Monthly Archives: July 2014

100th anniversary of the birth of Abram Games

British graphic designer Abram Games (1914-1996) was born in Whitechapel to immigrant Jewish parents on 29 July 1914, the day after Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, beginning the First World War.

Artwork for the New London Synagogue by Abram Games from the collection MS 116/85

Artwork for the New London Synagogue by Abram Games from the collection MS 116/85

Games began his career as a freelance commercial artist and was commissioned to produce posters for clients such as Shell, London Transport and the Post Office. He joined the British army in 1939 and was appointed the government’s official war poster designer in 1942. During the war years he created more than one hundred official posters, with some of his most notable works including ‘Your Britain, Fight for It Now’, published in 1942, and the ATS recruitment poster for the Ministry of Information, published in 1941.

After the war he resumed his freelance work, producing commissions for clients such as the United Nations, the Financial Times, Guinness, British Airways, and the BBC. He also secured several important projects; including designing the commemorative stamps for the 1948 Olympic Games. In the same year he won the competition to create the emblem of the Festival of Britain, with his design becoming one of the most popular images of post-war Britain.

Games’ Jewish identity remained an important aspect of both his life and work and, in addition to spending time in Israel, he produced designs for a number of Jewish publications and organisations.

The University of Southampton Special Collections Division is home to a small collection of Games’ design work for Jewish publications. These include proofs, progressive sketches, and final artwork for publications and emblems of the Encyclopaedia Judaica, the Jewish Chronicle (including artwork for the Jewish Chronicle 25th anniversary of Israel cover design), the Anglo-Jewish Friendship League, the United Synagogue, the New London Synagogue, the Ben Uri Gallery, and the Jewish Museum.

The Jewish Museum in London is holding an exhibition ‘Designing the 20th Century:  Life and Work of Abram Games’ to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Games’ birth. The exhibition will run from 8 September 2014 to 4 January 2015.

For more details see

Reflections on war and warfare: week 22 (28 July – 3 August 2014)

As of March 2014, we are posting weekly extracts of writings on war and warfare drawn from our manuscript and printed collections. Ranging from items on the Maratha wars to the Second World War, the extracts will reflect opinions both from the battle front and from those at home.

27-8 July 1809 Battle of Talavera
After defeating the corps of Marshal Nicolas Soult in Portugal at the Battle of Porto, on 12 May 1808, British forces under Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley advanced into Spain in early July. There they joined with Spanish forces under General Gregoria de la Cuesta. On 27 July, as the Anglo-Spanish forces marched eastwards towards Madrid, they encountered a large French army just outside the town of Talavera de la Reina, southwest of Madrid. The attacking French forces were under the command of Marshal Claude Victor, Major General Horace Sebastiani and the King of Spain, Joseph Bonaparte. While the battle resulted in heavy losses on both sides, the Anglo-Spanish lines held as they repulsed several enemy attacks and forced the French to withdraw from the field. However, with Soult threatening to cut the road to Portugal, Wellesley was forced to fall back towards the Portuguese border. Despite being a strategic victory for the French, the battle was seen as the first of Wellesley’s great victories in Spain and resulted in him being created Viscount Wellington of Talavera for his success on the battlefield.

“The enemy having collected all the troops he had in this part of Spain attacked us here on the 27th, and the battle lasted till yesterday evening when we beat him in all parts of our line, and he retreated in the evening and night leaving in our hands 13 or 15 pieces of cannon, ammunition waggons, prisoners, etc. The battle was a most desperate one. Our loss has been very great, that of the enemy larger. The attack was made principally upon the British who were on the left; and we had about two to one against us. Fearful odds! But we maintained all our positions and gave the enemy a terrible beating.”

