Monthly Archives: September 2014

Reflections on war and warfare: Week 31 (29 September – 5 October 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.

29 September 1918 British and Arab troops conquer Damascus
Commanded by Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby, the British-led Egyptian expeditionary force broke through the Ottoman line at the Battle of Megiddo. This led to them being able to block the Turkish retreat. Damascus was occupied on 1 October, was followed by Homs on 16 October and Aleppo on 25 October. This eventually led to the surrender of Turkey on 30 October 1918.

The reference to Turkey in the quote below as “Johnny Turk” is an example of Digger slang, first used by the Australian armed forces during the First World War.

“The past week has passed away very quietly with nothing important happening except the great offensive, which has begun on our front. We have given Johnny Turk a wonderful surprise and it is really marvellous how we have taken such big hills with such a small amount of casualties.”

MS 124 AJ 15/3 Letter from Private Paul Epstein to parents, Aby and Frieda, 29 September 1918


3 October 1940 Evacuated students from University College London come to Southampton
The Principal reported that he has been asked by the provost of University College, London, to accommodate a number of his students who had been compelled to evacuate from London, and that he had once agreed to offer them hospitality. There were approximately thirty-four of these students, mostly in the Faculty of Arts, who had accepted the offer and had now joined the College.

Resolved: “That the action of the Principal be confirmed, and that a cordial welcome be extended to these London students”

MS 1/MBK/2/1/6 University College Southampton Senate minute book 1937-45, p.87


5 October 1813 The Siege of Pamplona continues
Following Wellington’s decisive victory at the Battle of Vitoria, on 21 June 1813, the French army in northern Spain withdrew over the Pyrenees. As Wellington’s forces laid siege to the city of San Sebastián, a Spanish army, under Captain General Enrique O’Donnell, laid siege to a French garrison at the fortified city of Pamplona. While the Siege of San Sebastián reached a successful conclusion in early September the garrison at Pamplona held out. However, having eaten all the dogs and rats they could find in the city the French troops were eventually reduced to starvation and surrendered to the Spanish on 31 October.

“From what we can make out of an intercepted letter in cipher from the Governor of Pamplona I judge that he can hold out till the 20th or the 25th and till that time we certainly cannot move our right. But the heights on the right of the Bidasoa command such a view of us that we must have them and the sooner we get them the better.”

MS 61 WP1/377 Copy of a letter from Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, first Marquis of Wellington, to Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Graham, 5 October 1813


3 October 1851 Post from home
For many of those serving on military campaigns communication with their loved ones and family back home was something they clung to and which sustained them, as the following extract from Captain Wellesley indicates.

“I received your letter of the 25th and all the newspapers and the mail from the Retribution… The people from the Retribution have not yet arrived as the bar at the Buffalo mouth has been impracticable for landing so Reeve with your parcel has not yet made an appearance. How lazy they are in England not to write even one line….”

MS 63 A904/3 Letter from Captain Edward Wellesley, King William’s Town, to his wife Annot, 3 October 1851

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Archivist projects: Cataloguing the secretary’s papers of the Jewish Board of Guardians

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, takes place from sunset on the 24th to nightfall on the 26th September 2014. To mark the occasion John Rooney, an archivist in the Special Collections Division, provides a rundown of his work on the recently completed Jewish Board of Guardians cataloguing project.

“Over the past year I have been responsible for cataloguing and indexing the letter books of the secretary of the Board of Guardians for the Relief of the Jewish Poor. The Board was established in 1859 by representatives of the three main London synagogues – the Great Synagogue, the Hambro’ Synagogue, and the New Synagogue. They were charged to constitute a Board of Guardians for the relief of poor Jewish immigrants, referred to as the ‘strange poor’, living in London. However, immediately after its formation the Board began to extend both its scope and revenues, and soon became the chief source of support for poor Jews in the city. The Board helped to keep Jews away from the English poor law, with the burden of maintaining their poor falling almost entirely on the Jewish community. The Boards capacity to both raise and disburse funds grew rapidly, particularly in response to the large influx of Russian and Eastern European Jews escaping persecution from the 1880s.

