WWI

Photo of the Day

Haber (pointing) instructs soldiers about chlorine gas deployment in WWI. Credit: Archive der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin

Haber (pointing) instructs soldiers about chlorine gas deployment in WWI. Credit: Archive der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Berlin

The Father of Chemical Weapons

Fritz Haber is One of the Most Important and Controversial Scientists of the 20th Century

How many chemists have been the subject of multiple plays, television documentaries, and graphic novels? How many scientists can report that their discoveries have helped feed billions? Or maimed millions? Haber has been called many things: scientific genius, war criminal, Jew, husband and father, and friend and colleague. Here we look at the many sides of the man who oversaw the first chlorine gas attack of World War I.

SCIENTIFIC GENIUS

At the turn of the 20th century, humanity faced the prospect of incredible famine. One concerned chemist, William Crookes, predicted in 1898 that ?millions will starve to death due to lack of nitrogen fertilizer for plant growth.? Nitrogen was abundant in the air, but it was out of reach for those who wanted it for industrial-scale fertilizer production. Fritz Haber, though, put his mind toward harnessing it to make fertilizer at a volume that could help feed Earth?s growing population.

Some mix of Haber?s vast intellect?he was already an accomplished electrochemist in Karlsruhe, Germany?and his appreciation of applied science?he spent the early part of his career working in his father?s dye business as well as at an alcohol distillery, a cellulose factory, and an ammonia-soda factory?helped him invent a straightforward strategy for nitrogen fixation. The achievement garnered Haber the 1918 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Although his strategy paved the way for making fertilizer from air, Carl Bosch made the discovery workable on an industrial scale by replacing the expensive osmium or uranium catalysts Haber?s process called for with cheaper magnetite and aluminum oxide ones. The Haber-Bosch process remains the workhorse of this industry.

Because fertilizer gets incorporated into the agricultural products we eat, an estimated 40% of the essential nitrogen in every human?s body now originates from the Haber-Bosch process. Yet in a perfect example of how one discovery can benefit humanity just as easily as it can destroy it, the Haber-Bosch process was also vital to manufacturing nitrogen-based explosives for the German Army during World War I.

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Photo of the Day

Sir Harold Delf Gillies (17 June 1882 ? 10 September 1960) was a New Zealand-born, and later London-based, otolaryngologist who is widely considered the father of plastic surgery. The horrific new injuries that came with the First World War led to the pioneering work in plastic surgery by Harold Gillies, a special kind of war hero.

Sir Harold Delf Gillies (17 June 1882 ?- 10 September 1960) was a New Zealand-born, and later London-based, otolaryngologist who is widely considered the father of plastic surgery. The horrific new injuries that came with the First World War led to the pioneering work in plastic surgery by Harold Gillies, a special kind of war hero.

How do you Fix a Face That?s Been Blown Off by Shrapnel?

While the emotional repercussions of war aren’t easy to measure, photos of soldiers who went home injured after WWI tell a pretty unsettling story

Warning Some Images Maybe Disturbing.

Over a million soldiers died in World War One, and double that amount went home injured. For many of those lucky enough to return, the wounds they had suffered in Europe would leave them permanently disfigured.

The trenches protected the bodies of soldiers, but in doing so it left their heads vulnerable to enemy fire. Soldiers would frequently stick their heads up above the trenches, exposing them to all manner of weapons.

At the start of the war, little consideration was given to the trauma of facial injuries. It came as something of a surprise that so many victims survived to the point of treatment. Escaping the war with your life was seen as reward enough. The advent of plastic surgery would radically change that perception.

The biggest killer on the battlefield and the cause of many facial injuries was shrapnel. Unlike the straight-line wounds inflicted by bullets, the twisted metal shards produced from a shrapnel blast could rip a face off.

Not only that, but the shrapnel’s shape would often drag clothing and dirt into the wound. Improved medical care meant that more injured soldiers could be kept alive, but urgently dealing with such devastating injuries was a new challenge.

Harold Gillies was the man the British Army tasked with fixing these grisly wounds. Born in New Zealand, he studied medicine at Cambridge before joining the British Army Medical Corps at the outset of World War One.

Gillies was shocked by the injuries he saw in the field, and requested that the army set up their own plastic surgery unit.

Warning Some Images Maybe Disturbing.

