorne decided that he should stay with the wounded but Pare jumped the train, and after several narrow escapes was sheltered by the Dutch underground. Fr McGowan was eventually moved to Apeldoorn from the hospital at Arnhem. Before moving  he literally buried two loads of arms which the Dutch underground later retrieved and then he escaped from Apeldoorn with a Dr M Herford. They took four days to reach the Rhine, but at the bank they got split up, and McGowan was stumbled upon by a German sentry, who almost bayoneted him, and was recaptured. He had come so close, it must have been a bitter disappointment.


On the 25th anniversary in 1969 twelve of those fifteen chaplains still survived. Five were parish priests, one a bishop, one a headmaster, others a school chaplain, a Circuit superintendent, a Benedictine monk, an Army Chaplain and one had resigned his orders to become a probation officer.

CH McGowan:
CH Egan:

Dutch woman who tended Scots soldier's grave dies

29 July 2020


For 75 years, Willemien Rieken tended to the grave of a soldier killed during WW2


A Dutch woman who had tended the World War Two grave of a Scottish soldier since she was a nine-year-old girl has died.

After the Battle of Arnhem in Holland in 1944, children who had lived near the scene of the fighting were given a war grave to maintain.


Willemien Rieken, 85, looked after the resting place of Trooper William Edmund from Musselburgh.


Her death has been announced by the Arnhem 1944 Fellowship.

She was one of the last surviving Flower Children, young people who laid flowers at hundreds of graves of Allied casualties in a ceremony after the end of the war.

Newspaper articles on
Operation Market-Garden
GERMANY PROPAGANDA CONCERNING OPERATION MARKET-GARDEN:
Instructors can find other sources of British military history that can provide context to their presentations, such as the "Crown & Country" series, now available in public domain.  The episode featured below, concerns "Aldershot," home to the British army.

“NINE MEN” is a British film that illustrates why training cohesiveness is important.  It is something the Chaplain needs to pay attention to when assigned a unit.  Other themes include attention to detail, obeying superior orders, taking care of one’s mates, and selfless service. Summary of plot from WIkipedia follows.

 

In a barrack room at a Battle Training Ground in England, a platoon of conscripts are complaining about blisters and are impatient to get into action with the enemy. Sergeant Jack Watson tells them that they need a little bit extra to be successful in combat, which he illustrates with a story from his experience in the Western Desert Campaign.

 

His story is then shown in flashback. Lieutenant Crawford, Sergeant Watson and the seven men under their command are travelling through the Libyan desert in an Allied convoy, when their lorry becomes stuck in the sand and the convoy moves on without them. As they work to free themselves, they are attacked by German aircraft, injuring Crawford and Johnson and setting fire to the lorry. Setting off on foot and carrying the wounded, they struggle through a sandstorm until they come across a derelict hut. Lieutenant Crawford orders them to hold out there until help arrives but then dies. With only a limited supply of ammunition and their own wits to help them survive, they are then besieged by Italian troops. By various ruses and skillful use of their weapons, they are able to hold out until the Italians make a final assault; as the British soldiers use the last of their bullets and finally resort to a bayonet charge, reinforcements arrive supported by tanks, whereupon the Italians surrender.

 

Back at the barrack room, Watson concludes his story as the bugle sounds for dinner.

MUSIC THAT INSPIRED THE BRITISH:
British soldiers in North Africa, Europe, and the Far East:
British soldiers in Burma:
British soldiers stop for a cigarette and a 'cuppa' (cup of tea):
The Brits also had their collection of trophies and souvenirs:
"Mad Jack" in photo below, (circled) leads troops ashore with sword:
"Mad Jack" leading troops playing bagpipes:
British and German soldier photos which could be used in a block of instruction with Powerpoint:
Toward the close of the war, British and American soldiers learned that the German army was utilizing under-age children as soldiers:
NOTICE THE BOYS WEARING GERMAN UNIFORMS WHO WERE CAPTURED, IN THE FOLLOWING FILM:
Hitler had plans to use the German youth organizations as a way to indoctrinate them into the Nazi party and German army.  This was a disgrace.
There were German young people who opposed Hitler and the Nazi party. Some were executed:
MESSENGER DOGS AT WAR
British soldiers who were captured at Singapore, Hong Kong, or elsewhere in the Far East, endured the same torture and abuse from their Japanese captors (as well as their Russian captors) as did the Australians.

The Australian troops (in the next photo below) of the 8th Division 2nd AIF with their equipment after disembarking at Singapore to strengthen the defence of Malaya against the Japanese, had no idea what they would face. The soldier third from the left is probaly VX21370 Corporal (Cpl) Laurits Theodor Larsen, 2/9 Field Ambulance. Cpl Larsen died of injuries in Ceylon on 12 April 1942, aged 36.

As previously discussed on the previous webpage, the Japanese prison camp guards had received orders to execute by any means all the still-alive POWs before they could be liberated at the end of the war.  This order has been verified and it applied to all Jap prison camps.
British civilians in Singapore during the Japanese invasion of that city, were treated only slightly better than the soldiers who were captured.  In the files below, is the diary of a civilian internee in Singapore, 1942-1945.

It is a detailed diary covering the fall of Singapore, Duncan-Wallace's imprisonment, and his liberation aboard a hospital ship bound for Madras. The circumstances surrounding the diary's composition are explained in a preface.


