Talk:Second Battle of Ypres

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Question[edit]

Question: the bit about the Canadian soldiers and the urine-soaked handkerchiefs confuses me, in that chlorine says that bleach mixed with ammonia or urine produces chlorine gas, which is toxic, etc. How does adding urine to chlorine gas produce the reverse reaction? I don't understand the chemistry involved. grendel|khan 19:52, 2004 Dec 14 (UTC)

Its not a reversal as such, rather different reactions as liquid bleach is not simply chlorine in water. Off the top of my head, the chlorine will react with ammonia producing hydrogen gas, nitrogen gas and hydrogen chloride. The hydrogen chloride, being very acid then neutralises itself with the base ammonia or other chemicals in the urine. There would actually be hundreds of simultaneous reactions going on as urine is chemically complex but it boils down to the the very reactive chlorine reacting with chemicals in the urine before it gets a chance to get to the lungs and react there. Just for the record I think if you add ammonia to liquid bleach (aqueous NaCLO) although some chlorine will be released, via chloramines, much would end up as NaCL or good old table salt. NB don't try that at home to check - the reaction could be quite energetic to say the least and if not kept cool you'd likely get some chlorates which can be VERY explosive not to mention the corrosive and explosive gasses. --LiamE 20:14, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Attacker[edit]

Who was the offender in this battle, and who was defending the town?

Germany was attacking, Allies defending. It was the last major German offensive on the Western Front until Verdun in 1916 and the last offensive directed against the British until 1918. Geoff/Gsl 10:42, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Indian Involvement[edit]

The casualties list 58,000 Indian lost but the content of this article does not mention their role in this battle. If there are Indian units operating in this battle, what is their strength?

1 (mostly) Indian division - The Lahore Division - fought at the battle. This could have meant maybe 20,0000 men taking part. The 58,000 figure you mention coincides closely to the combined 'British' losses. Indian losses would have made up a portion (perhaps an eighth or so) of that figure. --LiamE 15:35, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I was going to ask this question, too. The Lahore Division is mentioned in the intro paragraph, but I removed the link, as it went to a political subdivision of present-day Pakistan. My question is: were the troops primarily Indian, Pakistani (moot then, but petinent today — mostly Hindu, or mostly Islamic) or British (caucasian) colonists from south Asia. This makes a huge difference when describing 20 K soldiers. From this battle alone, the Lahore Division merits its own article clearly listing its composition (volunteer and/or conscript Indian, Pakistani, and/or volunteer/conscript British living in India). My personal bet (based on practice at the time) is South Asian troops with caucasian British officers, but I have no references to back that up.

As well, I just listed the Algerian colonial troops as their own contingent in the campaign box. Surely Pakistani/Indian troops should also be listed as well, albeit under a UK flag icon appropriate to the era. Surely, just on a NPOV basis, equal credit to should be given Arabic and South Asian colonial troops as is given to Newfoundland colonial troops. Suggestions? Esseh 07:44, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

The subject of colonial soldiers in ww1 and 2 is not yet covered in wikipedia? It will be an interesting topic for years to come. I think the research in the years 50 and 60 pointed out indians eg. suffered greatly in several battles of the ww1 war. nr's over 50000 don't sound impossible in that context. Would not it be possible to trace at what speed colonial forces have been transported to europe? It is my impression that what got to french soil was all deployed (and generally used up in the proces), more so before '18 ('17?). You might say the scorn for human lives was mirrored by the racist values. I would not at all be surprised if the number of indian victims in this single battle exagerated the nr of canadese by a factor of 5 or so. I think that has also been reported, that in several single battles whole indian(or otherways colonial) divisions got largely whiped out. It's somehow awkward that there is no resolute information of either side of the former colonialist administrations to clear up this.77.251.179.188 10:50, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

NINAD

The British never introduced conscription in India, and so all the Indians of whatever caste or race in the Indian Army would have been volunteers. None of the non-white British colonies had conscription in either World War.
As for being treated any differently from other British divisions, I think you'll find that the 'British' ones were suffering being 'wiped out' to a far greater extent than those of the Indian Army. It was 'normal' for the state of trench warfare as it then was.
.. and during WW II over 2,000,000 Indians of all races and creeds volunteered for the Indian Army which rather goes against any suggestion of British 'racism' don't you think. And if you are lucky enough to meet an ex-British Indian Army soldier still around at this late date try asking him how they were, and see what sort of a reply you get. Most were justly proud to have fought for Britain and India, and the rest of the Empire. And if he's got any medals he'll be delighted in showing you them.
Times have changed since independence in much of the ex-empire, but don't go putting your current-day beliefs into judging people from the past. Britain treated her colonial soldiers on the whole just as well - or badly - as she treated her own white soldiers, and when working alongside each other there was little if any friction or racism to be found between them, most respected and liked each other as fighting men - unlike some other colonial regimes. You don't get people willing to fight and die for each other if they don't have mutual respect and regard for each other.
Oh, and my Grandfather, a white Englishman who attended Rugby School, was a professional soldier who served in India in the thirties and later fought in Burma, and his Indian troops and Ghurkas loved him as much as he loved them, and were willing to die for him, and when necessary, proved it. He himself did not come back from Burma and is now in the New Delhi Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2.24.208.91 (talk) 09:48, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Headline text[edit]

—Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.225.238.151 (talk) 05:05, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

Tirailleurs Sénégalais[edit]

I learned recently through my modern African history class that the Senegalese rifles (I guess this would be the French Colonial troops) were also involved in this battle, fighting somewhere close to the Canadian troops. Unfortunately I don't have much information on there involvement, or a source outside my lecture.. I'll look into adding to the article later perhaps, I have to study.. Basser g 03:14, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

See if you can find Melzer's work, The Mise-en-Scene of the Tirailleur Sénégalais on the Western Front, 1914-1920, in Borderlines, Genders and Identities in War and Peace 1870-1930.
Also, in French Civilization and Its Discontents: Nationalism, Colonialism, Race By Tyler Edward Stovall, Georges Van den Abbeele, page 302 has them at the Somme, The Aisne, and the Chemin des Dames.
Also check Charles Onama, La France et ses tirailleurs: Enquête sur les combattants de la République

Good luck,LeadSongDog (talk) 22:08, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Neutrality[edit]

I've just tagged the article. large sections seem to be written from a purely Canadian point of view despite them being minor players overall in the battle. --LiamE 01:33, 1 April 2007 (UTC)

The Canadians held the line during the gas attacks, the French and their colonial troops having succumbed to the gas. This is a well known fact, and built Canada's reputation as shock troops. Why pick this article to whine about neutrality? The article was probably written by Canadians, simply because it is important to them, historically. Just as other articles are written by nationals who take an interest in their nation's past.

If you have something to add, then add it. But don't denigrate a nation's military accomplishments with insults of "being minor players". But I'll be generous, and assume you're in Will Roger's latter group, pissing on the electric fence, as you seem neither to have read about this topic, nor, obviously, observed it.

Really sensitive of you to post this nonsense so close to the 90th anniversary re-dedication ceremony of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Go play some cricket, and leave fallen heroes in peace.

Taken from CBC Archives: http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-71-2425-14165/conflict_war/firstworldwar/:

On April 24, 1915 the Germans used chlorine gas against the Canadian First Division at the Second Battle of Ypres. With the wind in the German’s favour, anything short of a full retreat would have put the Canadians in the path of the gas. Realizing the only fresh air was at the German line, the Canadians pushed forward, breathing through water- or urine-soaked rags as makeshift gas masks. (It was believed that the ammonia in the urine would neutralize the chlorine.)

The Canadians held their ground until they were reinforced by British troops a day and a half later. The battle earned the Canadian forces great respect, though it came at a cost of some 6,000 men, and ended in a stalemate.

Hardly "minor players", as you say.


-- Does it have a Canadian perspective? As it stands yes, and any contributions to expand it from the other national groups would be very useful to see. Anyone? I would be interested, I'm Canadian...
I can assume that the author is not only Canadian, but is likely a member of the "The Calgary Highlanders" Army Reserve Regiment which perpetuates the 10th Battalion CEF. The counter-attack to the gas attack of April 1915 is the most signifigant battle in terms of the History/mythology of the regiment. I was in that regiment 10 years ago, and I still carry in my pocket a medallion which is endorsed "The Glorious Memory - 22 April 1915". And with a few exceptions since the end of WW1, every year around the 22 of April, there is a formal parade, a church service, and a reunion dinner for the 10th Bn CEF and The Calgary Highlanders all in the name of "The Battle of St. Julien". Perhaps in the greater scheme, it is of minor historical note - but for the soldiers and veterans of the Calgary Highlanders on that day - there is no battle more important. And to that the memory of 1915 is still kept alive today - It can't be denied that is important.
22 April 1915 - The date is a bit of historical regimental curiosity - it refers to counter-attack by the 10th & 16th to the Gas attack - while technically it falls under "the Battle of Gravenstafl" it is always called internally as "The Battle of St. Julien" (which did not officially start until the 24th April.)
--198.166.37.31 05:36, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