MS 61 WP1/270/19 Copy of a letter from Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley, Talavera, to John Charles Villiers, 29 July 1809

1 August 1914 The beginning of World War One

On 27 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were killed by a Serbian nationalist in Sarajevo. After securing the support of Germany, Austria-Hungary presented Serbia with an ultimatum on 23 July 1914. The prime demand was for all anti-Austrian propaganda within Serbia to be suppressed, and that Austria-Hungary be allowed to conduct its own investigation into the archduke’s killing. Despite Serbia accepting all of Austria’s demands apart from one, the Austrian government went ahead with military preparation measures, declaring war on Serbia on 28 July 1914. Russia, Serbia’s supporter, began its own steps towards military mobilisation against Austria. This led to Germany declaring war on Russia on 1 August, France and Germany declaring war on each other on 3 August, and Britain declaring war on Germany on 4 August.

“A miserable day; the war cloud looms bigger – all Europe is in arms…I have never begun a holiday with less anticipation and enjoying it. I am filled with vague foreboding and misfortune.”

MS 168 AJ 217/10 Journal of Samuel Rich, 1 August 1914

1 August 1809
The Walcheren campaign
The British force, of nearly 40,000 men began to land in Walcheren on 30 July. The army was commanded by the second Earl of Chatham, the elder brother of the Prime Minister, William Pitt, and the navy by Sir Richard Strathan. The aim of the expedition was to destroy the French fleet, thought to be in Flushing, and to provide a diversion for the Austrians in their war against France. By the time the force had landed, however, the Austrians had been defeated and were negotiating a peace treaty with Napoleon. Although the British captured Flushing in August, the French had moved their fleet to Antwerp, thus denying the British any chance of destroying it. The troops were finally withdrawn in December, having suffered over 4,000 deaths from fever.

“We have no news yet from the expedition but are in hourly expectation of getting it. They would probably have landed on Sunday and in that case we should hear today. It is said that Buonaparte is arrived to oppose Lord Chatham. I own that will all deference for the latter and Sir Eyre Coote, his second in command, I had rather see them pitted against anybody than Buonaparte.”

MS 62 BR24/10/1 Letter from Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, Admiralty to his sister Frances [Fanny], 1 August 1809

Archivist projects: Lord Palmerston’s Papers – Home Affairs and Miscellaneous and Patronage Correspondence

The papers of Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, form part of University of Southampton Library MS 62, the Broadlands archives. The semi-official correspondence and papers of the third Viscount Palmerston cover the whole of his ministerial career from 1809 until his death as Prime Minister in 1865. Lara Nelson, who is working in Special Collections from October 2013 to July 2014 as an archivist, describes the Home Affairs and Miscellaneous and Patronage correspondence that she has catalogued.

Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston

Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston

“Amongst the 40,000 letters to and from Lord Palmerston, I have catalogued the Home Affairs papers and part of the Miscellaneous and Patronage correspondence. Dating from the 1820s-1860s, the Home Affairs papers relate to political, religious and environmental issues.

The following items would be beneficial primary sources to consult for those studying the relationship between church and state during the nineteenth century. Statements of Protestant Dissenters in relation to the Corporation (1661) and Tests (1673) Acts reflect their wish to have equal rights to those who take the Church of England sacraments (MS 62 PP/HA/B/1-3). These rights include membership of town corporations and holding civil or military offices. Items relating to Catholic emancipation can also be found (MS 62 PP/HA/C/1-2). These include a voting sheet listing persons and their votes for or against Catholic emancipation (March 1827), and a memorandum from Sir Robert Peel’s speech introducing the Catholic relief bill (1829).

The examinations before the Privy Council of those accused of treason and murder relate to the Cato Street Conspiracy in 1820 (MS 62 PP/HA/A). The conspiracy involved a group of Spenceans led by Arthur Thistlewood. They planned to overthrow the government by assassinating the Cabinet during their meeting at Lord Harrowby’s home. Intentions included beheading every member of the Cabinet, and placing the heads of Lord Castlereagh and Lord Sidmouth on spikes on Westminster Bridge. The examination sheets are in the form of witness statements of the accused, providing a valuable resource for studying radicalism during the early nineteenth century.

The Miscellaneous and Patronage correspondence dates from the 1820s and 1860s, and largely consists of requests for jobs and financial assistance. The jobs requested are mainly British consulships and clerkships in the Foreign Office. Other intriguing items include a letter that dates from 1831, discussing the cost of setting up a ship canal in Portsmouth (MS 62 PP/MPC/16). Together this series of records provides a valuable insight into the kind of enquiries Lord Palmerston was addressed with during his various roles in parliament.”