Alexander Munro Duncan-Wallace was sub-manager of an HSBC bank in Singapore. He was born in Scotland, met a lady from Troy, New York, and they were married in China before the war.  The diary was put into public domain by Cambridge University, England.

An Australian
Padre (Chaplain) Bashford
witnessed the execution of fellow POWs by the brutal Japanese:
Extracts from the official records; Padre Bashford's statement about what he witnessed:
What Padre Bashford had witnessed was the executions of some of what became known as the "Tavoy Eight."

True Anzac spirit ignored

(Sydney Morning Herald, 2003)

 

Alex Bell, 29, of Ballarat, in country Victoria, was executed at Thanbyuzayat, Burma, on March 16, 1943. Bell was a sapper in the Australian Army. He'd been working in Malaya as a metallurgist when Japanese forces landed, following Tokyo's sneak attack on Pearl Harbour that brought World War II to the Pacific on December 7, 1941. Bell enlisted on January 27, as Japanese troops were sweeping down the Malay Peninsula to Singapore, pushing 19,000 raw troops of the Australian 8th Division (among others) ahead of them. Bell was a soldier only three weeks before he became a prisoner of war for 13 months.

 

And the day he died at the end of that 13 months Alex Bell would shake hands with the Japanese officer of the firing squad about to kill him. He thanked the officer for unexplained "courtesies and privileges". Although wounded, Bell declined to kneel or sit, his hands bound. He would die on his feet, Bell said, and he asked that his commanding officer, Brigadier Arthur Leslie Varley, an Inverell stock and station agent with "keen blue eyes and a sparse frame", be told of his decision. Then they shot him.

 

Varley, a Military Cross winner, at 24, from the trench warfare in France and Belgium of 1914-18, was afterwards taken to Bell's execution ground. There the Japanese firing squad "presented arms" to honour the dead Australian's courage. Varley would write in his diary: "The whole of Bell's behaviour has been most gallant." And for what?

 

Bell's "crime" had been a simple one.

 

He attempted escape from one of the Japanese POW work camps established to build the 420 kilometres of the infamous Thai-Burma railway from May 1942 to November 1943. There were three in the escape attempt, all Australians. They'd become prisoners, with 17,000 other Australian troops, all ranks, including 1300 wounded, after the British surrender of Singapore, in February, 1942. That capitulation, after a Japanese campaign by 80,000 troops advanced 1100 kilometres in just 70 days, delivered 130,000 military forces - British, Australian, Indian and "local volunteers" - into Japanese prisoner-of-war camps, many never to leave them alive.

 

A quarter of a million Australians were fed into the four years of war in the Pacific. A total of 21,600 became prisoners. More than one in three, or 7800 (36 per cent), died in captivity. A total 13,870 survived to return home. Only "about eight" successfully escaped in the four years. Twenty-seven others variously tried, were caught and executed. The official war history records that 193 others were "known" to have been executed for "other reasons" and a further 375 "believed" executed for "other reasons".

 

Bell was one of the 27 who died trying to do "his duty". That is, escaping, as all Australian servicemen were ordered to attempt if they became prisoners. The two men with him were, like Bell, citizen soldiers. Major Alan Mull, 46, a sales traveller, of Strathfield, NSW, had enlisted in Sydney on May 3, 1940. Gunner Keith Dickinson, 39, a West Australian living in Bendigo, Victoria, enlisted a year later - on June 4, 1941. In February 1943 they escaped from the Thetkaw railway work camp, 15 kilometres south of Thanbyuzayat. Their goal: to walk to India. They got 80 kilometres before Dickinson, exhausted, could go no further. The others went on, as agreed back in camp. The Japanese recaptured Dickinson. He was taken back to Thanbyuzayat and shot, on March 2, without trial. On March 10, a further 160 kilometres north, Mull and Bell clashed with a pro-Japanese "native patrol". Mull was killed and Bell "badly wounded". Like Dickinson, Bell was returned to Thanbyuzayat. He was shot six days later in the circumstances recorded in Varley's diary.

 

We know this because it is there in the official war histories. There is even more in the files of the Australian War Memorial. The service records of the dead leave you catching your breath. So can the prose and detail of the war histories. There are 22 official volumes covering World War II. Volume four of the seven-volume series on the army, entitled The Japanese Thrust, was written by Lionel Wigmore, a Sydney journalist and Canberra public servant who was in Singapore until just before its fall. He died, aged 90, in 1989.

 

But Wigmore did not chronicle the terrible ordeal of Australia's prisoners of war. That was done by A.J. (Bill) Sweeting, the last survivor of the war history unit set up in 1944 by the Curtin Labor government under Gavin Long, a former journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald. Sweeting, now 84, was with the unit its entire life, until the last volume was published in 1977. His harrowing, meticulously recorded 200-page chapter on Australian POWs, including appendices, is entitled, simply, Prisoners of the Japanese. It will stay in the memory and this country's heritage long after he, and the rest of us, are forgotten.

 

Varley, the dead Bell's CO, saw more than two of his men executed. He was there at the deaths of the Australians known as the Tavoy Eight, one of the more poignant of group "murders" (as the deaths are recorded on some of their individual army records).

