Reflections on war and warfare: Week 32 (6 – 12 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.

6 October 1944 Meeting of the University College’s Emergency Committee of Council
The Principal reported that four heads of department and a considerable number of the rest of the staff were away on war service, and that owing to the present position of the war, and the likelihood that the number of students would rapidly increase after the end of hostilities in Europe, he would like to ensure that the University College would have the benefit of their services nest session.

Resolved: “that the Principal write in the first place to the men concerned, and point out that it is essential that they should do their utmost to get released by October 1945, and that the Principal will take such steps as may be necessary in co-operation with them to bring the matter before the University grants Committee and other authorities.”

MS 1/MBK1/8 Council minute book: University College of Southampton 1938-51, p. 72


7 October 1918 Allies receive an offer of peace from Germany
Once the Hindenberg Line in Flanders and in the Argonne had been broken, the German High Command concluded that they could not win the war. This led to them to suggest to the Reichstag that peace be negotiated with the Allies, a message reiterated by Chief of Staff, Paul von Hindenberg. On 7 November 1918, von Hindeberg contacted the Allied Supreme Commander to conduct armistice negotiations. Four days later the armistice was agreed.

“A surprise in the papers; a formal peace offer from the new German Chancellor –alarms at the Jewish Free School – J.P. for acceptance – I for guarantees. How can the allies take Germany’s word?”

MS 168 AJ 217/14 Journal of Samuel Rich, 7 October 1918


11 October 1812 Loss at the Siege of Burgos
At the Siege of Burgos, lasting from 19 September to 21 October 1812, an Anglo-Portuguese Army under General Arthur Wellesley, first Marquis of Wellington, attempted to capture the castle of Burgos in Northern Spain from a French garrison under the command of General Jean-Louis Dubreton. The French managed to repulse every attempt by the Allies to seize the fortress, resulting in a rare withdrawal by Wellington. Major Edward Charles Cocks, the eldest son of John Somers Cocks, later first Earl Somers, died leading his men in an attempt to storm the breach.

“Your son fell, as he had lived, in the zealous and gallant discharge of his duty. He had already distinguished himself in the course of the operations of the attack of the castle of Burgos to such a degree as to induce me to recommend him for promotion; and I assure jour Lordship that if Providence had spared him to you, he possessed acquirements, and was endowed with qualities, to become one of the greatest ornaments of his profession, and to continue an honor to his family, and an advantage to his country.”

MS 61 WP1/351 Copy of a letter from General Arthur Wellesley, first Marquis of Wellington, Villa Toro, to Lord Somers, 11 October 1812

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