CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS

Monday, November 11, 2013

GOING BACK TO THE ARMISTICE OF 1918

 

 

GOING BACK TO THE ARMISTICE OF 1918
   

Honoring America's heroes: Obama pays tribute to a 107-year-old WW2 veteran

  • President honors veterans and lays wreath at Arlington Cemetery
  • Highlight of ceremony was appearance by oldest U.S. veteran of World War Two, 107-year-old Richard Overton
  • Overton credits his longevity to a spoonful of whiskey in his morning coffee and a dozen cigars a day

President Barack Obama on Monday paid an emotional tribute to those who have served in the nation's military, including one of the country's oldest veterans, 107-year-old Richard Overton.

'This is the life of one American veteran, living proud and strong in the land he helped keep free,' Obama said during a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery where he also laid a wreath.

Overton was among those in the audience for the outdoor ceremony on a crisp, sun-splashed Veterans Day. Earlier on, Overton and other veterans attended a breakfast at the White House.

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Honor: Richard Overton the oldest living WWII veteran, listens during a Veterans Day ceremony attended by President Barack Obama, commemorating Veterans Day on Monday

Honor: Richard Overton the oldest living WWII veteran, listens during a Veterans Day ceremony attended by President Barack Obama, commemorating Veterans Day on Monday

Emotional: President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Veterans Day on Monday at Arlington National Cemetery, after holding a breakfast with veterans at the White House

Emotional: President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Veterans Day on Monday at Arlington National Cemetery, after holding a breakfast with veterans at the White House

Smiles: The 107-year-old stood up as he was acknowledged by President Obama during his speech at the Veteran's Day ceremony

Smiles: The 107-year-old stood up as he was acknowledged by President Obama during his speech at the Veteran's Day ceremony

Respect: A honor guard stands still for a ceremony to honor veterans at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Respect: A honor guard stands still for a ceremony to honor veterans at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Sadness: Alison Malachowski sits by her sons' grave, Marine Staff Sgt. James M. Malachowski, in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery

Sadness: Alison Malachowski sits by her sons' grave, Marine Staff Sgt. James M. Malachowski, in Section 60 of Arlington National Cemetery

Overton, of East Austin, Texas, is believed to be the oldest known U.S veteran of World War Two, according to USA Today.

His appearance was the highlight of the ceremony and the proud veteran received a standing ovation from the crowd.

Overton credits longevity to two habits -  'a tablespoon' of whiskey in his coffee every morning and smoking a dozen cigars a day.

Though widowed 22 years ago he still lives in the house he built in Texas after the end of the war.

 

Overton was in his 30s when he volunteered in 1942 and saw action in the Pacific with the Army's 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion.

Obama elaborated on Overton's proud record to the crowd. 'He was there at Pearl Harbor when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima.'

The president added that Overton still rakes his own lawn and drives ladies in his neighborhood to church every Sunday.

Pride: Leonard Jordan, 94, left, of South Haven, Mich, who is an Army Veteran of WWII, is embraced by his granddaughter Cynthia Thomas

Pride: Leonard Jordan, 94, left, of South Haven, Mich, who is an Army Veteran of WWII, is embraced by his granddaughter Cynthia Thomas, Army Sgt. 1st Class (Retired), of Woodbridge, Va., after a ceremony honoring veterans at the World War II Memorial in Washington

Crowds: US First Lady Michelle Obama arrives at the ceremony to honor veterans at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Crowds: US First Lady Michelle Obama arrives at the ceremony to honor veterans at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Commemoration: Obama used his remarks Monday to remind the nation that thousands of service members are still at war in Afghanistan.

Commemoration: Obama used his remarks Monday to remind the nation that thousands of service members are still at war in Afghanistan.

Reflection: Parades and ceremonies were held across the nation. Here World War II veteran Robert Case wipes a tear away as he sits next to his daughter, Leila Case at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Eden Park in Cincinnati

Reflection: Parades and ceremonies were held across the nation. Here World War II veteran Robert Case wipes a tear away as he sits next to his daughter, Leila Case at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Eden Park in Cincinnati

Tribute: President Obama arrives at the wreath laying on Veterans' Day

Tribute: President Obama arrives at the wreath laying on Veterans' Day. 'War's nothing to be into,' Overton told USA Today on Sunday. 'You don't want to go into the war if you don't have to. But I had to go. 'I enjoyed it after I'd went and come back, but I didn't enjoy it when was over there. I had to do things I didn't want to do,' the veteran added. All across the country on Monday, Americans celebrated the actions of those who have served in the military.

Veterans' parades and wreath laying ceremonies were held in towns and cities across the nation, while others dedicated time to quiet reflection at the grave of a loved one. Obama used his remarks in Washington to remind the nation that thousands of service members are still at war in Afghanistan. The war is expected to formally conclude at the end of next year, though the U.S. may keep a small footprint in the country. As the Afghan war comes to a close, Obama said the nation has a responsibility to ensure that the returning troops are the 'best cared-for and best respected veterans in the world.'  Obama hails troop sacrifice on Veterans Day

Hero: Obama elaborated on Overton's proud record to the crowd. 'He was there at Pearl Harbor when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima,' the president said

Hero: Obama elaborated on Overton's proud record to the crowd. 'He was there at Pearl Harbor when the battleships were still smoldering. He was there at Okinawa. He was there at Iwo Jima,' the president said

Quiet moment: A man stands amid military graves at Ft. Logan National Cemetery, in Denver, on Veterans Day

Quiet moment: A man stands amid military graves at Ft. Logan National Cemetery, in Denver, on Veterans Day

March: Units participate in a Veterans Day Parade in Marietta, Georgia

March: Units participate in a Veterans Day Parade in Marietta, Georgia

The country's obligations to those who served 'endure long after the battle ends,' he continued.

The president said the courage, self-sacrifice and devotion of veterans represent the American character at its best, and he encouraged everyone to honor every service member who has ever worn the country's uniforms.

Obama laid a wreath in a somber ceremony at Tomb of the Unknowns. Arlington National Cemetery contains the graves of over 400,000 American servicemen and women.

The president then made a speech honoring the 'patriots who have rendered the highest service any American can offer this nation.'

Duty: Veterans roll up an American flag after participating in a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

Duty: Veterans roll up an American flag after participating in a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery

Memories: Veterans Frank Hendershot, of Lawrenceville, Ga., left, and Dave Curtis of Lilburn stand at attention as Vietnam era veterans are honored during the annual Veterans Day Ceremony

Memories: Veterans Frank Hendershot, of Lawrenceville, Ga., left, and Dave Curtis of Lilburn stand at attention as Vietnam era veterans are honored during the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Gwinnett Fallen Heroes Memorial in Lawrenceville

Highlight: The oldest World Two veteran in the U.S. received a standing ovation from the crowd

Highlight: The oldest World Two veteran in the U.S. received a standing ovation from the crowd

'They step up. They raise their hands. They take that oath. They put on the uniform and put their lives on the line,' he said.

'Because of their heroic service, the core of al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, our nation is more secure & our homeland is safer,' the president continued.

   

Could it be that we have lost the true cost of war as we mourn its dead ~ could it be that flowers and flags can never justify the inhumanity of war ~ could it be that all wars are lost because there are no true winners and lastly why are we continuing to justify our current illegal occupations by falsely calling them wars. In wartime, everything is done to subvert the force of love but in the end ~ only love prevails:

THE WORLD AT WAR

The transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley is moved by a U.S. Marine carry team during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base in Dover Delaware, on August 13, 2012. Lance Cpl. Buckley who was from Oceanside, New York, was killed on August 10th while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Make no mistake. America is directly or indirectly responsible for most world conflicts. Across North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia, it plays the lead role.

Afghanistan has been occupied for nearly 11 years. US air and ground attacks murder civilians daily. Pre-2003 Iraq no longer exists. America destroyed the cradle of civilization.

People are massacred in cold blood. Propagandists call it humanitarian intervention. War is peace. Orwell warned us long ago.

Only imperial dominance matters. Hegemons accept nothing less. Human lives are of no consequence. It’s been that way since America’s beginning. It’s ongoing today with WMD ease.

Plans were readied months ago for ground and air attacks on Syria. Proxy war is prelude to full-scale conflict. Libya 2.0 looms. Media propaganda plays the lead role. Public opinion is being massaged, softened, and manipulated to accept more bloodshed.

It never ends. One war segues to another. After Syria comes Iran. How many more millions will die? How much more human suffering is enough? How much are media scoundrels paid to support what they should condemn?

People have a right to know. They pay for it multiple ways. Their tax dollars go for killing and mass destruction, not vital domestic services. They’re increasingly on their own to fund America’s war machine. Police state harshness targets dissenters.

Bipartisan complicity threw them under the bus long ago. Imagine what’s coming post-election. Both parties are committed to endless wars without mercy. Revolutionary resistance is the only way to stop them. Hardly a sign of it exists.

Drumbeat warmongering drowns out activists needing much greater support to matter. Western media managed news misreports on nations Washington targets.

Their hands are as blood drenched as imperial planners. They’re virtual subcontractors. They’re complicit in mass murder and destruction. They risk letting the entire Middle East explode.

They ignore fundamental international law principles. They support foreign wars and ones at home against freedom. They’re for wealth and power interests only. Destroying Syria and Iran get top billing.

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) features a “Crisis Guide: Iran.” Lies substitute for truth. A nonbelligerent nation is maliciously maligned. “(T)he Islamic Republic….threaten(s) the region’s balance of power,” claims CFR. No proof whatever suggests it.

“Iran’s support for militant groups, combined with its pursuit of a nuclear program, has aggravated relations with countries in the region and the West.”

CFR and other imperial supporters build their case for war on a foundation of lies and suppressed truth.

Iran’s support for Hamas and Hezbollah are “tools to project influence (and create) hostility (with) Israel” and America’s regional allies. Its nuclear program “generate(s) concern among experts.”

Options CFR endorses include sanctions, covert action, and preventive strikes. Diplomacy is mentioned but gets short shrift.

CFR’s Robert Danin says “Lebanon Erupts, Syria Boils….” Let’s have another war and cool things down.

Foreign Policy (FP) contributor Gary Gambill headlines “Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists.” Jeffersonians they’re not but who cares. It’s reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt’s remark about Nicaragua’s Anastasio Somoza, saying:

He “may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

Gambill calls Islamic militants vital for US interests. They’re willing proxies. They’re battle hardened. They’re better fighters than secular counterparts. They willingly perform suicide bombings.

They’re “strategically preferable” to Assad. How they terrorize Syrian civilians doesn’t matter. Establishing another regional puppet state is all that counts.

They’re needed to defeat Iran. The Islamic Republic “constitutes a far greater and more immediate threat to US national interests.”

“So long as….jihadis are committed to fighting (as US proxies), we should quietly root for them….”

Weeks ago, hawkish American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka urged more direct US help for Syria, saying:

“Washington must stop subcontracting Syria policy to the Turks, Saudis and Qataris.” It’s time for direct involvement.

On August 31, Foreign Policy (FP) contributor James Traub headlined “The Time for Action,” saying:

More active US intervention is needed to oust Assad. The “moral case” for doing so is “incontrovertible.” A no-fly zone “could turn the tide.” So might safe havens.

If America “wants the rebels to win, then it should be doing everything it can to help them….to (stay) on the right side of history.”

Traub wants America off the sidelines and on the field. Delaying until post-election is “consummate cynicism. (Obama) should act now, before it’s too late.”

The latest Washington Post pro-war screed headlines “The UN’s unworkable plan for Syria,” saying:

Peace and diplomatic initiatives accomplished nothing. New ones won’t do any better. They give Assad “time and cover….The regime has no intention of capitulating….bloodshed will continue and probably worsen.”

“The fighting in Syria will end only when (Assad) is forced to stop – or he succeeds in killing his way to victory.”

Comments like these endorse direct intervention. The Post itches for more war. It inverts truth as justification. It blamed victims since last year. It ignores US-sponsored death squad invaders. It calls self-defense wanton killing.

It suppressed information about NAM countries declaring support for Syrian sovereignty and opposition to Western hegemony. They condemned unilateral US sanctions. They violate UN Charter provisions and other international law principles.

They oppose any form of outside interference into the internal affairs of other nations. Doing so is blatantly illegal. International law is clear and unequivocal.

They’re against Western forced no-fly zones or safe havens in Syrian territory. In mid-August, Law Professor Francis Boyle emailed this writer saying:

“Without authorization by the United Nations Security Council and express authorization from the US Congress pursuant to the terms of the War Powers Resolution, for President Obama to establish any type of so-called ‘no-fly zone’ over Syria would be illegal, unconstitutional, and impeachable.”

The same goes for safe havens in Syrian territory. They constitute ground-based no fly zones. Either or both assure war. Libya’s experience proved what’s incontrovertible.

With or without them, Obama plans intervention. So does Romney if elected. His web site calls Assad “an unscrupulous dictator, a killer, and a proxy for Iran.” He urges “redoubl(ing)” US efforts to oust him. He means whatever it takes including war.

The business of America is war. Profiteers demand it. Permanent ones are waged on their behalf and to further US global dominance.

Peace in our time is illusory. It’s bad for business and imperial Washington’s interests. Expect permanent wars without end. Homeland police state crackdowns will accompany them.

2

Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr.'s father Greg, center, is escorted from St. Agnes Cathedral after his funeral Mass,on August 18, 2012 in Rockville Center, New York. Buckley Jr. was barely 21 years old when he was killed in an attack by a policeman in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) #

3

New Zealand soldiers pay their respect during a ramp ceremony for Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris at Bagram Air Base on August 21, 2012 in Bagram, Afghanistan. The three New Zealand soldiers were killed in Afghanistan on August 19 after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. (New Zealand Defence Force via Getty Images) #

4

Family members of Corporal Luke Tamatea pay their respect during a combined memorial service for fallen soldiers Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris at Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 25, 2012. The three fallen New Zealand soldiers were fatally wounded in action on August 4, 2012, in the Bayman Province in Afghanistan. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images) #

5

Army pallbearers carry the coffin of Private Richard Harris at a Military ramp ceremony held for Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris on August 23, 2012 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The soldiers are performing a haka, acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades. The powerful, moving ceremony can also be seen here, in a video from the New Zealand Defence Force. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images) #

6

Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker's mother pays her respect during a combined memorial service for fallen soldiers Corporal Luke Tamatea, Lance Corporal Jacinda Baker and Private Richard Harris at Burnham Military Camp in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 25, 2012. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images) #

7

A U.S. Navy carry team transfers the remains of Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Clayton R. Beauchamp, of Weatherford, Texas, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on August 9, 2012. Beauchamp was assigned to 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 6, 1st Marine Division (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), Camp Pendleton, California, (USAF/Roland Balik) #

8

U.S. Air Force soldiers carry the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 10, 2012. Gray, who was from Conyers, Georgia, was killed alongside two other American troops in a suicide attack in Kunar province, while serving in the Air Force in Afghanistan. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images) #

9

Marines with Bravo Company, 2nd Tank Battalion, pay their final respects to Cpl. Daniel L. Linnabary II during a memorial ceremony in the sweltering Afghanistan sunlight, on September 1, 2012. Linnabary, 23, from Hubert, North Carolina, was a tank gunner with 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Tank Battalion. He was killed August 6, while conducting combat operations in Now Zad District. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan. During the ceremony, commanders and friends spoke of the man and Marine Linnabary was and what they would remember most about him. (USMC/Cpl. Mark Garcia) #

10

The transfer case containing the remains of Marine Cpl. Daniel L. Linnabary II of Hubert, North Carolina, sits at the end of the loader ramp upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, on August 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) #

11

Chelsea Linnabary, the widow of US Marine Corps Corporal Daniel L. Linnabary II is consoled during burial ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia, on August 23, 2012. (Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images) #

12

A Navy carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Petty Officer 1st Class Sean P. Carson on Dover Air Force Base, on August 19, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Carson, of Renton, Washington, died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. Already in the vehicle are transfer cases containing the remains of Army Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hornsby of Melbourne, Florida, case not shown, Army Chief Warrant Officer Suresh N. A. Krause of Cathedral City, California, case not shown, Army Spc. James A. Justice of Grover, North Carolina, second case from right, and Army Spc. Richard A. Essex of Kelseyville, California, right case, who, according to the Department of Defense, all died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #

13

A French Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Major Franck Bouzet, 45, at Kabul military airport, on August 9, 2012. Franck Bouzet was killed on August 7, during a shootout with insurgents. (AP Photo/ECPAD, Jean Francois d'Arcangues) #

14

21-year-old Spc. Mabry J. Anders, 4th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, from Baker City, Oregon. Anders died in a "green-on-blue" attack, killed along with Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell, both shot by a member of the Afghan National Army who had turned his weapon on them in Kalagush, Afghanistan, on August 27. (U.S. Army) #

15

A Marine carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. Justin M. Hansen at Dover Air Force Base, on July 26, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Hansen, 26, of Traverse City, Michigan, died July 24, 2012 while conducting combat operations in Badghis province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #

16

U.S. Air Force Colonel Gretchen M. Wiltse, right, and U.S. Army Major General Al Aycock, second from right, salute as an Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Private First Class Patricia L. Horne, on August 26, 2012, at Dover Air Force Base. Horne, of Greenwood, Mississippi, died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) #

17

U.S. Army soldiers carry the flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 10, 2012. Kennedy, who was from West Point, New York, was killed alongside two other American troops in a suicide bombing, while serving in the U.S. Army in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Kennedy was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado,(Patrick Smith/Getty Images) #

18

The remains of Army Staff Sgt. Carl Hammar arrive on a caisson for a burial ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on July 30, 2012. Hammar, 24, of Lake Havasu City, Arizona, died July 14, in Khost province, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from enemy small arms fire. He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) #

19

Parents of of Army Staff Sgt. Carl Hammar, from left, Ulf and Judy Hammar and his sister Tabitha Gordon, watch an Arlington Lady (left) speak to his son Lux Hammar and daughter Valeroia Hammar during a burial ceremony for Hammar at Arlington National Cemetery, on July 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) #

20

An Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Pfc. Jose Oscar Belmontes at Dover Air Force Base, on July 30, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Belmontes, 28, of La Verne, California, died July 28, 2012 in Wardak province, Afghanistan of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #

21

A combination picture of the official portraits of Australian Private Nathanael Galagher (left) and Lance Corporal Mervyn McDonald, who were both killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan on August 30, 2012. (Reuters/Australian Defence Ministry/Handout) #

22

Transfer cases containing the remains of Army Spc. Benjamin C. Pleitez, (left case) Army Sgt. 1st Class Bobby L. Estle, (right case) and Army Pfc. Jose Oscar Belmontes, (not shown) sit on a loader during a prayer at Dover Air Force Base, on July 30, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Pleitez, 25, of Turlock, California, died July 27, 2012 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan and Estle, 38, of Lebanon, Ohio, and Belmontes, 28, of La Verne, California, both died July 28, 2012 in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained from enemy small arms fire. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark) #

23

Solders pay their final respects to U.S. Army Spc. James Justice of Chosen Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, during a memorial ceremony at Combat Outpost Sultan Khyel, August 24, 2012. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Michael Sword) #

24

U.S. Army soldiers carry a flag-draped transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Army Spc. Richard A. Essex during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 19, 2012. Essex, who was from Kelseyville, California, was killed while serving in the U.S. Army in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images) #

25

A U.S. Army carry team transfers the remains of Army Chief Warrant Officer Suresh N. A. Krause of Cathedral, California, at Dover Air Force Base, on August 19, 2012. Krause was among four soldiers who died of wounds suffered on August 16, as the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter they were manning crashed in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (USAF/Adrian R. Rowan) #

26

A U.S. Army soldier shuts the door of the transfer vehicle as five flag-draped transfer cases lay secure containing the remains of five U.S. Army and U.S. Navy soldiers, during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 19, 2012. Those killed while serving in the U.S. Army in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, were: U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 3, Brian D. Hornsby, U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2, Suresh N. A. Krause, U.S. Army Spc. James A. Justice, U.S. Army Spc. Richard A. Essex, and U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sean P. Carson. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images) #

27

Senior Airman Joshua Fernandez pauses after closing the doors of a transfer vehicle that holds a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. 1st Class Coater B. DeBose at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on August 22, 2012. DeBose, of Stateline, Mississippi, was killed in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered from small arms fire. Two Afghan policemen reportedly opened fire on a group of coalition and Afghan troops, killing DeBose and an Afghan police sergeant. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) #

28

An Army honor guard carry the coffin of Army Staff Sgt. Richard Berry of Scottsdale, Arizona, during a burial services at Arlington National Cemetery, on August 14, 2012. According to the Defense Department, Berry died July 22 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered from an enemy improvised explosive device. He was assigned to the 508th Special Troops Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) #

29

The remains of Lance Cpls. Pralli Drurrer and Rory Malone are carried off a military transport plane in a ceremony in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 10, 2012. The two were killed in a gun battle in Afghanistan over the weekend. (Sam Shepherd/NZ Defence Force via Getty Images) #

Soldiers perform a haka at the Military Commemorative Service for LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone at Burnam Military Camp in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 11, 2012. The soldiers are performing their unit haka, acknowledging the lives and feats of their fallen comrades. The powerful, moving ceremony can also be seen here, in a video from the New Zealand Defence Force. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images) #

For the love of Vera: D-Day Lancaster bomber crew identified 68 years on by poignant inscription on dead airman's ring
  • Eight decorated servicemen died when MK III Lancaster was attacked

  • Shot down by Luftwaffe ace during 1944 dawn raid in Normandy, France

  • Plane lay undiscovered for almost 70 years. No bodies have yet been found

  • British historian Tony Graves identified plane with Albert Chambers's ring

They set off in the early hours of D-Day, never to return.