 

All eight were Victorians. All eight were members of the same anti-tank unit, the 2nd/4th Regiment. Two even came from the same country town, Ouyen. One was a grocer's assistant. Another was a fireman. There was a truck driver and a railway worker and a farmer from a place called Fish Creek. Four were aged between 21 and 27. One man, Lance-Bombardier Aubrey Emmett, came from a family in Ouyen which already had lost two uncles, brothers (one a father of six children), in the trenches of World War I. Now the same grim outcome was replaying.

 

Aubrey Emmett enlisted just three months after he turned 21 on May 16, 1940. His brother Frank, two years older, had enlisted 15 days earlier. Aubrey was barely 23 when a Japanese firing squad executed him and his seven mates, all in a line, at Tavoy, on Burma's north coast, on June 6, 1942, just a month after they'd been shipped there as POWs from Singapore. Brother Frank was in the same anti-tank unit. And he, too, was a POW in Burma, and later in Japan. But, unlike his young brother, Frank never attempted escape. He went on to survive 3 years of depravity in captivity to return home to Ouyen in September 1945.

 

Of the eight diggers shot that June day in Tavoy, Varley, a witness to their execution, noted in his diary: "The spirit of these eight Australians was wonderful. They all spoke cheerio and good luck to one another and never showed any sign of fear. A truly courageous end."

 

There is a terrible irony about Varley's captivity. He survived Changi and 18 months in the death camps along the Thai-Burma railway, having returned home an honoured hero, at 25, from World War I 20 years earlier. Then, on September 6, 1944, a bit less than a year before Japan's surrender ended World War II, Varley was senior officer in a group of 1200 POWs, including 650 Australians, shipped out of Singapore for the Japanese port of Nagasaki. They never got there. Six days later, off the island of Hainan, in the South China Sea, their ship, the Rokyo Maru, was torpedoed by an American submarine.

 

More than 150 Australians survived. Brigadier Arthur Leslie Varley, with the "keen blue eyes and sparse frame", did not. He was last seen drifting, with a number of his men, in a lifeboat. His death is recorded as "drowned at sea". He was 50 years old.

 

I have written here of only 10 of the 27 "known" cases, officially recorded, of Australian servicemen executed during World War II for abortive escape attempts from the Japanese. The others involve similar extraordinary stories, including two diggers (a corporal and a private) who rowed 320 kilometres, only to be caught, starving, weeks later and returned to Singapore where they were shot.

 

It is to military authorities' everlasting shame that Australia has always refused to acknowledge the valour of such incidents. None of the 27 men received posthumous recognition, unlike those in some similar failed escape attempts from German captivity in Europe which ended in executions of both British and Australian servicemen, mostly air crew.

 

It is as if some sort of pariah status attaches to soldiers who surrender rather than "fighting to the death". Military authority seems embarrassed by them. So much so that official British war history ignores altogether their POWs, dead or surviving. In this country there seems a fear they might tarnish the bronzed Anzac image, irrespective of the years of starvation and bestiality in POW camps and the courage of those who survive them and those who give their lives in choosing to try to escape.

 

John Bradford, an Adelaide amateur naval historian, has been researching military archives, here and in London, since 1994 to build a case to get the Howard Government to review the issue. But a series of letters in the last three years to two junior defence ministers, the National Party's Bruce Webster and the Liberals' Danna Vale, has failed to get even a twitch from the dead hand (no intended pun) of political and military bureaucracy. The most recent letter advised Bradford the "matter is closed".

 

No, it isn't. Bradford got the attention of Labor's Graham Edwards, the legless Vietnam veteran MP from Perth. In a speech to Parliament before it adjourned for the autumn recess, Edwards acknowledged Bradford's tenacity and the rightness of his campaign. He added: "I am very keen to pursue this [matter] in an attempt to find some justice and to bring some closure to these issues." Twenty-seven dead soldiers deserve no less.

This situation was rectified in 2012:


If taken Prisoner, it is a soldier's duty to try to escape, and a group of 8 friends who were members of the 4th Anti Tank Regiment, made their plans for excape.

 

It was understood, that if any soldier did escape and was recaptured by the Japanese, there would be dire consequences as a result.

 

A group of 8 friends, had made plans to escape if the occasion arose, and this occasion arose on 3rd June 1942 at a Prisoner of War Camp at Tavoy.

 

Unfortunately,they were betrayed by natives and recaptured by the Japanese 0n the 4th, when they were confined to a Burmese native gaol until it was decided what their punishment was to be.

 

On 6th June, they were all bound with hands behind their backs and taken by truck to a cemetery just the other side of Tavoy airport, where they were blindfolded, and led individually to where 8 graves had been dug. Each grave had a stake place in front of it.

 

The men were made to sit upright against the stakes to which they were then bound and shot.

 

These men did not have any sort of trial and were refused last rites and final messages to their loved ones before being executed.

 

This group of men became known in Australian Military Circles as "The Tavoy Eight" and they, along with at least 12 others, executed as a result of being recaptured after trying to excape were in 2012 posthumously awarded "The Commendation for Galllantry for Service during World War 2."

 

These awards were presented to members of the families, who are in possession of the individual soldiers War Medals at Parliament House, Canberra in September 2012.

