Monthly Archives: August 2014

30 August 1914

On this day Sir John French, Commander-in-Chief of the B.E.F., telegraphed Joffre, his French counterpart, that he could not contemplate putting the B.E.F. back in the front line ‘for at least ten days’ and was intending to withdraw beyond the … Continue reading

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Kittie

It should be clear from my posts of 18 and 27 August that Kittie Calderon felt deeply frustrated by her husband’s ‘finality’, as she called it, about going to the Front when no-one was asking him to enlist at the … Continue reading

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Interpreter preparation

Calderon was fluent in French, had ‘learnt Flemish while shaving in the mornings’ (according to his composer friend Martin Shaw), and incredibly enough had once made a special study of Walloon dialects.  His German was also competent.  He had absolutely … Continue reading

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Confusion, or subtlety?

From a hundred years on, it is difficult to make sense of Calderon’s new situation. If he was taking Hedley’s advice that the quickest way of getting to the Front was as a military interpreter, why was he continuing his … Continue reading

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‘The Godfather in War’

About now 1914, George Calderon went again to see his golfing acquaintance Coote Hedley. He turned up at his house at 9.30 in the evening, wearing his O.T.C. ‘reach-me-down’. However, as Hedley told Mrs Hedley, ‘even in that awful old … Continue reading

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25 August 1914

On this day the first accounts of the Battle of Mons started appearing in British newspapers.  The Times headed its main report ‘Namur Lost, German Success in Belgium’ and led off: ‘The battle is joined and has so far gone … Continue reading

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23 August 1914

At about 7 a.m. today the Germans began to attack British positions around Mons.  It was the British Expeditionary Force’s first action of the war.  At first the German surges were mown down by rifle-fire.  Gradually, however, von Kluck’s troops … Continue reading

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