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Photo Of The Day

King George V presents the King's Cup to James Ryan, captain of the New Zealand Services Rugby Team, after the team's win in the Inter-Services Tournament at Twickenham rugby ground, London in 1919. Major General Charles William Melvill and another officer look on. The team some of whom have fern leaf emblems on their jerseys are standing in a line. A film cameraman appears in the background. Photograph taken April 1919 by Thomas Frederick Scales.

King George V presents the King’s Cup to James Ryan, captain of the New Zealand Services Rugby Team, after the team’s win in the Inter-Services Tournament at Twickenham rugby ground, London in 1919. Major General Charles William Melvill and another officer look on. The team some of whom have fern leaf emblems on their jerseys are standing in a line. A film cameraman appears in the background. Photograph taken April 1919 by Thomas Frederick Scales.

The Forgotten Story of

The First Ever ?World Cup?

?In 1919, in the aftermath of WWI, a group of international rugby teams gathered in Britain for The King?s Cup, a tournament unprecedented in its time but little remembered today. Some rugby historians have dubbed The King’s Cup as the ?First Rugby World Cup Tournament.?

On October 31, the two finalists of the 2015 Rugby World Cup will take to the hallowed turf of Twickenham for what will be the finale of, officially at least, the 8th edition of a tournament that began in 1987. But on the same pitch on April 19, 1919 ? some 96 years ago ? military teams representing New Zealand and Great Britain faced off in the final of what, for all intents and purposes, was a World Cup in all but name: The King?s Cup.

Along with the two finalists, military teams from Canada, Australia and South Africa took part, as well as an RAF side made up of players from various nations. It was a gathering of international rugby talent that had never been seen before.

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59,000 killed or wounded

Lest we forget the sacrifices made for us.

Rusty Vail, a member of New Zealand’s first SAS squad, helped to illuminate a giant 13m poppy in Auckland last night, to mark Poppy Day and the upcoming World War I centennial.

Alongside Auckland’s youngest army soldier, 17-year-old Private Tala Ellender-Nottage, the 86-year-old veteran projected the poppy on to the Sky Tower from the roof of the SkyCity Grand Hotel.

A poppy display will take place today down Federal St, with members of the Blues and Vodafone Warriors collecting money beneath the Sky Tower from 1pm to 3pm. Several Defence Force personnel and army vehicles will also be on site.

If you’re there, go say hi. ? Read more »

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David Cunliffe admits medal mix up, but where is the rest of the explanation?

Tuke1

Fairfax reports

Labour leader David Cunliffe has admitted he muddled the war medals won by his ancestors.

In a speech to a Young Labour conference at the weekend Cunliffe marked ANZAC day and said his Grandfather Bob Tuke was awarded the Military Medal for valour in World War I.

In fact the medal was awarded to his brother Edmund Tuke, who is Cunliffe’s great uncle.

The discrepancy was picked up by a blogger.

A spokesman for Cunliffe said he had ”mixed up” the medals. Bob Tuke was instead awarded service medals.

Mixed them up eh? ? Read more »

Cunliffe caught in another mistruth

At the Young Labour conference David Cunliffe made these claims.

Yesterday was ANZAC day ? a day when, no matter who you are or how long you have been here, our nation commemorates the values that generations of New Zealanders have fought for.

At my local RSA, I spoke of my Grandfather Bob Tuke, who fought in World War One.

Although his letters home understated it, he lived in constant fear; he lived with lice, damp and dysentery. He watched his friends die in France, Egypt and Gallipoli.

He was awarded a Military Medal for valour, but hardly mentioned it to his family.

Sounds good, a hero for a family member, we’d all like that. Even better for a politician to use in a speech.

Fortunately for us most of the war records of our servicemen, including that of my great grandfather who served at Gallipoli are available online.

So I thought I would check the war records for Bob Tuke…and I found him…there is only one Robert Clive Tuke…and a slight problem for David Cunliffe.

Tuke1 Read more »

This is how WWI pilots didn’t shoot their own propellor off

Actual WWI Film footage of the Battle of the Somme. July-November 1916

WW1 Combat in Colour 1914-1918

You have to wonder what makes humankind do these things

Don’t mention the war to the krauts

The Krauts are kicking up a stink about Pommy celebrations commemorating the centenary of the start of WW1.

Germany has intervened in the debate over how to mark the centenary of the First World War, with a call for Britain not to make its commemorations too celebratory.

The country?s special envoy for the centenary of the conflict, Andreas Meitzner, requested a series of meetings in London earlier this month with his British counterpart, Andrew Murrison, as well as senior officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to hear about the UK?s plans and outline Germany?s position.? Read more »

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