The crew of the Lancaster bomber – among the most highly decorated in the RAF – were all killed when their plane was shot down by a German aircraft over Normandy. Their remains have never been found.

Now, 68 years later, thanks to the chance discovery of a gold ring, the mystery has been solved.

In a spin: One of the propellers of the Lancaster, which was found at the newly-discovered crash site

In a spin: One of the propellers of the Lancaster, which was found at the newly-discovered crash site

The newly recovered gold signet ring engraved with 'AC', the initials of Flight Lieutenant Albert Chambers DFC, and 'Love Vera'Flight Lieutenant Albert Chambers
The newly recovered gold signet ring engraved with 'AC', the initials of Flight Lieutenant Albert Chambers DFC, and 'Love Vera' Aviation archaeologist Tony Graves with an German bullet found inside of clothing which was recovered from amongst the wreckage

Ring: A metal detector found a gold ring which bore the initials ‘AC’ and the engraved inscription ‘Love Vera’. .A piece of history: Tony Graves (right, pictured with a German bullet found at the crash site) discovered the AC referred to ‘Albert Chambers’ (left) who wed Vera Grubb, 21, just eight months before he died on D-Day

Marriage certificate: Albert Chambers and Vera Grubb, who wed at a church in Normanton, Derbyshire, in 1943

Marriage certificate: Albert Chambers and Vera Grubb, who wed at a church in Normanton, Derbyshire, in 1943

Luftwaffe ace: Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher in his German Foker-Wulf 190. He shot down the RAF Lancaster over Normandy on D-Day

Luftwaffe ace: Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher in his German Foker-Wulf 190. He shot down the RAF Lancaster over Normandy on D-Day

'We were at war and the enemy had to be combated': Eberspacher wrote in his log of shooting down three Lancasters that day

'We were at war and the enemy had to be combated': Eberspacher wrote in his log of shooting down three Lancasters that day

The mangled ring, found in a marsh by a French metal detector enthusiast, bears the initials ‘AC’ and the engraved inscription ‘Love Vera’.

British aviation archaeologist Tony Graves believes the AC refers to a flight lieutenant called Albert Chambers who was on board Lancaster ND 739 which went missing following a dawn mission on June 6, 1944.

The name Vera refers to his wife, Vera Grubb, whom he had married just eight months earlier.

Born in Derby, Flight Lieutenant Chambers had an extraordinary career. He had flown 58 operational sorties and had won a Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar before his death at 23.

Chambers was 97 Squadron’s signals leader and was wireless operator and air gunner on the D-Day flight.

He had flown Stirling bombers and as a 20-year-old he was forced to bale out over England when his aircraft ran out of fuel returning from Hanover after it was attacked by German fighters.

Mr Graves has found hundreds of twisted parts from the Lancaster as well as a string of personal items, including a silver-plated cigarette case and a watch.

Big project: Excavating machines dig a 25ft hole on September 29 at the crash site of the Lancaster in France

Big project: Excavating machines dig a 25ft hole on September 29 at the crash site of the Lancaster in France

Uncovered: Aviation historian Gordon Ramsey holds one of the propellers of missing Lancaster ND 739

Uncovered: Aviation historian Gordon Ramsey holds one of the propellers of missing Lancaster ND 739

Dig team: The wreck is believed to be of the Lancaster which was sent on a dawn mission to attack a German coastal battery at Pont Du Hoc in the crucial hours before the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944

Dig team: The wreck is believed to be of the Lancaster which was sent on a dawn mission to attack a German coastal battery at Pont Du Hoc in the crucial hours before the Allied invasion on June 6, 1944

Amazing discovery: Aviation historian Mark Kirby uncovers a tyre from the wreckage of the Lancaster

Amazing discovery: Aviation historian Mark Kirby uncovers a tyre from the wreckage of the Lancaster

Astonishing: A piece of fuselage which still has traces of red paint from the RAF Lancaster call sign Z-Zebra

Astonishing: A piece of fuselage which still has traces of red paint from the RAF Lancaster call sign Z-Zebra

Well-built: A parts tag from an engine carburetor of the RAF Lancaster, which was shot down by a German

Well-built: A parts tag from an engine carburetor of the RAF Lancaster, which was shot down by a German

In hand: An airman's glove which has been recovered from the French field by the archaeologists

In hand: An airman's glove which has been recovered from the French field by the archaeologists

Big dig: The dramatic discovery of the missing Lancaster was made by Mr Graves, who has excavated more than 400 Battle of Britain aircraft and spent years pinpointing the exact spot

Big dig: The dramatic discovery of the missing Lancaster was made by Mr Graves, who has excavated more than 400 Battle of Britain aircraft and spent years pinpointing the exact spot

Holding history: A digging volunteer finds a piece of undercarriage from the RAF Lancaster in the field

Holding history: A digging volunteer finds a piece of undercarriage from the RAF Lancaster in the field

The bomber was piloted by Wing Commander ‘Jimmy’ Carter. His seven-man crew boasted four Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Distinguished Flying Medals for gallantry between them.

They had taken off from RAF Coningsby  in Lincolnshire at 2.56am on D-Day and carried out a bombing mission at Pointe du Hoc on the coast of Normandy.

But their plane came under fire from Luftwaffe pilot Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher, shortly after 5am as he shot down three Lancasters in five minutes.

Famous sight: Archive photo of PA474 Avro Lancaster Bomber, similar to the one discovered in France

Famous sight: Archive photo of PA474 Avro Lancaster Bomber, similar to the one discovered in France

This Lancaster is one of only two airworthy Lancasters in the world still flying. She wears the markings of EE139 ' The Phantom of the Ruhr' 100 squadron

This Lancaster is one of only two airworthy Lancasters in the world still flying. She wears the markings of EE139 ' The Phantom of the Ruhr' 100 squadron

Deadly: The newly discovered Lancaster wreck was shot down by a pilot flying a Focke-Wulf, like the one pictured

Deadly: The newly discovered Lancaster wreck was shot down by a pilot flying a Focke-Wulf, like the one pictured

The aircraft’s last contact came at 5.04am acknowledging a message from a controller, before falling silent.

Eberspacher was scrambled to patrol the Normandy coast in his Focke-Wulf 190 fighter as a wave of RAF bombers headed towards their target.

Carter and his crew had successfully completed their mission and turned for home when their  plane came under fire.

French farm workers watched as the bomber descended in flames, but the crash site near Carentan in Normandy had remained undiscovered.

The other crew members who died were Squadron Leader Martin Bryan-Smith, Flight Lieutenant Henry Jeffery, Acting Flight Sergeant Guy Dunning, Acting Flight Sergeant Frank Watson, Australian Flight Lieutenant Ronald Conley, and Canadian Flight Lieutenant Herbert Rieger.

The men are all listed on the  Runnymede memorial which commemorates the 20,389 World War Two airmen with no known graves.

The newly recovered flattened RAF whistle, belonging to one of the crew from the Lancaster
The newly recovered silver plated cigarette case belonging to one of the crew

Incredible discoveries: A newly recovered flattened RAF whistle (left), belonging to one of the crew from the Lancaster, and a silver-plated cigarette case (right)

Written history: A fountain pen, with a 'Waterman' marking, belonging to one of the crew from the Lancaster

Written history: A fountain pen, with a 'Waterman' marking, belonging to one of the crew from the Lancaster

Floatation: An emergency dingy which was recovered from the wreckage of the Lancaster

Floatation: An emergency dingy which was recovered from the wreckage of the Lancaster

Aviation archaeologist Tony Graves
Aviation archaeologist Tony Graves with a parachute which was recovered from amongst the wreckage

Happy man: Archaeologist Mr Graves (left) with a parachute (right), which was recovered from the wreckage

War machinery: One of the two engine banks from a Merlin Packard engine of the RAF Lancaster

War machinery: One of the two engine banks from a Merlin Packard engine of the RAF Lancaster

Up close: One of the two engine banks from a Merlin Packard engine of the RAF Lancaster

Up close: One of the two engine banks from a Merlin Packard engine of the RAF Lancaster

Directions: A damaged map of southern England, the English Channel and northern France that was found

Directions: A damaged map of southern England, the English Channel and northern France that was found

Amazed: Archaeologist Mr Graves with pieces of clothing and crew belongings which were recovered

Amazed: Archaeologist Mr Graves with pieces of clothing and crew belongings which were recovered

Mr Graves was informed of the  discovery of the gold ring around nine months ago. He said: ‘When I got to the spot I found about 300 rounds of British .303mm ammunition still lying on the surface.

‘We’ve recovered one of the Lancaster’s huge wheel hubs, the back of an armour-plated crew seat and all the bomb rack clamps.’ He also found a clutch of blood-stained maps and four parachutes.

But Mr Graves said it was the personal effects of the courageous crew that were the most moving.

Flight Lieutenant Herbert Rieger, from Canada
Flight Lieutenant Ronald Conley DFC, Annerley, Queensland,

From abroad: The crew included two Commonwealth flyers - Canadian bomb aimer Flt Lt Herbert Rieger (left), of Hamilton, Ontario, and Australian navigator Flt Lt Ronald Conley (right), of Annerley, Queensland

Wing Commander Jimmy Carter
Squadron Leader Martin Bryan Smith DFM

Heroes: The Lancaster was piloted by Wing Commander Jimmy Carter (left), who also had Squadron Leader Martin Bryan-Smith (right) on his team

Flight Lieutenant Henry
Remembered: A Message left at the Runnymede Missing in Action memorial for Flt Lt Henry 'Hank' Jeffery by his sister Doris. Jeffery was one of the crew from the RAF Lancaster

Remembered: A message (right) left at the Runnymede Missing in Action memorial for Flt Lt Henry 'Hank' Jeffery (left) by his sister Doris. Flt Lt Jeffery was one of the crew on the RAF Lancaster

He said: ‘We’ve found a couple of torn RAF woollen jumpers, with one still bearing a DFM medal  ribbon.

'Lodged inside the sleeve of one jumper we discovered a single German 7.92mm bullet.

‘There is an officer’s forage cap, a pocket from an RAF tunic with a Waterman pen still clipped inside and a silk flying glove.’

German base: Collect photo of the hidden airfield where Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher in his German Foker-Wulf 190 was based near Tours, France

German base: Collect photo of the hidden airfield where Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher in his German Foker-Wulf 190 was based near Tours, France

Respected: Photo of Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher (far right) pilot of a German Foker-Wulf 190

Respected: Photo of Oberleutnant Helmut Eberspacher (far right) pilot of a German Foker-Wulf 190

Teamwork: Local people and volunteer workers use excavating machines to dig a 25ft hole in the French field

Teamwork: Local people and volunteer workers use excavating machines to dig a 25ft hole in the French field

In his log of D-Day, Eberspacher wrote: ‘We were at war and the enemy had to be combated, and I was in a favorable flying position.

'Within a few minutes, three British Lancaster bombers went down in flames.’

The discovery comes four months after the Queen dedicated the Bomber Command memorial in London’s Green Park to commemorate the 55,573 men who died  in action.

  • A RollsRoyce engine and landing gear was found followed by 'hundreds' of fragments of human bones in what would have been the cockpit

  • The seven strong crew died in April 1943 after coming under fire from German anti-aircraft flak

  • British Air Ministry tried to find the final resting place of the crew but with no success so assumed aircraft had crashed in the sea

Sixty-nine years after their burning plane plunged to the ground after being shot down by the Germans, the remains of seven Lancaster Bomber crewmen have been recovered.

They were discovered by a team of German historians who spent hours digging a muddy field near Frankfurt looking for the RAF crew after an eyewitness who saw the plane crash guided them to the site.

Lancaster ED427 was one of 327 bombers that took part in a raid on the Skoda armaments works at Pilsen, Czechoslovakia.

On their return to their base at RAF Fiskerton, Lincs, they came under fire from German anti-aircraft flak.

Pieces of history: The team sorted the fragments they found into boxes at the site

Pieces of history: Sixty-nine years after their burning plane plunged to the ground after being shot by German aircraft the remains of seven Lancaster Bomber crewmen have been recovered. The team sorted the fragments they found into boxes at the site

Burnt out: The remains of a scorched parachute

Burnt out: The remains of a scorched parachute. They site was discovered by a team of German historians who spent hours digging a muddy field looking for the RAF crew after an eye-witness who saw the plane crash guided them to the area

Damage: The crater made by the impact of the engine

Damage: The crater made by the impact of the engine. A Rolls Royce engine and landing gear of the World War Two aircraft was found followed by 'hundreds' of fragments of human bones in what would have been the cockpit

'TOO LITTLE TIME, TOO MUCH DAMAGE:' WHY DID THE CREW NOT MAKE IT OUT ALIVE?

Christian Pratt, IWM Duxford:

There are a number of possible reasons why none of the aircrew were able to save themselves by parachuting from the aircraft.

With eyewitnesses reporting the aircraft to be on fire, it seems likely that one or more anti-aircraft shells would have hit the airframe.

The explosions from these hits, and resulting shrapnel, could well have killed or mortally wounded, or disabled crew members directly.

The resulting fire and smoke may have also disabled crew members or, possibly, overwhelmed or suffocated them.

Egress from the Lancaster was difficult at the best of times (there is a large, central wing spar to climb over, and it is generally cramped inside the aircraft despite its apparent size).

In the dark, and with the aircraft damaged and on fire, it may also have been simply too difficult – too little time, or too much damage to hatches – to escape.

Ejector seats require the occupant to be conscious and capable of pulling the handle (there are some exceptions, but this is the general principle).

If the crew were indeed severely injured or unconscious, they would not have been able to operate the seat, even had they the facility available to them.

It’s hard to imagine what it must have been like on board during the attack, though we can reasonably assume that the crew would have made every possible effort to save themselves – and so that the circumstances preventing them from doing so were insurmountable, however highly motivated they were.

Peter Elliott,  Royal Air Force Museum:

The crew were not all in 'the cockpit' although five of the seven (pilot, flight engineer, navigator, wireless operator and bomb aimer) would have been in the front part of the aircraft – the two gunners were in their turrets further back and at the tail.

If the aircraft was hit in or near the cockpit the pilot could have been killed or injured (as might other members of the crew) and he would have lost control. Others might have tried to fly the aircraft, and thereby left it too late to bail out.

Although the crew wore their parachute harnesses all the time, they would have had to find their parachute packs and clip them on to the harness, and it would have been very difficult to get to an emergency exit in the dark while the aircraft was perhaps spinning out of control – they wouldn’t have much time before the aircraft crashed.

Would ejector seats have helped? Not necessarily – some of the crew had to move around the aircraft to do their work and so may not have been in their seats when it was hit; some of them may have been killed when it was hit, and even modern ejector seats have their limits.

Eyewitness Peter Menges saw the plane on fire before it crashed into a field outside the village of Laumersheim, near Frankfurt, and exploded into a fireball.

It is not unknown why the men did not manage to parachute from the plane. Reasons could include

Peter Elliott from Royal Air Force Museum said it may have been a case of' too little time, or too much damage.'

'With eyewitnesses reporting the aircraft to be on fire, it seems likely that one or more anti-aircraft shells would have hit the airframe.

'The explosions from these hits, and resulting shrapnel, could well have killed or mortally wounded, or disabled crew members directly.

'The resulting fire and smoke may have also disabled crew members or, possibly, overwhelmed or suffocated them.'

A Rolls-Royce engine and landing gear of the World War Two aircraft was found followed by 'hundreds' of fragments of human bones in what would have been the cockpit.

The archaeological dig in Germany was questioned by some locals who couldn't understand why the team were searching for British airmen who bombed their cities.

Uwe Benkel, who led the search, said they felt obliged to find the missing men and bring comfort to their families who knew nothing of how or where they died.

Some of the relatives have now expressed their gratitude to the amateur historians and are hoping to finally bury their loved ones seven decades after their deaths.

Mr Benkel, 51, said: 'A lot of people couldn't understand what we were doing and said things like why were we digging up British airmen who bombed our cities and killed our people?

'Our view is that this is past and history, it was 70 years ago. We are another generation.

'We do research on missing men who are still in the ground.

'It doesn't make a difference if they are German or British; they were young men who fought and died for their country for which they deserve a proper burial in a cemetery.

'We do it for the families. For them, it is a bit like reading a book with the last page missing. When we find the bodies, we are writing the final page for them.'

The seven strong crew - pilot Alex Bone, flight engineer Norman Foster, navigator Cyril Yelland, wireless operator Raymond White, bomb aimer Raymond Rooney, air gunner Ronald Cope and air gunner Bruce Watt - died in April 1943.

Lancaster ED427 one of 36 bombers which failed to make it back to Britain that night.

The impact of the crash created a large crater in the ground.

The German military recovered two of the bodies from the wreckage - thought to have been Sgt Cope and Canadian Pilot Officer Watt - and buried them.

Sgt Norman Foster, crew member of the doomed Lancaster

Sgt Raymond White, crew member of the doomed Lancaster

Perished: Flight engineer Sgt Norman Foster, left, crew member of the doomed Lancaster and wireless operator Sgt Raymond White, right.  It is thought the remains of the men will be buried in the same coffin in a single grave at a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany

Sgt Ronald Cope, crew member of the doomed Lancaster

Pilot FO Alex Bone, crew member of the doomed Lancaster

Found: Sgt Ronald Cope, left, an air gunner and pilot FO Alex Bone, right.  The seven strong crew died in April 1943

PO Bruce Watt, crew member of the doomed Lancaster

 Sgt Cyril Yelland, crew member of the doomed Lancaster

Air gunner Bruce Watt, left,  and Sgt Cyril Yelland, a navigator, right. On their return to their base at RAF Fiskerton, Lincs, they came under fire from German anti-aircraft flak

'THE BOMBERS ALONE PROVIDE THE MEANS OF VICTORY'

RAF Bomber Command's role during World War Two was to bomb the enemy's airbases, shipping, troops, communications and other industries connected to the German war effort.

Britain had to use long-range bombing after Dunkirk in 1940 until D-day in 1944 as it had no other way of attacking the Germans.

Lancaster Bomber aircraft.

The job fell to RAF air crews - some of who were just 18 - who flew increasingly heavier types of long-range bombers.

It was so successful that Hitler was forced to divert nearly a million men, 55,000 artillery guns and a large part of the German air force on to defending the nation instead of fighting offensively.

Bomber Command flew almost every day and mostly at night during the war to avoid being shot down - but this meant it was difficult to locate small targets.

In 1941 it was decided whole industrial cities should be priority targets. Larger four-engine bombers and improved navigation equipment then followed to create a formidable fighting force.

The repeated and persistent attacks on German cities which followed became a critical factor in the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945.

After the war, the British Air Ministry tried to find the final resting place of the crew but with no success.

It was assumed their aircraft had crashed in the sea and their names were added to the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey dedicated to 20,000 servicemen with no known grave.

Mr Benkel, a health insurance clerk by day, began researching military plane crashes 25 years ago and now leads a voluntary recovery group that has examined 400 crashes and recovered the bodies of 38 airmen.

He recently began looking into ED427 and found Mr Menges, 83, culminating in the dig that took place last Saturday.

Mr Benkel said: 'Peter lived in the next village. He saw the plane coming down on fire and saw the explosion. His parents didn't allow him to go and see the plane that night.

'He went the next morning and the German military were there. From what he saw the majority of the parts were on the surface and taken away.

'There was a big crater in the ground, within a couple of days it was filled in with rocks and dirt and was covered up for the next 69 years.

'Peter showed me the site and we used metal detectors and radar photos to examine it.'

The team dug five metres deep in a 100 square metre area and found sections of the fuselage, cockpit, landing gear, a tyre, a burnt parachute, tools and ammunition.

Mr Benkel believes the remains they found are those of F/O Bone, Sgt Foster, Sgt Yelland, Sgt Rooney and Sgt White as these men would have been in the cockpit at the time.

Sgt Foster's daughter Hazel Snedker was three-years-old when her father was killed aged 22.

Volunteers dig within the crater, exhuming the fateful planes remains

Excavation: Volunteers dig within the crater, exhuming the fateful planes remains. The team dug five metres deep in a 100 square metre area and found sections of the fuselage, cockpit, landing gear, a tyre, a burnt parachute, tools and ammunition

Discovery: The remains of a Merlin engine were also unearthed by the team

Discovery: The remains of a Merlin engine were also unearthed by the team

Ammunition collected from the crash site

Storage: Ammunition collected from the crash site. It was assumed the aircraft had crashed in the sea and their names were added to the Runnymede Memorial in Surrey dedicated to 20,000 servicemen with no known grave

Fatal flight: A graphic of the site in Laumersheim, Germany, where the Lancaster crashed 69 years ago

Fatal flight: A graphic of the site in Laumersheim, Germany, where the Lancaster crashed 69 years ago

LANCASTER BOMBERS BY NUMBERS

19 Victoria Crosses won by men of Bomber Command, including Guy Gibson, who led the Dam Busters raid

125,000 Bomber Command air crew serving during WWII

55,573  died in action, a death rate of 44 per cent

4% average chance of being shot down per mission – but crews had to complete at least 30. Chances of surviving war lower than infantry officer in First World War trenches

9,838 bomber crew became prisoners of war

1.3m  tons of bombs dropped by the Allies on Germany

635,000  is the estimate of German civilians killed

72% of Bomber Command dead were British. The rest were from Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Mrs Snedker, now aged 72 and from Leamington Spa, Warks, said: 'I have no memory of my father whatsoever.

'The only memory I have is of my mother fainting when she received the telegram saying he was missing.

'My mother died from tuberculosis when I was six-years-old and I was bought up by my paternal grandparents.

'Iknow that they quietly hoped that there would be some news of their son.

'But in those days very little was spoken about it and you just carried on.

