As you approach Stratford station on the train from London Liverpool Street, you will see the Olympic Park where the London 2012 games start tomorrow. If you had done the same journey in 1914-15 and looked the other way, you would have seen a different group of foreigners: German nationals interned at the start of the Great War.
Monthly Archives: July 2012
In Battersea Park there is a war memorial for the 24th Division. It shows the three soldiers of the division – one of whom is said to be modelled on Robert Graves. The artist was Londoner Eric Kennington.
London was a key waypoint on soldiers’ journeys to and from the war. The city’s railway stations were filled with men in khaki making their way to and from their homes. Writer and soldier FH Keeling left us an account of servicemen’s travel around London getting to the early leave train from Victoria back towards the battlefields.
The defence of London from aerial attack is in the news this week. A group of tenants in East London is protesting about stationing of anti-air missiles on their block of flats during the Olympics. Ninety-five years ago, London was encircled by air defences for the first time – guarding against a much more obvious aerial threat: the German Gotha bombers.
July 1st, 1916 is one of the great memorable dates of the Great War for the British. The first day of the Battle of the Somme has a resonance, alongside the 11th of November. That this was not the date it was supposed to start might be a surprise, until one realises why: it was delayed by rain! A rain delay in mid-summer? That may seem familiar to any cricket or tennis fans this year.