Category Archives: war poetry

Did you Tsushima what I did there?

Offical caption from JMSDF: “25 NOV, ADM YAMAMURA Hiroshi, Chief of Maritime staff, invited officially ADM Nikolay Yevmenov, commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy. They discussed about the current situation and the Japan-Russia defense exchange, promoted mutual understanding.”

The portrait on the wall? You know, Marshal-Admiral Marquis Tōgō Heihachirō, the fabled Japanese sea lord who destroyed not one but two separate Russian fleets– which included sinking or capturing 13 of the Tsar’s battleships– in a brief 15 month period from Feb. 1904 to May 1905.

Interestingly, the photo is in a simple sea uniform rather than the Admiral’s grand dress uniform, which was topped by the exceedingly rarely-bestowed Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.

You can always dismiss the humor of the situation by saying maybe it was intended as a full-circle moment. However, if the same pose was struck by the current British First Sea Lord and head of the French Navy in front of a nice portrait of Nelson, you know there would be a gallery full of shit-eating grins.

Of course, it should be pointed out that ADM Yamamura is wearing a dress uniform based on that of the U.S. Navy, but still…

170 years ago, Nevermore

While in Richmond last month, you know I had to make a pilgrimage to the Poe House Museum

On this day in 1849, at Washington Medical College around 5:00 in the morning, a man wearing clothes that were not his own died of “cerebral inflammation,” aged 40.

Born Edgar Poe in Boston in 1809, he published his first book at age 18, Tamerlane and Other Poems, to a poor reception. The disillusioned young poet, riddled with debt, enlisted in the Army as a private on 27 May 1827 for five years under the name “Edgar A. Perry,” claiming to be 22 years old.

He served in Boston at “The Castle” for the princely sum of $5 a month but was soon transferred to the recently-completed Fort Moultrie in Charleston where he served as a skilled artilleryman.

Discharged as a Sgt. Maj.,1st Artillery Regiment, on 15 April 1829– a year early– he proceeded to West Point for admission as a cadet, but was dismissed in 1831 as both he and the Army had mutually had enough of each other, although his third book of poetry was published in large part by subscriptions collected from among the Corps of Cadets.

The next 17 years was an oddity that saw much torment and little success in his time but left the world forever changed by his body of work.

At Fort Moultrie, every October 6th, they fly the 24-star flag, the same that flew while Poe was stationed there in Compay H, 1st Artillery, to remember the young man with the sad eyes who manned the guns and kept a notebook handy.

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As a salute, here is A Dream within a Dream, by Edgar Allan Poe, first published just six months before his death, for which Poe received no money. To me, you can hear the lonely posting to Fort Moultrie in its words.

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow—
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it, therefore, the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

The last full measure, 101 years ago

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The Scottish war poet Capt. Charles Hamilton Sorley of the Suffolk Regiment was killed in 1915 at the Battle of Loos. He was the youngest of the major war poets, having been born in 1895.

He left this poem, probably his most famous, untitled at his death:

When you see millions of the mouthless dead
Across your dreams in pale battalions go,
Say not soft things as other men have said,
That you’ll remember. For you need not so.

Give them not praise. For, deaf, how should they know
It is not curses heaped on each gashed head?
Nor tears. Their blind eyes see not your tears flow.
Nor honour. It is easy to be dead.

Say only this, ‘They are dead.’ Then add thereto,
‘Yet many a better one has died before.’
Then, scanning all the o’ercrowded mass, should you
Perceive one face that you loved heretofore,
It is a spook. None wears the face you knew.
Great death has made all his for evermore.

Sorley was killed 13 October 1915 (aged 20) Hulluch, Lens, France. The poem above was in his kit.

As for the Suffolk Regiment, whose device he wears in the image above, just short of their 300th birthday they were amalgamated with a number of other units to form the Royal Anglian Regiment, which continues to take the Queen’s schilling today.

Thank you for your service, Corporal Cirillo

The Canadian Prime Minister is calling yesterday’s attack on the National War Memorial and Parliament by a gunman an act of terrorism. The individual was put down like a sick animal by the House of Commons Sergeant at Arms, Kevin Vickers, who set aside his ceremonial sword and mace, grabbed a pistol from a lockbox, and engaged the shooter.

However, we need to remember not the shooters name but that of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders who was standing his post at the Memorial when he was gunned down.

The Chronicle Herald‘s Bruce MacKinnon pays perfect tribute:

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Thank you for your service, Corporal Cirillo. The pipes are calling

Letter to an Unknown Soldier, seeking submissions

Letter to an Unknown Soldier is creating a digital memorial for WWI by asking people to submit letters to the unknown soldier at Paddington Station. Deadline is August 4.

Letter to an unknown soldier, Paddington station.

Why?

In a year jammed-full of WW1 commemoration our PROJECT invites everyone to step back from the public ceremonies and take a few private moments to think.

If you were able to send a PERSONAL message to this soldier, a man who served and was killed during World War One, what would you write?

Who?

The response to this project has been extraordinary. Over 10,000 people have sent letters so far – and all sorts of people: schoolchildren, authors (including Stephen Fry, Malorie Blackman, and Andrew Motion), nurses, serving members of the forces and even the Prime Minister. If you write to the soldier, your letter will be published alongside theirs.

When?

The website will remain open until 11 p.m. on the night of 4 August 2014.

Between now and then every letter that the soldier receives will be published and made available for everyone to read.  Eventually all of the letters will be archived in the British Library where they will remain permanently accessible online.

Your letter will help us create a new kind of war memorial – one made entirely of words, and by everyone.