 

Background information about the Japanese torture of prisoners:
A Father and Son from Australia go to war together:
The British Padre (Chaplain)
Priest conducts service at Normandy, 1944:
Australian Padre conducts service in a cave for soldiers who have taken cover from the German attack during the Battle of Crete:
Research studies about the British Army Chaplains in WW1:
British Chaplains on the Western Front:
A lecture presented by the
Western Front Association

Based on the testimonies of individuals, most of them unpublished, in this presentation - which was given to a live, online audience - Emily Mayhew describes how, without medical training or experience, chaplains took on new and unexpected roles in hospitals, aid posts, and sometimes on the battlefield, as they tried to find ways of offering service in a place of suffering.

Maj Gordon Corrigan tells about the Welsh Chaplain controversy between Lloyd George and General Kitchner during WW1:
PADRE PERCY LANE HOOSON
SERVED WITH THE BRITISH ARMY, WW1.  HE RESCUED A CRUCIFIX FROM A BOMBED CHURCH IN FRANCE.  HERE IS THE STORY:
British soldiers help a French priest remove statues from the eglise Saint-Vaast in Amentiers, 1918:
British, American, and German 
Catholic priests 
in WW1, WW2, Vietnam, and post-Vietnam:
CH Walter Ernest Dexter:
Italian troops celebrate Mass in Tyrolean Alps, WW1:
German priest, WW1:
German Chaplain, WW1:
Mass conducted in French church for wounded soldiers, WW1:
In times of war, this is what Catholic soldiers did when they could not get to Mass:
Australian soldiers in Vietnam and WW2:
Media
WW2
World War I:  
The British Soldier and
Shell Shock
Here are some films taken during/after WW1 that depict the soldiers with and treatment of Shell Shock:
In as early as 1968, television was starting to introduce the problem of Shell Shock to viewers.  The following episode, "The Soldier from Margham," produced by Yorkshire Television, UK, introduced the conditon to younger viewers. Originally in two parts, we have broken it down into 4 brief segments.
Next 2 photos, courtesy of BBC:
Nurse works with soldier showing symptoms of Shell Shock: shaking hands:
Nightmares were common among returning soldiers from the Pacific in WW2:
Charles Samuel Myers: A pioneer in the causes/treatment of Shell Shock:
Australian soldier who died of 
Shell Shock
SHELL SHOCK: AN OVERVIEW
SHELL SHOCKED - Dr. Edgar Jones
Shell Shock - 
4 part Documentary Series:
"SHELLS" is a short film about men with Shell Shock and who were thought to be cowards; who were not really understood.  Many of these men were executed before a firing squad.
SHOT AT DAWN
"After Dawn" - a film developed by the Central Youth Theater of Britain:
Many soldiers were given no representation at the Courts Martial which resulted in their deaths by firing squad. Here is a short film about one who was not a coward:
PRIVATE THOMAS HIGHGATE - FIRST BRITISH SOLDIER SHOT AT DAWN

Private Thomas Highgate was the first to suffer such military justice. Unable to bear the carnage of 7,800 British troops at the Battle of Mons, he had fled and hidden in a barn. He was undefended at his trial because all his comrades from the Royal West Kents had been killed, injured or captured. Just 35 days into the war, Private Highgate was executed at the age of 17.


Many similar stories followed, among them that of 16-year-old Herbert Burden, who had lied that he was two years older so he could join the Northumberland Fusiliers. Ten months later, he was court-martialed for fleeing after seeing his friends massacred at the battlefield of Bellwarde Ridge. He faced the firing squad still officially too young to be in his regiment.


Herbert Burden faced the firing squad still officially too young to be in his regiment.

THE TERRIFIED TEENAGER - SHOT AT DAWN:

Private Albert Troughton

1st Battalion

Royal Welch Fusiliers

executed for desertion

22/04/1915

(WHO WAS ONLY FOLLOWING THE ORDERS OF HIS COMMANDING OFFICER WHO WAS, HIMSELF, FLEEING THE BATTLE IN PROGRESS)

About 2am on 26 November 1916, as the Durham Bantams were holding part of the British front line near Arras, Lieutenant James Munday and Lance Sergeant Joseph Stones were attacked by German raiders on the edge of King’s Crater, and Lieutenant Munday was mortally wounded.


Sergeant Stones then left his wounded officer and was later stopped behind the front line trenches by military police, who asked him where he was going and what had happened to his rifle. Meanwhile, in the dark and confusion, though the German raiders had not pressed home their attack, other Bantams led by Lance Corporals Peter Goggins and John McDonald abandoned their front line trench. These men were also stopped behind the front line by military police, who found that neither Lance Corporal was carrying a rifle.


On Christmas Eve 1916, Joseph Stones was tried by court martial for “shamefully casting away his arms in the presence of the enemy”, whilst Peter Goggins and John McDonald were tried for leaving their posts without orders from a superior officer. All three were sentenced to death.


An eye-witness account of the executions of Peter Goggins, John McDonald and Joseph Stones, 18 January 1917, Rollencourt, France:

“Three stakes a few yards apart and a ring of sentries around the woodland to keep the curious away. A motor ambulance arrives conveying the doomed men. Manacled and blindfolded they are helped out and tied up to the stakes. Over each man’s heart is placed an envelope. At the sign of command the firing parties, twelve to each, align their rifles on the envelopes. The officer in charge holds his stick aloft and as it falls thirty-six bullets usher the souls of three Kitchener’s men to the great unknown. As a military prisoner I helped clear up the traces of that triple murder. I took the posts down… I helped carry those bodies towards their last resting place; I collected all the blood-soaked straw and burnt it. Acting on police instructions I took all their belongings from the dead men’s tunics (discarded before being shot). A few letters, a pipe, some fags (cigarettes), a photo. I could tell you of the silence of the military police after reading one letter from a little girl to ‘Dear Daddy’, of the chaplain’s confession that braver men he had never met than those three men he prayed with just before the fatal dawn. I could take you to the graves of the murdered.”