You seem to have mistaken my comments on the POV of the article as someone wanting to take a dig at Canada and/or its armed forces. Look what you have yourself written. "Does it have a Canadian perspective? As it stands yes" That is the definition of POV. I totally agree with you that the Canadian input into the battle was important and the content in the article seems to be factually correct but without giving equal weight to the other participants the article as it stand is not neutral, hence the tag and note. You seem to have taken offence of my use of the term "minor player" - well I'm sorry but in terms of man power and casualties they were. That does nothing to belittle their efforts, courage and sacrifice. German losses were c.35,000, French losses were c.10,000, British loses around 60,000 of which about 6,000 were Canadian - ie something less than 6% of the total casualties for the battle. Is the sacrifice of those other young men somehow less important than the Canadian sacrifice?Its not tagged that the Candian info should be cut, it is tagged that the other 94% of the battle be recorded with due diligence. --LiamE 09:59, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Face it Liam, if the British wrote it, the Canadians would be listed as British troops, as they are in many of their history books, and the contribution forgotten. But, as I said, if you have something to add, then add it to the article. No one will take offense to historical accuracy; only to your number crunching of the Canadians into insignificance.

Firstly I am not trying to "number crunch the Canadians into insignificance" just merely trying to get a neutral perspective on it as is required by Wikipedia policy. This is not the place to try and exorcise the demons of previous historical works forgetting Canada by having a massively pro Canadian article here. This article must be neutral. As it stands it it largely about the Canadian efforts of 1 division and largely forgets the other 20(ish) divisions that were there and being killed just as dead and wounded just as badly. That simply isnt neutral. Why would the article becomming more neutral offend you or anyone else? Why does pointing out the number of soldiers involved and casualty figures that are a matter of public record seem make you defensive of Canadian efforts in the battle? Secondly before trying the "if you have something to add" rubbish with me try signing in so we can see how many edits you have made and to what and when. You can easily click on my name and then my contributions and look at the many hundreds of edits I've made. There are people far better placed to write up the French, German, Indian and British (in the modern sense) contributions to the battle than I so I will leave it to them. Lastly, please sign you comments - it makes dicussions much easier to follow. --LiamE 16:44, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

If you're wondering why Canadians care that others don't write their history, just look what you said: "British loses around 60,000 of which about 6,000 were Canadian." You, yourself, speak of Canadians as British.

But, you are really missing my point. I would be more than happy to see this article filled out by the Germans, and the French, and the British, and the Indians, et al. (Even the Americans, though they weren't there.) No one is stopping them. They just haven't yet. But I'm sure they will. And they should, as the article is incomplete. Again, I'm just wondering what made this particular article stand out to you for a POV, particularly as your main interest on WP is cricket, and perhaps Will Rogers.

I could understand your POV if others had made edits, and the author of the article reversed them to bias the article, but that just isn't the case, is it? What seems to be the case is that you are complaining about the POV on an incomplete article that no one else seems to care enough about enough to expand on, including you, by your own words, except for the, in all probability, Canadian author.

Now, lets discuss you're stated, on record, rationale for a POV on this article, by looking at what you said:

"I've just tagged the article. large sections seem to be written from a purely Canadian point of view despite them being minor players overall in the battle."

First, the way you expressed your sentiments is offensive; don't be surprised when people take offense to them. Second, you argue that a modern Canadian author should not write it because Canada had a minor role, as you claim, in the battle. That's what you say, Liam. So, by your own reasoning, it would be alright if it had, say, a British POV, as they had a major role (at least numerically). That's what it boils down to, Liam. That's what you're saying.

On top of that, it's wrong. The Canadians weren't the only ones gassed that day, but they were the ones who stood their ground. That did not win the day, but it ensured a stalemate did not become a loss. And under circumstances no soldier had ever seen before, as gas was new, and I can only imagine how terrifying. That, my British(?) friend, is a major role, despite their numerical strength. (By the way, a Canadian division was larger than a British division.)

Note: This isn't a macho contest to see who's is bigger, so cut the below BS:

"Secondly before trying the "if you have something to add" rubbish with me try signing in so we can see how many edits you have made and to what and when. You can easily click on my name and then my contributions and look at the many hundreds of edits I've made."

It goes to the heart of my point. That you randomly picked an incomplete article you don't care about to complain. Your unwillingness to correct the situation yourself is evidence to this. "Why don't I add to it?" you ask? Because I'm not the one with the neutrality problem. And why should anyone change anything for you? Are you that full of yourself? You must be, if you pull that "just look at my edits" trash.

Your POV is frivolous and should be rubbished. You are just being impatient with the article's completion. There is no agenda to skew the neutrality of this article. But the original author is not required to bring every editor in for consultation, either.

