Great War 100 Reads

Commemorating the centenary of the First World War in books

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Monday Monuments and Memorials – Tyne Cot Cemetery and Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium

With more than 11,900 who died in WW1 buried or commemorated, Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest Commonwealth cemetery in the world. More than 8,370 of the burials are unidentified.

The area was captured from the Germans in October 1917. One of the German blockhouses was then used as an advanced dressing station. The cemetery was to bury those who did not survive their wounds, about 350 in all. Following the Armistice, bodies from several smaller nearby cemeteries were moved to Tyne Cot. These include many of those killed in the Battles of Langemarck and Passchendaele. Continue reading


We Will Not Cease

War is a bad thing and will destroy the human race. I believe that if enough people in each country stood straight out against war, the Governments would pause and be compelled to settle their disputes by other means. I also believe that the peoples of all nations are naturally peaceful until they are stirred up by the war propaganda of the governing classes. When the workers of all countries win their economic freedom, Governments won’t be able to set them on to murdering their fellows. (p 108)

In 1915, New Zealand registered men of or near military age – about 196,000 in all – and asked if they were willing to serve in the NZEF. 33,700 said they were not willing to serve either at home or abroad. In 1916, conscription was introduced. Exemptions were narrowly defined, available only against combat and only for members of a religion “the tenets and doctrines of which declare the bearing of arms and the performance of any combatant service to be contrary to divine revelation.” About 286 conscientious objectors were imprisoned during war. Fourteen of these were forcibly sent overseas, some of them to the front lines. Continue reading