ANOTHER ACCOUNT ADDS THIS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

In the early hours of November 26th 1916, Lance Corporal Goggins and a few of his comrades were guarding their positions on the western front when one of their sergeants, fleeing a German ambush, tore in from no-man's-land to warn them that they were about to be overrun. Peter and Corporal John McDonald abandoned their positions and headed back; it was only later that they learnt it had been a false alarm.


Even though the Sergeant confirmed that he had given the order to retreat the sentence was supported by Brigadier General H O'Donnell who wrote that he had doubts about the quality of evidence, but felt that the executions were necessary to set an example to other men in the Battalion.

Stones had earned four bravery testimonials, but was executed for "shamefully casting away his rifle". In fact, he had thrown his rifle across a trench into the path of advancing Germans as he escaped an ambush and was off to warn his fellow troops on the orders of his wounded Lieutenant. His widow was initially told that he had been killed in action, only to be informed later: "We don't give pensions to cowards' widows." Eighty years after his death, Wear Valley council, which includes Will's home town of Crook in County Durham, agreed to add his name to its war memorial.


In the early hours of November 26th 1916, Will Stones, and a few of his comrades were guarding their positions on the western front when one of their sergeants, fleeing a German ambush, tore in from no-man's-land to warn them that they were about to be overrun. He and Lance Corporal Peter Goggins and Corporal John McDonald abandoned their positions and headed back; it was only later that they learnt it had been a false alarm. They were all charged with deserting their posts. Tried by court martial on Christmas Eve, he and Corporal John McDonald and Lance Corporal Peter Goggins faced a firing squad at dawn on 18th January 1917. Private Albert Rochester witnessed their execution: "A motor ambulance arrives carrying the doomed men. Manacled and blindfolded, they are helped out and tied up to the stakes. Over each man's heart is placed an envelope. At the sign of command, the firing parties, 12 for each, align their rifles on the envelopes. The officer in charge holds his stick aloft and, as it falls, 36 bullets usher the souls of three of Kitchener's men to the great unknown."


A military chaplain who prayed with them just before they died later noted: "Braver men I have never met."

FROM THE OFFICIAL CANADIAN RECORD FOR PVT GOGGINS, one of the three who were executed at the same time:
Filmed interview with the Stones family, and includes information about a soldier, Albert Rochester, who witnessed the execution of the three men:

FOR THE SAKE OF EXAMPLE


He woke to the sound of a far distant gun
Corporal said softly ‘you ready old son?’
He gave him a drink, it didn’t taste right
They stood quietly waiting, until it was light.

The Padre came in, looking sombre and sad
He muttered low words that were lost on the lad
The others stood stiffly, then moved to the door
He still wasn’t certain what all this was for.

They took him outside as the fingers of dawn
Spread over the courtyard so sad and forlorn
He saw them, his comrades, all standing in line
Not one if them looked at him, or gave him a sign.

They pinned a white rag on, they gave him a chair
His comrades stood ready, cruel shots filled the air
So back to the trenches, more terror to sample
He’s dead, they knew why, for the sake of example.

They had all watched him die, in a foreign land
A warning to others from the High Command.



Author Unknown

 

Harold Pringle: Only Canadian soldier Shot at Dawn....in Secret, during WW2:
Harold and his father, (Pte William O. Pringle, who had servfed in WW1), both tried to enlist together for WW2. Harold, underage, was accepted, but his father's eyesight was not good, and was not accepted. His father's tombstone:
Two books have been written about the Pringle case; one an expose of what really happened, and one, a novel based on the story:
Scott Taylor, a former soldier, gives his assessment of Clark's book, "A Keen Soldier":
In the 1950s, a movie, "The Firing Squad" was made depicting the execution of a soldier based on the book "Execution" by Colin McDougall (referenced above).  It was the story of a soldier about to be executed on less than convincing evidence.  The movie was, unfortunately, about an Austrealian soldier with British actors portrayed as the Diggers.  The actors didn't have Australian accents and the film was not accurate, except for the basic plot. It's now in public domain.

We need to ask: What really happened? What was Pringle's role in the murder he was accused of?  Here are the official records and a letter that tells what really happened. We must conclude the Canadian soldier was 'framed':

Part of the closing statement is revealing:
The British soldier who actually committed the murder and his accomplices were not executed.  The Canadian soldier, Pringle, was:

On a brilliant sun-baked July morning in 1945, not far from the Italian village of Avellino, Pte. Harold Joseph Pringle was roused from a makeshift cell in a war-ravaged castle, taken to a deserted firing range once used by the Mussolini youth wing for target practice, bound to a chair and shot. But not before declaring ....do what you’ve got to do. Let’s get it over with.