My pov is frivolous and should be rubbished? I have only pointed out that the article needs to include points of view other than Canadian to comply with wiki policy. If you think that is frivolous and should be rubbished good luck to you. Wikipedia's policy entirely disagrees with you. I didn't randomly pick this article to pick on. I read it to learn about the battle and couldn't fail to notice it was nowhere near the NPOV standards required. --LiamE 17:22, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Disagreement doesn't give you the right to deface my commentary, in your last edit. Smarten up.

Smarten up? Deface your comentary? Do I detect the keyboard warrior in you coming out? Dear, oh dear. Please enlighten me how I defaced your commentary. I have defaced nothing, my only crime it would seem would be using the word "minor" to describe a manpower commitment of 5 or 6% of the total commited forces - frankly what other word is accurate? Please feel free to let me know how I should have described the unboudtedly heroic but numerically minor Canadian contribution to the battle without using the word minor? And while you are at it, how about signing in before your next "minor" rant? --LiamE 20:37, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
On second looks it seems I accidentally moved some of your comentary - it must have happened whilst scrolling down to the end on a previous entry. That was unintentional and unintended. Sorry for that. --LiamE 20:46, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

No problem, Liam. You strike me as an honest fellow, and I knew you didn't do that on purpose. I have a quirky sense of humour, and couldn't resist pulling your leg on that one. ;) My bad. Be well my friend.


Hello Liam and unsigned - and the latter, PLEASE add a signature so we can discuss this. I just edited this article in several ways (please both of you check them for accuracy and NPOV). Just to get my POV aired, I am Canadian and a former member of one of the regiments that served in the battle of Ypres. HOWEVER, that does not (and never should) minimise the efforts and sacrifices of the other troops that served and suffered in the battle (including Imperial German troops). To that end, I have added the Algerian contingent (under the then-appropriate French flag, for a colonial contingent) to the campaign box, and am currently seeking the composition of the Lahore Division, to add them under a British flag (appropriate to that era - see discussion in the section above).
MY big problem with the whole article is the lack of attribution/references. Claims of who did what/when/where are best substantiated by appropriate historical documentation. That said, it is often difficult to sort out newspaper reports or even official documents of the era, as British sources would list Newfoundland, Canadian and Indian/Pakistani achievements as "British", and French sources would list Algerian and Senegalese (I think they were there) achievements as "French". Can anyone add some real references to this article? In a real NPOV article, the accomplishments (and failures) of any one part would and should stand out from the others, without negating the role of those others. (i.e. the Canadians were unexpected heroes, but without all of those around and reinforcing them, they would have been surrounded and exterminated!) Just my thoughts. Esseh 08:16, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Upon reading the article I'm inclined to agree with Liam, the article focuses incredibly indepth on the Canadian perspective, sometimes I think it may be going to far with mentioning how certain divisions were outfitted and honoured.. Perhaps if things like these are to be included they could be included at the end of the article in a separate section so that they do not break up description of the battle as they currently do. Clearly there needs to be more information on contributions which other forces made, if somebody speaks German they could perhaps read the article on the German wikipedia and see if it is any good. Unfortunately my knowledge consists of what I learned in Canadian history class so I am not much use in contributing to other POV. Basser g 20:20, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the article has a Canadian perspective and that it is too cluttered with detail, but remember that the defense (they held with a 4 mile gap in the line) by the Canadians in the first gas attack of the war was the pivitol action (they took the casualties to prove it) of the whole battle and if they failed there we would be talking about the German breakthrough which most likey would have result in the allied armies being cut off, and pieces of them enveloped,which could have led to a German victory in the war. Also keep in mind that knowledge of this battle is taught to every Canadian schoolchild (it is our Alamo, or Thermopylae) and it does not have the same impact to American or British citizens as they have both existed for so long, have had many more wars and battles, or weren't there in the case of the Americans. So it stands to reason the of the people that feel passionately enough about this battle to make an entry would have a large number of Canadians, hence the Canadian perspectives. It was one of the greatest defences in military history and echos in the Canadian heart along with names like Queenstown, Chryslers Farm, Vimy, Passchendaele, Dieppe, Ortona. "We don't retreat, we don't give up ground, and we don't give up any guns." —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.74.210.163 (talk) 00:31, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Funny...[edit]

I see complaints about the Cdn POV of this article, but when I (a Canadian) tried to put an Algerian flag in the campaign box, it gets removed. Yes, technically at that time Algeria was part of France, but the contribution of Algerian troops is mentioned, and should not be negated. Maybe with a period-appropriate tricoleur? Similarly, I think there should be a mention (and flag) for the Lahore Division, if I could only figure out if they're Indian or Pakistani (again, with period-appropriate Union Jack). Suggestions? Esseh 07:12, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