'When something like that happens you either get bitter and twisted about it or you just get on with it.

'And now, after all these years, it has all come to light.

'It is a great relief to know what did happen to him and where he is. At least he will now have a grave with a headstone.

'My father had two sisters who are still alive. I know my auntie Joan is very pleased. She wanted to know what happened to her brother.'

Volunteers dig within the crater to exhume any remains

Labour: Volunteers dig within the crater to exhume any remains. After the war, the British Air Ministry tried to find the final resting place of the crew but with no success

Uwe Benkel, the volunteers' team leader

Volunteer Christian Schwein with fragments of tyre found at the crash site

Tireless: Uwe Benkel, the volunteers' team leader and Volunteer Christian Schwein with fragments of tyre found at the crash site. Mr Benkel said: 'I think it is right they share the same grave. These men flew together and died together. They should now rest together

Birds eye view: An aerial Luftwaffe picture showing the crash site at Laumersheim, Germany

Birds eye view: An aerial Luftwaffe picture showing the crash site at Laumersheim, Germany

Commemoration: A minutes silence was held in respect by the volunteers. Members of the Bundeswehr reserve, part of the German army, are in uniform

Commemoration: A minutes silence was held in respect by the volunteers. Members of the Bundeswehr reserve, part of the German army, are in uniform

It is thought the remains of the men will be buried in the same coffin in a single grave at a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany.

Respect: A poppy memorial was erected as a mark of remembrance. It is thought the remains of the men will be buried in the same coffin in a single grave at a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany

The British Embassy in Berlin has been made aware of the discovery.

It is thought the remains of the men will be buried in the same coffin in a single grave at a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Germany.

Mr Benkel said: 'I think it is right they share the same grave. These men flew together and died together. They should now rest together.'

LANCASTER BOMBERS BY NUMBERS
  • 19 Victoria Crosses won by men of Bomber Command, including Guy Gibson, who led the Dam Busters raid

  • 125,000 Bomber Command air crew serving during World War Two

  • 55,573 died in action, a death rate of 44 per cent

  • 4 per cent average chance of being shot down per mission - but crews had to complete at least 30. Chances of surviving war lower than infantry officer in First World War trenches

  • 9,838 bomber crew became prisoners of war

  • 1.3million tons of bombs dropped by the Allies on Germany

  • 635,000 is the estimate of German civilians killed

  • 72 per cent of Bomber Command dead were British. The rest were from Canada, Australia and New Zealand

  • The 12 human bones were found on some rocks three miles from the wreckage

  • A piece of parachute and a metal button dated 1939 were found nearby

  • Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping crashed at the spot in 1942, and is thought to have wandered off into the desert

  • The perfectly preserved plane was found earlier this year by Polish oil exploration workers

A body has been found in the desert close to the spot where a pilot disappeared after crash-landing during the war. The wreckage of the P40 Kittyhawk plane was found perfectly preserved earlier this year, 70 years after the accident, and now it seems that airman Dennis Copping's remains may have been recovered nearby. The bones were located on some rocks four months ago, along with a piece of parachute, about three miles from where the plane landed in the Sahara desert in 1942. A keychain fob with the number 61 on it was found near the remains, along with a metal button dated 1939.

Mysterious disappearance: Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping crashed in the desert in 1942, and his plane was only uncovered earlier this year

Mysterious disappearance: Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping crashed in the desert in 1942, and his plane was only uncovered earlier this year

Mounting evidence: The twelve bones were found three miles found the plane, along with a piece of parachute, keyfob and metal button with 1939 on it

Mounting evidence: The twelve bones were found three miles found the plane, along with a piece of parachute, keyfob and metal button with 1939 on it

Bid for survival: The P40 Kittyhawk was found perfectly preserved and someone had apparently tried to build a shelter beside it

Bid for survival: The P40 Kittyhawk was found perfectly preserved and someone had apparently tried to build a shelter beside it. But the pilot's relatives claim the Ministry of Defence said that the remains were not those of the lost airman. It has since been established that the bones were never recovered or analysed, leaving open the possibility they may be those of Flight Sergeant Copping. His nephew, William Pryor-Bennett, from Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland, has now urged for DNA tests to be carried out as soon as possible.

To that end, two British historians and a forensic anatomist have volunteered to travel to Egypt and recover the bones themselves. Mr Pryor-Bennett, 62, said he is ‘appalled’ at the way the matter has been handled. He said: 'The bones suspected to be those of my uncle are apparently still lying in the desert. They were found in June and should have been tested by now.

Poignant: Flight Sergeant Denis Copping in his RAF uniform aged 24, just days before he went missing

Poignant: Flight Sergeant Denis Copping in his RAF uniform aged 24, just days before he went missing

Reading for combat: Flt Sgt Copping proudly looks down from the cockpit of his Kittyhawk P-40

Ready for combat: Flt Sgt Copping proudly looks down from the cockpit of his Kittyhawk P-40. 'Someone from the MoD got in touch with me in August to say that they aren’t his bones.

Family memories: William Pryor-Bennett is the nephew of Flt Sgt Copping

Family memories: William Pryor-Bennett is the nephew of Flt Sgt Copping. 'But it would now seem they have written off the remains prematurely as no DNA tests have been done. I am a little appalled at this. They need to be tested as soon as possible. The plane is of no interest to me but he could be buried if it is him. 'This man disappeared long before I was born. My mother and my grandmother used to talk about him and what a nice lad he was. 'He was a serving his country and who was out there doing his bit. He should be treated properly.' Ft Sgt Copping, 24, was from Southend, Essex, and flew with the 260 Squadron. He had been flying between two British bases in Egypt during the north Africa campaign in World War Two when he disappeared. Nothing was ever seen of him or his plane again until earlier this year when a team of Polish oil exploration workers stumbled upon the perfectly preserved aircraft. There is evidence to suggest Ft Sgt Copping survived the crash and made a makeshift shelter outside the plane using his parachute. It is thought he died while making a futile attempt to walk out of the desert.

Time capsule: Aside from the damage it sustained during impact, the aircraft appears to have been almost perfectly preserved in the sands of the Sahara

Time capsule: Aside from the damage it sustained during impact, the aircraft appears to have been almost perfectly preserved in the sands of the Sahara

Chance discovery: The single-seater aircraft was found by a Polish oil company worker exploring a remote region of the western desert in Egypt

Chance discovery: The single-seater aircraft was found by a Polish oil company worker exploring a remote region of the western desert in Egypt

Intact: Most of the plane's cockpit instruments were untouched and it still had it guns and ammunition before they were seized by the Egyptian military for safety reasons

Intact: Most of the plane's cockpit instruments were untouched and it still had it guns and ammunition before they were seized by the Egyptian military for safety reasons

Second World War weaponry: The machine gun on the wing of the crashed plane. It appears the pilot got into trouble and brought it down in the middle of the desert

Second World War weaponry: The machine gun on the wing of the crashed plane. It appears the pilot got into trouble and brought it down in the middle of the desert

Bullet holes: The Kittyhawk appears to have been shot at
Scattered remains: The propeller of the Second World War plane

Bullet holes: The Kittyhawk appears to have been shot at (left), while its broken propeller lays nearby (right). Historians have described the find as the 'aviation equivalent of Tutankhamun's Tomb'

Well-preserved: The Kittyhawk's magazine of bullets were also found in the wreckage. The radio and batteries were discovered out of the plane

Well-preserved: The Kittyhawk's magazine of bullets were also found in the wreckage. The radio and batteries were discovered out of the plane

In June this year, a team of historians from Italy unearthed 12 human bones close to an outcrop of rocks, which the Ministry of Defence said were discovered by people who live in that part of the Sahara. Dr Laurence Garey, an independent forensic anatomist, has studied the photographs of the bones. He said: 'I can confirm there are about 12 human bones. There is no question that they are human. 'According to the Italian team they were found just under the surface. Whether they are the bones of Dennis Copping is another matter.

At the controls: The plane's cockpit, but there are fears over what will be left of it after locals began stripping parts and instruments for souvenirs and scrap

At the controls: The plane's cockpit, but there are fears over what will be left of it after locals began stripping parts and instruments for souvenirs and scrap

Unseen and untouched: Equipment and controls from the plane were found scattered around the crashed craft
Unseen and untouched: Equipment and controls from the plane were found scattered around the crashed craft

Unseen and untouched: Equipment and controls from the plane were found scattered around the craft at the crash site. The plane is still in very good condition

Heading home: The RAF Museum at Hendon, north London, has been made aware of the discovery and plans are underway to recover the aircraft for exhibition in the future

Heading home: The RAF Museum at Hendon, north London, has been made aware of the discovery and plans are underway to recover the aircraft for exhibition in the future

'I can’t tell how old they are or how long they have been there without examining them.

'I don’t know how or why the Italian team went from the aircraft to the spot where they found these bones but they do seem quite credible.

'I hope to be able to recover at least one bone for DNA analysis and to compare that with a member of Dennis Copping’s family.'

The MoD told Mail Online it had told the family the remains were unlikely to be Copping's because no military clothing was found on the body and it was miles from the scene of the crash.

The Kittyhawk factory stamp
The Kittyhawk's gun loading instruction panel

Sign of the time: The Kittyhawk's factory stamp (left) and gun loading instruction panel (right). However, some locals see the aircraft as a piece of junk

Signs of survival: Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping's parachute was part of what is believed to be a makeshift camp alongside the fuselage

Signs of survival: Flight Sergeant Dennis Copping's parachute was part of what is believed to be a makeshift camp alongside the fuselage

Remote: The crash site is about 200 miles from the nearest town. No human remains have been found but it is thought the pilot's decomposed body may lay anywhere in a 20 mile radius of the plane

Remote: The crash site is about 200 miles from the nearest town. No human remains have been found but it is thought the pilot's decomposed body may lay anywhere in a 20 mile radius of the plane. They said that resources to investigate a discovery in such a remote spot were limited but added that they were still in contact with the family and embassy in Cairo. 'We are aware of this case and understand that investigations are under way in Egypt to identify the human remains,' said a spokesman. 'We are in close contact with Flt Sgt Copping’s family and will continue to keep them informed of developments.' They said they would do more if it begins to look more likely that these are Copping's remains. Captain Paul Collins, the British defence attache in Cairo, claimed they he had had no contact with the Italian team about the find. The P40 Kittyhawk plane has been removed from the desert and locked in a storage crater in El Alemain. The Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon is in negotiations with Egyptian authorities to have the aircraft returned to Britain.

In flight: Ft Sgt Copping and another airman were tasked with flying two damaged Kittyhawk P-40 planes (like this one) from one British airbase in northern Egypt to another for repair

In flight: Ft Sgt Copping and another airman were tasked with flying two damaged Kittyhawk P-40 planes (like this one) from one British airbase in northern Egypt to another for repair

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A transfer case with the remains of Army Sergeant 1st Class Coater B. Debose of State Line, Mississippi, waits to be unloaded during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base August 22, 2012 in Dover, Delaware. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) #

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A transfer case containing the remains of U.S. Marine Cpl. Richard Rivera, is moved by a U.S. Marine carry team during a dignified transfer at Dover Air Force Base, on August 13, 2012. Cpl. Rivera who was from Oxnard, California, was killed on August 10 in Garmsir, Afghanistan, after being shot by an Afghan civilian. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) #

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Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin, of Laramie, Wyoming, died on August 1, 2012, when two insurgents detonated vests laden with explosives in Kunar province. Griffin was one of three troops killed in the suicide attack, all assigned to units based at Fort Carson in Colorado. The Defense Department identified them Thursday as 38-year-old Air Force Maj. Walter D. Gray, of Conyers, Georgia; 35-year-old Army Maj. Thomas E. Kennedy, of West Point, New York; and 45-year-old Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J. Griffin. (AP Photo/U.S. Defense Dept) #

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Soldiers from B Company, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team bow their heads during a memorial ceremony for U.S. Army Pfc. Andrew Keller of B. Company, at Combat Outpost Charkh in Logar Province, Afghanistan, on August 22, 2012. Keller was killed when insurgents attacked his unit in Charkh, in Logar province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Michael Sword) #

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Transfer cases containing the remains of Army 1st Sgt. Russell R. Bell of Tyler, Texas, Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton of Largo, Florida, Army Pfc. Jesus J. Lopez of San Bernardino, California, and Marine Lance Cpl. Curtis J. Duarte of West Covina, California, sit on the loader ramp, upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, on August 4, 2012. The Department of Defense announced the death of Bell, Sitton, Lopez and Duarte who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) #

36

A U.S. Marine Corps carry team transfers the remains of Department of State Foreign Service Officer II Mr. Ragaei Abdelfattah, of Annapolis, Maryland, at Dover Air Force Base, on August 12, 2012. Abdelfattah, a USAID officer, was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Konar province, on August 8, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik) #

37

A combination picture shows official photographs of Australian soldiers Sapper James Martin (left), Private Robert Poate (right) and Lance Corporal Stjepan Milosevic. The soldiers were killed in southern Afghanistan on August 29, 2012 by an Afghan wearing a soldier's uniform as Australia suffered its worst combat losses since the Vietnam War. Another two troops died in a helicopter crash in the south on August 30. (Reuters/Australian Department of Defence) #

38

An Army carry team carries a transfer case containing the remains of Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton of Largo, Florida, upon arrival at Dover Air Force Base, on August 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana) #

39

Marines with Military Working Dogs Platoon, Headquarters and Supply Company, 1st Law Enforcement Battalion (Forward), I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group, pay their final respects to Sgt. Joshua R. Ashley during a memorial ceremony in the Regional Command Southwest chapel, on August 17, 2012. Ashley, from Rancho Cucamonga, California, was killed in action on July 19, while conducting combat operations in Helmand province. (USMC/Cpl. Mark Garcia) #

40

Senior Airman DarRon Harmon closes the door of a transfer vehicle that holds a transfer case containing the remains of Staff Sgt. Christopher J. Birdwell at Dover Air Force Base, on August 29, 2012. According to the Department of Defense, Birdwell, of Windsor, Colorado, died while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt) #

41

A New Zealand Army piper plays at the Military Commemorative Service for LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone at Burnam Military Camp in Christchurch, New Zealand, on August 11, 2012. (Martin Hunter/Getty Images)

In the month of September 2012, the United States completed its withdrawal of the 33,000 troops deployed to Afghanistan in the "surge" of 2009. However, the U.S. still has 86,000 troops engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom, even as some coalition members are now finishing up their deployments. Also this month, coalition troops have curtailed joint operations with Afghan Army and police forces, due to increased attacks on foreign soldiers by members of the Afghan forces -- and heightened tensions resulting from widespread anger over an anti-Islam movie produced in the U.S. Gathered here are images of those involved in this conflict over the past month, as part of the ongoing series here on Afghanistan.

Four MV-22 Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 follow a KC-130J with Detachment A, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, from Helmand province, Afghanistan, to the USS Iwo Jima in the Arabian Sea, on September 6, 2012. (USMC/Sgt. John Jackson)

Four MV-22 Ospreys with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 follow a KC-130J with Detachment A, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, from Helmand province, Afghanistan, to the USS Iwo Jima in the Arabian Sea, on September 6, 2012. (USMC/Sgt. John Jackson)

Click here to find out more!

2

A riot policeman keeps watch during a demonstration in Kabul, on September 21, 2012. Hundreds of Afghans protested against a U.S.-made film they say insults the Prophet Mohammad. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #

3

16th BC French unit soldiers unload their vehicles before their return to France as part of French disengagement at Warehouse base in Kabul, on September 23, 2012. France is the fifth largest contributor to NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which is due to pull out the vast majority of its 130,000 troops by the end of 2014. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images) #

4

US Army soldiers attached to the 2nd platoon, C-Coy. 1-23 Infantry based at Zangabad forward operating base in Panjwai district deploy an Anti Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (A-POBS), which are charges fired by rocket used to trigger a safe detonation of IEDs. Photo taken during a dawn operation at Naja-bien village, on September 23, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

5

Dust kicks off the ground during an operation by US Army soldiers attached to the 2nd platoon, C-Coy. 1-23 Infantry based at Zangabad foward operating base in Panjwai district after an A-POBS detonation on a nearby road during a dawn operation, on September 23, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

6

An Afghan woman carries her child through the Kati Sakhi cemetery in Kabul, on September 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic) #

Warning:
This image may contain graphic or
objectionable content
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7

Afghan policemen investigate at the site of suicide attack in Kabul, on September 8, 2012. A suicide bomber detonated explosives near the heavily barricaded NATO headquarters in the Afghan capital, killing four civilians, NATO and local officials said. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #

8

Pigeons fly above dwellings in the hillside neighborhood of Jamal Mina and the Abdul Rahman Khan mosque in Kabul, on September 27, 2012. It is estimated that about 20 percent of the city's more less than 5 million residents live on houses built on steep hills that surround the city. Running water was recently installed on some homes in this neighborhood but open sewers run down hill. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #

9

A soldier from the 1st Platoon, 1-64 Armoured Battalion, US Army, walks through a marijuana field during a security patrol near Morghan-Kecha village in Daman district, Kandahar, on September 6, 2012 near the Kandahar Air Field. The Taliban are involved in a quarter of Afghan security personnel attacks on NATO colleagues, according to a military commander. The surge of assaults, unprecedented in modern warfare, have seen Afghan troops opening fire on their NATO colleagues more than 30 times this year, killing at least 45 foreign troops -- most of them Americans. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

10

U.S. Marines with the fiscal development team, C-9, Regional Command (Southwest), distribute hero payments, financial compensation given to families of fallen Afghan Local Police killed in the line of duty in Zarghun Kalay, Helmand province, on September 10, 2012. (USMC/Lance Cpl. Robert J. Reeves) #

11

An Afghan girl from the local Pashtun tribe peers from behind a mud perimeter wall to watch US Army soldiers from the 1st Platoon, Delta Coy, 1-64 ARS army at Nevay-deh village, a short distance from the Lindsey forward operating base on September 13, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

12

Members of 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron prepare to connect tower sections as a civilian contractor helicopter lowers sections into place. A specialized team from several Air National Guard Engineering Installation Squadrons deployed to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, combined their efforts to build and set up the 170-foot communications tower, greatly increasing radio communication range. (USAF/1st Lt. Bruce Champion) #

13

A U.S. Army firing party stands ready during the burial service of U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez at Arlington National Cemetery, on September 26, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. Ramirez died September 5 in Logar Province, Afghanistan, from injuries suffered when a OH-58D Kiowa helicopter crashed. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) #

14

During a burial service for U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Thalia S. Ramirez, Brigadier Gen. Charles Flynn (left) presents the American flag that covered her casket to Ramirez's husband, U.S. Army Sgt. Jesse Belbeck at Arlington National Cemetery, on September 26, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. (Win McNamee/Getty Images) #

15

Afghan boys play football on a hill in Kabul, on September 11, 2012. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #

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This image may contain graphic or
objectionable content
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16

Injured Afghan men arrive at a hospital in the back of a truck, along with the dead bodies of other victims, after a suicide attack on a funeral in Durbaba district of Jalalabad, on September 4, 2012. Afghan officials say a suicide bomber killed several civilians and wounded dozens more at a funeral for a village elder in a remote part of eastern Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

17

A man smokes hashish in a backstreet of a market in Kabul, on September 23, 2012. There is a growing unease for the future of the Afghan economy, mainly supported by foreign aid, after the expected pullout of NATO troops from the country in 2014. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #

18

French soldiers secure a perimeter at a forward observing post near the National Police Training Center (NPTC) in Wardak province, on on September 26, 2012. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images) #

19

A U.S. Army soldier from C-Coy. 1st platoon, 1-23 infantry points to a monitor showing video from a remote controlled vehicle displaying an image of a pressure plate type commonly used by Taliban insurgents to trigger IED explosions. Photo taken during a patrol in the village of Gerandai in Panjway district, Kandahar Province, on September 21, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

20

U.S. Marines with Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) relocate six AV-8B Harriers to continue conducting counter-insurgency operations, Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, on September 26, 2012. The six AV-8B Harriers were relocated to Camp Bastion to increase the overall readiness level after the base was attacked on September 14, 2012. (USMC/Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo) #

21

Spc. Sarah Sutphin removes her new body armor after training on a firing range on September 18, 2012, in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division are field testing the first Army body armor designed to fit women's physiques in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan this fall. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) #

22

An Afghan rides a horse at sunset in Kabul, on September 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic) #

23

Modest buildings crowd the side of a hill overlooking Kabul on September 27, 2012. According to the World Bank more than a third of the population of Afghanistan live below the poverty line, more than half are vulnerable and at serious risk of falling into poverty. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #

24

A newborn baby girl, discovered abandoned on the road during an armored patrol of Polish sappers in southern Afghanistan, receives attention in Waghez, Afghanistan, on September 20, 2012. Named "Pola" by the troops, for Poland, the baby girl has been examined by military doctors and was to be handed over to Afghan pediatricians and authorities. (AP Photo/Marcin Gil/Poland's Defense Ministry) #

25

French soldiers sit in their vehicle as they drive to an operation in Warehouse base in Kabul, on September 24, 2012. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images) #

26

An Afghan villager holds up a blood-stained hand to US military soldiers from the 3rd platoon, C-company, 1-23 infantry, before they use a ballistics kit to test for explosive residue on his hands. The man was shot because he was suspected of being an insurgent and planting a roadside bomb, in Genrandai village at Panjwai district, Kandahar, on September 24, 2012. The wounded man denied being Taliban, an association with which consequently leads to incarceration for the suspect and his family, saying he had been working at a grapevine when he was shot. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

27

An Afghan hound stands on the roof of a house during a patrol by US Army soldiers from Delta Company at Qalacha village in Kandahar, on September 10, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