Reflections on war and warfare: week 21 (21 – 27 July 2014)

As of March 2014, we are posting weekly extracts of writings on war and warfare drawn from our manuscript and printed collections. Ranging from items on the Maratha wars to the Second World War, the extracts will reflect opinions both from the battle front and from those at home.

21 July 1808 Beginning of British intervention in the Peninsular War
On 14 July 1808 Arthur Wellesley was formally appointed to command an expedition to support the Spanish in the fight against French forces in the Iberian Peninsula. Arriving in Coruña on 20 July, Wellesley attempts to convey the prevailing sentiment felt in favour of the Spanish cause.

“It is impossible to convey to you an idea of the sentiment which prevails here in favor of the Spanish cause. The difference between any two men is whether the one is a better or a worse Spaniard; and the better Spaniard is the one who detests the French most heartily.”

WP1/209 Letter from Lieutenant General Arthur Wellesley, Coruña, to Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, 21 July 1808

22 July 1812 Battle of Salamanca

For several weeks following their advance into Spain in 1812, Wellington’s Anglo-Portuguese army was shadowed by French forces led by Marshal Auguste Marmont. The two armies finally engaged each other to the south of Salamanca on 22 July 1812. Thanks to a series of flanking manoeuvres the battled ended in a decisive allied victory, enabling Wellington to advance and capture Madrid on 6 August. Though he was forced to abandon the Spanish capital two months later, the victory convinced the British government to continue the war in Spain.

“A few shells most judiciously thrown made the enemy give way, and our light troops and line hurried on and gained the heights. A very heavy firing now took place, the enemy giving way. At this instant our Heavy Brigade, led by my poor friend Le Marchant, rushed on and penetrated the enemy’s line. All was instantly confusion, and their left fled precipitately to a sort of second line, leaving behind them guns, eagles and immense quantity of prisoners. The troops now nearest the centre were engaged, and Lord Wellington ordered on our left, who were all evidently gaining ground, when night put an end to the battle and saved the enemy from total destruction…”

MS 300/7/1 Transcript by S.G.P.Ward of Scovell’s Peninsula diary, 22 July 1812

23 July 1917 Desertion amongst the Russian forces

After the abdication of Nicholas II in March 1917, Alexander Kerensky held the position Minister of Justice in the Provisional Government, going on to become Minister of War in May, and Prime Minister in July. Despite opposition due to the Russian army weakened by the military disasters at the Masurian Lakes and Tannenburg, and to food supplies being dangerously low, Kerensky ensured Russia stayed in the First World War. This led to a drop in morale amongst the Russian soldiers and an increasing problem of desertion.

“The war bids fair to go on forever; now Russian units are deserting wholesale and Kerensky in premier. Can he save the situation?”

MS 168 AJ 217/13 Journal of Samuel Rich, 27 July 1917

User perspectives: Discovering the situation for Jews and Jewish Refugees during the twentieth century using the Anglo-Jewish archives

The University of Southampton holds one of the largest collections of Jewish archives in Western Europe. The holdings partly grew out of the association with the Parkes Library, originally the private library of Reverend Dr James Parkes. Parkes devoted his life to investigating and combating the problem of anti-Semitism and since the arrival of Parkes’ Library at the University in 1964 the study of Jewish/non-Jewish relations has developed significantly.

Books within the Parkes Library

Books within the Parkes Library

Alice Caffull, a former University of Southampton Modern History and Politics undergraduate student, and now a Master’s Jewish History and Culture student, explains how she has used the Anglo-Jewish archives for her research.

“I consulted the “Refugee Voices” Association of Jewish Refugees collection in both my undergraduate and postgraduate degree because of my interest in personal testimony and memoirs. I used this collection in various essays and found it an easy-to-navigate and fascinating source. I study MA Jewish History and Culture and therefore the wealth of Jewish history contained within the archives is extremely useful and exciting for me. I spent a whole module (an Individually Negotiated Topic module) on the diaries of Samuel Morris Rich, a Jewish teacher who kept a diary from 1905 until his death in 1950. I really enjoyed getting into the content of these diaries and assessing the situation for Jews particularly before the First World War through his diaries.