The Lahore division is pretty hard to flag, other than using the Union flag to denote the Britsih Empire. It was a mix of Indian (Including modern Pakistan and Bangladesh), Nepalese, British, Irish etc. --LiamE 13:19, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
  • Hmm, as for flags I would say that you would have to use the Union Flag for Lahore, and the Tricouleur for Algeria unless those colonies had their own officially sanctioned colonial flag. If you look at Canadian contributions to anything for example before the flag was changed to the maple leaf you would see a Red Ensign... As much as I despise using the old colonial flags it is historically accurate to do so. Despite this it is still relevant, I think, to ensure that when you describe the battle you make sure to distinguish between Canadian and British troops, same with Algerian and French troops. By the way the Sénégalais were there, but I am unsure of their contributions. All I know is from my African history class in which a Canadian was quoted as saying some probably biased quote about all the African troops running away when the gas was deployed.. Some further research is likely needed, I will try to look into it in the future. Basser g 20:08, 22 April 2007 (UTC)


Hi LiamE and Basser g, and thanks. Actually, I had added Algeria with tricouleur before, and someone removed it. As for the Lahore Div., yes, definitely the Union Jack, but I wanted to list the current national affiliation (as NF is). Pakistan, I presume? As LiamE says, they were likely mixed composition (likely with English officers and local recruits, if anything like other colonial contingents), or was the division composed of ethnically-different battalions? As for the comment on Africans "running", I think that was a reference to the Algerian contingent, if I remember correctly. I don't really remember seeing anything (before here) on the Sénégalais contingent, though if they were involved, they should be in the campaign box, too. Esseh 20:30, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

OK, I just did it again, but added French West Africa and British India also, now if somebody removes it we can try to compromise.. Perhaps we can put bulleted colonial entries to not undermine the fact that they were colonies... I don't know. As for the Senegalais, I only heard about their contribution through my lecture, it's possible that it's not true but I'd like to think my prof knows what hes talking about :) Basser g 20:35, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Just realized that British India had a blue ensign, if somebody can find the template for it and add it that would be great I am having some trouble, as for whoever undid Algeria - if you take out Algeria/French West Africa then you have to take out Newfoundland, and Australia as well, (and perhaps Canada as we were only partially independent at this time). Basser g 20:41, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
    • Found it, nevermind. Basser g 20:46, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Another minor issue, when you click the link on Newfoundland, it takes you to the article on the Dominion of Newfoundland which is the relevant time period, however the flag is their currently unofficial green, white, and pink tricolour, should we be using this flag or should the Union Jack be the flag used? This is obviously a minor issue, but I would still like some input. Basser g 21:01, 22 April 2007 (UTC)


I was rather wondering the same thing. Could we put both? Esseh 22:00, 22 April 2007 (UTC)


Brave Bravo Basser g, for putting in everone's flags - esp. on finding the Blue Ensign. Credit to all there, eh ;) Esseh 03:39, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
(Sorry, my typo.) Esseh 03:42, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to go with the green, white and pink as both the article for the Dominion of Newfoundland and the list of Commonwealth members (former members section) utilize this flag. Basser g 21:16, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Some histori-chemistry..[edit]

On another interesting chemi-historical note, I just ran across this reference to a 1908 paper on the reaction of chlorine with urea! I have already added the paper to the article on gas warfare, and am now going to add it to the appropriate sections here. NOT ammonia (as I suspected - there's very little in fresh urine), but urea, which is present in large amounts in urine. Also, have another ref for why chlorine was so deadly. As I suspected, 2Cl2 + 2H2O -> 4HCl + O2. For those less chemically inclined than myself, what it means is that the chlorine gas, when mixed with water (as in the eyes, lungs, etc...) forms hydrochloric acid (muriatic acid). Very corrosive, explaining the tissue damage to the lungs. Comments? Esseh 22:03, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, the other article was Poison gas in World War I... Esseh 22:26, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

OK, added in, with refs. Hack away ;-) Esseh 22:23, 22 April 2007 (UTC)

Well you have the references so you have my support. :) Basser g 21:12, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks Basser g. Better check again - I've added a few more, with more notes. Esseh 22:08, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Looks good, also nice photo of Scrimger. Basser g 02:41, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Seems I may have made a mistake...[edit]

Although I would prefer including Algeria and French West Africa, at the very least Algeria was viewed as an integral part of France at the time and was not even a colony.. See the French_Third_Republic for details.. But we could still include colonial specific references within the article itself. I fear however, that it is too historically inaccurate to include Algeria as a combatant, and possibly French West Africa (I will check that now). Basser g 21:27, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

