9 & 10 February 1916 - Letter to Edith from The Somewhere

Fred writes the beginning of this letter to Edith from the “harness hut” where he is in charge of the piquet, keeping warm by a fire. He writes three pages that night and continues the letter with two more the following day. Fred describes the noise at the front, stating that, “Something is down in the trench land.” He also tells Edith about the loss of one of their N.C.O.s (non-commissioned officers), who was caught while up in the first line.

The next day, on the 10th, Fred adds to his letter, asking Edith how her school term is progressing, and pointing out that if she does as well as the previous term, that she will be “travelling among the stars”. He also mentions his desire, “to be home for a few evenings,” so that he could, “go skating at the [Winnipeg],” and shares a skating story about some of their mutual friends. Skating at the “Winnipeg Rink“ had opened on 1 December 1915 that winter, with “the usual rink band” playing, and the rink had been re-decorated for the season.  

machiavellianfictionist asked:

Hello! Huge fan of your blog here. Do you know of any famous POC soldiers or knights? I know of the one in the Arthurian legend, but he was fictional, and the one in the Morgan Bible doesn't really have a name. Same goes for the ones in Mair's treatises. Thanks!

I sure do! First you have to bring up Saint Maurice and the Theban Legion, of course. According to the story, they were a Roman Legion that refused to persecute their fellow Christians, and were subsequently martyred by the emperor. The depiction of the saint and his troops were depicted as Black for centuries in Europe.

You should definitely check out the Vindolanda Letters, found at Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland and dating from the Roman invasion. Many of the soldiers there were PoC from Roman territories in Africa and the Middle East.

There’s Saint Elesbaan, emperor of Abyssinia. In 523 King Kaleb Ella Asbeha (canonized as St. Elesbaan) led an expedition across the Red Sea into Yemen to avenge the massacre of the Christian martyrs of Najran.

Mamluk history is kind of incredible, and you can read a lot more about it here. They were one of the most elite military forces in history-they fought in battles during the Crusades, during the formation of the Mongolian Empire, and were always a potent political force.

There’s a depiction of the fight between Roland and the Saracen King Marsile from The Legends of Charlemagne in Chartres Cathedral:

The same scene depicted here in the Grandes Chroniques de France, illuminated by Raoulet d’Orléan and the oldest French book held in the French National Library:

There’s Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and main player in the Crusades (1137-1193):

There’s Dangier the Saracen from the medieval romance Roman de la Rose ( illuminated by Guillame de Loris/Jean de Mung-c. 1490)

Here’s a portrait of a British soldier in St Helena being restored:

This portrait of a Black officer might actually be the father of Alexandre Dumas, Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie (also known as Alexandre Dumas pére) the inspiration for The Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas distinguished himself in several major military campaigns of the French Revolution. After his service with the chevalier de Saint-Georges, he commanded two armies, achieving notable victories but also demonstrating great skill as an administrator. 

This portrait, however, is definitely of him:

And here’s Joseph Bolougne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges. Saint-Georges was colonel of the ‘Legion St.-Georges,’ an all-black regiment in France, fighting on the side of the Republic in the French Revolution.

When it comes to fencing and swordplay, there’s also Julius Soubise, called the Macaroni of London.  Soubise (1754-1798) was the adopted son of the infamous Catherine Hyde, Duchess of Queensbury (1701-1777), who was a wealthy and scandalous eccentric. Soubise excelled at violin, acting, and oration; he also became the Duchess’s riding and fencing master as a young man.

There’s Zamor, who also played an important role in the French Revolution:

Here’s a young page or squire in a portrait where a nobleman knight is being helped into his armor (none of the names of the people in the portrait are known, sadly:

You should also check out this Black History Month post by schwiezercomics for knights, fencers, and military figures.

8 Things You Never Knew About Remembrance Day

November 11th is a day of reflection on the tragedies of war and the sacrifices of men and women. Wars that lots an entire generation of men fighting for causes lost unbeknownst to them. Many men and women sacrificed their lives on what they believed in, many just followed orders of superiors and others simply invoked by propaganda, regardless war has lost many fathers and sons, brothers and sisters, friends and lovers. Here are some things you may not know about things associated with Remembrance Day. 

Originally posted by cybirb

  1. Remembrance Day is on November 11 because that is when an armistice was signed with Germany in 1918 to end the World War I also known as The Great War. The agreement was signed between 5:12 and 5:20 but hostilities ended some 6 hours later at 11. 
  2. At 11 both sides essentially laid down their weapons and you could hear cheering from both sides of the lines in the trenches. 
  3. The First World War did not officially end until the Treaty of Versailles that was signed June 28, 1919. 
  4. The Remembrance Poppy became associated with Remembrance Day due to the poem by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae called “In Flanders Fields
  5. They wore real poppies at first and the red honored the spilled blood on the battlefield. 
  6. The centers were changed to green to symbolize the color of the hills in Flanders Fields, it was later changed to black again in 2002. 
  7. Remembrance Day used to be observed on Thanksgiving in Canada, the first Monday that was on the same week as November 11th, this was changed in 1931 to give it’s own day. 
  8. World War I (1914-1918) saw 18 million people die, near the end of WWI Russia started a revolution against their government which started the Russia Civil War, this saw another 6.7 million people die from 1917-1921. This all pales in comparison to World War II (1939-1945) which has estimates as high as 85 million people dying. 

Originally posted by bmashina

For the sacrifices and the bloodshed we hope to never see this type of catastrophe ever again, to know we are constantly working towards peace in some way to this day ensures that these deaths are not in vain. 

Lest We Forget

If you want an amazing book series about the wars that is written superbly you will not be disappointed with this Ken Follett Fall of the Giants book. History buff or not it is truly a compelling book. 

I also recommend Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History Podcast Blueprint for Armageddon that is also available at the iStore

Briton Taylor