MS 168 AJ 217/4 Diary of Samuel Morris Rich, 1908

MS 168 AJ 217/4 Diary of Samuel Morris Rich, 1908

The archives were also one of the main reasons that I stayed at Southampton to do my Master’s degree, as well as of course for the fantastic Parkes Institute. For my MA dissertation I will be spending many more hours in the Archive, looking at Rabbis Hertz and Schonfeld’s papers, the papers of James Parkes and Carl Stettauer, and the records of various Councils and committees such as the Council for Christians and Jews. These will hopefully aid my discussion of the work of the Salvation Army in England with refugee groups in the first half of the twentieth century, a previously unstudied topic. Through these documents I am looking for information on the work of Christian and Jewish groups together, and for any references to the work of the Salvation Army within wider Christian and philanthropic movements at this time.”

Reflections on war and warfare: week 20 (14 – 20 July 2014)

As of March 2014, we are posting weekly extracts of writings on war and warfare drawn from our manuscript and printed collections. Ranging from items on the Maratha wars to the Second World War, the extracts will reflect opinions both from the battle front and from those at home.

17-20 July 1812 Prelude to the Battle of Salamanca
Following the capture of Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo in 1812, Wellington advanced into Spain where he was confronted by Marshal Marmont, commanding the army known as the “Army of Portugal”. In the weeks and days leading up to their engagement at the battle of Salamanca, on 22 July, the two armies often marched close together with Marmont continually outmanoeuvring Wellington’s forces and threatening the Allied supply line.

17 July 1812 – “The Army concentrated near Fuetelapeña. In the evening of this day it was discovered that we had been outmanoeuvred and the enemy had actually crossed a great force at the bridge of Tordesillas and the ford of Pollos. Marmont deserves great credit for the way in which he carried out the deception. For along time he kept constantly moving troops to his right, repaired the bridge at Toro and made good the ford at that place, crossed over small bodies constantly towards our left and kept us in alarm for our communications that way.”

18 July – “The enemy advanced in force, our troops retiring and concentrating near Cañin in some irregular strong ground. They advanced with great spirit taking care never to commit their cavalry supporting them (and they supporting each other) with artillery and infantry.”

19 July – “Towards evening the enemy made a move to the left which obliged us to take the ground to our right, and the next morning we offered him battle and expected an attack.”

20 July – “To Cabezavellosa. The enemy again moved to the left and we made a very long march, both armies moving in parallel lines, the enemy keeping the heights and cannonading our people with little effect.”

MS 300/7/1 Transcript by S.G.P.Ward of Scovell’s Peninsula diary, 17-20 July 1812

19 July 1918 Resentment over conscription legislation
As a result of numbers of volunteers falling to approximately 80,000 per month after the Dardanelles expedition, the government felt forced to intervene. Initially the ‘Derby scheme’ was introduced, which involved door-to-door visits to gather men to serve if needed, with assurance that bachelors would be called up before married men. However, this measure proved inadequate and in January 1916 the Military Service Act was introduced. It introduced conscription of single men aged 18-41, extended to married men in May of that year.

“I sat down to a half hour talk in which I did not get my way, namely to see that English born Jews be allowed the option of not joining the Jewish Regiment, and that a chaplain be approached to the Jewish Battalion.”

MS 132 AJ 322 1/4 Letter from Basil Henriques to his mother, 19 July 1918

20 July 1852 The Cape frontier wars

In December 1850 there was another outbreak of hostilities in the ongoing Cape frontier wars, in this case created in part by the policies imposed by the British Governor Sir Harry Smith. Chief Maqoma of the Xhosa led a guerrilla campaign in the valleys and forested mountains of Waterkloof against the British. From this base he was able to plunder surrounding farms and torch homestead. Maqoma inflicted heavy losses on forces under Sir Harry Smith’s command, notably that of the 74th Highlanders. By early 1852 George Cathcart was sent to replace Smith, taking up command in March. His brief was to crush the insurgents, a task he applied himself to with dedication and by February 1853 the chiefs surrendered. Captain Edward Wellesley’s letters give insights into the way the realities of warfare in the Cape.