World view[edit]

Help is needed to bring this article to demonstrate a more worldly POV. Anyone who can help contribute to German, British, Australian, Indian, Newfoundlander, or French and their colonial forces roles in the battle would be greatly appreciated. Canada's role has been fairly well defined but it is equally important to ensure all these other groups roles in the battle are portrayed with equal justice. Basser g 21:51, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

In reading some more, I think the Belgians should be added as well. They held the left of the Allied line throughout the battle. Curiously, in one history of the Lahore Division I saw, Ypres was not mentioned as one of their battles (though they fought before and after). However, they are mentioned in Gen. French's official report. I'll look into it further. Esseh 22:05, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I've added Belgium, seems pretty obvious that they should be on there considering the battle took place on Belgian soil. Where was the information found related to Australian and Newfoundlander involvement though, I'd like to take a look to see if there is anything on their contribution to the battles. 142.157.197.221 23:27, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Sorry I wasn't logged in, that was me.. Basser g 23:28, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

New Zealand?[edit]

If there was Australian involvement wouldn't there also have been New Zealand involvement? I'm fairly sure that throughout the war they fought in unified ANZAC divisions didn't they? Basser g 23:40, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

He Basser g. I may be wrong, but I do believe the ANZACs were at Gallipoli during 2nd Ypres, weren't they? Esseh 03:15, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Yup. 25 April, 1915. Actually, most of the Newfoundlanders were, too, though some were attached to groups in Ypres, I think. Holy crow, I just checked the date. Tomorrow is ANZAC day! Esseh 03:18, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

OK, I checked the "Order of Battle" in Note 1, and the Newfies are not listed. Note 2, however, appears to have mistakenly listed them. They were in Gallipoli, too. I'll take them out. Esseh 03:35, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Alright, excellent I've been looking at sources for French colonial forces and it seems both tirailleurs algérien et tirailleurs sénégalais were at Ypres (though there are references to "black" troops). I just need to take some time to incorporate the info I found into the article, but I'm not sure I have time right now, I'll do it whenever I get the chance. Basser g 04:18, 24 April 2007 (UTC)


Hi Basser g. Thanks for "flagging" my commanders! I still don't know for sure about the Sénégalais, but there appear to have been Moroccains there. Also, I found some great refs for parts of this article, as well as some trivia. The trivia (maybe in an "outcomes" section):

  1. Started the rise of Arthur Currie
  2. McNaughton and Crerar also seem to have been there.
  3. The myth or fact (likely former) of the crucified Canadian started there, inspiring the statue Canada's Golgotha, displayed after the war and removed after German protests.
  4. Despite ref I added, no one seems to know who actually passed the word to "piss on your hankie". Scrimger looked legit - and may be, but Scott doesn't even mention it (even though he mentions Scrimger), and Nasmith doesn't either (doesn't mention Scrimger at all, even though he visited the field station!). Very curious.

Couple of articles to add there, too.

For cool refs, I have:

  1. An article in the May 1996 issue of Sabretasche (Vol 26, No 4).[1]
  2. An book by The Rev. Canon Fredrick Scott, who was there.[2]
  3. A book by Col. George G. Nasmith, C.M.G. - head of a research lab there, and the one who suggested the first real gas masks used after the battle (cotton, impregnated with "Hypo" - sodium hyposulphite, according to No. 4).[3]
  4. The full chapter of a book (Trial by Gas; 2nd Battle of Ypres), published by UBC press.[4]

Haven't had time to read them all yet, but from what I've seen, they are good. The No.s 2 and 3 were written by men actually there, and No. 4 is a later history. Check them out, tell me what you think. Esseh 06:51, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Alright, I'll check out these references as soon as I can, but right now I've got some major studying to do for an exam I have Monday, after that though I am done university for the year so I should be able to contribute some more. I'll get the references I've found for the sénégalais. Basser g 02:10, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Can we say this?[edit]

..."the first time a non-European force (Canadians) pushed back a major European power (Germans) on European soil." I think the Mongols, Huns (Rome), Moors in Spain, Portugal, Sicily, and Ottomans might disagree. Maybe "the first time a former colonial force..."? Thoughts? Esseh 07:12, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

You could add Hannibal and the Persians to that list too. Its just a bit overstated. I would go with something along the lines "former colonial.." as you suggest. --LiamE 09:25, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
Done. Esseh 16:40, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Some photos.[edit]

Hello again, all. Found some interesting pics for the article, and thought I'd post them here until we're sure where they can/should go. As they get used, we can delete them from here, and we can add any more we find to the gallery. Sound good? Esseh 22:12, 26 April 2007 (UTC)


