Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Battle of Waterloo 19 Library of Congress Blog / by Erin Allen

Meeting of the generals Wellington and Blucher, after the conclusive Battle of Waterloo, at the farm La Belle Alliance. 1816. European Division.

(The following is a guest post from Taru Spiegel, reference specialist in the Library’s European Division.)

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the history-changing Battle of Waterloo in 1815. This engagement ended in the conclusive defeat of Napoleon and his French generals and was a costly victory for the Anglo-Dutch, Belgian and German forces. The expression “to meet one’s Waterloo,” or to face a final defeat, refers to this event.

Scholars have presented many reasons for the importance of this fight. Among others, it has been argued that a victory by Napoleon might have resulted in a much earlier united and liberal Europe.

Napoleon. Prints and Photographs Division.
Napoleon, the revolutionary turned Emperor of the French, was forced to abdicate in 1814 and was exiled after 23 years of warfare and conquest of Europe. However, he made a stunning comeback in 1815. The “dancing” Congress of Vienna (so called because of the lavish balls and social events that took place while the ambassadors of the European states were in the city to restore order after the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars), busily re-dividing Europe after Napoleon, had barely concluded business when the Battle of Waterloo was fought nine miles south of Brussels. Both sides incurred devastating losses. In the words of one of the victors, the Duke of Wellington, it was “the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.”
The Library of Congress has hundreds of works in several languages pertaining to or inspired by the Battle of Waterloo. These range from historical accounts to memoirs, novels, poems, photographic prints, music and maps.

One notable and generously illustrated work in the Library’s collections was published in 1816, a year after the battle. This early work on Waterloo by Jan Scharp, “Gedenkzuil van den Nederlandschen krijgsroem in Junij 1815″ (“Memorial column of the Netherlands military glory in June 1815″) is a depiction of the history of the battle from the Dutch-Belgian point of view. In the manner of the time, the book notes in detail the role of the Dutch royal family in the war effort and subsequent commemorations and the fact that the Prince of Orange himself was wounded in the battle.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Orange with his arm in a sling after being wounded in the battle of Waterloo. 1816. European Division.
The book was a gift to correspondent L. Boyer from Frederica Luise Wilhelmine, the Dowager Duchess of Braunschweig (aka Brunswijk or Brunswick), who was closely related to two of Napoleon’s adversaries, Prince Willem of the Netherlands and Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Braunschweig.
A variety of works on Napoleon himself can also be found in the Library’s collections, including music, photographic prints, books, manuscripts and this film from 1909 depicting various events in the life of the French leader, including Waterloo.

And, if you are curious about how Napoleon handled mining rights in France – of importance because the French military needed large quantities of iron, lead and other resources while fighting in the Napoleonic Wars – you can learn more with this blog post from the Law Library of Congress.

It’s also important to note that the United States acquired Louisiana from France in 1803 during the time that Napoleon ruled. This presentation tells the story through a selection of materials in the Library.

ARMY COMBAT VEHICLES: Industrial Base Study's Approach Met Research Standards GAO-15-548

What GAO Found GAO's review of the Army's combat vehicle industrial base study found that the study's methods—its design, execution, and presentation of results—were executed in accordance with generally accepted research standards, and, as a result, the study's key findings were reasonable and well supported. The Army's study found, among other things, excess capacity in the combat vehicle industrial base and a small number of at-risk critical suppliers. According to the research standards, a study's design should include, for example, establishing the objectives, scope, and methodology, and identifying study assumptions. Successful execution involves ensuring that the methodology was carried out as planned, or adjusted as appropriate to the evidence, and ensuring that data used in the study are sufficiently valid and reliable for the study's purposes. Presentation includes clearly documenting the study's results in a way that is relevant to stakeholders. First, GAO assessed the study's design and determined that it was sound. The study's objective (to assess the combined commercial and government combat vehicle industrial base and develop viable strategic alternatives to sustain that base within a constrained fiscal environment) addressed congressional direction. The scope was comprehensively designed to achieve the study's objective, and its methodology addressed the study's objective. The study's assumptions were generally reasonable, although some key assumptions could have been more explicitly stated. For instance, the study could have more explicitly stated that it viewed the consequences of changes to the industrial base from the perspective of the Army rather than, for example, from the perspective of manufacturers or individual suppliers. Second, GAO found that during execution, various limitations arose, which were generally identified and the study's authors took reasonable steps to mitigate. Additionally, the Army took sufficient actions to ensure the data used were valid and reliable for the study's purposes, such as obtaining data directly from the individual programs, then returning to these sources to ensure the data were being used appropriately. Finally, the study's findings were presented in a clear, comprehensive, and timely manner, with the analysis and findings going beyond the elements required by congressional direction. For example, the study's findings went beyond an assessment of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and the Abrams tank to include a more holistic look at the vehicles and facilities in the combat vehicle industrial base. Why GAO Did This Study As the Army reduces its number of troops, it requires fewer new ground combat vehicles, such as the Abrams tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicle. In response to questions raised about the effect of this planned decrease, the Senate Armed Services Committee and conferees for the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 directed the Army to conduct a study to examine the viability of its combat vehicle industrial base. The Army issued a contract with a management consulting firm to conduct the study, which was presented to congressional defense committees in April 2014. The Joint Explanatory Statement to Accompany the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 included a general provision for GAO to assess the reasonableness of the Army study's methods. GAO examined the study's design, execution, and presentation of the results. This examination included, among other things, a review of the study's assumptions and the steps taken to ensure the validity and reliability of the study's data. GAO reviewed study documentation, briefings, and the final report to congressional defense committees and assessed its reasonableness using generally accepted research standards. GAO also interviewed Army officials, the study's authors, the two combat vehicle industrial base original equipment manufacturers, and several suppliers selected based on their perceived criticality to the combat vehicle industrial base. GAO is not making any recommendations in this report. For more information, contact Marie A. Mak at (202) 512-4841 or

MP and former leader of Newcastle City Council travel to France to support WWI memorial unveiling

The forgotten soldiers of World War One will be remembered by veterans and Tyneside fundraisers who have worked tirelessly for a lasting battlefield memorial.

A commemorative plaque and bench to remember the 16th Batallion, Northumberland Fusiliers, will be installed in France with a church service held in the village of Authuille close to the Somme battlefield.

Among those making the journey to France for the dedication service on June 27 are veterans from the Fusiliers Association, relatives of the fallen, MP for Gateshead Ian Mearns, former leader of Newcastle City Council John Shipley and James Ramsbotham, a former soldier and chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce.

Ian Johnson, who is leading the memorial project, said: “It will be emotional but it’s great to achieve this after all of these years of hard work.”

The plaque and bench will be the first formal gesture of memorial for the 16th Battalion and their sacrifice at the Battle of the Somme in July 1916.

Other regional regiments, including battalions of the Highland Light Infantry, had plaques installed at Authuille Church many years ago.

Mr Johnson works for John Lewis, formerly Bainbridge’s, in Newcastle and has documented the history of the 16th Battalion, also known as the Newcastle Commercials’ in his book Newcastle Battalion of World War One after spotting the Bainbridge’s war memorial.

Memorial bench which has been made to commemorate the 16th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers and which will be installed in Authuille in France
Memorial bench which has been made to commemorate the 16th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers and which will be installed in Authuille in France

Proceeds from book sales and years of fundraising and charitable donations have enabled him to buy the plaque, get the bench made and commission six further benches to be installed along the Newcastle and Gateshead banks of the River Tyne and in Saltwell Parkwhich will also commemorate the 18th and 19th battalions and Quayside company 9th battalion.
The 16th battalion was raised by the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce at the beginning of the war and was made up of shopkeepers and clerks, and also three members of Newcastle United 1913 - 14 season team Thomas Goodwill, Dan Dunglinson and Sylvester Hardy.

More than 8,000 men from the North East passed through the Battalion between 1914 and 1918 and all the men who died have been recorded in the book with an entry and photo if one has been found.

For the memorial in France there will be a dedication parade, including the classic Geordie tune Blaydon Races played by a French bagpipe band.

Ian said: “It’s cost around £20,000 altogether from book sales and donations and collections. We would also like to invite any school groups who might be in France at the same time to come to dedication service.

“The most fascinating stories are the World War One stories from the lads in the shop, which was then Bainbridge’s, and many of them were killed on 1 July 1916 when they were fighting and I thought I’d research more into the battalion and I found out that were was no memorial at the battle field, Newcastle had nothing and I thought that had to be put right.”

Plaque which will be installed in the church at Authuille in France near the Somme battlefield to remember the 16th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers

Bygones: Our minesweeper was hit by mine during 'uneventful' war

RECENT stories about the Second World War and, in particular, the 70th anniversary of VE Day, sent one reader on a trip down memory lane to his own war service.

Graham Wells, 89, who lives in Darley Abbey, has been wondering whether any of the young men who joined the Royal Navy at the same time as he did in October 1943 are still around today.

He said: "When I joined up in 1943, we had to meet at the old Assembly Rooms in Derby's Market Place.

"I seem to recall that I was part of the biggest single contingent of newly enlisted men to leave Derby for service in the Royal Navy. "There were more than 50 of us and I remember that we were all marched down to the Midland Station to catch a train to take us to our basic training destinations.

"It was October 23, 1943. I remember that we were all given five bob to pay for refreshments on the journey.

"This sticks in my mind because I recall that, when it came to the first pay day, I didn't get anything because I had already been given my five bob for the journey.

"Because I was only 17 I was still on what was termed 'boy's pay'. You didn't get paid as an 'ordinary seaman' until you were 17-and-a-half."

Graham describes his war experiences as "uneventful".
He said: "I was not involved in the D-Day Landings because I was still in training when they happened.

"I spent some time serving on minesweepers based at Harwich patrolling in the North Sea. I was on HMS Hydra when it hit a mine – we must have missed one!"

Graham was also involved in the Walcheren Landings in the Netherlands in November 1944. Codename Operation Infatuate, it was an Anglo-Canadian assault which opened up the Belgium port of Antwerp to Allied shipping.

The operation was part of the wider Battle of the Scheldt and involved two assault landings from the sea by the 4th Special Service Brigade and the 52nd (Lowland) Division. At the same time, the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division were to force a crossing of the Walcheren causeway.

Graham's next posting saw him on the light cruiser HMS Bermuda and heading to the Far East.

He remained in the Navy until 1947 and returned to his home town of Ilkeston, where he worked as a knitter in the hosiery trade.

A downturn in the hosiery trade following the increase in popularity of tights over stockings saw him heading to Derby in the early 1960s to take over as landlord of the Scarsdale Arms in Colyear Street. He stayed there from 1962-64 when the pub was closed for demolition as part of a major redevelopment scheme in the area.

Graham then joined the council's rates office, where he stayed until retirement.

He would love to hear from anyone who was in the contingent of Royal Navy recruits which left Derby in October 1943.

Read more:
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What happens when someone falls off a US Navy aircraft carrier?

If someone sees the person fall overboard, they report "man overboard starboard/port side" to the navigation bridge. It is important to provide the side of the ship, as the ship will be turned in that direction. A life ring is immediately thrown over the same side, even if the person in the water is not visible. This marks the approximate point the person went over for navigation purposes.

The officer having the conn [control of the engines] orders an alert to be sounded throughout the ship, and a "Williamson turn" to the direction the person fell from. A Williamson turn is an immediate, hard turn that first puts the ship's heading about 60 degrees from its original course before turning hard back in the opposite direction until the ship's heading is 20 degrees off the opposite direction of its original heading. The rudder is then centred, and the ship returns to the point in the water where the person went over.

The hard turn moves the propellers away from the person. If they come into contact with them, survival is unlikely.

The "man overboard" alarm prompts some sailors to assemble in a pre-designated area to prepare to lower one or more boats to form a rescue party. Those sailors not directly involved in the rescue effort assemble at their "muster stations" to be counted. Muster counts are reported to the bridge, which should give some idea of who is missing from the ship's company and is presumably in the water.

The ship then begins a search and rescue effort to locate the person overboard and recover them.

Tim Dees, retired police officer

I've been aboard several times when people have gone overboard. One time I saw a Marine being blown over the fantail by a jet blast. A fellow Marine jumped in after her and they both required rescuing (having broken a few bones on impact with the water). They had flotation gear, and the rescue helicopter that is always flying nearby during flight ops picked them up, aided by a rescue swimmer.

Another incident was a deck ejection from an S-3 at night. While the NFO (Naval Flight Officer) ended up hanging in his chute from some of the antennae (inspiring his new callsign, "Swinger"), the pilot ended up behind the ship. Even though the helicopter was less than a mile away, it took 20 minutes to find and recover him in the darkness.

We also had a mail clerk with troubles at home who decided that he didn't want to go back. He stepped off the deck during our last port call. While his shipmates watched, he slowly swam away from the ship until he slipped beneath the calm Mediterranean waters. We never recovered his body.

Tim Hibbetts, A-6E and F/A-18C Pilot

These are edited answers. For the full versions, go to, the popular online Q&A service

Friday, June 19, 2015

Diary of Clementina Hays Marshall highlights crucial role of forgotten World War I nurses

Diary of Clementina Hays Marshall highlights crucial role of forgotten World War I nurses

By Stephanie Anderson

Posted earlier today at 4:14am

Nurse Clementina Hay Marshall's diaryPHOTO: Mr Marshall said he was thrilled to be given the diary after researching Clementina Marshall's life. (ABC News)

The role of Australian Army nurses has often been forgotten in the Anzac legend, but the diary of a World War I nurse has revealed a little more about their vital work.
Clementina Hay Marshall was one of about 2,000 nurses who served overseas during the war.

She served on the hospital ship HMAS Gascon and was one of only seven nurses who treated 500 wounded men in often appalling conditions.

Nurse Marshall's great nephew, Don Marshall, was recently given her diary and it gave a detailed account of life on board the hospital ship.

He decided to share her story to demonstrate his pride in being related to a renowned Anzac nurse.

"It's a unique part of Australia's World War I history," Mr Marshall said.

"The hospital ship Gascon and the hospital ship Cecilia saved tens of thousands of soldiers' lives."

Mr Marshall was thrilled to get the diary from a relative after researching Nurse Marshall's life.

"I held it in my hands and couldn't believed that this was 101 years old," he said.

"It was extremely emotional and very fascinating."

Photo of WWI nurse Clementina Hay Marshall  PHOTO: Ms de Vries said the role of nurses like Clementina Hayes Marshall was totally neglected. (ABC News)

Historian Susanna de Vries said people did not realise what it was like in the days when Clementina Marshall was nursing.

"There were no antibiotics, all they had was morphine and the war office often didn't send enough," she said.

"They'd run out of morphine by the second day and there were these men in agony."

Ms de Vries hosted a ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance on Thursday when wreaths and flowers were laid to remember the Anzac nurses.

She said the nurses were paid a minute pension and some were buried in pauper's graves without a headstone.

She said they even had to pay for their own uniforms and equipment before they left Australia.

"They had an enormously important role which was totally neglected," Ms de Vries said.

"There wouldn't have been an RSL. Most of the men wouldn't have come home if not for the army nurses.

"Their role was enormous and totally ignored afterwards."

Syrian chemical weapons disposal complete Just 16 t of hydrogen fluoride remains


Syrian chemical weapons disposal complete

Just 16 t of hydrogen fluoride remains

Helen Tunnicliffe

THE Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) says that the effluent from the MV Cape Ray, which destroyed the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpile, has been safely disposed of.

As part of peace talks in late 2013, Syria agreed to surrender its chemical weapons stockpile in and a deal brokered by the US and Russia. The US ship MV Cape Ray was fitted with Field Deployable Hydrolysis System (FDHS) process equipment, developed by the US Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland, to neutralise chemical weapons. The system uses water, sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite to neutralise the weapons.

The MV Cape Ray sailed to Italy in January 2014, where it picked up the Syrian weapons, before moving into international waters for the destruction process. In August OPCW announced that the ship had completed the destruction of methylphosphonyl difluoride (DF), a precursor of sarin nerve agent, and would move onto the blistering agent sulphur mustard.

The 5,463 t of effluent from the DF was taken to Ekokem Riihimäki Waste Disposal Facility in Finland. On 11 June, the facility announced that it had completed disposal of the effluent. The 335.5 t of effluent from the sulphur mustard was shipped to a facility owned by the German government, Gesellschaft zur Entsorgung von Chemischen Kampfstoffen und Rüstungsaltlasten. The disposal was completed on 12 June and OPCW inspectors have now confirmed this.

“This is yet another milestone on the path to eliminating chemical weapons stocks from Syria – one that was achieved in a safe and efficient way, thanks to the valuable support provided by the German government and Finnish industry,” says OPCW director-general Ahmet Üzümcü.

OPCW says that of Syria’s original declared stockpile of 1,328 t of chemical weapons, just 16 t of hydrogen fluoride now remains at a Veolia facility in Port Arthur in Texas, US. Syria’s 12 former chemical weapons facilities are being destroyed.

US may have been testing anthrax at two other bases in South Korea

Anthrax Virus

Last month a live anthrax sample arrived in S. Korea, and the US is still declining to answer questions about it

Allegations are surfacing that United States Forces Korea (USFK) anthrax testing has been conducted at bases in Gunsan, North Jeolla, and Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province.USFK is currently facing criticisms after an episode last month in which a live anthrax sample was delivered for testing at Osan Air Base in Gyeonggi Province.The anthrax tests are part of USFK’s Joint United States Forces Korea Portal and Integrated Threat Recognition (JUPITR) program. New revelations show that USFK laboratories running the program exist not only at Osan and Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, but also in Gunsan and Pyeongtaek.The group Citizens’ Association for Reclaiming the Kunsan US Military Base as South Korean Land revealed the findings at a press conference on June 17 in front of Kunsan Air Base.
USFK units carrying out the JUPTR program (plan)
The association also called for the US to “immediately stop its biological and chemical warfare response training and close its biological agent research centers.”The US National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) quotes US Army Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical and Biological Defense (JPEO-CBD) deputy chief of staff Daniel McCormick as listing four locations of USFK JUPITR program laboratories during a May 7 forum on chemical and biological warfare response capabilities. In addition to Yongsan Garrison and Osan Air Base, the list also included Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek and Kunsan Air Base.JPEO-CBD operates the JUPTR program through USFK as a component of the US military’s global strategy on chemical and biological defense and as a response to the North Korean biological and chemical weapons threat.Previous data released by NDIA in 2013 mentioned Yongsan and Osan as housing JUPITR program laboratories, with testing on anthrax and botulinum, as well as three environmental laboratories at unspecified located under the US Army Public Health Command.The new information raises the number of USFK bases where the JUPITR program is being carried out to four, raising questions over whether the program has been expanded in the past two years as a measure against possible biological or chemical warfare in Korea.In late May, USFK was conducting experiments for the JUPITR program at Osan Air Base with anthrax samples brought into South Korea by FedEx. On May 27, it received notification that the sample was live, prompting it to carrying out an immediate shutdown, it reported.Anthrax is considered one of the leading bacterial agents in biological weapons. A low-altitude release of 100 kg in a large city would be enough to kill one to three million people.Despite the criticisms from civic groups, the USFK has maintained the official position that it will not answer questions about the anthrax delivery case until the investigation is over.
By Kim Ji-hoon, staff reporter
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