A Scheme for a Board of Guardians to be formed for the Relief of the Necessitous Foreign Poor, 1859

A Scheme for a Board of Guardians to be formed for the Relief of the Necessitous Foreign Poor, 1859

The letter books of the secretary consist of eight volumes containing correspondence, reports, press cuttings, financial statements, and other papers relating to the activities of the Board from the 1880s to the 1940s. These materials reflect the transformative nature of the Board, which continually adapted its activities to meet changing conditions and needs. The Board achieved this through a range of committees and sub-committees as well as coordinated efforts with other charitable organisations and institutions. While the primary activity of the Board was the administration of monetary relief there were other ways in which the Board provided support. Loans, for example, acted as a preventative measure to help struggling tradesmen or families from falling into pauperism. Meanwhile, the provision of financial aid for emigration assisted cases in travelling to places such as the United States or Australia, or in returning to Europe. Other activities of the Board included the administration of almshouses and convalescent homes, the training of apprentices, the running of workrooms, the provision of medical relief, as well as conducting sanitary inspections of the homes of the poor.

The Board was a philanthropic endeavour and was both established and run by prominent members of the Jewish community. In addition to materials reflecting the activities of the Board’s various committees and associated institutions, there is a significant portion of materials relating to the individuals responsible for the running of the Board. This includes correspondence dealing with the appointment and resignation of both members of the Board and its committees, as well as representatives of the Board at other public bodies. Funding of the Board was also dependent on the generosity of members of the Jewish community with a significant portion of materials relating to the provision of donations and contributions, particularly in the form of legacy bequests.

The collection includes a number of case materials. The majority of these date from the 1880s to the early 1900s and primarily relate to cases of deserted children. These include cases of children being removed from workhouses and placed in the care of Jewish families or Jewish institutions, in particular the Jews’ Hospital and Orphan Asylum in Norwood. The Board also assisted the emigration of children in cases where they could be reunited with their parents.

There are a significant number of materials relating to the Board’s provision of financial assistance for emigration. This resulted in tensions with authorities in the United States and is reflected in correspondence with the United Hebrew Charities in New York in the early 1900s. Likewise, tensions regarding the arrival of Jewish refugees into Britain are particularly evident in materials relating to the Board’s efforts to facilitate refugees from Transvaal arriving in Southampton, en route for Europe, during the Second Boer War.

Letter books of the secretary of the Board of Guardians for the Relief of the Jewish Poor

Letter books of the secretary of the Board of Guardians for the Relief of the Jewish Poor

The project involved providing item level descriptions for approximately 10,000 items. Index terms have also been provided in accordance with the NCA Rules, with UKAT and AIM25 used for the provision of standardised subject terms. Both cataloguing and indexing at an item level was essential due to the physical nature of the collection. Each of the eight volumes contains between one hundred and three hundred pages, with a large number of items attached to each page in a series of folded bundles. While the items are arranged in a general chronological order, the volumes do not contain any form of index, which has resulted in the content of the collection remaining largely obscured.

The letter books are complimented by a range of Jewish Board of Guardians materials that form part of the Archives of Jewish Care. Together these materials offer a deep insight into the activities of this pioneering Jewish charity, with its ability to adapt to the development of statutory welfare services and to meet changing social and economic conditions from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.”

Reflections on war and warfare: Week 30 (22 – 28 September 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.

22 September 1855 The fall of Sebastopol
The Black Sea port of Sebastopol, on the south-west coast of the Crimea, was the main naval base of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. The capture or destruction of this stronghold became the main military object of the allied armies opposing Russia during the Crimean War. Sebastopol endured an 11-month siege before finally capitulating on 9 September 1855. The loss of Sebastopol was a factor in Russia ceding peace the following year.

“It appears that a month or three weeks ago the Emperor of Russia wrote to the King of Prussia that Nakchamoff [Vice Admiral Nakhimov] reported he would defend Sebastopol as long as the Czar chose. The account of its capture therefore came by surprize upon them… If we can keep a larger force in the Crimea during the winter than the Russians can and I think this must be so, the Russian army will retreat from fear of being cut off…”

MS 62 PP/GC/RU/492 Letter from Lord John Russell to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, 22 September 1855


22 September 1918 The Allied Balkan victory
In September 1918, the Allies (France, Montenegro, Russia and Serbia) succeeded in breaking through on the Macedonian front. Despite being stopped by the Bulgarian force at Dojran, Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria was forced to sue for peace. Bulgaria capitulated and Serbia was liberated.