Find out more information,

Combat Gallery Sunday: The military art of Georges Schreiber

Born in Belgium in 1903, Georges Schreiber studied painting at some of the best schools in Europe before coming to the United States in 1928. He soon became an illustrator for most of New York’s daily papers before moving around the country and sketching life as he saw it.

The Bend in the Road...

The Bend in the Road…

By 1941, Schreiber had been commissioned by the US Army and Navy to do war work. As such he did War Bonds posters, military images and the like for four years solid. These enduring images are well-loved if not well-known. He is also one of the most celebrated realism artists of the 1930s and 40s.

keep him flying george schreiber

Some of his best work in the genre of military art came from a tour he did of the USS Dorado during the sub’s shakedown cruise. These images include Stand By to Fire, Conning Tower, and Clear for Action.

Stand By to Fire

Stand By to Fire

Conning Tower  by Georges Schreiber

Conning Tower by Georges Schreiber

Clear for Action by Georges Schreiber

Clear for Action by Georges Schreiber

Schreiber died in 1977 and his works are on display not only in the US Army’s collection but also at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of the City of New York, Library of Congress, White House Library, Toledo Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Bibliothéque Nationale, and the Museum of Tel Aviv.

Flight's End

Flight’s End

-His parachute swung comfortably over his shoulder, a Navy pilot returns to squadron headquarters to check in after a flight at Pensacola, Florida. Behind him, a beaching crew hoists a Vought-Sikorsky observation-scout onto the concrete hangar ramp. This operation is the same as that followed at sea, where scouting planes are hoisted back aboard after being catapulted from the deck of cruiser or battleship– by Georges Schreiber

schreiber_selfportrait 1944

Inside the Army’s hidden archives

The Center for Military History (CMH) maintains perhaps the best archive of the American war machine for the past three hundred years. Everything from Grant’s hat to Revolutionary war saddlebags, to Queen Ann’s war muskets to souvenirs from Helmland province and Saddam’s palaces.

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But its locked away in archival storage and may very well continue to be so for years, with no one allowed access as the Army struggles to build a museum to house it all.

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Pop quiz: how many of these can you name?

Buzzfeed took an amazing tour lately.

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Tom Lea’s famous 2000-yard stare is one of more than 16,000 pieces of art that rest quietly waiting for a spot to be displayed. These range from Norman Rockwell’s work to Hitler’s watercolors made between the wars. Every piece is military art in one way or another.

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“The story goes that Norman Rockwell, seeking authenticity, wanted to rip holes in the soldiers’s shirt. The GI said fine. Rockwell asked to smear mud on his face and hands. Not a problem. But when the artist asked to rub dirt on his machine gun, the soldier refused: No proper gunner could tolerate that. So Rockwell portrayed the GI as tattered and begrimed, but with his big gray Browning machine gun sleek and clean.”

I can buy that, 110%

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The Army Historical Foundation is in charge of raising the funds for the museum. However, there are major fundraising hurdles to jump before the museum can be built. The foundation’s president recently told the Washington Post that they have raised $76 million of the $175 million required for the museum and predicts the museum could open in 2018. The plan is to build the museum at Fort Belvoir.

But until the Army can get a museum built this massive collection will remained locked away, in the dark.

Please click here for the restof the pictures and amazing story

Your excuse is invalid

Ever feel tired and just don’t want to go to the gym today, or circle the parking lot looking for a good spot so you don’t have to walk further to the door.

Well, when you do, think about CPL Todd Love.
(From an article from Col JR Bates ) :

“Corporal Todd Love doesn’t remember that last step he took. Actually, he remembers little of the events from 0710 on Oct. 25, 2010, or of the days and weeks thereafter. While on patrol in Sangin province, Afghanistan, he became an intended victim of a huge improvised explosive device (IED) buried by a Muslim terrorist alongside the main route leading from the village Love’s patrol had just passed.

Pressure detonated, the violent bone-rip­ping blast temporarily blinded and deafened all within 100 meters of the device. Most would feel the concussion of the shock wave and be thrown from their intended path, but as is often the case when at ground zero, few would remember actually hearing it. Memories, should there be any, would be a surrealistic slow-motion horror movie.

The road erupted. The earth shook, belch­ing fire, rock, equipment and body parts. The life of Todd Love would be changed dramatically forever.

The horrific blast vaporized everything into a pink mist from Cpl Love’s groin down. His left arm was mangled badly and hung uselessly from just below the elbow. Had it not been for the searing heat of the blast cauterizing his major blood vessels and arteries, he would have bled out quickly.

Moments later when his unit corpsman reached his position, it logically and un­derstandably was assumed that the cor­poral was dead. As per standard operating procedure of combat lifesaving, he was given shots of morphine to help cope with the unbearable pain that was sure to come should he possibly still be among the living. Reaching the site as the dust was settling, the corpsman noted that there were still signs of life.

Remarkably, Cpl Love regained con­sciousness. His first cognizant words were to inquire if he still had his manhood. The answer was, “Yes.”

Sometimes, thats all you need to keep going it seems.

CPL Love competing in a Spartan Race after his injures. He also surfs, scuba and skydives.

Todd Love Mud

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Determination means you really cant keep a good man down.

What is a Caparisoned horse

The Caparisoned horse is the riderless horse who follows the caissons (6 horses pulling the artillery cart which carries the casket of the fallen soldier) attached to the Old Guard (3rd Inf Rgt).  The caparisoned horse represents the soldier who will no longer ride in the brigade.  The caparisoned horse wears the standard Mc McClellan cavalry saddle, the sword and backwards boots in the stirrups, symbolizing the end of his tenure.  If you watch any footage of military funerals, you will see this type of horse.

Blackjack was one of the most famous of these horses.

Blackjack was one of the most famous of these horses.

He walked with JFK....

He walked with JFK….

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