28

A bundle of leaflets disperses in the wind after being thrown from an MV-22 Osprey aircraft by a U.S. Army member, above Gereshk, Helmand Province, on September 19, 2012. The leaflets are intended to inform Afghan farmers about Peace and National Unity Week. (USAF/Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Martin) #

29

Haley Leonard holds on to her father, SFC Kyle Leonard, after he arrived at a homecoming ceremony with his unit, the 713th Engineer Company of the Indiana Army National Guard, at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Gary, Indiana, on September 26, 2012. The 713th Engineers were returning from a deployment in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. Six soldiers from the unit were killed during the deployment. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #

30

A crowd gathers at an open air market where farmers sell their produce in Herat, on September 25, 2012. (Aref Karimi/AFP/Getty Images) #

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objectionable content
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31

A man raises arms, looking at a victim lying on the ground among wreckage, at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, on September 18, 2012. A suicide bomber blew himself up alongside a minivan carrying foreigners on a major highway leading to the international airport in the Afghan capital, police said, killing at least 10 people, including nine foreigners. (Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images) #

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This image may contain graphic or
objectionable content
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32

An Afghan policeman takes photos as he stands over bodies at the scene of a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, on September 18, 2012. Afghan insurgent group Hezb-e-Islami claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the suicide bomb attack on a minivan carrying foreign workers that killed 12 people saying it was retaliation for a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad. Most of the foreigners killed were reportedly South Africans, employed by an aviation charter company working under contract for USAID. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail) #

33

An Afghan boy from the Pashtun tribe watches as a joint patrol between soldiers from the 1st Platoon, 1-64 Armored Battalion of the US Army walks through Morghan-Khecha village in Daman district, Kandahar province, on September 8, 2012. (Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images) #

34

Afghan villagers raise their weapons as they vow to defend their village against the Taliban in Achen district of Nangarhar province, on September 17, 2012. Taliban fighters are being pushed out of some areas in eastern Afghanistan by local militias defending their villages, according to local leaders. (Noorullah Shirzada/AFP/Getty Images) #

35

Afghan workers employed by the municipality of Kabul clean the polluted Kabul river on September 27, 2012. Hundreds of workers earn the equivalent of $100 USD for a month's worth of work cleaning trash that has been dumped on the river by its inhabitants. (Jawad Jalali/AFP/Getty Images) #

36

A wounded woman rests at a hospital after NATO air strikes in Laghman province, on September 16, 2012. NATO-led air strikes in southern Laghman province on Saturday night killed eight women, according to a local official. (Reuters/Parwiz) #

37

Afghan policemen take part to an exercise under the supervision of the Eurogendfor in the National Police Training Center (NPTC) in Wardak province, on September 26, 2012. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images) #

38

A blind student weaves a cleaning brush at the Kabul Blind School, on September 2, 2012. The Kabul Blind School was established in 1977 and has more than 187 students. It is the only school for the blind in Afghanistan. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #

39

Coalition Forces attend a memorial service in honor of Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible at Camp Bastion, Helmand province, on September 19, 2012. Raible, commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211, Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3D Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), was killed in action while repealing an enemy attack on Camp Bastion on September 14, 2012. (USMC/Sgt. Keonaona C. Paulo) #

40

Ahmad Tazim, who makes a living as a construction worker, stands with his two sons Naim (left), 5, and Karim, 2, in front of his home in the hillside neighborhood of Jamal Mina high above Kabul, on September 27, 2012. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #

41

A view of German outpost Observation Point North in restive Baghlan province in Northern Afghanistan, on August 22, 2012. About 600 German troops are based at OP North. (Reuters/Sabine Siebold) #

42

Afghan children run to school in a village on the road to Naghlu, Afghanistan, on September 24, 2012. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)

Pray for me, Father, mine is the sin of cowardice
For I do not set myself on fire at the White House gate
To protest murder. I am a glutton for God’s blue sky.
Pray for me, Father, for my tax dollars set a banquet for Death
With napalm and daisy cutters and snakelike missiles
That blow apart other men, and their wives and children

While I walk secure along the shore of the tranquil sea.
Pray for me, Father, and I will pray for you.
I will pray for a church that does not decry an Inquisition
Where men are broken and driven mad in the dungeons

Of Bagram, Kabul, Gitmo, and Abu Ghraib
A church of priests who recall Golgotha
As if Jesus and Jesus and Jesus by the thousands

Are not being crucified now by the Masters of War
Are not shuffling home on artificial legs
Are not staring sightless from wheelchairs
In VA hospitals into God’s blue sky.
Pray for me, Father, and I will pray for you.

Pray For Me, Father © by Sherwood Ross

 

 

Along the Front, the next few days were full of rumours that the Germans were suing for peace. It didn’t seem possible. The Kaiser’s armies had been fighting a tenacious rearguard action and, though many prisoners had fallen into Allied hands, the expectation was that the war would drag on into 1919.

This sudden talk of an armistice made everyone nervous. Sergeant Walter Sweet recalled how the sound of a shell sent men scurrying for shelter, while before they would have taken little notice. ‘If the end was near, we were taking no chances of being pipped at the last minute.’

The morning of November 11 was extremely cold and a white frost covered the Front. Sweet marched his platoon from the Monmouthshire Regiment to the next village and was billeting them in a barn when the colonel walked in.

‘He wished us good day and looked at his watch. “It is 10am. Men, I am pleased to tell you that in one hour the Armistice comes into force and you will all be able to return to your homes.” ’

Armistice

Armistice Day 1918: Crowds in London's Tralfalgar Square celebrating the end of the first world war

But the news of the imminent German surrender was greeted with silence. ‘We did not cheer,’ Sweet recalled. ‘But just stood, stunned and bewildered.’

He continued: ‘Then, on the stroke of 11am the CO raised his hand and told us that the war was over. That time we cheered, with our tin hats on and our rifles held aloft. For old hands like me, it was funny realising that this day we had waited so long for had come at last.’

The celebrations began. Lieutenant John Godfrey was lucky: he toasted the victory with fine wines. The owner of the house in which he was billeted had retrieved vintage bottles from the garden where he had hidden them from the German occupiers.

‘The bally war is over, which is the great thing and a joy,’ the lieutenant noted. But the concept of peace was baffling after so many years of bloody conflict. ‘To think that I shall not have to toddle among machine guns again and never hear another shell burst. It is simply unimaginable.’

Another soldier admitted that he too was apprehensive. ‘What’s to become of us?’ he asked. ‘We have lived this life for so long. Now we shall have to start all over again.’

Armistice

The Royal Family, seen on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, celebrating with servicemen and civilians after the announcement of the Armistice

The actual return home was a joy. Private John McCauley of the 2nd Border Regiment remembered cheering crowds, waving flags and bands playing music everywhere. In London, he went onto the streets ‘to be swallowed up in the swirling multitude’.

But being demobbed meant sad farewells — ‘handshakes with old comrades — fine fellows with whom I had shared experiences that will live in the memory as long as life shall last.’

And many were haunted by painful memories. Pte Charles Heare, his discharge papers in his pocket, was on a train returning from the Front when he passed the Ypres battlefield, where he had fought. He saw how ‘smashed up’ it was and wondered to his mates how they had managed to live through it.

‘A lot of luck, good hearing and a sense of danger,’ one replied. Then someone asked: ‘What was it for? What have we got for it, or anyone else for that matter?’ No one had an answer.

Armistice

The crowd gathered outside the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England in London after the announcement of the Armistice

As he neared his home in Wales, his friend Pte Black, who had been with him in France since the start in 1914, was sentimental about leaving his comrades.

‘We have had to protect one another from danger, share our sleep and food. We have seen thousands of dead and dying. We have had romping good times and horrid bad ones together. But now we must part and start a new life. Let’s hope we have lived through it all for a good purpose.’

Many men now found themselves reflecting on what had happened and asking themselves and each other the same question: Was it all worth it?

Lt George Foley thought so. He returned to his home in the Quantock Hills in Somerset sadder but wiser. He was left with ‘many memories of irreparable loss, but also a heritage of wider experience and a truer knowledge of life. Although at times the price to pay was almost intolerable, I would not have forgone them.’

Sgt Major Cook, recovering in hospital from that wound he received days before the Armistice, was philosophical. ‘I have always been a firm believer in prayer and, after what I have been through, my faith is stronger than ever. As long as I live, I shall remember the many hundreds of pals left behind who were not as lucky as I was.’

Yet John McCauley felt not just sad, but broken. He had seen things no man should see, he had been wounded, and he had watched a soldier he knew being shot at dawn for desertion. Fear never left him and he was racked with survivor’s guilt.

‘Such courage and nerve as I possessed were stolen from me on the blood-drenched plains of France,’ he wrote. ‘The trenches in Flanders helped make me a weakling. They sapped my courage, shattered my nerves and threw me back into a “civilised” world broken in spirit and nerve. They might as well have taken my body, too.’

Trenches

British troops go over the top during trench warfare at an unknown battlefield in Europe during World War I

The morale that had seen men through the horrors of the trenches now seemed to seep away in a post-war malaise. It soon became apparent that the prospects were not good for those returning from the war. There would prove to be little help for them in terms of housing, pensions and welfare, despite politicians’ promises of a ‘land fit for heroes’.

The maimed particularly struggled. Pte Christopher Massie, a medic in the war who later found work in a military hospital, remembered a patient who had just come out from the operating theatre.

‘He asked me to ease his right arm. I turned down the blankets, to find that it had been amputated,’ he explained.

‘The poor fellow’s jaw dropped. “They should not have done that,” he said. “I could move my fingers and with them I could have got a job. Now I shall never work again. I
suppose they will give me a sum of money and, after that is gone, I shall have to beg or starve.” ’

The man’s bitterness upset Massie. ‘There was no word that his country might be grateful to him.’ He noted that soldiers, generally, had nothing but contempt and suspicion for the leaders of the nation for which they had fought so hard.

Medals

The indiscriminate handing out of medals became a source of bitterness among returned soldiers

The handing out of medals became another focus for resentment. For a conflict that lasted more than four years, there was a dearth of campaign medals for the Great War. There was the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, and they were handed out regardless of how many battles a man had fought.

In World War II, separate campaign medals were awarded for service in conflicts as diverse as North Africa, Italy and Burma. But in 1918, there was no individual recognition for those who had fought at the Somme or at Ypres.

Most men got just two medals, small return for such great sacrifice. And men who spent the war behind the lines were entitled to the same awards as those who had faced years under fire in the trenches.

One 19-year-old private disembarked at Boulogne on the evening before the Armistice having never seen a shot fired in anger. Yet he received the same medals as those who had slogged it out in hell-holes such as Passchendaele.

This lack of distinction annoyed some veterans. They felt undervalued and unappreciated.

The award of gallantry medals was also controversial. Fewer than 200,000 were awarded, about one per 25 servicemen. Most received nothing, their remarkable courage overlooked.

Pte Charles Heare was disgusted at the number of Distinguished Conduct Medals and Military Medals on show at staff headquarters, many miles behind the lines, by men who had only ever seen shells when they were being loaded onto a lorry.

Nor was this resentment confined to enlisted men. Lt Col George Stevens, commanding officer of the 2nd Royal Fusiliers, had ‘many fine fellows, runners, scouts, stretcher-bearers, patrol leaders, whom I recommended for honours but were turned down because they “only did their duty”.

And yet one sees a certain class of officer wearing decorations for bravery who one knows never went within miles of the enemy.’ He branded the situation ‘the most awful humbug’.

Given this pervading post-war air of disillusionment, it is not surprising that many of the Great War veterans whose diaries, letters and memoirs I have researched were determined that their experience — and the sacrifice of nearly a million of their
colleagues — should never be belittled or forgotten.

Henry

World War One veteran Henry Allingham, who at 112 is the oldest ever surviving member of any British Armed Forces, is pictured during an Armistice Day service

‘Do not neglect the graves of the heroes,’ urged Pte Christopher Massie. ‘Do not forget that they died for your necessity. Died, in so many cases without romance, almost ridiculously, hung on barbed wire like scarecrows, or mixing their blood with the rain and filth of some lonely shell hole.

‘Do not forget the long days and nights of privation and physical wretchedness that precede this end.

‘Think of the oozing trenches with their ominous stench, always collapsing until the clay is knee-deep, and cover is hardly obtainable, and comfort not at all. Think of the
impossibility of getting one’s clothes dry and one’s body clean.’

Pte George Fleet felt later generations needed reminding of these horrors. ‘Imagine open country where every tree and hedge is shot away and the ground pitted with shell holes, the disgusting stench of dead bodies, the smell from exploding bombs, your
feet in mud inches thick.

‘Your body aches from sheer exhaustion and is irritated by lice, and when you drop down at night, rats will play hide and seek over your body. That is war.’

A sergeant who travelled to the fields of Flanders some months after the Armistice was appalled by what he saw. Still lying in the mud were broken rifles, bayonets, hand grenades, stick bombs, unexploded shells, helmets, boots and human bones.

He wrote to his wife: ‘I could not look upon this devastation without reflecting that man has indeed sunk very low, to use his superior intellect in fashioning means of dealing death and destruction all round. All this in an enlightened age — and to what purpose?

Cenotaph

The Cenotaph in London pictured on the fifteenth anniversary of Armistice Day commemorating the end of the Great War

‘Man is indeed a refined savage, and war is a hideous spectre born of the devil. If this war is the last and the world becomes the better for it — well and good. If not, God help the world!’

The broken John McCauley continued to have serious doubts about this ‘sorry world’ to which soldiers like him had returned. He thought about all his friends who did not come back and he was irked by the glib way in which people trotted out the phrase ‘They died that England might live’.

‘I hear these words ringing in my ears like the daily dinning of the shellfire in the trenches. But what if those who died could come back and see what it was they fought for? I wonder what their thoughts would be.’

But as the years went by, his memories were kinder to him. They were especially strong around Armistice-tide, as he called it.

‘In the two minutes’ silence, I see great hosts of khaki-clad phantom figures, the ghosts of yesterday. The long line of soldier comrades, such noble comrades they were, march before my blurred vision.

‘I see them in battalions, brigades, divisions, Army corps, and I hear their cry: “In honouring the dead, forget not the living. Remember us, but remember, too, those who survived.” ’

To Sgt William Peacock, of the South Wales Borderers, those who fell in the Great War were all heroes. ‘We are owed a debt of honour,’ he wrote. ‘My boys, we are proud of you all.’ The haunting faces of war: Startling pictures from America’s conflicts show more than 70 years of bloodshed

The unsmiling dark eyes of U.S. Marine Carlos 'OJ' Orjuela, 31, stare directly at the viewer from a face covered in the grime of battle as two unsettling reminders of a war that some Americans have already started to forget.

Orujela's stark photo, taken by photographer Louie Palu after an operation in Helmand Province in Afghanistan, is only one of hundreds of haunting images from different eras that went on display at the Houston Museum of Art as part of a war photography exhibit.

Another striking image in the exhibit was captured by Nina Berman at the most unlikely of venues: not a battlefield or a war-scarred village in Iraq, but rather an Illinois wedding studio.

Face of war: U.S. Marine Carlos 'OJ' Orjuela was photographed by Louie Palu after a mission in Helmand province

Face of war: U.S. Marine Carlos 'OJ' Orjuela was photographed by Louie Palu after a mission in Helmand province

Different look: A Royal Navy sailor on board HMS Alcantara uses a portable sewing machine to repair a signal flag during a voyage to Sierra Leone, March 1942

Different look: A Royal Navy sailor on board HMS Alcantara uses a portable sewing machine to repair a signal flag during a voyage to Sierra Leone, March 1942

An American bomber pilot was fighting for his life and they lives of his six wounded crew members when he tried desperately to keep the plane from nose-diving into German territory during World War II.

Adding to his concerns, 2nd Lt. Brown feared a new threat when he spotted a German plane directly next to his plane, so close that the German pilot was looking him directly in the eyes and making big gestures with his hands that only scared Brown more.

The moment was fleeting however, as the German quickly saluted the American plane before peeling away as soon as one of Brown's men went for the gun turret to attack their enemy.

Saved: Charlie Brown was the lone pilot controlling an American bomber in 1943 when a German soldier decided not to shoot at the bloodied soldier Saved: Charlie Brown was the lone pilot controlling an American bomber in 1943 when a German soldier decided not to shoot at the bloodied soldier

Saved: Charlie Brown was the lone pilot controlling an American bomber in 1943 when a German soldier decided not to shoot at the bloodied soldier

Re-enactment: The German plane came purposefully close to the American plane

Re-enactment: The German plane came purposefully close to the American plane. The New York Post details the ensuing struggle that Brown dealt with after he was able to fly and land his battered plane safely and go on to live a happy and full life following the war, all because that German pilot decided to go against orders and spare the Americans. As soon as he landed, Brown told his commanding officer about the spotting of the German soldier, but he was instructed not to tell anyone else for fear of spreading positive stories of the German enemy.The kind pilot's was Franz Stigler, 26-year-old ace pilot who had 22 victories to his name with just one alluding him before being awarded the Knight's Cross. His moral compass was more powerful than his need for glory, however, as the lesson he learned from an earlier mentor kept him from shooting at the American plane.

Mercy: Franz Stigler thought it was wrong to shoot at the damaged plane because it was like aiming at a 'parachute' Mercy: Franz Stigler thought it was wrong to shoot at the damaged plane because it was like aiming at a 'parachute'

Mercy: Franz Stigler thought it was wrong to shoot at the damaged plane because it was like aiming at a 'parachute'. His officer told him 'If I ever see or hear of you shooting at a man in a parachute, I will shoot you down myself. You follow the rules of war for you — not for your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity.' The test of his humanity came when he saw Brown's plane, trying to fly while half of it's wing was blown apart and as crew members were rapidly trying to help one another tend to their injuries. 'For me it would have been the same as shooting at a parachute, I just couldn't do it,' Stigler said. In 1987, more than 40 years after the December 20, 1943 incident, Brown began searching for the man who saved his life even though he had no idea whether his savior was alive, let alone where the man in question was living.

Honoring past moves: Brown and Stigler met with then-Florida governor Jeb Bush in 2001

Honoring past moves: Brown and Stigler met with then-Florida governor Jeb Bush in 2001. Brown bought an ad in a newsletter catering to fighter pilots, saying only that he was searching for the man 'who saved my life on Dec. 20, 1943.' Stigler saw the ad in his new hometown of Vancouver, Canada, and the two men got in touch. 'It was like meeting a family member, like a brother you haven't seen for 40 years,' Brown said at the pair's first meeting. Their story, told in the book A Higher Call, ended in 2008 when the two men died within six months of one another, Stigler at age 92 and Brown 87.

 

Over the Top: American Troops move onto the beach at Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945

Over the Top: American Troops move onto the beach at Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945

She knew Tyler Ziegel had been horribly injured, his face mutilated beyond recognition by a suicide bombing in the Iraq War. She knew he was marrying his pretty high school sweetheart, perfect in a white, voluminous dress.

It was their expressions that were surprising.

‘People don't think this war has any impact on Americans? Well here it is,’ Berman says of the image of a somber bride staring blankly, unsmiling at the camera, her war-ravaged groom alongside her, his head down.

‘This was even more shocking because we're used to this kind of over-the-top joy that feels a little put on, and then you see this picture where they look like survivors of something really serious,’ Berman added.

The photograph that won a first place prize in the World Press Photos Award contest will stand out from other battlefield images in an exhibit WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath that debuts Sunday - Veterans Day - in the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

Critical moment: Japanese torpedoes attack a row of battleships in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941

Critical moment: Japanese torpedoes attack a row of battleships in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941

Unforgettable image: Old Glory goes up on Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945

Unforgettable image: Old Glory goes up on Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945

A religious service is captured under the blasted flight deck of the USS Franklin, in March 1945

A religious service is captured under the blasted flight deck of the USS Franklin, in March 1945

From there, the exhibit will travel to The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington and The Brooklyn Museum in Brooklyn, New York.

The exhibit was painstakingly built by co-curators Anne Wilkes Tucker and Will Michels after the museum purchased a print of the famous picture of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, taken February 23, 1945, by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.

The curators decided the museum didn't have enough conflict photos, Tucker said, and in 2004, the pair began traveling around the country and the world in search of pictures.

Over nearly eight years and after viewing more than one million pictures, Tucker and Michels created an exhibit that includes 480 objects, including photo albums, original magazines and old cameras, by 280 photographers from 26 countries.

Some are well-known - such as the Rosenthal's picture and another AP photograph, of a naked girl running from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War taken in 1972 by Huynh Cong ‘Nick’ Ut. Others, such as the Incinerated Iraqi, of a man's burned body seen through the shattered windshield of his car, will be new to most viewers.

Sea battle: USCG Cutter Spencer destroys Nazi submarine in April 17, 1943

Sea battle: USCG Cutter Spencer destroys Nazi submarine in April 17, 1943

Historic: This 1942 photo by Arkady Shaikhet shows a Russian female partisan covered in ammunition

Historic: This 1942 photo by Arkady Shaikhet shows a Russian female partisan covered in ammunition

War effort: Female aircraft workers finishing transparent bomber noses for fighter and reconnaissance planes at Douglas Aircraft Co. Plant in Long Beach, California, 1942

War effort: Female aircraft workers finishing transparent bomber noses for fighter and reconnaissance planes at Douglas Aircraft Co. Plant in Long Beach, California, 1942

‘The point of all the photographs is that when a conflict occurs, it lingers,’ Tucker said.

The pictures hang on stark gray walls, and some are in small rooms with warning signs at the entrance designed to allow visitors to decide whether they want to view images that can be brutal in their honesty.

‘It's something that we did to that man. Americans did it, we did it intentionally and it's a haunting picture,’ Michels said of the image of the burned Iraqi that hangs inside one of the rooms.