“Isn’t the news wonderful from this front! I wonder how far our advance will have gone by the time this reaches you. I have it straight from the Staff that that main Turkish force in Palestine has been hopelessly cut up, and it is doubtful whether they will be able to make another stand!”

MS 116/8 AJ 14 Volume of typescript ‘excerpts’ from letters from H.D. Myer, 22 September 1918


23 September 1940  The King and Queen visit the East End
George VI and his wife had resolved to stay in London, despite German bombing raids and, on 13 September, they narrowly avoided death when two German bombs exploded in a courtyard at Buckingham Palace.  In defiance, the Queen famously declared: “I am glad we have been bombed. It makes me feel we can look the East End in the face”. Throughout the war, the King and Queen provided morale-boosting visits throughout the United Kingdom including to bomb sites and munitions factories.

The following extract is from Miss Edith Ramsey’s autobiographical reflections on life in Stepney during the War.  Ramsey had lived in Stepney since 1920 and describes it as the “point of arrival” for Jews in England; prior to the war she worked as the Principal of an evening institute arranging classes for teenagers and adults.

“On 23 September, 1940, King George VI and the Queen, now the beloved Queen Mother, visited Stepney and talked to air raid victims in the wards of the London Hospital.  That day was the 200th anniversary of the meeting in a city tavern, when ‘seven gentlemen foregathered and subscribed 100 Guineas to be used for an intended new infirmary’ – the foundation of the London Hospital.”

MS 116/82 AJ 221 Typescript of “Life in Stepney during World War II, 1939-45” by Edith Ramsey


24 September 1939
Death of Sigmund Freud

“Sigmund Freud died just before midnight last night – one of the great men of all time! The Germans destroyed his works, & stole his property – immortal shame!”

MS 168 AJ 217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 24 September 1939


27 September 1810 Battle of Busaco
As part of his plan for the defence of Portugal, Wellington ordered the construction of a series of impenetrable defensive positions in the region around Madrid, known as the Lines of Torres Vedras. Work began in the autumn of 1809 with the first line completed one year later. Following the third French invasion of Portugal in 1810, Wellington’s Anglo-Portuguese army, occupying the heights at Busaco, were able to beat of the French forces on 27 September. Following the battle, Marshal André Masséna found a way round Wellington’s northern flank, forcing the Allied forces to fall back behind the lines. However, Wellington’s scorched earth policy meant that the French army would soon be brought to a standstill in a barren land. As indicated in the below passage, the real threat facing the invading French force would be starvation.

“We have been engaged with the enemy for the last three days, and I think we shall be attacked again to-morrow; as I understand they must carry our position, on which, however, they have as yet made no impression, or starve.”

WP1/312/310 Copy of a letter from Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Wellesley, first Viscount Wellington, Convent of Busaco, to Charles Stuart, British envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Portugal, 27 September 1810

 

Reflections on war and warfare: Week 29 (15 – 21 September 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.

15 September 1939 Business as usual the University College, Southampton
As this special meeting of the Council shows, at this early stage, the war had not yet had a big impact on academic life in the University – previous Council and Senate minutes do indicate that the institution had accepted refugee scholars. As the war progressed, however, Army and Senior Training Corps were based at Southampton; both staff and students enlisted and, as the port of Southampton became a target for German bombs, the College looked at alternative student accommodation and the possibility of evacuating whole the institution.

The Council considered the recommendation of the General Purposes Committee and Senate with regard to the policy to be adopted by the College in the view of the outbreak of war.  It was pointed out that at the present stage it was impossible to say to what extent the number of available staff and students would be reduced. The Principal explained that the Government had left it to the College Authorities to decide whether or not the work of the College should proceed at Southampton. After careful consideration of all the circumstances involved, it was resolved:

“(a) That Council approve that the work of the College should continue as usual, and that the Autumn term should begin on 2nd October.