Alright, good photos, I'm not the greatest at formatting photos into a page, so I'll leave that to you Esseh. Basser g 02:07, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

I removed the Zoaves - they're now incorporated. Also, I found a ref (and added it) on the composition of the French Colonial Forces. Apparently, they were Algerian and Moroccan. Esseh 20:41, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Extensive Copying[edit]

The section on Kitcheners' woods is essentially a word-for-word copy from the Veterans Affairs Canada website (http://198.103.134.2/remembers/sub.cfm?source=feature/bh_somme2006/bh_youthoverseas/ericbrenchley). hodgetts 02:45, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

=Is there any generally acceptable term to describe troops from what used to be the British Empire? I think it's obviously unacceptable to call them "British," since this demeans the extraordiarily important role of troops from countries around the world. "Imperial" seems wrong and vague at the same time. It could mean troops supporting the Holy Roman Emperor or any Emperor. "Commonwealth" does not accurately reflect the fact that the Commonwealth did not exist, with many of the toops coming from countries subjected to colonial rule by the UK. It is not too difficult where only two countries are involved (though too often the non-British section gets ignored,) but when as in this case you have at least 3 it gets more and more difficult. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 80.169.162.100 (talk) 08:30, 22 April 2009 (UTC) Map Date The map with the section on the Battle of St. Julien talks of British positions on 31 April. There are only 30 dayts in April.

Merge proposal[edit]

It is proposed that Battle of Kitcheners' Wood be merged into the Battle of Gravenstafel section.

  1. I have not found a single principal World War I work that uses the term Battle of Kitcheners' Wood.
  2. The article concerns the actions of no more than 2 battalions and those actions fall directly within the purview and timeline of Gravenstafel.
  3. There are no citations in the and Battle of Kitcheners' Wood article and the only noted book is the regimental history, not exactly evenhanded.
  4. The only article that links to Battle of Kitcheners' Wood is the page on the battalion and regiment involved.

To be honest I think Battle of Kitcheners' Wood would be a candidate for deletion rather than merge but thought I should bring it to this forum first--Labattblueboy (talk) 03:52, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Reject merge proposal - Intellectual laziness on your part is no reason for a call for deletion. The battle was a seperate battle. That you can't find information on it within arm's reach does not mean it doesn't exist. Other editors better able to handle the task may in future be able to expand it.68.145.135.240 (talk) 16:13, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
Accept merge proposal - The article for the 2nd Battle of Ypres differentiates between several battles that were part of it, and at least two sites [1] and [2] (see also here [3]) list Kitcheners' Wood as a battle under the heading of 2nd Ypres. I have no agenda to promote or denigrate. I just think it is logical to include the KW article (expanded when more information is found) as part of 2nd Ypres. ([user: talk:Thukyd1des|talk]) 11 August 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thukyd1des (talk) 15:28, 11 August 2009 (UTC)contribs) 15:08, 11 August 2009 (UTC)
Accept merge proposal (postscript) - What I meant to say above, in case it was unclear, was to merge the article about Kitcheners' Wood under the article about the Second Battle of Ypres, not *just* the Battle of Gravenstafel. The battles that comprise the Second Ypres "Campaign" in the article could well include Kitcheners' Wood, *separate* from Gravenstafel. I think this would be fair and an objective recognition of the Canadian and other British Colonial Forces' Troops, and highlight it apart from the other battles in the Second Ypres article.

--Thukyd1des (talk) 10:59, 13 August 2009 (UTC)--Thukyd1des (talk) 10:59, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Oppose - While it was not officially deemed a "Battle" there is certainly ample documentation as "Attack on" or "Assault on". Nicholson chapter 3 repeatedly denotes the geographic area as "Kitcheners Wood" (no apostrophe) and the actions as the "Battle of Gravenstafel Ridge-The First Gas Attack, 22 April", followed by "The Counter-Attacks of 22-23 April" and "The Battle of St. Julien-The Second Gas Attack, 24 Apri1". The battalions engaged were different for each of these three, probably due to the heavy casualties. A simple rename/move to "Kitcheners' Wood" without the "Battle of" might be cleaner.LeadSongDog come howl 17:46, 26 November 2009 (UTC)
  1. ^ http://kiggavik.typepad.com/the_house_other_arctic_mu/2008/04/2nd-ypres---the.html
  2. ^ http://www.worldwar1.com/sf2ypres.htm
  3. ^ http://wwii.ca/content-19/world-war-i/second-battle-of-ypres/

British Empire Forces - No Conscripts Then[edit]