A website, "Confessions of the Hangman" tells stories of Canadians who were hanged for various crimes.  Here he tells Pringle's story:
Another website, "Death Row," has a short video about the Pringle case:
MANY SOLDIERS WERE UNDERAGE
MOST DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THEY WERE GETTING THEMSELVES IN FOR.  THEY WERE YOUNG AND VUNERABLE.  THEY WERE EXPENDABLE IN A BRUTAL WAR FOUGHT ON AN INDUSTRIAL SCALE.

THOSE WHO RECRUITED THEM TURNED 'A BLIND EYE' TO THEIR AGE.
THE YOUNGEST BRITISH BOY 
IN UNIFORM: 
SYDNEY LEWIS: AGE 12
IN SOME CASES, THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT HAD HAPPENED TO A SOLDIER WAS KEPT FROM THE FAMILY, AS IN THE CASE OF LANCE CORPORAL JOHN McDONALD, one of three executed together:
WIDOWS WERE DENIED PENSIONS OF DECEASED SOLDIERS WITH NO EXPLANATION AFTER MUCH LETTER WRITING AND TRYING TO CUT THROUGH BUREAUCRATIC RED TAPE:
Frank Ridgwell: one 'shot at dawn' soldier who got lucky:
"GOODNIGHT MY BOYS" A FILM PRODUCED BY THE CENTRAL YOUTH THEATER OF BRITAIN CONCERNING PARDONS FOR THE SOLDIERS SHOT AT DAWN:
THE MAN RESPONSIBLE FOR MANY WHO WERE SHOT AT DAWN
DURING WW1
SOLDIERS WHO WERE KILLED IN BATTLE WAS PART OF WHAT GENERAL HAIG CALLED "NORMAL WASTAGE"
General Haig's flawed military leadership on the Western Front of World War I, as revealed in an interview with Historian Paul Ham:

General Haig's war crime on the Somme, 1916

-Penelope Middelboe, History Cafe

 

The French learned how to attack German trenches

The Germans began the war by retreating to the most strategic places, generally higher ground, and then consolidated their superior position with an elaborate system of trenches and observation posts.

 

The commander of the French 6th Army at the south of the Somme was a professor, and artillery man, Ferdinand Foch. He wanted 1069 heavy guns for the attack but could only get 528 heavy artillery guns. It was half the number he had hoped for.

 

So what did the French professor do? Did he, like the British, put his trust in the moral superiority of their men? No. Did he, like Douglas Haig, brush aside anyone who suggested being a little more cautious, saying they were a fool and a coward? No.

 

What Foch and another General Fayolle did was carefully to trim their plans according to the number of big guns they had. Having observed the French successes and British failures since 1914, Foch and Fayolle only planned to attack as much of the German line as they had the guns to knock out.

 

 By the end of 1915 the French Army commanders had adopted what has come to be known as the ‘scientific method.’ Men could not break the trench system. They were too precious to be sent out against machine-guns and shells. The key was the artillery.

 

French artillery was not only in a much better mechanical condition than the British, but it was by then being trained to fire with mathematical accuracy, calculating for weather conditions, for the effect of sloping ground and a series of other factors.

 

Understanding the German artillery spotter network, they toppled church towers, factory chimneys and anywhere else the Germans could use as viewing posts; and targeted the heavy German artillery, often on the reverse of hillsides, knowing that these unseen guns would play havoc with any advance.

 

The stress was on precise observation and mathematics, using as few shells as possible. Enemy trenches did not have to be obliterated – simply put out of action long enough for an attack.


You can listen to the discussion here:

ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF GENERAL HAIG'S FLAWED LEADERSHIP AND STRATEGY OF "NORMAL WASTAGE" 
IN THE BATTLE OF PASSCHENDAELE.
(Listen carefully to the statistics of those killed enumerated in this interview and remember that this was kept from the general public back on the "home front.")
Examples of trenches - recreated and explained:
Memoirs written by soldiers who served in the frontline trenches reveal the daily stress they endured.  Here are some to consider:
Men from Wales in WW1

Originally a folk ballad about the suffering of the Welsh soldiers during the War of the Roses, Men of Harlech has since been adapted as a sort of spiritual national anthem of Wales, and by extension, an ode to the perseverance of all Celtic people world-wide.  Here it is presented in remembrance of those men from Wales who served in WW1:


Verse 1
Men of Harlech, march to glory,
Victory is hov'ring o'er ye,
Bright-eyed freedom stands before ye,
Hear ye not her call?
At your sloth she seems to wonder;
Rend the sluggish bonds asunder,
Let the war-cry's deaf'ning thunder
Every foe appall.
Echoes loudly waking,
Hill and valley shaking;
'Till the sound spreads wide around,
The Saxon's courage breaking;
Your foes on every side assailing,
Forward press with heart unfailing,
'Till invaders learn with quailing,
Cambria ne'er can yield!

Verse 2
Thou, who noble Cambria wrongest,
Know that freedom's cause is strongest,
Freedom's courage lasts the longest,
Ending but with death!
Freedom countless hosts can scatter,
Freedom stoutest mail can shatter,
Freedom thickest walls can batter,
Fate is in her breath.
See, they now are flying!
Dead are heap'd with dying!
Over might hath triumph'd right,
Our land to foes denying;
Upon their soil we never sought them,
Love of conquest hither brought them,
But this lesson we have taught them,
"Cambria ne'er can yield!"