(b) That the position be revised from time to time in the light of subsequent events, and that the Principal be authorised in the meantime to negotiate with other university institutions  as to the possibility of their accommodating students of this College should circumstances arise to make this necessary.”

MS 1/MBK1/8 Council minute book: University College of Southampton 1938-51, p.34


16 September 1939 The invasions on Poland

On 1 September 1939 German troops invaded Poland, on the pretext of protecting Germany from a Polish invasion. On 17 September Russia invaded from the east, having signed a secret pact with Germany.

“Russia is an enigma. The poor Poles are bearing the brunt of this barbaric attack on civilisation. I went into England’s garden to inspect progression of their dug-out – a living grave!’’

MS 168 AJ 217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 16 September 1939


18 September 1916 Battle of Flers-Courcelette

The Battle of Flers-Courcelette marked the third phase of the Somme offensive and signified the first use of the tank in warfare. Built in secrecy, the armoured vehicle was developed with the objective of breaking the gridlock of armed conflict. The first prototype was produced in January 1916. Despite mechanical failings and the trouble the tanks had with the terrain of the Somme, Sir Douglas Haig wished to use them to support the 41st Division in the attack on Flers-Courcelette. Whilst only 32 of 43 available tanks managed to reach the starting line for attack, the Allies advanced two kilometres and gained control of the villages of Fler, Courcelette, Martinpuich and High Wood.

“We’re training like the Devil! Up at 4.30am when a narrow little band on the horizon proclaims the coming of dawn, and with a break for brekker, it’s parade work until the weather gets too hot at 11am and from 3.30pm until dusk. It makes a long day for all, but we seem to be standing the strain well.”

MS 116/8 AJ 14 Volume of typescript ‘excerpts’ from letters from H.D. Myer, 18 September 1916


September 1852 Waterkloof is taken

Waterkloof, which has been the stronghold of the Xhosa leader Maqoma, was finally taken by the British in September 1852.

“On the 15th the Waterkloof was assailed for the third time and the operations have been so far quite successful, about 100 Kafirs are reported to have been killed, 200 women and children (miserable starved objects) taken prisoners.”

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


21 September 1812 Attitudes of French prisoners
The diary of John Holt Beaver charts his travels in Portugal and Spain in the aftermath of the Battle of Salamanca, from August to November 1812. In the below passage he notes the attitudes of French soldiers taken prisoner during the battle.

“There are 5 convents converted into hospital for the British, and 2 for the Portuguese and a college is made an hospital for the wounded French prisoners…Many of them were taken at the Battle of Salamanca and are terribly cut about the head by our cavalry, some have lost their noses or ears and even eyes. The British sergeant who has charge of the prison said some of them were glad to have become our prisoners and others thought their Emperor the greatest hero in the world…”

MS 362 Diary of John Holt Beaver, 21 September 1812

Death and commemoration of the Duke of Wellington

Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington, died on 14 September 1852, at Walmer Castle, Kent. He was regarded as one of one of Britain’s premier soldier, a reputation that was sealed by his defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Yet he also enjoyed a long political career, serving twice as Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1828-30 and 1834.

Nautilus shell, engraved by C.H.Wood, depicting the Duke of Wellington on one side (and St George slaying a dragon on the other)

Nautilus shell, engraved by C.H.Wood, depicting the Duke of Wellington on one side (and St George slaying a dragon on the other) from the collection MS 351/6

As befitted his status as a national hero, Wellington was given a state funeral. After lying in state at Walmer, his body was moved to Chelsea Hospital on the night of 10 November and laid in state there until the 17th when he was moved to the Horse Guards. At 7.30am the following morning a grand funeral procession proceeded from St James Park through Piccadilly, Pall Mall, Charing Cross and the Strand and on to St Paul’s Cathedral. An estimate crowd of one and a half million people watched the procession. Wellington’s state funeral was the first large-scale service under the dome of the cathedral and the building was closed for six weeks prior to the event to install seating for the 13,000 people attending.

The Illustrated London News in its coverage of the funeral noted:
“With pomp and circumstances, a fervour of popular respect, a solemnity and a grandeur never before seen in our time, and in all probability, not to be surpassed in the obsequies of any other hero heretofore to be born… the sacred relics of Arthur Duke of Wellington have been deposited in the place long since set apart by the unanimous design of his countrymen.”

