On this day…

… in 1835, the first installment of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales was published in Copenhagen, Denmark. This was the first of three installments published between May 1835 and April 1837, and marked Andersen’s first venture into the fairy tale genre. Notably, this first collection contained The Princess and the Pea.

On This Day…

100 years ago today, in 1918, the Representation of the People Act marked the first step towards women’s suffrage in the UK. The act gave women over the age of 30, who either owned land themselves or were married to men with property, the right to vote. The act also lowered men’s voting age from 30 to 21. It would be another decade before the vote was given to all women over the age of 21 on equal terms with men.

On This Day…

in 1917 – one hundred years ago – the Third Battle of Ypres began. It is also known as the Battle of Passchendaele. The battle lasted for 105 days, gaining the Allied forces just 5 miles, at the cost of at least a quarter of a million casualties (not including around 220,000 lost on the German side). 90,000 Allied bodies were never identified, with a further 42,000 never even recovered. Having recently been to see the graves of two of my Great Great Uncles who fought in the First World War, it is incredibly painful to imagine not being able to visit them, or to see them resting peacefully after enduring such horrors.

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On This Day…

… in 1415, the Battle of Agincourt took place between the English and the French during the Hundred Years’ War. The result was a major English victory, despite the fact that the French troops vastly outnumbered the English. Their success is attributed to their use of longbows – an English weapon that was greatly superior to the French crossbow. A trained English archer could shoot six aimed arrows a minute, and these arrows could penetrate armour from 100 yards away (and kill from 200).

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15th Century miniature depicting the Battle of Agincourt

 

 

 

 

On This Day…

…in 1914, the first trenches were dug on the Western Front. As it became ever more apparent that the war would not be ‘over by Christmas’, both Allied and German forces began digging trenches. In total, if these trench systems were laid out in one long row, they would stretch for 25,000 miles. 12,000 of those miles belonged to the Allies; 13,000 to the Central Powers.

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Allied Trench, The Somme 1916