Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Month: February 2018 (Page 2 of 2)

Wilfred Owen on Shell Shock

Sometimes it takes a poet to fully describe reality. British 2nd Lt. Wilfred E.S. Owen MC (1893-1918), who was himself a victim of ‘shell shock’, wrote this poem while convalescing at a hospital at Craiglockhart in Scotland:

Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight?
Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows,
Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish,
Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ tongues wicked?
Stroke on stroke of pain, — but what slow panic,
Gouged these chasms round their fretted sockets?
Ever from their hair and through their hand palms
Misery swelters. Surely we have perished
Sleeping, and walk hell; but who these hellish? more

The Red Baron’s JG 1 vs. the Black Squadron

Manfred Freiherr von Richthofen (1892 – 1918), familiarly known as “The Red Baron”, was an obscure cavalry lieutenant in 1914. With the advent of static warfare, his unit was broken up and he was assigned to a supply unit, duty that he found distasteful. He volunteered for aviation service in May 1915, serving as an observer until October, then went through flight training. He flew two-seaters until August 1916 when he finally became a true fighter pilot. He chanced to catch the eye of  Oswald Boelcke (1891 – 1916), known as “The Father of Air Fighting Tactics”, who selected von Richthofen for his elite “Jasta 2“ (short for Jagdstaffel 2). Von Richthofen later formed his own elite squadron, Jasta 11, which out-performed Jasta 2. In January 1917 he painted his Albatros D-III bright red, which led to his famous sobriquet. more

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