The University of Southampton is the home to the principal collection of the papers of Wellington. The archive contains approximately 100,000 items of the Duke’s political, military, official and diplomatic papers covering all aspects of his career between 1790 and 1852.

The University has recently acquired an interesting new collection of Wellington related material (MS 351/6). Part of this new collection will feature in the Special Collections exhibition to mark the bicentenary of Waterloo in 2015. As well as an intriguing letter from Wellington to Major Dickson of the Royal Artillery from 1812, there is a fine series of nineteenth-century military illustrations (several of Wellington and the Battle of Waterloo), Cruikshank cartoons and a contemporary map of the Battle of Waterloo. The most unusual item is a nautilus shell, engraved by C.H.Wood, depicting the Duke of Wellington on one side and St George slaying a dragon on the other. C.H.Wood was a specialist in this nineteenth-century art form and shells by him were exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851. A shell produced by Wood to commemorate Lord Nelson is held at the National Maritime Museum in London.

Reflections on war and warfare: Week 28 (8 – 14 September 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.

8 September 1914 Success for the Allies in the Battle of Marne
The Battle of Marne was the climax of the German advance into France. After a counterattack by allied forces, the German Imperial Army was forced to abandon its push on Paris. In defeating Germany’s chances of a swift success over France, it set the foundations for four years of armed conflict.

“The war news is exciting; it is said that 250,000 Russians are in France. This news is not official, but it is official that the Germans are retreating.”

MS 168 AJ 217/10 Journal of Samuel Rich, 8 September 1914


8-14 September 1813 Aftermath of the fall of San Sebastián
The diary of George Eastlake covers his visit to northern Spain in September 1813, in company with Admiral Sir Thomas Byam Martin. Martin was sent by the Admiralty to discover Wellington’s requirements for naval assistance. The diary covers their journey to and from the north coast of Spain, meeting Sir T.Graham in his quarters at Urtasun, journeying across the Pyrenees, dining with Wellington, and visiting the army’s camp at Bidassoa. In the below passage Eastlake makes reference to their journey to San Sebastián in the aftermath of the siege.

“Our report being over – we again made for the Spanish Harbour of Passages – on our way the Lieutenant who accompanied gave us some particulars of the fall of St Sabastian – on coming near the shore – he looked round the water and said with the most perfect sangfroid “there were a great many dead bodies floating here to-day but I don’t observe any now” – as anything of this sort was new to me, I confess there was something horrible in it.”

MS 213 Diary of George Eastlake, September 1813


9 September 1939 A long war

“At 9 o’clock we heard the war cabinet’s instructions to departments to prepare for a 3 year war. Only two more years and 51 weeks to September 1 1942!’’

MS 168 AJ 217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 12 September 1939


12 September 1939 The routine of living under wartime regulations

“The evening as is, becoming usual (usual!) – Supplies; into the blacked out lounge; the news; the special speed – this time by someone from U.S.A. on their neutrality; a smoke etc. & early to bed’.”

MS 168 AJ 217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 12 September 1939

3 September 1939 The Western Allies declare war on Germany

In response to Hitler’s invasion of Poland on 1 September, two days later Britain and France both declared war with Germany.  The news was announced by the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on BBC radio.  The Western Allies began a naval blockade of Germany and France sent limited direct military support to Poland.

Samuel Rich, in what he called his “journal of a minor Anglo-Jewish communal official”, chronicled his feelings about this new conflict .  Rich (1877-1949)  worked for most of his life as a teacher at the Jews’ Free School and he was also a lay minister at the South London Liberal Jewish Synagogue.  He had already lived through one world war; his entry from the 1 September shows he knew war was imminent: “For the 2nd time in my life a major war torments us all. How long this time?”   

Samuel Rich’s diary entry from 3 September shows his shock at the necessity of gas masks for babies:

 “Josy Civval came in – I cut him sandwiches. His gas mask doesn’t fit; – so like Amy, he went to the A.R.P. at the Ch. Hall, & got another. At the Hall in the aftn. we found Cooper superintending the issue of babies’ gas masks! – Babies’ gas masks!”