In some images, such as Don McCullin's picture of a U.S. Marine throwing a grenade at a North Vietnamese soldier in Hue, it is clear the photographer was in danger when immortalizing the moment.

Innocence lost: This Vietnamese child was nicknamed 'Little Tiger' for allegedly killing two 'Viet Cong women cadre' - his mother and teacher

Innocence lost: This Vietnamese child was nicknamed 'Little Tiger' for allegedly killing two 'Viet Cong women cadre' - his mother and teacher

Heart-rending: Dying Infant Found by American soldiers in Saipan, Vietnam, in June 1944 The body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border is raised up to an evacuation helicopter in War Zone C, Vietnam, 1966

Heart-rending: Dying Infant found by American soldiers in Saipan, Vietnam, in June 1944, left, and the body of an American paratrooper killed in action in the jungle near the Cambodian border evacuated from War Zone C, Vietnam, 1966, right

If looks could kill: A drill instructor delivers a severe reprimand to a recruit in Parris Island, South Carolina in 1970

If looks could kill: A drill instructor delivers a severe reprimand to a recruit in Parris Island, South Carolina in 1970

Looking at his image, McCullin recalled deciding to travel to Hue instead of Khe Sahn, as he had initially planned.

‘It was the best decision I ever made,’ he said, smiling slightly as he looked at the picture, explaining that he took a risk by standing behind the Marine.

‘This hand took a bullet, shattered it. It looked like a cauliflower,’ he said, pointing to the still-upraised hand that threw the grenade. ‘So the people he was trying to kill were trying to kill him.’

This black and white photo captures the embarkation of HMAT Ajana, Melbourne in July 8

This black and white photo captures the embarkation of HMAT Ajana, Melbourne in July 8

A woman and child pictured paying their respects at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.

A woman and child pictured paying their respects at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.

Simon Norfolk captures Sword Beach, from the series The Normandy Beaches: We Are Making a New World

Simon Norfolk captures Sword Beach, from the series The Normandy Beaches: We Are Making a New World

American Major-General Joseph Hooker in the 1900s A couple pictured embracing after a return from fighting Israel in 1976

American Major-General Joseph Hooker in the 1900s, left, and right, a couple pictured embracing after a return from fighting Israel in 1976

A man cuts the grass at a war camp in a picture on loan from the Australian War Memorial

A man cuts the grass at a war camp in a picture on loan from the Australian War Memorial

McCullin, who worked at that time for The Sunday Times in London, has covered conflicts all over the world, from Lebanon and Israel to Biafra. Now 77, McCullin says he wonders, still, whether the hundreds of photos he's taken have been worthwhile.

At times, he said, he lost faith in what he was doing because when one war ends, another begins.
Yet he believes journalists and photographers must never stop telling about the ‘waste of man in war.’

‘After seeing so much of it, I'm tired of thinking, “Why aren't the people who rule our lives ... getting it?”’ McCullin said, adding that he'd like to drag them all into the exhibit for an hour.

Berman didn't see the conflicts unfold. Instead, she waited for the wounded to come home, seeking to tell a story about war's aftermath.

Her project on the wounded developed in 2003. The Iraq War was at its height, and there was still no database, she said, to find names of wounded warriors returning home. So she scoured local newspapers on the Internet.

In 2004 she published a book called ‘Purple Hearts’ that includes photographs taken over nine months of 20 different people.

Untold horrors: Congolese women fleeing to Goma, from the series Violence against women in Congo, Rape as weapon of war in DRC, 2008

Untold horrors: Congolese women fleeing to Goma, from the series Violence against women in Congo, Rape as weapon of war in DRC, 2008

Faces of genocide: Valentine with her daughters Amelie and Inez in Rwanda

Faces of genocide: Valentine with her daughters Amelie and Inez in Rwanda

Susan Meiselas captures a counter attack by the National Guard in Matagalpa, Nicaragua in 1978

Susan Meiselas captures a counter attack by the National Guard in Matagalpa, Nicaragua in 1978

All were photographed at home, not in hospitals where, she said, ‘there's this expectation that this will all work out fine.’

The curators, meanwhile, chose to tell the story objectively - refusing through the images they chose or the exhibit they prepared to take a pro- or anti-war stance, a decision that has invited criticism and sparked debate.

And maybe, that is the point.

Attack on the Eastern Front during World War II in 1941 by Dmitri Baltermants

Attack on the Eastern Front during World War II in 1941 by Dmitri Baltermants

It was a brutal secret no one wanted to face. But despite the flag-waving that greeted Britain's returning troops 90 years ago today, many felt nothing but hatred for the leaders who'd sent them to die... and now seemed happy to forget them.

Wearing a distinctive Burberry trench coat, the young English captain was an obvious target for a German sniper. His smart uniform, plus the fact that he was openly poring over a map, marked him out as an officer. As dawn lit up the night sky, his sergeant major warned him to take cover. ‘Oh, I’ll be all right,’ the captain said jauntily. But he wasn’t. Minutes later, he was shot in the stomach. ‘He was in great pain,’ recalled the sergeant major, Arthur Cook. ‘I asked him if there was anything I could do and he said: “No, Sergeant Major. I’m finished.”

What made this death so poignant out of all the millions on the Western Front during World War I was that it came so near the end. ‘He and I had fought and suffered together so long,’ Cook recorded in his diary. ‘He never knew what fear was, he was the bravest officer I ever saw, and here he was lying crushed and bleeding at my feet.'

Armistice

Celebrations in London on November 11, 1918: But many battle-scarred soldiers found the concept of peace bewildering. It was November 1, 1918 and the fighting was as fierce as ever with Allied troops pushing the retreating German forces out of France and back towards their own border. As Cook’s battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry moved in to mop up resistance in a French village, snipers began to pick them off, starting with the captain. Then a shell burst on the hard cobbles and Cook was hit by debris and shrapnel.

‘I could scarcely believe I was wounded. I had been dodging bullets for four years and I’d begun to feel I was immune. I had been with the battalion from the beginning of the war and had the misfortune to be injured in its very last action.’ Along the Front, the next few days were full of rumours that the Germans were suing for peace. It didn’t seem possible. The Kaiser’s armies had been fighting a tenacious rearguard action and, though many prisoners had fallen into Allied hands, the expectation was that the war would drag on into 1919.

This sudden talk of an armistice made everyone nervous. Sergeant Walter Sweet recalled how the sound of a shell sent men scurrying for shelter, while before they would have taken little notice. ‘If the end was near, we were taking no chances of being pipped at the last minute.’

The morning of November 11 was extremely cold and a white frost covered the Front. Sweet marched his platoon from the Monmouthshire Regiment to the next village and was billeting them in a barn when the colonel walked in.

‘He wished us good day and looked at his watch. “It is 10am. Men, I am pleased to tell you that in one hour the Armistice comes into force and you will all be able to return to your homes.” ’

Armistice

Armistice Day 1918: Crowds in London's Tralfalgar Square celebrating the end of the first world war

But the news of the imminent German surrender was greeted with silence. ‘We did not cheer,’ Sweet recalled. ‘But just stood, stunned and bewildered.’

He continued: ‘Then, on the stroke of 11am the CO raised his hand and told us that the war was over. That time we cheered, with our tin hats on and our rifles held aloft. For old hands like me, it was funny realising that this day we had waited so long for had come at last.’

The celebrations began. Lieutenant John Godfrey was lucky: he toasted the victory with fine wines. The owner of the house in which he was billeted had retrieved vintage bottles from the garden where he had hidden them from the German occupiers.

‘The bally war is over, which is the great thing and a joy,’ the lieutenant noted. But the concept of peace was baffling after so many years of bloody conflict. ‘To think that I shall not have to toddle among machine guns again and never hear another shell burst. It is simply unimaginable.’ Another soldier admitted that he too was apprehensive. ‘What’s to become of us?’ he asked. ‘We have lived this life for so long. Now we shall have to start all over again.’

Armistice

The Royal Family, seen on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, celebrating with servicemen and civilians after the announcement of the Armistice. The actual return home was a joy. Private John McCauley of the 2nd Border Regiment remembered cheering crowds, waving flags and bands playing music everywhere. In London, he went onto the streets ‘to be swallowed up in the swirling multitude’. But being demobbed meant sad farewells — ‘handshakes with old comrades — fine fellows with whom I had shared experiences that will live in the memory as long as life shall last.’ And many were haunted by painful memories. Pte Charles Heare, his discharge papers in his pocket, was on a train returning from the Front when he passed the Ypres battlefield, where he had fought. He saw how ‘smashed up’ it was and wondered to his mates how they had managed to live through it. ‘A lot of luck, good hearing and a sense of danger,’ one replied. Then someone asked: ‘What was it for? What have we got for it, or anyone else for that matter?’ No one had an answer.

Armistice

The crowd gathered outside the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England in London after the announcement of the Armistice

As he neared his home in Wales, his friend Pte Black, who had been with him in France since the start in 1914, was sentimental about leaving his comrades.

‘We have had to protect one another from danger, share our sleep and food. We have seen thousands of dead and dying. We have had romping good times and horrid bad ones together. But now we must part and start a new life. Let’s hope we have lived through it all for a good purpose.’

Many men now found themselves reflecting on what had happened and asking themselves and each other the same question: Was it all worth it?

Lt George Foley thought so. He returned to his home in the Quantock Hills in Somerset sadder but wiser. He was left with ‘many memories of irreparable loss, but also a heritage of wider experience and a truer knowledge of life. Although at times the price to pay was almost intolerable, I would not have forgone them.’

Sgt Major Cook, recovering in hospital from that wound he received days before the Armistice, was philosophical. ‘I have always been a firm believer in prayer and, after what I have been through, my faith is stronger than ever. As long as I live, I shall remember the many hundreds of pals left behind who were not as lucky as I was.’

Yet John McCauley felt not just sad, but broken. He had seen things no man should see, he had been wounded, and he had watched a soldier he knew being shot at dawn for desertion. Fear never left him and he was racked with survivor’s guilt.

‘Such courage and nerve as I possessed were stolen from me on the blood-drenched plains of France,’ he wrote. ‘The trenches in Flanders helped make me a weakling. They sapped my courage, shattered my nerves and threw me back into a “civilised” world broken in spirit and nerve. They might as well have taken my body, too.’

Trenches

British troops go over the top during trench warfare at an unknown battlefield in Europe during World War I

The morale that had seen men through the horrors of the trenches now seemed to seep away in a post-war malaise. It soon became apparent that the prospects were not good for those returning from the war. There would prove to be little help for them in terms of housing, pensions and welfare, despite politicians’ promises of a ‘land fit for heroes’.

The maimed particularly struggled. Pte Christopher Massie, a medic in the war who later found work in a military hospital, remembered a patient who had just come out from the operating theatre.

‘He asked me to ease his right arm. I turned down the blankets, to find that it had been amputated,’ he explained.

‘The poor fellow’s jaw dropped. “They should not have done that,” he said. “I could move my fingers and with them I could have got a job. Now I shall never work again. I
suppose they will give me a sum of money and, after that is gone, I shall have to beg or starve.” ’

The man’s bitterness upset Massie. ‘There was no word that his country might be grateful to him.’ He noted that soldiers, generally, had nothing but contempt and suspicion for the leaders of the nation for which they had fought so hard.

Medals

The indiscriminate handing out of medals became a source of bitterness among returned soldiers

The handing out of medals became another focus for resentment. For a conflict that lasted more than four years, there was a dearth of campaign medals for the Great War. There was the 1914 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, and they were handed out regardless of how many battles a man had fought.

In World War II, separate campaign medals were awarded for service in conflicts as diverse as North Africa, Italy and Burma. But in 1918, there was no individual recognition for those who had fought at the Somme or at Ypres.

Most men got just two medals, small return for such great sacrifice. And men who spent the war behind the lines were entitled to the same awards as those who had faced years under fire in the trenches.

One 19-year-old private disembarked at Boulogne on the evening before the Armistice having never seen a shot fired in anger. Yet he received the same medals as those who had slogged it out in hell-holes such as Passchendaele.

This lack of distinction annoyed some veterans. They felt undervalued and unappreciated.

The award of gallantry medals was also controversial. Fewer than 200,000 were awarded, about one per 25 servicemen. Most received nothing, their remarkable courage overlooked.

Pte Charles Heare was disgusted at the number of Distinguished Conduct Medals and Military Medals on show at staff headquarters, many miles behind the lines, by men who had only ever seen shells when they were being loaded onto a lorry.

Nor was this resentment confined to enlisted men. Lt Col George Stevens, commanding officer of the 2nd Royal Fusiliers, had ‘many fine fellows, runners, scouts, stretcher-bearers, patrol leaders, whom I recommended for honours but were turned down because they “only did their duty”.

And yet one sees a certain class of officer wearing decorations for bravery who one knows never went within miles of the enemy.’ He branded the situation ‘the most awful humbug’.

Given this pervading post-war air of disillusionment, it is not surprising that many of the Great War veterans whose diaries, letters and memoirs I have researched were determined that their experience — and the sacrifice of nearly a million of their
colleagues — should never be belittled or forgotten.

Henry

World War One veteran Henry Allingham, who at 112 is the oldest ever surviving member of any British Armed Forces, is pictured during an Armistice Day service

‘Do not neglect the graves of the heroes,’ urged Pte Christopher Massie. ‘Do not forget that they died for your necessity. Died, in so many cases without romance, almost ridiculously, hung on barbed wire like scarecrows, or mixing their blood with the rain and filth of some lonely shell hole.

‘Do not forget the long days and nights of privation and physical wretchedness that precede this end.

‘Think of the oozing trenches with their ominous stench, always collapsing until the clay is knee-deep, and cover is hardly obtainable, and comfort not at all. Think of the
impossibility of getting one’s clothes dry and one’s body clean.’

Pte George Fleet felt later generations needed reminding of these horrors. ‘Imagine open country where every tree and hedge is shot away and the ground pitted with shell holes, the disgusting stench of dead bodies, the smell from exploding bombs, your
feet in mud inches thick.

‘Your body aches from sheer exhaustion and is irritated by lice, and when you drop down at night, rats will play hide and seek over your body. That is war.’

A sergeant who travelled to the fields of Flanders some months after the Armistice was appalled by what he saw. Still lying in the mud were broken rifles, bayonets, hand grenades, stick bombs, unexploded shells, helmets, boots and human bones.

He wrote to his wife: ‘I could not look upon this devastation without reflecting that man has indeed sunk very low, to use his superior intellect in fashioning means of dealing death and destruction all round. All this in an enlightened age — and to what purpose?

Cenotaph

The Cenotaph in London pictured on the fifteenth anniversary of Armistice Day commemorating the end of the Great War

‘Man is indeed a refined savage, and war is a hideous spectre born of the devil. If this war is the last and the world becomes the better for it — well and good. If not, God help the world!’

The broken John McCauley continued to have serious doubts about this ‘sorry world’ to which soldiers like him had returned. He thought about all his friends who did not come back and he was irked by the glib way in which people trotted out the phrase ‘They died that England might live’.

‘I hear these words ringing in my ears like the daily dinning of the shellfire in the trenches. But what if those who died could come back and see what it was they fought for? I wonder what their thoughts would be.’

But as the years went by, his memories were kinder to him. They were especially strong around Armistice-tide, as he called it.

‘In the two minutes’ silence, I see great hosts of khaki-clad phantom figures, the ghosts of yesterday. The long line of soldier comrades, such noble comrades they were, march before my blurred vision.

‘I see them in battalions, brigades, divisions, Army corps, and I hear their cry: “In honouring the dead, forget not the living. Remember us, but remember, too, those who survived.” ’

To Sgt William Peacock, of the South Wales Borderers, those who fell in the Great War were all heroes. ‘We are owed a debt of honour,’ he wrote. ‘My boys, we are proud of you all.’

President Obama laid a wreath of flowers at Arlington National Cemetery on Sunday in a traditional gesture as Americans marked three days of Veterans Day commemorations.

The president was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, as well as Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

Obama said the wreath-laying is a gesture to 'remember every service member who has ever worn our nation's uniform.'

Bow: Obama stands before the wreath before placing it on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Naional Cemetery

Bow: Obama stands before the wreath before placing it on the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Tradition: President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Tradition: President Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Solemn: Obama puts his hand over his heart as Major General Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of the Military District of Washington, salutes as the National Anthem is played

Solemn: Obama puts his hand over his heart as Major General Michael S. Linnington, commanding general of the Military District of Washington, salutes as the National Anthem is played

He said in a speech at the cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater that America will never forget the sacrifice made by its veterans and their families.

He also says that 'no ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service.' Obama says the country must commit every day 'to serving you as well as you've served us.' Earlier, the Obamas and Bidens held a breakfast with veterans at the White House.

This year, Veterans Day falls on a Sunday, and the federal observance is on Monday.

Company: President Obama was joined by Vice President Biden, his wife Jill and First Lady Michelle Obama (not pictured) as he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Company: President Obama was joined by Vice President Biden, his wife Jill and First Lady Michelle Obama (not pictured) as he laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

It's the first such day honoring the men and women who served in uniform since the last U.S. troops left Iraq in December 2011.

It's also a chance to thank those who stormed the beaches during World War II - a population that is rapidly shrinking with most of those former troops now in their 80s and 90s.

At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, a steady stream of visitors arrived Saturday morning as the names of the 58,000 people on the wall were being read over a loudspeaker.

Red, white and blue: West Stafford Conn. firefighters and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 999 work to raise a large American flag during a program in honor of Veterans Day

Red, white and blue: West Stafford Conn. firefighters and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 999 work to raise a large American flag during a program in honor of Veterans Day

Nation's pride: Veterans and their families are silhouetted as they watch a Veterans Day program at Southwestern High School in Hazel Green, Wisconsin

Nation's pride: Veterans and their families are silhouetted as they watch a Veterans Day program at Southwestern High School in Hazel Green, Wisconsin

Sea of flags: Jason Machado, of Fairhaven, Mass., walks among U.S. flags at the graves of deceased veterans at the National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass.

Sea of flags: Jason Machado, of Fairhaven, Mass., walks among U.S. flags at the graves of deceased veterans at the National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass.

Some visitors took pictures, others made rubbings of names, and some left mementos: a leather jacket, a flag made out of construction paper, pictures of young soldiers and even several snow globes with an American eagle inside.

A half-dozen women of various ages knitted intently near a pile of hand-made scarves while frail, silver-haired men sat waiting for a chance to tell their war stories Saturday as tourists and veterans filed into the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

The museum planned a series of events to celebrate the Veterans Day weekend.

The knitters had gathered to commemorate 1940s homefront efforts to supply World War II troops with warm socks and sweaters.

At the National Cemetery in Bourne, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, about 1,000 people including Cub Scouts and Gold Star Mothers gathered on a crisp fall day for a short ceremony.

Patriotic attire: Members of the White Center Fraternal Order of Eagles wait to march in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade in Auburn, Wash.

Patriotic attire: Members of the White Center Fraternal Order of Eagles wait to march in the Auburn Veterans Day Parade in Auburn, Wash.

Next generation: Cub Scouts wave flags during the Auburn Veterans Day Parade on Saturday

Next generation: Cub Scouts wave flags during the Auburn Veterans Day Parade on Saturday

Marching: Cub Scout Ethan Jennings covers his ears as motorcycles roar by to start the 31st annual Veterans Day Parade through downtown Atlanta

Marching: Cub Scout Ethan Jennings covers his ears as motorcycles roar by to start the 31st annual Veterans Day Parade through downtown Atlanta

They then spread out to plant 56,000 flags amid the cemetery's flat gravestones, transforming the green landscape into a sea of fluttering red, white and blue.

Until last year, the cemetery did not permit flags or flag holders on graves.

That changed under pressure from Paul Monti of Raynham, Mass., whose son, Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti, was killed by Taliban fighters while trying to save a fellow soldier in 2006 in Afghanistan.

He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor and is buried at the Bourne cemetery.

Paul Monti led a brief ceremony Saturday where the pledge of allegiance was recited, Miss Massachusetts sang the national anthem and a dedication was read.

In the Mojave Desert in California, veterans plan to resurrect a war memorial cross that was part of a 13-year legal battle over the separation of church and state.

The Sunday ceremony on Sunrise Rock follows a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union that argued the cross was unconstitutional because it was in the Mojave National Preserve.

Fallen heroes: Debbie Gregory placed two American flags Friday afternoon at the National Cemetery gravesite of her husband, Paul T. Gregory, a CPL in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam war

Fallen heroes: Debbie Gregory placed two American flags Friday afternoon at the National Cemetery gravesite of her husband, Paul T. Gregory, a CPL in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam war

Warrior clan: Charles Braun, an Air Force veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, in Newark, Texas, with his family's military awards

Warrior clan: Charles Braun, an Air Force veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, in Newark, Texas, with his family's military awards

Sing it proud: Seventh grade civics teacher Rick Stuzel signs the National Anthem during Palm Harbor Middle School's annual Veteran's Day celebration in the courtyard in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Sing it proud: Seventh grade civics teacher Rick Stuzel signs the National Anthem during Palm Harbor Middle School's annual Veteran's Day celebration in the courtyard in Palm Harbor, Fla.

The Supreme Court intervened in 2010 and directed a court to consider a land swap, leading to a settlement that transferred Sunrise Rock to veterans groups in exchange for five acres of privately owned land.

Thousands of spectators are expected to line Fifth Avenue for New York City's Veterans Day Parade on Sunday.

Former Mayor Ed Koch is the grand marshal for the parade, which will run for 30 blocks, starting at 26th Street.

Also marching will be the Navajo Code Talkers, who transmitted coded messages during WWII, and other veteran groups.

Some participants in the parade are collecting coat donations for Superstorm Sandy victims.