“A large assemblage of Kafirs having been reported at Auckland the site of one of the destroyed military villages, the Governor sent a force and went himself; we found a number of huts which were destroyed but the Kafirs and any cattle they may have had escaped… On the 7th of this month a movement was made against the Kafirs under Macomo [Maqoma] in the Waterkloof, we left this and formed a camp on the Kroome river under the Kroome range from whence we ascended the Kroome and united with the Rifle Brigade at the tope and bivouacked on the heights. On the following day, we passed through a forest which divides the Waterkloof from Fuller’s Hoek and reached an open space familiarly called the Horseshoe, this is an open plateau something the shape of what it is termed and the best fighting ground I have seen for Kafirs… It is a melancholy spot, the graves of many poor soldiers dotted about, and you are pointed out the spot where many officers fell amongst them being Fordyce who commanded the 74th Highlanders and was a brave and distinguished officer. We however met with no opposition either passing through the Forest or emerging on the plain and having joined another column which had been operating on this side, in concert destroyed a large number of huts on the edge of the Waterkloof and in a skirmish one man of the Rifle Brigade was killed… The next day we returned to Fort Beaufort.”

MS 63 A904/3/19 Letter from Captain Edward Wellesley to his brother Richard, 20 July 1852

Reflections on war and warfare: week 19 (7 – 13 July 2014)

As of March 2014, we are posting weekly extracts of writings on war and warfare drawn from our manuscript and printed collections. Ranging from items on the Maratha wars to the Second World War, the extracts will reflect opinions both from the battle front and from those at home.

10 July 1808 Waiting to set sail for the Iberian Peninsula
In June of 1808 two Spanish delegates arrived in London. They were there to appeal for support following uprisings against the French which had taken place across Spain. Their arrival was met with great excitement throughout Britain, with the government coming under pressure to seize the opportunity. On 14 June, Arthur Wellesley was formally appointed to command an expedition to support the Spanish in fighting against French forces in the Iberian Peninsula. In the passage below, as Wellesley waits to set sail from Cork, a sense of urgency can be felt. The expedition at last got out with a fair wind on 12 July, arriving in Coruña on 20 July.

“The wind is still contrary, but we hope it will change so as to sail this evening. We are unmoored, and will not wait one moment after the wind will be fair.

I see that people in England complain of the delay which has taken place in the sailing of the expedition; but in fact none has taken place; and even if all had been on board we could not have sailed before this day.”

WP1/208 Copy of a letter from Lieutenant General Arthur Wellesley, Cove, to Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh, Secretary of State for War and the Colonies, 10 July 1808

10-11 July 1940 Start of the Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain, the struggle between the German Luftwaffe and the British Royal Air force, raged over Britain between July and October 1940. It was the first major military campaign to be fought entirely in the air. It was part of a German plan to win air superiority over Southern Britain and the English Channel by destroying the British air force and aircraft industry as a prelude to the invasion of Britain.

10 July: “Today was the day prophesied as that of the invasion – the beginning of the battle of Britain.”

11 July: “The news today as other days of superiority of the RAF – parts of England bombed – ‘a few’ deaths – no numbers given anymore – today an English railway siding – a number killed. But our bombers go to their places and bomb with precision.”

MS 168 AJ217/36 Journal of Samuel Rich, 10-11 July 1940

12 July 1793
The surrender of Condé
The siege of Condé lasted from three months and was part of an Allied campaign on the borders of France in the spring and summer of 1793. By April French republican controlled Condé was under blockade from the Prussians under General Knobelsdorf, by a force of 12,000 men commanded by Clairfayt to the south, and to the north by the Prince of Würtemberg. A small British contingent, under the Duke of York, was also in the area.