Answering an issue raised in NINAD's paragraphs about proportions of conscript/volunteers in the Indian Army at the time, and not wanting to disrupt them, it may be enlightening to point out the British Empire troops at that battle were all volunteers. The Indian Army was volunteer throughout the war, while conscription had yet to be introduced in Britain (who began it in 1916) and Canada (in 1917).Special:Contributions/Cloptonson (talk) 20:57, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Status of Canada at time of battle[edit]

I question the correctness of referring to Canadian troops taking part as being from a former colony. At that time Canada had been a self-governing Dominion (and confederation of provinces with their own legislatures) within the British Empire since 1867, which politically put them above 'Crown Colony' rank. It may have been commonplace in Britain to think of Canadians as 'colonials' but there were Canadians at the time (eg Sam Hughes) who would have strongly disagreed with the implication. (NB - I am not Canadian but have much studied that period.) Might a rephrase be in order?Cloptonson (talk) 21:08, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

Canada wasn't considered a nation until this war. It is very important for Canada because people sort of regarded us as meaningless back then. During WW1 the effectiveness of the Canadian soldiers became renowned around the world, and established us as a nation. Before this, we were considered little more than cannon fodder. ~A canadian — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.65.96.152 (talk) 00:23, 16 October 2012 (UTC)

"Gas attack on Gravenstafel"[edit]

This is the first time that I've heard of this, although I've been interested in the subject for quite a while. Up to now I was convinced that the first succesful chlorine gas attack had been made at Steenstraete. There was a monument erected after the war - destroyed by Nazis in the next war - rebuilt differently afterwards. I have visited the place in 2009, and I have seen numerous historical pictures. Funny I can't find any reference to this on Wikipedia. What's up with that?

Also a little note in the article currently says the former "Gravenstafel" is today named "Gravenstafel". Using the links provided I find "s'Graventafel". Changed the note accordingly.
--BjKa (talk) 10:10, 7 February 2013 (UTC)

Extraneous Information? (re later Canadian Divisions)[edit]

In section 'Aftermath' I notice inside a paragraph the sentence. "Another Canadian Division joined the British Expeditionary Force in late 1915, joined eventually by two more in 1916." Unless there is evidence this was directly attributable to the battle, is this relevant as the additions were several months post-battle? There was a continued recruiting drive in Canada from 1914 through 1915 into 1916, the three added divisions being raised from that.Cloptonson (talk) 21:19, 2 April 2013 (UTC)

Infobox - Commanders and Leaders[edit]

The list is incomplete regarding the British Empire and Allied commanders. The singular presence of Arthur Currie on the list - then one of at least three Canadian brigade commanders of the 1st Canadian Division - may mislead readers into thinking he headed the Canadian contingent present when in fact the Divisional commander, his immediate head, was Edwin Alderson. If Currie is to be listed then arguably so too should be Turner and any other Brigade commanders present in the sector. What are the criteria for names listed?Cloptonson (talk)

External link[edit]

I've noticed that there's an external link to my old unmaintained website at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~cjmorton/service/ww1/ypres/overview.htm . I'd like to move this to my new maintained site as http://cjmorton.org/ww1service/ww1/overview/ypres.html . However, since this appears to represent a potential conflict of interest under Wikipedia guidelines I'm adding this note to see if there are any objections. Thanks. MochaFossil (talk) 11:25, 9 June 2013 (UTC)

Clean up[edit]

Made some cosmetic changes to copy the Arras 1917 model, added references and citations, removed a tag and changed round some photos and pictures. Added matters of detail like casualty numbers gleaned from divers sources.Keith-264 (talk) 12:35, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

Revised the citations and sfn'd where I have sources, more to do. There are several appearances of gas clouds which could do with being consolidated, which I will look at later today. Suggestions appreciated.Keith-264 (talk) 09:09, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
What is "sfn'd"???
Also, why is there no link to the article on "Battle of Kitcheners' Wood", barring the one buried in the citations?131.137.245.207 (talk) 04:00, 9 January 2014 (UTC)
sfn = short footnote. Template:Harvard citationKeith-264 (talk) 08:27, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Wake-up call[edit]

From the British point of view, 2nd Ypres was the first big battle of the war, and it brought home to the army, the politicians and the public that this was actually a major conflict that might last years. Valetude (talk) 17:00, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

This seems a bit strong - the First battle of Ypres had 56,000 British casualties, and this (second) had 70,000. So it seems a bit of a fetch to call it the "first big battle". However, coming on top of the First battle it may have indeed have "brought home" the notion that it might be a long war. Baska436 (talk) 00:43, 10 August 2014 (UTC)