The theme is ‘United we Stand’ and the parade marks the 200th anniversary of The War of 1812.
The parade begins at 11:15 a.m. after a wreath-laying ceremony at the Eternal Light Monument at 24th Street. Bleachers and a reviewing stand are located at Fifth Avenue and 41st Street.

Debt of honor: Vietnam veteran Lee Castanon, who's brother is one of the eight men from the Molina neighborhood killed in Vietnam and memorialized at the park, bows his head for the final prayer at Molina Veterans Park in Corpus Christi, Texas

Debt of honor: Vietnam veteran Lee Castanon, who's brother is one of the eight men from the Molina neighborhood killed in Vietnam and memorialized at the park, bows his head for the final prayer at Molina Veterans Park in Corpus Christi, Texas

Flying colors: Members of Riverside Military Academy from Gainesville, Ga., march down Baker Street during the 31st annual Veterans Day Parade in Atlanta

Flying colors: Members of Riverside Military Academy from Gainesville, Ga., march down Baker Street during the 31st annual Veterans Day Parade in Atlanta

No solider forgotten: Korean War veterans from the Winchester, Va., area applaud as they are honored Friday during the 5th Annual Veteran's Day Celebration at Millbrook High School

No solider forgotten: Korean War veterans from the Winchester, Va., area applaud as they are honored Friday during the 5th Annual Veteran's Day Celebration at Millbrook High School

A few hundred people attended a Veterans Day parade Saturday in downtown Atlanta.

Veterans Ronald McLendon, 73, of Kennesaw, and Randy Bergman, 59, of Cartersville, were working as parade marshals.

McLendon said when he returned from Vietnam, he was spit on by protesters in San Francisco. He was in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was deployed to Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.

He described the parade as a chance to receive a public thank you.

‘You've got to remember that today everyone in the military is strictly volunteer,’ McLendon said. ‘So there's a lot of guys getting out there, getting shot in Iraq and Afghanistan that volunteered to be in the military.’

Gratitude: Kelly Bergman of Fort Worth, decorated in red, white and blue waves a sign as military vehicles pass by during the Veterans Day Parade in Downtown Fort Worth, Texas

Gratitude: Kelly Bergman of Fort Worth, decorated in red, white and blue waves a sign as military vehicles pass by during the Veterans Day Parade in Downtown Fort Worth, Texas

Commemoration: Jimmy Bacolo, right, of Staten Island, N.Y., a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 5195 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, N.Y., attends the Veterans Day observance at the 9/11 Memorial, in New York

Commemoration: Jimmy Bacolo, right, of Staten Island, N.Y., a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars 5195 in Red Hook, Brooklyn, N.Y., attends the Veterans Day observance at the 9/11 Memorial, in New York

Joseph Manning, right, of Raynham, Mass., and his son Joey, 6, a Cub Scout, place U.S. flags at the graves of deceased veterans at the National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass.

Joseph Manning, right, of Raynham, Mass., and his son Joey, 6, a Cub Scout, place U.S. flags at the graves of deceased veterans at the National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass. Squads of high school ROTC students marched in uniforms, chanting as they went along the street. Bergman said he would reluctantly support sending young soldiers to fight if it was necessary for national defense. He was unsure how and whether the U.S. should end its military involvement in Afghanistan. ‘How many lives have we already put over there? And are we going to pull out and say, 'We lost.' I look back to Vietnam and see the same thing,’ he said. At the very moment that the old boys were pinning on their medals and shuffling on to parade, word was coming through that another British soldier had been killed in Afghanistan  -  the 200th to die in action there. Standing in for father: Prince Harry lays a wreath on behalf of Prince Charles, who is in Canada. By the time the parade was dispersing, we were getting word that the figure had reached 201.

Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph is always the most sacred gathering in the national calendar, the only occasion when the Queen, the Royal Family, the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and the Opposition all gather in one place and no one says a word. But you have to go back to 1982 and the Falklands conflict to find the last year in which the Armed Forces endured such a loss of life. With Afghanistan on so many minds, it seemed entirely appropriate that Prince Harry - who has actually served there - should be making his debut at the Cenotaph. Because the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are visiting Canada, the 25-year-old prince - in the uniform and cape of the Household Cavalry - was deputed to lay his father's wreath. He, therefore, took precedence over Prince William, in RAF uniform, who laid a wreath of his own immediately afterwards.

Queen Elizabeth lays a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. This year marks the 91st anniversary to the end of WW I

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Youngsters on parade: Six-year-old Harley Regan, left, at a ceremony in Leeds, and Alex Flintham, five, at the war memorial in Romford, Essex

Jake Devenport 8, and Harvey Davenport 5, attend the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph yesterday

Once the Queen and the members of the Royal Family had paid their respects, it was the turn of the politicians.

Unusually, their ranks did not include Baroness Thatcher, now 84, who watched the proceedings from a Foreign Office window following a fall earlier in the year. She has always been assiduous in her attendance at the Cenotaph. It will have been a bold doctor who advised her to sit this one out.

Former Prime Ministers Major and Blair were in attendance while Mrs Blair joined the Prime Minister's wife, Sarah Brown, and other spouses on a Foreign Office balcony. It seemed just like the old days, as Cherie Blair, in vivid purple, took pride of place at the front while Mrs Brown was content to hang back at the side.

Gordon Brown caused a few puzzled looks when, having laid his wreath, he stepped back uneasily and then failed to bow - much to the irritation of some television viewers who were last night venting their anger on internet sites and elsewhere.

Poor Mr Brown. It is fair to say that he has never been entirely comfortable with the minutiae of state occasions (he spent his first ten years in government avoiding state banquets and then got lost when he turned up at Windsor Castle last year). And few events come laden with as much protocol as this one.

Sombre: Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg, Conservative Leader David Cameron, and Prime Minster Gordon Brown wait to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph, on Whitehall

Leading the Opposition contingent was the Tory leader, David Cameron, who followed his wreath-laying with a respectful bow and a brief pause for thought.

Perhaps he was recalling his grandfather, Lt-Col Sir William Mount, who was badly wounded shortly after landing on the Normandy beaches with the Reconnaissance Corps in 1944.

Members of the Normandy Veterans' Association (NVA) were among 200 ex-Forces organisations in the Royal British Legion march past which followed.

Not so long ago, there would have been hundreds of D-Day heroes processing down Whitehall. Yesterday, the NVA presence numbered just 15. The passage of time takes its toll on the flintiest old warriors.

The honour of leading this year's parade fell to the Royal Signals Association, led by former Staff Sergeant Michael Aimable, 83, and former Sergeant Bill Lewis, 89, a Desert Rat who went on to become a chief superintendent in West Mercia Police.

As well as paying tribute to long-lost old pals, they were remembering the six members of the Royal Signals who have died in Afghanistan.

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Members of the Royal family formed up to the left of the Cenotaph in Whitehall, Westminster, London, as part of the annual Remembrance Sunday service

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Queen Elizabeth arrives at the Cenotaph with (from 2ndL) Prince Andrew, Prince William, Princess Anne, Prince Harry and the Duke of Edinburgh

Sarah Brown, left, casts a sideways glance at Cherie Blair in her purple coat

Hot on their heels was an organisation with, arguably, the most understated title in the Forces firmament, the Association of Ammunition Technicians.

They might sound as if they sit in a workshop designing shell casings. In fact, they are the among the bravest of the brave  -  bomb disposal. Just last week, they lost the inspirational Staff Sergeant Olaf Schmid to a Taleban device. They had plenty to remember yesterday.

The crowds at this unfailingly moving event seem to get bigger every year. Alongside the Cenotaph itself, I counted them 16-deep in places. They applauded every last marcher  -  from the frailest Chelsea Pensioner to the youngest cadet  -  the length of Whitehall and beyond.

There is always a particularly enthusiastic welcome for the Gurkhas here. It was even louder than usual yesterday. Had Joanna Lumley, victorious champion of Gurkha rights turned up, we might have had a pitch invasion on our hands.

It's often the little things that stop you in your tracks. At one point, an elderly gentleman with the 10th Destroyer Flotilla association was approaching the Cenotaph in a wheelchair when he insisted on getting out of it to present his wreath on both legs.

Clapping away in the crowd was Connor Stickells, seven, proudly wearing the Royal Navy medals of his late grandfather, Allan Slater, a veteran of the Russian and Atlantic Convoys. He had watched this event year after year on the telly, he explained, so it was time to see it for himself.

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Veterans on mobility scooters take part in the parade at the annual Remembrance Sunday service

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So proud: Gurkha veterans take part in the parade of veterans during the annual Remembrance Sunday service

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Old soldiers: Chelsea Pensioners during the Remembrance Sunday service. As some of the older organisations fade away, new ones are always being added to the parade. Yesterday, we saw the Army Dog Unit Northern Ireland Association  -  who lost several members during the Troubles  -  marching for the first time. Also making a debut was the Blue Cross, the animal answer to the Red Cross. In wartime, the charity has saved hundreds of thousands of animals, from wounded horses on the Western Front in the First World War to injured dogs in the Blitz. Just the other day, it helped rescue a dog called Sandbag  -  an honorary mascot of the Queen's Royal Hussars  -  from Iraq.  The honour of carrying the first Blue Cross wreath was given to animal behaviour therapist Catherine Elliott, 23, whose brother, Lt Michael Elliott, has just returned from Afghanistan with the Rifles. 'It was very emotional seeing all the other wreaths laid out and hearing the applause,' she said. 'My brother only got home a week ago and now this. It's been wonderful.' Such are the links which bind all these disparate organisations into the wider Forces family.

It is a family which enjoys ever-growing public esteem. Just this weekend, an ingeniously simple website has opened  -  wearegrateful.org.uk  -  which enables anyone to send a message of support straight to the troops. I am glad to say that it is already taking off. He was a medical man who tended to the sick and injured at a local hospital in the shires. But Arthur Martin-Leake became one of Britain's greatest war heroes — earning the Victoria Cross for extreme bravery not once, but twice. On the battlefields of the Second Boer War in South Africa he ignored the risk of death from heavy rifle fire to save the lives of wounded comrades.

Lieutenant Colonel Martin-Leake Lieutenant Colonel Martin-Leake is one of only three soldiers to win two VCs - the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy - since it was instituted in 1856

Lieutenant Colonel Martin-Leake, left,  is one of only three soldiers to win two VCs, right - the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy - since it was instituted in 1856. A decade on, he displayed the same selfless heroism when confronted by mortal danger amid the carnage and chaos of the First World War. Lieutenant Colonel Martin-Leake is one of only three soldiers to win two VCs — the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy — since it was instituted in 1856. Now his little-known exploits have been revealed as his military records are published online for the first time. Lieutenant Colonel Martin-Leake’s details are among 540,000 pages of mostly handwritten military service documents placed on the family tree website findmypast.co.uk. Even though his military career was one of the most distinguished in the history of the Army, his story has not been widely told. Born near Ware, Hertfordshire, in April 1874, he was educated at the exclusive Westminster School before studying medicine at University College Hospital.

He worked at Hemel Hempstead District Hospital before joining the Imperial Yeomanry in 1899 to serve in the Second Boer War.

Following a stint as a civilian surgeon, he then joined the South Africa Constabulary and returned to the frontline.

He won his first VC in February 1902 when, as a Surgeon Captain, he risked his life at Vlakfontein in the Transvaal to treat a wounded man under intense fire from 40 Boer riflemen just 100 yards away. He then dashed to help an injured officer. Despite being shot three times, Lt Col Martin-Leake continued to dress the wounds of his comrades until he collapsed exhausted, having first ordered that his colleagues received water before he did. At the outbreak of the First World War Lt Col Martin-Leake, then aged 40, feared he would be considered too old to volunteer for the Western Front. To avoid being rejected he travelled to Paris and enlisted at the British Consulate before attaching himself to the first medical unit he could find — the 5th Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps.

During the First World War, Lt Col Martin-Leake braved constant machinegun, sniper and shellfire to rescued a large number of wounded comrades lying close to the enemy's trenches

During the First World War, Lt Col Martin-Leake braved constant machinegun, sniper and shellfire to rescued a large number of wounded comrades lying close to the enemy's trenches.

Captain Noel Chavasse Second Lieutenant Charles Upham

Only two other men have ever won two VCs. Captain Noel Chavasse, left, received his VC and Bar for acts of heroism in the First World War. Second Lieutenant Charles Upham, right, from New Zealand, was awarded his VCs for outstanding leadership and courage in the battle of Crete in May 1941 and in North Africa in July 1942. He was awarded his second VC for the ‘most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty’ during ferocious fighting near Zonnebeke, Belgium, in October and November 1914. Braving constant machinegun, sniper and shellfire, he rescued a large number of wounded comrades lying close to the enemy's trenches. Recommending him for a Bar to his VC, his commanding officer wrote: ‘By his devotion many lives have been saved that would otherwise undoubtedly have been lost. ‘His behaviour on three occasions when the dressing station was heavily shelled was such as to inspire confidence both with the wounded and the staff. It is not possible to quote any one specific act performed because his gallant conduct was continual.’

Lt Col Martin-Leake was the first man to be honoured with two VCs. Captain Noel Chavasse, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, received his VC and Bar for acts of heroism in the First World War. He died of his wounds in August 1917 being tended by Lt Col Martin-Leake. Second Lieutenant Charles Upham, from New Zealand, was awarded his VCs for outstanding leadership and courage in the battle of Crete in May 1941 and then in North Africa in July 1942. Lt Col Martin-Leake later commanded a mobile Air Raid Precaution post in the Second World War. He died aged 79 in 1953. Debra Chatfield, a family historian from findmypast.co.uk said: ‘Arthur Martin-Leake was a real war hero who was awarded the VC twice for his valour, and it is wonderful that these records of his early military career as a reservist in the Imperial Yeomanry have survived and can now be seen online.’

A previously-unseen letter which describes the legendary football match of the Christmas Day truce during the First World War has been discovered. The letter was sent by staff sergeant Clement Barker four days after Christmas 1914, when the British and German troops famously emerged from their trenches in peace.

Sgt Barker, from Ipswich, Suffolk, describes how the truce began after a German messenger walked across no man's land on Christmas Eve to broker the temporary ceasefire.

Recount: The previously-unseen letter sent by Sgt Barker which describes the famous football game of the Christmas Day truce

Recount: The previously-unseen letter sent by Sgt Barker which describes the famous football game of the Christmas Day truce

The letter describes how the truce started when a German messenger crossed no man's land on Christmas Eve Sgt Barker sent the letter home to his brother Montague four days after Christmas Day

Game: The letter, left, sent by Sgt Barker, right, recounts how the match began when a ball was kicked out from the British lines. British soldiers then went out and recovered 69 dead comrades and buried them. Sgt Barker said the impromptu football match soon broke out between the two sides when a ball was kicked out from the British lines into no man's land. His nephew Rodney Barker, 66, found the letter when he was going through some old documents following his mother's death.Sgt Barker wrote to his brother Montague: '...a messenger come over from the German lines and said that if they did not fire Xmas day, they (the Germans) wouldn't so in the morning (Xmas day). 'A German looked over the trench - no shots - our men did the same, and then a few of our men went out and brought the dead in (69) and buried them and the next thing happened a football kicked out of our Trenches and Germans and English played football. 'Night came and still no shots. Boxing day the same, and has remained so up to now...

Optimistic: Sgt Barker details how things were 'looking rosy' after some of the Germans had given themselves up as prisoners

Optimistic: Sgt Barker details how things were 'looking rosy' after some of the Germans had given themselves up as prisoners

Family: Rodney Barker found the poignant letter from his uncle while going through documents following the death of his mother Family: Rodney Barker found the poignant letter from his uncle while going through documents following the death of his mother

Family: Rodney Barker, left, found the poignant letter, which describes the truce in detail, from his uncle while going through documents following the death of his mother

Date: Sgt Barker wrote the letter on December 29, 1914, after the British and German troops had conversed during the truce

Date: Sgt Barker wrote the letter on December 29, 1914, after the British and German troops had conversed during the truce. 'We have conversed with the Germans and they all seem to be very much fed up and heaps of them are deserting. 'Some have given themselves up as prisoners, so things are looking quite rosy.' His optimistic outlook proved quite wrong, as the truce was the last act of chivalry between the two sides and the war went on for four more years, with the loss of ten million lives.

Passed: Sgt Barker's letter had to pass through the censors before it made its way to his brother Montague

Passed: Sgt Barker's letter had to pass through the censors before it made its way to his brother Montague. The unofficial truce took place on December 24, 1914, in the trenches around Ypres. It started with German soldiers putting decorations up around their trenches and singing Christmas carols, including Stille Nacht - Silent Night. The British soldiers responded by singing O Come all ye Faithful. Soldiers on both sides then shouted Christmas greetings to each other and suggested meeting in no man's land when they shook hands and exchanged cigarettes. Sgt Barker joined the army in 1902 at the age of 18. He served with the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards and survived the Great War. In 1920 he left the army and worked for the Ministry of Defence. He died in 1945 aged 61.

Mr Barker, a retired chartered surveyor from Fleet, Hants, said: 'I never met my uncle and found these letter amongst some of my dad's things after my mother passes away. 'It's amazing that it is so matter of fact. He is talking about clearing away bodies one moment and then a game of football the next. 'After 1914 there was gas and aerial bombardments and it got pretty nasty.
'It's a famous event so it was a surprise to find out somebody from my family had such a close connection to it.
'At the time it was all hushed up because our troops weren't supposed to fraternize with the enemy. 'It's an interesting insight and shows that the German troops in particular were pretty fed up even though the war was only three months old at this stage.'

Cease-fire: German and British troops meet in no man's land during the Christmas Truce of 1914

Cease-fire: German and British troops meet in no man's land during the Christmas Truce of 1914

The letter was featured on a recent episode of the BBC's Antiques Roadshow.

James Taylor, a historian at the Imperial War Museum, said: 'It is 98 years since the event so this letter is very significant. 'Various accounts of the truce exist so to have one surface after not been seen for almost a century is quite remarkable. 'This letter is of great historical value and the truce was the last bit of chivalry of the First World War.

Survivors: Rodney Barker with a photograph of his father and uncles, who all remarkably survived the conflict The letter from Sgt Barker to his brother which details the legendary moment

Survivors: Rodney Barker, left, with a photograph of his father and uncles, who all remarkably survived the conflict and the letter, right, which details the legendary moment

Brothers: A wartime photograph of Sgt Barker, left, and his brothers including Rodney Barker's father

Brothers: A wartime photograph of Sgt Barker, left, and his brothers including Rodney Barker's father. 'The war had already been costly but it was about to get far worse. 'One of the reasons they were playing football was because they weren't able to communicate very well due to the language barrier. 'This was a way for them to share something. It wouldn't have been an organised match or anything, more of a free-for-all kick around. 'There is something appealing about the idea that nations could settle their differences in sport rather than war.'

'Significant': The letters, which have appeared on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow, have been described as 'remarkable' by the Imperial War Museum

'Significant': The letters, which have appeared on the BBC's Antiques Roadshow, have been described as 'remarkable' by the Imperial War Museum.  

The son of a German officer whose men killed a French captain in hand-to-hand fighting in the First World War has traced the relatives of the dead man nearly 100 years later. A yellowing troop newspaper led the son of Johannes Richter to the family of Captain André Vacquier who died in 1918 in the Vosges region of France. Helmut Richter, 78, is proud to have discovered and befriended the family of the man his father met in combat, he told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine this week.

A yellowing troop newspaper led the son of Johannes Richter to the family of Captain André Vacquier who died in 1918 in the Vosges region of France during the bloody World War One conflict (file picture)

A yellowing troop newspaper led the son of Johannes Richter to the family of Captain André Vacquier who died in 1918 in the Vosges region of France during the bloody World War One conflict (file picture)

The newspaper article was among the possessions of his father. A military correspondent described how Lieutenant Richter's platoon came across a French outpost in a wood in southern Alsace in the summer of 1918. 'The patrol decided to take up the fight,' said the article.

'It had been lying in wait when it heard laughter and loud voices. The enemy came forward. 'Every nerve was strained. Nearer, nearer - and then the Germans leaped out. The lieutenant shot one and seized another by the throat with the intention of taking him alive.' But the Frenchman was strong. Lt. Richter grappled with him but was losing the struggle until one of his men put a bullet in his head, the report went on. For years this fading relic of the 'war to end all wars' lay in a suitcase.

When Lt. Richter died in 1977 his widow passed it on to her daughter and ten years ago it came into the possession of his son Helmut at his home in Frankfurt.

Also inside the suitcase were two religious medals, a metal plaque and a leather cigarette holder.

Upon examining the metal plaque more closely Helmut saw it bore the inscription: 'Capt. Vacquier, Montignac Dordogne.'

These were the souvenirs of war that Johannes Richter brought back to Germany with him.

His victim on June 5 1918 was listed as missing and, two years later, declared dead 'fighting the enemy'.

Andre Vacquier was a lawyer when he was called up, a father of two daughters, a holder of the French Legion of Honour. He was twice wounded in combat before he fell.

His grave was found after the war and his widow transferred his body back to the Dordogne for burial.

Johannes Richter's victim on June 5 1918 was listed as missing and, two years later, declared dead 'fighting the enemy'

Johannes Richter's victim on June 5 1918 was listed as missing and, two years later, declared dead 'fighting the enemy'

Helmut Richter said his father, like many fathers, never spoke about the war which cost nine million soldiers their lives.

'We had a drive around Alsace in 1971,' he said, 'and he pointed out many things, about the way the vegetation had changed.'

But he did not describe the horrors of the trenches or the comradeship, the fear, the disease and constant knife-edge existence of front-line troops.

This gnawed at Helmut Richter and, the day he found the possessions of Vacquier, he vowed to do something about it.

Using the Internet, he looked up the name of the town of Montignac and, using his best schoolboy French, penned a letter to the mayor.

'Permit me to submit a little everyday affair to you,' he wrote, describing the events that led him to write to her.

'If you can communicate to me the whereabouts of the family of Captain Vacquier so I can make contact I would be most grateful.'

The family was well known in Montignac, the house of the dead captain still in the possession of his heirs.

The letter was forwarded to Paris businessman François Leroux, a grandchild of André Vacquier and, together with his cousin, the only survivors of the family.

Leroux, 68, said he was 'electrified' by the letter but then began to have second thoughts; the French-German relationship, scarred by three wars  - beginning with the 1870 Franco-Prussian conflict and ending with WW2 - has never been easy.

'How should I have taken it?' he said.

'Was this project generous, sympathetic, courageous? I didn't know.'

But then something happened which made him opt to see the son of the man who killed his grandfather.

He learned he was to become the grandfather of a French-German child; his son Matthieu is married to a German woman.

'I saw it as a moving indication,' he said. 

'I felt the coincidence of history as deeply symbolic moment.'

In a meeting at his apartment in Frankfurt, Helmut Richter handed over the possessions of Captain Vacquier to his family over coffee and cake.

Herr Richter said he felt like all the animosity between two tribes who lived on opposite sides of the Rhine 'vanished'.

'We made our peace with history,' said Ms. Leroux. 

'I am glad I came.'

 

All quiet on the Western Front as haunting images of the Great War's battlefields are revealed before Remembrance Day

Realistic: The 'troops' used rifles to fire blanks in the Surrey countryside as part of the re-enactment

Realistic: The 'troops' used rifles to fire blanks in the Surrey countryside as part of the re-enactment

Warfare: Mr Robertshaw captured the 24-hour stint in the trench on camera for a book he wrote

Warfare: Mr Robertshaw captured the 24-hour stint in the trench on camera for a book he wrote

Reality: Troops are seen in a trench in France during the First World War

Reality: Troops are seen in a trench in France during the First World War

Soldiers emerge from a trench and go over the top into battle during the First World War

Soldiers emerge from a trench and go over the top into battle during the First World War

 

With not a soul in sight, the peace and tranquility of these rural landscapes comes through loud and clear in a gallery of beautiful images.

Yet, nearly 100 years ago, these same serene scenes played host to some of the bloodiest and most violent battles of World War One in which 10 million soldiers died.

Scars of battle: Haunting picture of a landscape near Verdun, France still shows the pockmarks and craters made in the Great War almost 100 years ago

Scars of battle: Haunting picture of a landscape near Verdun, France still shows the pockmarks and craters made in the Great War almost 100 years ago

Historical reality: French soldiers at Verdun in 1916. Photographer Michael St Maur Sheil has taken images of the landscapes today which show signs of old battles

Historical reality: French soldiers at Verdun in 1916. Photographer Michael St Maur Sheil has taken images of the landscapes today which show signs of old battles

Despite the passing of almost a century the French and Belgian countryside still bears the scars of the conflict.

Each year on November 11, Remembrance Day recalls the official end of World War I on that date in 1918.

The expansive fields of the Somme are littered with thousands of pockmarks and craters caused by shelling and bombing during one of the most destructive battles in military history.

A huge bowl sunken into Messines ridge near Ypres is the legacy from the huge explosions of buried British mines that were heard 160 miles away in London in 1917.

For miles around the verdant landscape remains split in two halves by the labyrinth of trenches carved into the ground that once formed the Western Front.

And, after all this time, local farmers continue to reap the 'iron harvest' on their land - the term given for unearthing pieces of ammunition and shells.

Mr Sheil, 65, said: 'The Western Front was 450 miles long and only half-a-mile wide and was a place where all life was extinguished.

Eerie relic: British photographer Michael St Maur Sheil's picture of a World War I observation post near Hebuterne, south of Dunkirk

Eerie relic: British photographer Michael St Maur Sheil's picture of a World War I observation post near Hebuterne, south of Dunkirk

Fog of war: Mike St Maur Sheil's picture of a misty winter morning on the Somme - looking towards Lutyens Thiepval memorial in Picardie, France

Fog of war: Mike St Maur Sheil's picture of a misty winter morning on the Somme - looking towards Lutyens Thiepval memorial in Picardie, France

'Parts of the landscape were totally devoid of earth and it literally went down to the bear rock in places due to the amount of explosives used.

'In the event of a mustard gas attack, every living thing would have been killed in the area around it.

'But over the course of nearly a century, the grass, trees and ploughed fields have grown back and returned to the beautiful place it must have been before 1914.

'Despite its idyllic appearance it is very, very hard to get away from the fact that these were once battlefields.

'A main feature of the landscape is the unnatural shapes and curves from the trenches, shellholes and bunkers.'Some of the grass-covered craters are up to 80 metres in diameter and 20 metres deep.

'If you walk along the trenches you can easily find bits of ammunition and shell cases in the ground.

'You stand at some of these sites and the hairs on the back of your neck do prickle.

Setting sons: The beach at Helles, Gallipoli from a photographic collection documenting battlefields of the Great War

Setting sons: The beach at Helles, Gallipoli from a photographic collection documenting battlefields of the Great War

 

Historic match: The scene at Cape Helles, Gallipoili on April 25, 1915 where 20,761 British, Australian and Indian soldiers were killed

Historic match: The scene at Cape Helles, Gallipoili on April 25, 1915 where 20,761 British, Australian and Indian soldiers were killed

'If you were killed in battle you were buried where you fell with a rifle stuck in the ground and helmet left on top of it to mark your grave.

'There is a wooden cross that was placed there after the war but the soldier's helmet and other belongings are still there today and haven't been moved since his death in 1917.'

Some of the locations he has captured today include a snow-covered Tyne Cot cemetery near Ypres where 12,000 British servicemen are buried, a rainbow over the British trenches at Messines Ridge and frozen shell holes at Ouvrage de Thiaument, the scene of the Battle of Vedrun where 250,000 French and German soldiers were killed.

Haunting: The Fort de Douaument - a defence near Verdun, France which saw one million casualties in the Great War - from Mike St Maur Sheil's collection

Haunting: The Fort de Douaument - a defence near Verdun, France which saw one million casualties in the Great War - from Mike St Maur Sheil's collection

Mists of time: Flooded fields on the Yser plain at the Belgian coast where battle one raged. Michael St Maur Sheil's pictures reveal the modern landscapes from the Great War

Mists of time: Flooded fields on the Yser plain in Belgian where battle one raged. Michael St Maur Sheil's pictures reveal modern landscapes shaped by war

Other locations are of the beaches of Gallipoli and aerial photographs of a pockmarked Beaumont Hamel on the Somme and the US trenches at Blanc Mont in Champagne.

Shell shock: Lochnagar Crater at the Somme as it is today. The picture is part of photographer Michael St Maur Shiel's collection of World War I landscapes which still bear the signs of war damage

Shell shock: Lochnagar Crater at the Somme as it is today. The picture is part of a collection of World War One landscapes which still bear the signs of war damage

The big bang: The detonation of buried British mines that formed the Lochnagar crater. The blast was heard 160 miles away in London in 1917

The big bang: The detonation of buried British mines that formed the Lochnagar crater. The blast was heard 160 miles away in London in 1917

Blast damage: This image gives a sense of the depth of the crater and the force of the explosion which created it

Blast damage: This image from within the crater gives a sense of its depth and the force of the explosion which created it

Underground sanctuary: The chapel at Confrecourt in the French lines near Soissons, from a collection by British photographer Michael St Maur Sheil

Underground sanctuary: The chapel at Confrecourt in the French lines near Soissons, from a collection by British photographer Michael St Maur Sheil  

They are a hidden maze of tunnels where a bloody underground war was played out in terrifying darkness and where the bodies of 28 heroes lie entombed forever.

Now, after lying practically undisturbed since troops laid down their arms in 1918 and just days before Remembrance Sunday, the secrets and tragedies of the labyrinth are finally being revealed thanks to work by archaeologists.

Since January, the Anglo-French La Boiselle Study Group has been working with historians to open up and explore the tunnels to discover more about the lives of the men lost in them.

Heroes: Tunnelling Company workers pictured together at the Somme in 1916. Twenty-eight tunnellers died at La Boisselle

Heroes: Tunnelling Company workers pictured together at the Somme in 1916. Twenty-eight tunnellers died at La Boisselle

The passages, named the Glory Hole by British troops, run under and around the sleepy village of La Boisselle in northern France, which was of huge strategic importance to the 1916 Battle of the Somme.

The infamous four-month battle claimed the lived of millions, including 420,000 British soldiers - all for just a few yards of territory.

Twenty eight Britain tunnellers died in the passages between August 1915 and April 1916 and their bodies now lie permanently buried within the collapsed tunnel walls.

French soldier's metal drinking cup

Margarine tin issued as part of the ration

Finds: A French soldier's metal drinking cup, left, and a margarine tin issued as part of the ration were found

German soldiers of the 111th Reserve Infantry Regiment. The lips thrown up by the mine craters can be seen behind them

At war: German soldiers of the 111th Reserve Infantry Regiment. The lips thrown up by the mine craters can be seen behind them

THE TUNNELS
  • Three feet wide
  • Made of chalk
  • Ran under land a quarter of a mile square
  • Nick named the Glory Hole
  • It is thought there are four miles of tunnels, belonging to the French, German and Brits

Most were a mining 'elite' sent from collieries across Britain, but never returned home.

One victim was Sapper John Lane, 45, from Tipton in Staffordshire, a married father-of-four killed along with four others 80ft underground on 22 November 1915.

His great-grandson, Chris Lane, 45, from Redditch in Worcestershire, said he had been gripped to learn about his relative’s fate, the BBC said in June.

BBC journalist Robert Hall was among the first people to venture into the newly opened tunnels, many of which run up to 100ft deep. He has documented his account in the Daily Mirror.

From bottles of drink and tins of food, graffiti, helmets, picks and bits of shrapnel, he discovered all sorts of eerie reminders of these lesser known heroes of the Great War.

 

A camera getting ready for its descent down the 50 foot W-shaft

A camera getting ready for its descent down the 50 foot W-shaft. Archaeologists have been working on the site since January

British .303 rifle ammunition Toothbrush

Discoveries: British .303 rifle ammunition and the heads of tooth brushes were found inside the passages

Almost 90 years ago the passages would have been full of tunnellers digging, laying explosives, and bringing soil to the surface aided by a recently discovered small railway - all with the Germans often just yards away doing exactly the same.

Mr Hall wrote of the tunnels: 'The first thing that strikes you is how untouched they look.'

A poem scrawled on a wall he passed read: 'If in this place you are detained; Don’t look around you all in vain; But cast your net and you will find; That every cloud is silver lined.'

British shovel, smaller type carried by infantrymen. Below: Special strengthened pick used by the miners

Top: A British shovel carried by infantrymen and below special strengthened pick used by the miners

This is how the village became strategically important.

On 28 September 1914 the German advance was halted by French troops at La Boisselle.

The two sides fought for the possession of the civilian cemetery and farm buildings.

In December that year, French engineers began tunnelling under the ruins which sparked the prolonged battle below ground lasting until 1916.

Both sides tried to probe underneath each other's trenches, setting off explosives to undermine fortifications, working at a depth of about 12 metres.

The British Tunnelling Companies sent in miners to deepen these tunnels and crater system to 30 metres while above ground infantry occupied trenches just 45 metres apart.

At the start of the Battle of the Somme La Boisselle stood on the main axis of British attack.

To aid the attack the British placed two huge mines, known as Y Sap and Lochnagar, on either flank, but they failed to neutralise the German defences in the village.

The village was eventually captured from the Germans on July 4.

Military mining was key to tactics of both the Allies and the Germans during the conflict with tunnellers digging and laying explosives to undermine each other's fortifications.

During the 1917 Battle of Messines, 10,000 Germans were killed after 455 tons of explosive was planted in 21 tunnels.

And, two years earlier, in October 1915, 179 Tunnelling Company began to sink a series of deep shafts to try and stop German miners approaching beneath the British front line.

At a location known as W Shaft they went down from 30 feet to 80 feet and began to drive two counter-mine tunnels towards the Germans. 

But they heard sounds of German digging getting louder and explosives were prepared and planted.

Company Commander Captain Henry Hance spent six hours listening and worked out the Germans were 15 yards away.

However, 24 hours later the Germans set off their own explosives, which detonated the British charge too.

Carbon monoxide gas was released by the huge explosion proving fatal for the tunnellers working underground.

Four bodies were found; William Walker, Andrew Taylor, James Glen and Robert Gavin.

The bodies of two other men from Staffordshire, John Lane and Ezekiel Parkes, were never found.

Military historian Simon Jones, from the University of Birmingham, has studied the tunnellers of the 179th and 185th Tunnelling Companies and following seven years of research, learned who they were and how and when they died.

British infantrymen occupying a shallow trench before advancing during the Battle of the Somme on the first day of battle in 1916

British infantrymen occupying a shallow trench before advancing during the Battle of the Somme on the first day of battle in 1916

One of the German trenches in Guillemont during the Battle of the Somme. The battle began at 7.30am that day, and by the following morning 19,240 British soldiers had died

One of the German trenches in Guillemont during the Battle of the Somme. The battle began at 7.30am that day, and by the following morning 19,240 British soldiers had died

THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME

Battle of the Somme

The Battle of the Somme took place between 1 July and 18 November 1916 in the Somme area of France

The battle consisted of an offensive by the British and French armies against the German Army, which, since invading France in August 1914, had occupied large areas of that country.

The Allies gained little ground over the four month battle - just five miles in total by the end.

The battle is controversial because of the tactics employed and is significant as tanks were used for the first time.

On the first day of fighting the British lost more than 19,000 men and 420,000 in total.

Sixty per cent of all officers involved on the first day were killed.

By the time fighting ceased there were more than 1 million casualties, including 650,000 Germans.

He studied letters, maps and records as well as tunnel plans and diaries to uncover the truth about the deaths.

The number of German tunnellers killed remains unclear.

Mr Jones told Mr Hall: 'What comes across is the human endeavour.

'And the fact these men, most of them volunteers from Britain's coal mines, were a breed apart, and regarded themselves as an elite.'

Military historian Peter Barton told Mr Hall: 'It's been a moving experience for us all.'

Owners of the site, the Lejeune family, decided to let archaeologists into the site in January. It is hoped the area will be preserved once work is completed.

The project is the first of its kind on the Western Front and has been officially sanctioned by the French archaeological authorities.

It is envisaged that work may continue for up to fifteen years.

For more information see www.laboisselleproject.com

Today: A general view of a trench system in Newfoundland park at Beaumont-Hamel on the Somme, France

Today: A general view of a trench system in Newfoundland park at Beaumont-Hamel on the Somme, France, once a bloody battlefield

 

Trench footprint: The still pockmarked landscape of Beaumont Hamel on the Somme where the Newfoundland Regiment were decimated by German machine guns

Trench footprint: The still pockmarked landscape of Beaumont Hamel on the Somme where the Newfoundland Regiment were decimated by German machine guns

 

Metal detection: Mike St Maur Sheil's picture of the Somme battlefield today where farmers are still finding shells and war debris known as the 'Iron harvest'

Metal detection: Mike St Maur Sheil's picture of the Somme battlefield today where farmers are still finding shells and war debris known as the 'Iron harvest'

 

 

Monument: Grave of French soldier Edouard Ivaldi in Champagne. This is the only grave left from WW1 and still has Ivaldi's helmet marking the spot he fell in 1917

Monument: Grave of French soldier Edouard Ivaldi in Champagne. This is the only grave left from WW1 and still has Ivaldi's helmet marking the spot he fell in 1917

 

 

Crossfire: German cemetery at Le Linge near the Weiss valley which was attacked by the French in 1915. Today the German tranches are remarkably well preserved.

Crossfire: German cemetery at Le Linge near the Weiss valley which was attacked by the French in 1915. Today the German tranches are remarkably well preserved.

 

 

Laid to rest: German cemetery on the battlefield of Tete des Faux - the highest point on the Western Front. 10 million soldiers died in the conflict almost 100 years ago

Laid to rest: German cemetery on the battlefield of Tete des Faux - the highest point on the Western Front. 10 million soldiers died in the conflict almost 100 years ago

 

 

Ruins: The remains of the Chateau de Soupir after the village in northern France was cleared by elite British unit, the Brigade of Guards on the 14th September 1914

Ruins: The remains of the Chateau de Soupir after the village in northern France was cleared by elite British unit the Brigade of Guards on the 14th September 1914

 

Obliterated: Original site of the village of Butte de Vaquois which was destroyed between Feb 1915 and Feb 1918. American forces captured the hill on Sept 26 1918

Obliterated: Original site of the village of Butte de Vaquois which was destroyed between Feb 1915 and Feb 1918. American forces captured the hill on Sept 26 1918

 

 

Killing fields: An image of rich farmland at the Somme from a photographic collection showing how the battlefields of the Great War still shape today's landscape

Killing fields: An image of rich farmland at the Somme from a photographic collection showing how the battlefields of the Great War still shape today's landscape

 

Aerial bombardment: The scarred landscape of Beaumont Hamel on the Somme taken from the air shows the wartime topography preserved after almost 100 years

Aerial bombardment: The scarred landscape of Beaumont Hamel on the Somme taken from the air shows the wartime topography preserved after almost 100 years

 

Reflected glory: A peaceful pond is what remains today of the craters made by massive mines on the Messines Ridge near Ypres. Their explosion was heard in London

Reflected glory: A peaceful pond is what remains today of the craters made by massive mines on the Messines Ridge near Ypres. Their explosion was heard in London

 

 

In the spring of 1915 the trenches along the western front were filled with millions of soldiers, at the average rate of one soldier per four inches of trench. The job behind the front lines was to keep the men fed, equipped and ready to continue the fighting until the end came.
The civilians behind the lines were as important to victory as the men on the lines. Because of their value to the war-making power of each nation, civilians became the target of the enemy. Since both sides targeted both civilians and military personnel, and mobilized men and resources at an unprecedented rate, the Great War was a "total war."

In early 1916, the British had over 1 million men in Belgium and France, while the French and German armies had re-supplied their front line troops. The stage was set for both sides to try to make the breakthrough on the battlefield that would assure each victory.
Instead, by year's end, both sides would lose nearly one million men with very little change in position of the front line trenches. The battlefields became "killing fields" and only one word, "slaughter", accurately describes the extent of the killing, violence and destruction.

 

Postcard reads "Trenches 28/8/15" and reads "this photo I should think was taken about 4 months prior to the second terrible second bombardment which was much more severe. The beautiful buildings are a very much more pitiful sight now. Am quite well, heaps of love to all, Sawyer".
The name of the town has been heavily overwritten for security reasons, though I suspect my great-grandmother would have recognised it as Ypres. On 28 August 1915, my grandfather's regiment, the Queen's Westminster Rifles were supporting the 18th Infantry Brigade, on the canal bank about a mile north of Ypres and in trenches east of Potijze


 

 


The murder of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his pregnant wife produced widespread shock across Europe, and there was initially much sympathy for the Austrian position. The Austrian Government in Vienna opportunistically saw this as an opportunity to settle the perceived threat from Serbia once and for all.
After conducting a criminal investigation, as well as verifying that Germany would honor its military alliance,
Austria-Hungary issued a formal letter to the government of Serbia. The letter reminded Serbia of its commitment to respect the Great Powers' decision regarding Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to maintain good neighborly relations with Austria Hungary. The letter also contained specific demands aimed at destroying the funding and operation of terrorist organizations which arguably had perpetrated the Sarajevo outrage.
Serbian reservists being transported on tramp steamers on the Danube, apparently accidentally, crossed on to the Austro-Hungarian side of the river at Temes-Kubin and Austro-Hungarian soldiers fired into the air to warn them off.



This incident was blown out of proportion and Austria-Hungary then declared war and mobilized its army on July 28, 1914. Under the Secret Treaty of 1892 Russia and France were obligated to mobilize their armies if any of the triplice mobilized and soon all the Great Powers except Italy had chosen sides and gone to war.
It could be argued that this assassination set in train most of the major events of the 20th century, with its reverberations lingering into the 21st. The
Treaty of Versailles at the end of the First World War is generally linked to the rise of Adolf Hitler and World War II. It also led to the success of the Russian Revolution, which helped lead to the Cold War. This, in turn, led to many of the major political developments of the twentieth century, such as the fall of the colonial empires and the rise of the United States and the USSR to super-power status.
However, if the assassination had not occurred, it is very possible that European war would have still have erupted, triggered by another event at another time. The alliances noted above and the existence of vast and complex
mobilization plans that were almost impossible to reverse once put in motion made war on a huge scale increasingly likely from the beginning of the twentieth century.

Goodbye, old lad! Remember me to God,
And tell Him that our politicians swear
They won’t give in till Prussian Rule’s been trod
Under the Heel of England. Are you there?...
Yes...and the War won’t end for at least two years;
But we’ve got stacks of men... I’m blind with tears,
Staring into the dark. Cheerio!
I wish they’d killed you in a decent show.
To Any Dead Officer
Siegfried Sassoon.

 

 

american cemetery.romagne-sous-montfaucon.verdun sector.lorraine.france.

As the clock struck 11am, the nation paused to mark the anniversary of Armistice Day, when peace returned to Europe at the end of the First World War.

The agreement between Germany and the Allies after four years of fighting took effect at the ‘eleventh hour of the eleventh day’ of 1918.