Royal Welsh Fusiliers leave for the front line, 1914:
Soldiers from Ireland in 
World War 1 & 2
Irish soldier deaths in WW1:
Some Irish soldiers who served in WW1, tell what they saw:
SOLDIERS FROM IRELAND -
SHOT AT DAWN

James Crozier from Belfast was a sixteen year old shipyard apprentice when he enlisted in the Royal Irish Rifles in September 1914. As he was under age, his mother, Elizabeth, came to the recruiting office to persuade him not to join up. At this point Lieutenant Colonel Percy Crozier (no relation) is said to have assured the mother that he would see that no harm came to him.

 

Rifleman James Crozier spent the winter of 1915 - 1916 in the trenches of the Somme. In February of that miserable cold, wet winter James Crozier went missing from his sentry post and walked a considerable distance to an Army Medical Post. At his court martial he said that he had not known what he was doing, being in a daze and suffering from pains throughout his body. However, the doctor who examined him pronounced him fit for active service and he was returned to his unit to face the consequences of his desertion.

 

In evidence, Lieutenant Colonel Percy Crozier stated that this was not a case of a confused and disorientated young man who left his post to check into a field hospital. Rather, it was the case of a deserter who, cold, wet and despondent, had sneaked off from the line under cover of darkness, throwing away his rifle, ammunition and equipment. The young rifleman was found guilty of desertion and sentenced to death.

 

Lieutenant Colonel Crozier, conscious that feelings against the execution were running high in the battalion, took the following precautions in sending for the junior officer in charge of the firing party : “The men will be cold, nervous and excited, they may miss their mark. You are to have your revolver ready loaded and cocked; if the medical officer tells you life is not extinct you are to walk up to the victim, place the muzzle of the revolver to his heart and press the trigger. Do you understand ? ‘Yes, sir’ comes the quick reply. Right, I add, dine with me at my mess tonight’. I want to keep this young fellow engaged under my own supervision until late at night, so as to minimise the chance of him flying to the bottle for support. As for Crozier, I arrange that enough spirituous liquor is left beside him to sink a ship.” Just before dawn on the morning of 27 February 1916 the battalion was paraded near the walled garden where the execution was to take place, close enough to hear but not see what happened.


“The victim is carried to the stake. He is far too drunk to walk. He is out of view save from myself, as I stand on a mound near the wall. As he is produced I see he is practically lifeless and quite unconscious. He has already been bound with ropes. There are hooks on the post; we always do things thoroughly in the Rifles. He is hooked on like dead meat in a butcher's shop. His eyes are bandaged - not that it really matters, for he is already blind. The men of the firing party pick up their rifles, one of which is unloaded, on a given sign. On another sign they come to the “present” and, on the lowering of a handkerchief they fire - a volley rings out - a nervous volley it is true, yet a volley. There is a pause, I wait. I see the medical officer examining the victim. He makes a sign, the subaltern strides forward, a single shot rings out. Life is now extinct.”

 

Lieutenant Colonel Percy Crozier attempted to have James Crozier’s name added to a list of field casualties.  This did not happen and, as a result, Elizabeth Crozier was denied the normal allowances payable on the death of next-of-kin. In later years, Brigadier-General Crozier wrote about the many unofficial executions of fellow soldiers. He recalled how he ordered his troops to machine-gun allied Portuguese soldiers who were fleeing the Germans and described shooting a young British officer who had fled. In trying to justify his actions Crozier stated “Oh, I know you will ask why I killed that British subaltern. The answer is more obvious than easy. My duty was to hold the line at all cost”.

Shot at Dawn: More information about James Crozier:

14218 Private James Crozier, 9th Bn. Royal Irish Rifles, executed for desertion 27th February 1916. Plot I. A. 5. Son of Mrs. Elizabeth Crozier, of 80, Battenberg Street, Belfast.

A shipyard apprentice, he enlisted in Sept 1914 — possibly understating his age — & was sent to France in Oct 1915, when his ‘Army age’ was 19.
On 31 Jan 1916, his battalion went into the line at 1900.  At 2045, 
Crozier disappeared after being warned for sentry duty.  He was next seen on 4 Feb, about 25 miles to the rear,  being found  without cap-badge, equipment or pay-book — & was arrested after admitting that he was a deserter.


At trial, Crozier said that he had felt ill on the day, & did not recall being warned for duty.  In cross-examination, he admitted that he had felt ill before going into the lines; that he had not reported sick; & that he had left the trenches when bombardment was taking place.
After conviction, his conduct sheet revealed 2 charges of absence while in France, the latest being recorded on 21 Jan.


His CO — who said later in his memoirs that he had encouraged Crozier’s enlistment, promising his mother that he would look after him — said that Crozier was valueless as a soldier, having been a shirker for the previous 3 months.  The Brigade commander recommended execution, but at Divisional level a medical examination was decided on.  The finding on 18 Feb was that Crozier was, & had been sound in mind & body.