MS 168 AJ217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 3 September 1939

4 September 1939 S.S. Athenia – the first ship torpedoed in World War II

“An air raid warning at 10 to 3 A.M.! We are getting used to it. Down to the recess in the hall, wh. I judge to be the least vulnerable to splinters & the effects of blast… Roosevelt broadcast neutrality – and on its heels cam the news of torpedoed Athenia. Our gas masks slung on our shoulders we went shopping… I write this diary as & when I get the chance, during the day – at odd times. If I get bombed it will be made up till my extinction. If not, & we survive this horror, it will serve as a record.”

MS 168 AJ217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 4 September 1939

5 September 1939 At a time without 24 hour news, Samuel feel poorly informed

“Stagnation. Another day on which I’ve done nothing… The war news is tenuous & what there is, mysterious… The usual “dim” evening, with tea, news, whiskey, music, talk…”

MS 168 AJ217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 5 September 1939

6 September 1939 There are long air raid warning but no bombs and Samuel feels helpless and anxious

“Awaked at 6.45 by air raid warning. I.C. already down filly dressed, with tea. The morning very fine. The all clear didn’t sound till past 9. Air raid wardens w. anti-gas clothes – the silvery balloons, the pale half-moon, the blue sky, the neighbours… My feeling of helpless stagnation remains – I suppose it’s a sublimation of fear. I cd only do the Times X word; nothing else, altho’ much needs doing. Supper in the dim kitchen. Followed by an hr or so in the dim lounge: this, I suppose will be the normal daily routine. What a life!”

MS 168 AJ217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 6 September 1939

7 September 1939 The Rich family’s evening improved with some superior black out curtains

“Amy had a brain wave in the night: to get the old Prentis Hall curtains from the synagogue for supplementary use in our dining room… The dark curtains were a most effective black out. We were able to have full ordinary lighting, not a tiny crack showing outside. Mr & Mrs Parker came in & inspected the arrangement.”

MS 168 AJ217/35 Journal of Samuel Rich, 7 September 1939

 

Reflections on war and warfare: Week 27 (1 – 7 September 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.

31 August – 8 September 1813 The sacking and burning of San Sebastián
The town of San Sebastián was capture by assault on 31 August 1813. As the Allied forces entered the town, the French retreated to the security of the castle. As was the case at Badajoz, the victorious soldiers indulged in drunkenness and plunder while their officers attempted to enforce discipline. Meanwhile, fire from the artillery bombardment swept through the streets of the town and after several days only a small number of buildings remained. The castle capitulated on 8 September.

“The state of the town notwithstanding every exertion of General Hay and the staff officers, was such from the drunkenness of our soldiers, and the plundering of all, especially from the Portuguese, that I sent from the place an order for Lord Aylmer’s brigade to come immediately […] and I could not help considering that there is very great risk of misfortune, were the enemy to make a serious attempt against the town.”

MS 61 WP1/376 Letter from Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Graham to Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, first Marquis of Wellington, 1 September 1813


7 September 1854 The strength of the allied forces in the Crimea
Many of the troops who died in the Crimea did so as a result of disease and 7,000 were lost before the first significant battle of the war in September 1854.

“In these operations everything will depend upon combination as the forces divided are not strong enough to meet the Russians said to be in the Crimea, the French having as usual much exaggerated the numbers they would send out here, and having also lost 7,000 men by disease..”

MS 63 A904/4/35 Letter from Major Edward Wellesley to his brother Richard, 7 September 1854


7 September 1916 The Battle of Guillemont, the Somme
Throughout late July and August 1916, Guillemont, which was on the right flank of the British line and the French Sixth Army boundary, defied repeated British attacks. Another major attack was made in early September, commencing with bombardments on 2 September. The main assault began on 3 September and fighting lasted until 6 September when a major portion of wood was secured.

“We are really having a very good time, the battle goes on day and night in different parts of the line. You can’t imagine how wonderful it is at night – a constant thunder of gun and flashes seem to light up the whole countryside. There are camp fires every as far as the eye can see, so you can understand that we are not yet very close up.”

MS 336 A2097/7/2 Letter from Frederick Dudley Samuel to his fiancée and subsequent wife, Dorothy, 7 September 1916