Mark of respect: Lloyds insurance employees observe the silence at a ceremony at the HQ in London

Mark of respect: Lloyds insurance employees observe the silence at a ceremony at the HQ in London

Every generation: A mother hold's her young daughter as she drops a poppy into a fountain (also pictured below) at Castle Square, Swansea

Every generation: A mother hold's her young daughter as she drops a poppy into a fountain (also pictured below) at Castle Square, Swansea

Honouring the dead: Poppies are thrown into a fountain during the two-minutes' silence in Castle Square, Swansea

Wearing their poppies with pride, people joined in the two-minute silence as various commemoration services and events were held around the country.

But in London the solemn moment was marred by a small group of protesters styling themselves Muslims Against Crusades, who burned a model of a poppy.

The protest in Kensington, involved about 30 people.

About 50 counter demonstrators, many from the far-Right English Defence League, gathered nearby but the two sides were kept apart by police.

Not forgotten: Lucy Aldridge with her sons George, seven (left) and Archie, five, at Bredenbury War Memorial, Herefordshire, look at the name of her son, Rifleman William Aldridge, who was killed, aged 18, in Afghanistan in 2009

Not forgotten: Lucy Aldridge with her sons George, seven (left) and Archie, five, at Bredenbury War Memorial, Herefordshire, look at the name of her son, Rifleman William Aldridge, who was killed, aged 18, in Afghanistan in 2009

Close to their hearts: Denise Owen and daughter Emma, the mother and sister of Douglas Halliday who was killed in Afghanistan, attends an Armistice Day service at Chester Cathedral Private Douglas Halliday

Close to their hearts: Denise Owen and daughter Emma, the mother and sister of Douglas Halliday (pictured right) who was killed in Afghanistan, attends an Armistice Day service at Chester Cathedral

Along the route of hereoes: Airmen march past Royal British Legion veterans during a combined homecoming and remembrance Wootton Bassett, where the bodies of Afghanistan's fallen are driven

Along the route of hereoes: Airmen march past Royal British Legion veterans during a combined homecoming and remembrance Wootton Bassett, where the bodies of Afghanistan's fallen are driven

Tribute: Poppies are thrown in to a fountain at Trafalgar Square, central London

Tribute: Poppies are thrown into a fountain at Trafalgar Square, central London

Concern: At Westminster Abbey, the Duke of Edinburgh shakes hands with Lauren Levy (right) whose ex-boyfriend Andrew Griffiths died in Afghanistan

Concern: At Westminster Abbey, the Duke of Edinburgh shakes hands with Lauren Levy (right) whose ex-boyfriend Andrew Griffiths died in Afghanistan

Simple tribute: At Westminster Abbey, poppies affixed to crosses represent those who have died

Simple tribute: At Westminster Abbey, poppies affixed to crosses represent those who have died

Police clashed briefly with members of the Muslims Against Crusades group at one stage and at least one man was dragged to the floor and arrested.

But order was quickly restored as officers completely surrounded the small group.

Elsewhere, solemnity was as it has been for the 92 years since ‘the war to end all wars’ ended.

 

The usually raucous House of Commons fell silent today as MPs, led by Commons Speaker John Bercow, observed the traditional two-minute homage to the nation’s fallen.

Energy and climate change questions were interrupted as all in the Chamber stopped talking, with the silence only broken by Big Ben striking 11.

Seven-year-old Jonny Osborne, wearing the medals of his great great uncle, Sapper Lawrence Burton attends a service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, central London Seven-year-old Jonny Osborne, wearing the medals of his great great uncle, Sapper Lawrence Burton attends a service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, central London

Proud: Seven-year-old Jonny Osborne, wearing the medals of his great great uncle, Sapper Lawrence Burton attends a service of remembrance at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, central London

With friends: Jonny Osborne pays his respects with other children at the Cenotaph in Whitehall

With friends: Jonny Osborne pays his respects with other children at the Cenotaph in Whitehall

Hero: Private Johnson Beharry, who won the Victoria Cross, speaks to Defence Secretary Liam Fox at a service of remembrance at the Cenotaph

Hero: Private Johnson Beharry, who won the Victoria Cross, speaks to Defence Secretary Liam Fox at a service of remembrance at the Cenotaph

Tradition: The Cenotaph - near the Houses of Parliament - is Britain's chief war memorial

Tradition: The Cenotaph - near the Houses of Parliament - is Britain's chief war memorial

Allies remember: Prime Minister David Cameron participates in a ceremony in South Korea with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde

Allies remember: Prime Minister David Cameron participates in a ceremony in South Korea with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. Ahead of them are Australian (left) and French soldiers

Sounding a call to remember: Andrew Buckley plays the bugle during two minutes silence for Armistice Day held at the National Railway Museum in York

Sounding a call to remember: Andrew Buckley plays the bugle during two minutes silence for Armistice Day held at the National Railway Museum in York

Helping the injured: Julie Dove from the Poppy Appeal attends an Armistice Day service at Chester Cathedral with a members of the 1st Battalion the Mercians who lost his legs in combat

Helping the injured: Julie Dove from the Poppy Appeal attends an Armistice Day service at Chester Cathedral with a member of the 1st Battalion the Mercians who lost his legs in combat

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Commons Leader Sir George Young were among those who came to the Chamber for the event.

On Labour benches shadow foreign secretary Yvette Cooper and former defence minister Kevan Jones were among those marking the anniversary.

The Duke of Edinburgh attended a ceremony without the Queen at Westminster Abbey today, where he met a number of recently berieved, including Lauren Levy, 27, whose former boyfriend Andrew Griffiths, 25, died in Afghanistan in September.

The Queen is due to attend the Remembrance Sunday commemoration at the Cenotaph in Whitehall, central London.

Odd woman out: French president President Nicolas Sarkozy (2nd R) and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (L)

Odd woman out: French president President Nicolas Sarkozy (2nd R) and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (L)

New allies: German soldiers attend a commemoration in France for the first time at ceremony in Strasbourg

New allies: German soldiers attend a commemoration in France for the first time at ceremony in Strasbourg

Disgrace: Muslims protesters burn poppies at a Remembrance Day event in Kensington, west London

Disgrace: Muslims protesters burn poppies at a Remembrance Day event in Kensington, west London

While memorials are traditionally held by those countries who fought with the victorious allies, this year a German army regiment was invited to join a French commemoration in Strasbourg.

David Cameron, who is in South Korea, marked the event, which took place nine hours before Britain due to the time difference, with other world leaders.

He stood alongside Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper and Australia’s premier Julia Gillard.

Back in Britain, people from every walk of life stopped and contemplated those who have given their life in war.

As well as public memorials held in ever corner of the UK, office workers and labourers also stopped and devoted two minutes of silence to those who have died.

 

2

A Japanese soldier stands guard over part of the captured Great Wall of China in 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The Empire of Japan and the Republic of China had been at war intermittently since 1931, but the conflict escalated in 1937. (LOC) #

3

Japanese aircraft carry out a bombing run over targets in China in 1937. (LOC) #

4

Japanese soldiers involved in street fighting in Shanghai, China in 1937. The battle of Shanghai lasted from August through November of 1937, eventually involving nearly one million troops. In the end, Shanghai fell to the Japanese, after over 150,000 casualties combined. (LOC) #

5

First pictures of the Japanese occupation of Peiping (Beijing) in China, on August 13, 1937. Under the banner of the rising sun, Japanese troops are shown passing from the Chinese City of Peiping into the Tartar City through Chen-men, the main gate leading onward to the palaces in the Forbidden City. Just a stone's throw away is the American Embassy, where American residents of Peiping flocked when Sino-Japanese hostilities were at their worst. (AP Photo) #

Warning:This image may contain graphic or
objectionable content. Click to view image.
Japanese soldiers execute captured Chinese soldiers with bayonets in a trench as other Japanese soldiers watch from rim. (LOC)
#

7

Chinese General Chiang Kai-shek, right, head of the Nanking government at Canton, with General Lung Yun, chairman of the Yunan provincial government in Nanking, on June 27, 1936. (AP Photo) #

8

On Feb. 5, 1938, A Chinese woman surveys the remains of her family, all of whom met death during Japanese occupation of Nanking, allegedly victims of atrocities at the hands of Japanese soldiers. (AP Photo) #

9

Buddhist priests of the Big Asakusa Temple prepare for the Second Sino-Japanese War as they wear gas masks during training against future aerial attacks in Tokyo, Japan, on May 30, 1936. (AP Photo) #

10

Italian Fascist leader Benito Mussolini, center, hands on hips, with members of the fascist Party, in Rome, Italy, Oct. 28, 1922, following their March on Rome. This march was an act of intimidation, where thousands of fascist blackshirts occupied strategic positions throughout much of Italy. Following the march, King Emanuelle III asked Mussolini to form a new government, clearing the way towards a dictatorship. (AP Photo) #

11

Four Italian soldiers taking aim in Ethiopia in 1935, during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Italian forces under Mussolini invaded and annexed Ethiopia, folding it into a colony named Italian East Africa along with Eritrea. (LOC) #

12

Italian troops raise the Italian flag over Macalle, Ethiopia in 1935. Emperor Haile Selassie's appeals the the League of Nations for help went unanswered, and Italy was largely given a free hand to do as it pleased in East Africa. (LOC) #

13

In Spain, loyalist soldiers teach target practice to women who are learning to defend the city of Barcelona against fascist rebel troops of general Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War, on June 2, 1937. (AP Photo) #

14

Three hundred fascist insurgents were killed in this explosion in Madrid, Spain, under the five-story Casa Blanca building, on March 19, 1938. Government loyalists tunneled 600 yards over a six-month period to lay the land mine that caused the explosion. (AP Photo) #

15

An insurgent fighter tosses a hand grenade over a barbed wire fence and into loyalist soldiers with machine guns blazing in Burgos, Spain, on Sept. 12, 1936. (AP Photo) #

16

German-made Stuka dive bombers, part of the Condor Legion, in flight above Spain on May 30, 1939, during the Spanish Civil War. The black-and-white "X" on the tail and wings is Saint Andrew's Cross, the insignia of Franco's Nationalist Air Force. The Condor Legion was composed of volunteers from the German Army and Air Force. (AP Photo) #

17

Scores of families are seen taking refuge underground on a Madrid subway platform, on Dec. 9, 1936, as bombs are dropped by Franco's rebel aircraft overhead. (AP Photo) #

18

Aerial bombing of Barcelona in 1938 by Franco's Nationalist Air Force. The Spanish Civil War saw some of the earliest extensive use of aerial bombardment of civilian targets, and the development of new terror bombing techniques. (Italian Airforce) #

19

Following an aerial attack on Madrid from 16 rebel planes from Tetuan, Spanish Morocco, relatives of those trapped in ruined houses appeal for news of their loved ones, Jan. 8, 1937. The faces of these women reflect the horror non-combatants are suffering in the civil struggle. (AP Photo) #

20

A Spanish rebel who surrendered is led to a summary court martial, as popular front volunteers and civil guards jeer, July 27, 1936, in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo) #

21

A fascist machine gun squad, backed up by expert riflemen, hold a position along the rugged Huesca front in northern Spain, Dec. 30, 1936. (AP Photo) #

22

Solemnly promising the nation his utmost effort to keep the country neutral, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt is shown as he addressed the nation by radio from the White House in Washington, Sept. 3, 1939. In the years leading up to the war, the U.S. Congress passed several Neutrality Acts, pledging to stay (officially) out of the conflict. (AP Photo) #

23

Riette Kahn is shown at the wheel of an ambulance donated by the American movie industry to the Spanish government in Los Angeles, California, on Sept. 18, 1937. The Hollywood Caravan to Spain will first tour the U.S. to raise funds to "help the defenders of Spanish democracy" in the Spanish Civil War. (AP Photo) #

24

Two American Nazis in uniform stand in the doorway of their New York City office, on April 1, 1932, when the headquarters opened. "NSDAP" stands for Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, or, in English, National Socialist German Workers' Party, normally shortened to just "Nazi Party". (AP Photo) #

25

About to be engulfed in a gigantic dust cloud is a peaceful little ranch in Boise City, Oklahoma where the topsoil is being dried and blown away during the years of the Dust Bowl in central North America. Severe drought, poor farming techniques and devastating storms rendered millions of acres of farmland useless. This photo was taken on April 15, 1935. (AP Photo) #

26

Florence Thompson with three of her children in a photograph known as "Migrant Mother." This famous image is one of a series of photographs that photographer Dorothea Lange made of Florence Thompson and her children in early 1936 in Nipomo, California. More on the photo here. (LOC/Dorothea Lange) #

27

The zeppelin Hindenburg floats past the Empire State Building over Manhattan on Aug. 8, 1936. The German airship was en route to Lakehurst, New Jersey, from Germany. The Hindenburg would later explode in a spectacular fireball above Lakehurst on May 6, 1937. (AP Photo) #

28

England's biggest demonstration of its readiness to go through a gas attack was staged, March 16, 1938, when 2,000 volunteers in Birmingham donned gas masks and went through an elaborate drill. These three firemen were fully equipped, from rubber boots to masks, for the mock gas "invasion". (AP Photo) #

29

Adolf Hitler of Germany and Benito Mussolini of Italy greet each other as they meet at the airfield in Venice, Italy, on June 14, 1934. Mussolini and his fascists put on a show for Hitler, but on the details of their subsequent conversations there was little news. (AP Photo) #

30

Four Nazi troops sing in front of the Berlin branch of the Woolworth Co. store during the movement to boycott Jewish presence in Germany, in March, 1933. The Hitlerites believe the founder of the Woolworth Co. was Jewish. (AP Photo) #

31

The Nazi booth at a radio exhibition which started in Berlin on August 19, 1932. The booth is designed as propaganda of the Nazi gramophone plate industry which produces only records of the national socialist movement. (AP Photo) #

32

Thousands of young men flocked to hang upon the words of their leader, Reichsfuhrer Adolf Hitler, as he addressed the convention of the National Socialist Party in Nuremberg, Germany on Sept. 11, 1935. (AP Photo) #

33

Adolf Hitler is shown being cheered as he rides through the streets of Munich, Germany, November 9, 1933, during the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the National Socialist movement. (AP Photo)

15

In a long-exposure photo, stars spin above the base chapel at Forward Operating Base Warrior, Ghazni province, on May 13, 2012. The lights at lower left are from soldiers with flashlights walking past. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Mike MacLeod) #

16

Jalaluddin, 23, a drug addict, sits chained to a wall during his 40-day incarceration at the Mia Ali Baba Shrine in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on May 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

17

The chained leg of Jalaluddin, a drug addict, during his 40-day incarceration at the Mia Ali Baba Shrine in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, on May 7, 2012. The shrine is a holy place, and those who care for it say that spending 40 days here will, God willing, free Jalaludin from his personal prison of mental illness. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) #

18

Rain clouds roll over the mountains next to Wurzi, Khowst province, on May 17, 2012. (U.S. Army/Spc. Kimberly Trumbull) #

19

Marines with Regimental Combat Team 6's personal security detachment shoot their M4 rifles during a night range at Forward Operating Base Delaram II, on May 29, 2012. The Marines used night vision goggles and infrared lasers to see and aim at their targets. (USMC/Staff Sgt. Brian Buckwalter) #

20

A soldier from the U.S. Army's 1st Platoon, 18th Engineer Company, Task Force Arrowhead rests at Forward Operating Base Mizan after completing a route clearance patrol in Zabul Province, on May 24, 2012. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne) #

21

Afghan amputee Malek Mohammad trains in a swimming pool in Kabul. The 18-year-old, whose legs were blown off by a Soviet landmine, dreams of swimming for Afghanistan in the London Paralympics. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images) #

22

Critical supplies are delivered to an undisclosed location in Afghanistan via airdrop by a C-17 Globemaster III, on May 4, 2012. (USAF/Staff Sgt. Greg Biondo) #

23

People walk through a portion of the Boston Common covered with American flags, in Boston, Wednesday, May 23, 2012. Relatives and volunteers planted the 33,000 flags in the historic park in advance of the Memorial Day weekend, in tribute to Massachusetts soldiers killed in conflicts as far back as the Civil War. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) #

24

U.S. Marine Cpl. Miroslav Kazimir stands, with the help of his wife Marcela, while visiting a grave at the National Cemetery on Memorial Day on May 28, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia. He had come to visit the grave of Marine Sgt. Sean Callahan who died in an IED attack in Afghanistan in April of 2011, the same attack that severely damaged both of Zazimir's legs. He is currently undergoing long-term therapy at the military hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. (John Moore/Getty Images) #

25

Farhad Saffi, the owner of Milli Boot Factory, stands in his closed factory in Kabul. Gazing glumly over millions of dollars worth of machinery which used to churn out thousands of police and army boots each day but now sits wreathed in plastic sheeting, Saffi fears he is seeing the death of an Afghan dream. Milli Boot Factory was a model for Afghanistan, showcasing local manufacturing while giving jobs to hundreds of people who may have otherwise have picked up insurgent guns. But a U.S. decision to hand procurement to the Afghan government has left Milli's owner with something of a developed world problem - local officials opted for cheaper boots made in China and Pakistan, killing off Milli's contracts after a year. (Reuters/Omar Sobhani) #

26

An Afghan National Army soldier shows his destroyed, army-issued boots at a firing range at the 203 Thunder Corps base in Gardez, Paktia province, on May 15, 2012. Col. Abdul Haleem Noori observed, "It's only two months old and it is falling apart, and we are told it is supposed to last one year." The footwear was made by a manufacturer under contract to the Afghan Ministry of Defense. (AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus) #

27

A man walks atop fuel tankers, which were used to carry fuel for NATO forces in Afghanistan, parked at a compound in Karachi, Pakistan, on May 21, 2012. Pakistan and the United States appeared on the verge of clinching an agreement to reopen ground supply lines into Afghanistan, a U.S. official said. Pakistan closed down the supply lines for the Afghan war effort following the NATO air strike in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. (Reuters/Akhtar Soomro) #

28

An Afghan boy walks with his cow at sunset in Mazar-i Sharif, capital of the Balkh province, on April 9, 2012. (Qais Usyan/AFP/Getty Images) #

29

An Afghan Border Police cook stirs a vat of meat and potatoes in the kitchen at the 5th Zone near Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province, on May 22, 2012. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Kimberly Lamb) #

30

A U.S. Army soldier with 721st Engineer Company, 780th Engineer Battalion operates an excavator, right, to tear down a wooden structure on Camp Delaram II, Nimroz province, on May 18, 2012. Soldiers demolished the structure as part of the ongoing process to demilitarize the camp. (USMC/Staff Sgt Raul Gonzalez) #

31

U.S. Army Spc. Denise Sonnier, from Crowley, Louisiana, a gunner who is serving with the Louisiana National Guard's 1086th Transportation Company, Task Force Muleskinner, prepares rounds for the M240B machine gun of her Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle, on May 23, 2012. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Ken Scar) #

32

U.S. President Barack Obama greets troops at Bagram Air Base in Kabul, on May 2, 2012. Earlier, Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed the Strategic Partnership Agreement at the Presidential Palace. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque) #

33

Dark smoke rises from a compound after it was attacked by militants in Kabul, on May 2, 2012. A suicide car bomber and Taliban militants disguised in burqas attacked the compound housing hundreds of foreigners in the Afghan capital, officials and witnesses said. The Taliban said the attack was a response to U.S. President Barack Obama's surprise visit just hours earlier. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) #

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34

Afghan security personnel look on as dead bodies and the wreckage of a vehicle lie in front of a guesthouse in Kabul, on May 2, 2012, after a suicide bomb attack. (Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images) #

35

A survivor of a suicide bomb attack is evacuated from the site in Kabul, on May 2, 2012. (Bay Ismoyo/AFP/Getty Images) #

36

A trail of blood, next to shattered glass in a school complex adjoining the site of a suicide bomb attack at a guesthouse in Kabul, on May 2, 2012. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images) #

37

U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Michael Straub, a team leader with 1st Platoon, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, and fellow 1st Platoon Marines kneel while halted during a security patrol, on April 30, 2012. On the final patrol of their seven-month deployment, the Marines toured the Durzay region of Helmand province's Garmsir district to disrupt possible insurgent activity. (USMC/Cpl. Reece Lodder) #

38

Lt. Col. Brent Allen, a fighter pilot assigned to the 157th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron at Kandahar Airfield, launches an F-16 Fighting Falcon for a mission on May 4, 2012. Personnel are deployed from McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (South Carolina National Guard/Tech. Sgt. Caycee Cook) #

39

U.S. Army soldiers of the Battle company, 1-508 Parachute Infantry battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, play badminton at a compound of Afghan security forces at night before a mission in Zahri district of Kandahar province, on May 30, 2012. (Reuters/Shamil Zhumatov) #

40

An Afghan National Army soldier fires a rocket-propelled grenade at an insurgent position during a firefight in Ghazni province, on May 17, 2012. In the distance, Afghan police are running to find cover near a position manned by paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team. (U.S. Army/Sgt. Mike MacLeod) #

41

A soldier from Charlie Company 5/2 of the U.S. Army tests a metal detector as he prepares for a mission at Forward Operating Base Apache in Afghanistan's Zabul Province, on May 23, 2012. (Reuters/Tim Wimborne) #

42

Wyatt McCain, 8, from North Pole, Alaska, sits beside his father's grave at the National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on May 28, 2012 -- Memorial Day. His dad, Army SFC Johnathan McCain, was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in November of 2011. Wyatt came with his mother and three sisters to take part in a "Good Grief Camp". Five hundred military children and teens, many of whom had a parent that was killed in the Afghan and Iraq wars, attended the annual four-day camp in Arlington and Washington, DC, which is run by TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors). The camp helped them learn coping skills and build relationships so they know they are not alone in the grief of their loved one. They met others of their own age group, learned together and shared their feelings, both through group activities and one-on-one mentors, who are all active duty or former military service members. The TAPS slogan is "Remember the Love. Celebrate the Life. Share the Journey." (John Moore/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

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