The CO related that he had attended at the time appointed for execution, having beforehand made Crozier drunk to ease his misery.  ‘The whole battalion heard it on parade, a wall screening the victim from the men’s view’.  The Assistant Provost Marshal & the Military Police were — anomalously — kept away from the scene, apparently because it was feared that the battalion would mutiny & might refuse to shoot;  & in the event the squad fired wide.
(Corns, pp, 304-307)

Song to James Crozier shot at dawn 1916 written by Sean Holland landlord of The Lads of the Village in Stone Kent. Sung by Gerry Kelly Proceeds from the sale of the CD to The Royal British Legion Original tour which inspired the album organised by barbedwiretours.co.uk Video & all images by pageimages.co.uk

Royal Irish Fusilliers:
Ireland contributed soldiers to the Allied cause in fighting the German axis, during WW2:
American soldiers were involved in riots in Britain and Ireland:
New book on Irish soldiers tortured by the Japanese is now out and has been placed in the public domain:
Dr. Frank Murray, the Belfast Doctor:
New Zealand in WW1 & 2
WHY NEW ZEALAND WENT TO WAR
Guy Thornton was a Baptist minister who served as a Chaplain to the New Zealand troops who went to Egypt in WW1.  The audio recordings that follow the brief introduction to his life, are interesting, as his work with the New Zealand soldiers is informative and revealing as to what a Chaplain in that war experienced.  He tells how the young soldiers were enticed by the sinful culture of Cairo and what he did to counteract it.
Beer and brawls were tolerated over letting the men go into Cairo to "let off steam":
WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE FOR THE NEW ZEALAND SOLDIERS IN THE TRENCHES OF WW1
NEW ZEALAND SOLDIERS:
PRISONERS OF THE JAPANESE
NEW ZEALAND SOLDIERS WERE ABUSED BY THE JAPANESE
NEW ZEALAND SOLDIERS -
SHOT AT DAWN
VICTOR SPENCER - SHOT AT DAWN:
JOHN JOSEPH SWEENEY - SHOT AT DAWN:
NEW ZEALAND CHAPLAINS
NEW ZEALAND CHAPLAINS - PHOTOS
Italy in WW1 - "THE WHITE WAR"
Relatively unheard of in high school history classrooms, and only briefly touched on in military seminars, "The White War" which took place in the Italian alps during WW1, is a worthwhile study.  Military tactics, weather, and terrain are just a few of the important points that contribute to the combat stress endured by the Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers.
Two recent and recommended books I have used as instructor for Army Officer Basic Candidates:

From the author of The Hinge Factor, a thrilling, page-turning series of dramatic historical recreations revealing how the fate of humankind has been decided by the uncontrollable, unpredictable power of weather.

 

From the doomed campaigns of Roman legions and Napoleon to the fate of U.S. forces in the South Pacific and Vietnam, torrential rain, brutal winters, monster typhoons, and killer hurricanes have had far-reaching - and often terrifying - consequences. As Erik Durschmied vividly describes in heart-stopping vignettes, the elements have decided human history as often as the spear, bullet, or atomic bomb. Drawing upon extensive research, as well as the author's own experiences in Vietnam, The Weather Factor gives a fascinating account of the inevitable collision between weather fronts and human conflict.

Throughout history, from Kublai Khan's attempted invasions of Japan to Rommel's desert warfare, military operations have succeeded or failed on the ability of commanders to incorporate environmental conditions into their tactics. In Battling the Elements, geographer Harold A. Winters and former U.S. Army officers Gerald E. Galloway Jr., William J. Reynolds, and David W. Rhyne, examine the connections between major battles in world history and their geographic components, revealing what role factors such as weather, climate, terrain, soil, and vegetation have played in combat. Each chapter offers a detailed and engaging explanation of a specific environmental factor and then looks at several battles that highlight its effects on military operations. As this cogent analysis of geography and war makes clear, those who know more about the shape, nature, and variability of battleground conditions will always have a better understanding of the nature of combat and at least one significant advantage over a less knowledgeable enemy. (Comments on The Weather Factor and Battling the Elements from Amazon editor.)

Professor Sir Christopher Clark travels to the Julian Alps in Slovenia on the 1914 border between Austria-Hungary and Italy. This was the scene of some of the harshest fighting to take place during the war. He examines why Italy entered the war on the side of Britain, France and Russia and traces Mussolini's post-war rise to power back to Italy's involvement in the First World War.


Chris explores how the mountainous landscape shaped the nature of fighting on this front, where troops fought at altitudes of up to 12,000 feet in temperatures as low as -30ºC. Even today, warmer summers are releasing corpses and other material from their icy tombs. The river Soca, or Isonzo as it is known in Italian, has a similar burden of associations that the Somme does to the British because the Italians lost half of their entire war casualty here. With Mark Thompson and Željko Cimpric.


Sir Christopher Clark is Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of Kaiser Wilhelm II: A Life in Power, Iron Kingdom and - most recently - the highly acclaimed and award-winning The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went To War. In 2014, he presented Month of Madness on BBC Radio 4 about the outbreak of the First World War. You can listen to that series online by visiting http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03t7p27. Produced by Melissa FitzGerald A Blakeway production for BBC Radio 4.

There is now a museum dedicated to "The White War."

The Museum of the White War in Adamello is an Italian museum located in Temù, in the Upper Val Camonica, in the province of Brescia.

Here is a video from the museum:

Chaplain photos of different faiths and countries are included below, in addition to those already posted on the other Combat Stress pages, which might be incorporated in a PowerPoint program as needed, for a block of instruction.
Next photo is a Chaplain leading a service during the Civil War:
The Royal British Legion
in Remembrance of those who have and still serve; from Royal Albert Hall, 2013: