Over the top!

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Jeff Simmons, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. Jeff Simmons

    Jeff Simmons New Member

    I am a former news journalist and history teacher living in Ohio, USA. While I was unable to serve in the armed forces, I am fascinated by military history, especially the Great War. I am particularly interested in operations in the Ypres sector, including the Battle of Messines (which I consider to be one of the greatest feats of combat engineering in history). I'd like to hear from anyone who has similar interests.
  2. Kitty

    Kitty New Member

    welcome to the forum Jeff, just dive right on in
  3. John

    John Active Member

    Welcome to the forum Jeff and I am sure you will enjoy your stay.
  4. Jeff Simmons

    Jeff Simmons New Member

    Thanks for your warm welcomes! I look forward to good discussions on the war, which most Americans cannot place in time or location(s). With the passing of the last veteran recently, I fear the memory of the sacrifices made by troops on both sides will disappear entirely. My specialty is the Ypres front, as I previously stated; I've yet to meet anyone -- other than college professors -- who can tell you where Ypres is located or what happened there. We need to keep the memory alive.

    By the way, John, are those soldiers in your "in memory of..." list relatives of yours? I had one relative who served in the AEF; his name was Tam Simmons, and he was my great, great uncle. He lived in the mountains several miles on dirt roads from the town of Linden, WV. The only thing he ever said to me about his Army experience was that when he went to Ravenswood, WV (about two hours away on dirt roads) to catch the train to go for basic training, it was the farthest he'd ever been from home. I can't imagine what it must have been like for him when he landed in France!
  5. John

    John Active Member

    Yes Jeff, they are all related to me. I still have more to enter as I do my family tree.
  6. Jeff Simmons

    Jeff Simmons New Member

    Were they ANZAC troops? The reason I ask is that the first one listed died in an Australian operation.
  7. John

    John Active Member

  8. Jeff Simmons

    Jeff Simmons New Member

    I saw a clip from our daily paper here in Cincinnati, Ohio (USA), that the last American WWI veteran, 109-year-old Frank Buckles, is leading one last charge to build a new monument in Washington, DC, for Americans killed in the war. His story is amazing. He joined at 16 and served in the last year of the war. During WWII (or WWI Part 2 as I call it), Buckles was held as a civilian in a Japanese POW camp (now there's some rotten luck). Buckles just happens to be from my home state of West Virginia, and lives not too far from DC. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe there is only one other survivor left; I read there was possibly one ANZAC, so I figure you would know, John. Correct me if I'm wrong!
  9. Barnbarroch

    Barnbarroch New Member

    Hi Jeff,
    My great uncle won an MC at Messines; his diary and memoirs are due to be published next year, with a section about that battle which might be of interest to you.

    Frank Vans Agnew was 46 when he travelled from America in 1914 to enlist, having been a veterinary surgeon, a farrier in Roosevelt’s Roughriders, an assayer at gold and copper mines in Western Canada and Kazakhstan, and an orange grower in Florida.

    Posted to the front in May 1915 Frank was soon in the thick of the action and in 1917 was transferred to the Tank Corps, winning an MC at Messines. He was wounded and captured in November and spent 13 months in POW camps before a spell in Copenhagen helping to repatriate British soldiers.

    His later career saw him in Belize, prospecting for chicle trees, ranching in New Mexico and growing daffodils in Cornwall before his retirement, which was interrupted by two years in the Home Guard and three in the Royal Observer Corps.

    He died in 1955. I only met him once, about a year before that.

    Memoir of the Trenches, Tanks and Captivity 1914 – 1919 by Frank Vans Agnew (Ed. Jamie Vans) is to be published in about April 2014 by Pen & Sword Books.

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