Condé held out until 10 July, before surrendering after a severe bombardment. remained in Austrian hands until 30 August 1794.

“On the 10th Condè surrendered. The garrison is to march out this day with honors of war, to pile their arms and to be conducted prisoners of war, the officers to retain their swords. The number surrender’d is 4008. They are to be conducted to Antwerp I believe. A great quantity of fine artillery is found. The garrison was distress’d for provisions having subsisted some time on a small quantity of bread & 2oz of horse flesh daily.”

MS 62 Broadlands Archives BR11/20/10 Letter from Benjamin Mee to his brother-in-law Henry Temple, second Viscount Palmerston, 12 July 1793

12 July 1917 Improvements in aircraft and anti-artillery to conquer air warfare
As a result of heavy casualties for the Royal Flying Corps at the Battle of Arras, drastic change was needed in the British anti-artillery and aircraft. This was done through the use of barrage balloons and the development of aeroplanes.

Barrage balloons were large balloons fastened with metal cables used to obstruct aircraft attack by damaging the aircraft on collision with the cables. Some carried explosive charges that would be used against the aircraft to ensure its demolition.

The development of strong aircraft included the creation of the South Experimental 5, the Sopwith Camel and the Sopwith Pup. The South Experimental 5 could be dived at high speeds, and its squarer wings improved lateral control at low airspeeds. The Sopwith Camel was a single-seat biplane fighter which had a short-coupled fuselage, a heavy powerful rotary engine, and concentrated fire from twin synchronised machine guns. The Sopwith Pup was also a single-seat biplane fighter, which had excellent flying characteristics and good manoeuvrability. This was due to its low wing loading. Its light weight and substantial wing area gave it a good speed of climb, and its nimbleness was enhanced by installing ailerons on both wings.

“We hear cheering news of having more aeroplanes over here now to protect us. Everyone is fearfully jumpy, especially in the East End, as rumours are continually afloat, any people who are caught spreading rumours will get it pretty hot I fancy.”

MS 132 AJ 322 2/1 Letter from Sybil Henriques to Basil Henriques, 12 July 1917

User perspectives: Researching attitudes to the Peninsular War using the Wellington Papers

The papers of Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, were allocated to the University of Southampton by the government under national heritage legislation in 1983. Containing approximately 100,000 items, the Duke’s political, military, official and diplomatic papers cover all aspects of his career. This collection has led to pivotal events that provide an opportunity for research on the Wellington papers to be discussed, such as the annual Wellington lecture and the Wellington Congress, which occurs every few years.

Zack White

Zack White, a former University of Southampton History undergraduate student, and now a Masters History student, explains how he has used the Wellington papers for his academic research.

“As the home of the Wellington Papers, the Special Collections Department at Southampton University’s Hartley Library has become a familiar sight over the course of my research. The Wellington papers were a major factor in my decision to study at Southampton, leading me to utilising the Wellington Papers as an undergraduate and post-graduate student.

After some initial work examining the Battle of Salamanca, one of Wellington’s most important victories, I wrote my undergraduate dissertation on the relationship between Wellington and his troops during the Peninsular. My current research, for my Masters thesis, builds on some of the themes that emerged from my undergraduate work. This includes examining the waxing and waning confidence in Wellington’s Peninsular Army between the signing of the Convention of Cintra in 1808 and the Battle of Salamanca in 1812.

The Complete Drill Serjeant 2nd ed. (1798) - Rare Books Ward Coll. 136

The Complete Drill Serjeant 2nd ed. (1798) – Rare Books Ward Coll. 136

In order to ascertain how the ordinary soldier’s confidence shifted over time, I have been examining the General Orders, Adjutant General’s papers, Applications for Ensignships, General Court Martial proceedings, and of course the letters of the First Duke of Wellington. The work is essentially quantitative, requiring the tabulation of a huge number of trials and misdemeanours, and analysing this data in relation to the events that were transpiring in the Iberian Peninsula. This research responds to fears amongst academics of the tendency to perceive the Peninsular War as ‘an endless march to victory’ (Charles Esdaile, 5th Wellington Congress 2013).”