21 July 1917

SS Otway. Image in public domain.

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20 July 1917

The blindfolded US Secretary of War draws draft numbers in the lottery for the first American draftees, 20 July 1917. Image courtesy US War Department.

Mine Gott will you be mine partner,
You don’t know who I am
I am de German Kaiser,
De Emperor Will-I-Yam.

You know I whipped dem Belgians
Und mitt bullets filled Russia full;
Und I’ll whip France and Italy
Und blow up Johnny Bull.

Now all dem other nations,
I don’t give a dam;
If you’ll but be my partner
Und whip dot Uncle Sam.

You know I got dem submarines,
All Europe knows that well;
But dot Edison got a patent now
Vot blows dem all to hell.

Now Gott, if you do this,
Den you I will always love,
Und I will be emperor of de earth.
Und you emperor above.

But Gott if you refuse me dis,
To-morrow night at ‘leven,
I’ll call my Zeppelins out
Und declare war on heaven.

I wouldn’t ask this from you,
But it can be plainly seen,
Dot when Edison pushes dot button,
I got no submarine.

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19 July 1917

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18 July 1917

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17 July 1917

Troops of the Provisional Government fire machine guns on demonstrators in the streets of Petrograd, 17 July 1917. Image in public domain.

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16 July 1917

Kalusz, July 1917. Image courtesy Austrian National Library/The European Library.

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15 July 1917

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14 July 1917

Sir Douglas Haig, 1917. Image courtesy Evelyn Wood, Winnowed Memories, London, 1917.

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13 July 1917

The trees are becoming a little greener. The other morning I woke up, and the sun was shining brightly… There was not the sound of a gun firing, and the little skylarks were bucking into it for all they were worth. It sounded so good, so peaceful, and quiet. For the nonce I was right back in good old Australia, but boom went one of our guns, followed by others of both sides, and the lovely spell was broken – I was back in France.

Just ten days after writing this John would be killed in action in the Second Battle of Bullecourt

He was clad in his soldierly khaki,
By his side was his bayonet blade;
He was none of your larrikin larky,
But a soldier severe and staid.

Not a glance of his eye was shifty,
He looked you full in the face;
Though winters and summers fifty
Had left in his tread their trace.

And a lady came by where he guarded
A prison sort of a place,
Where the scallywags all are yarded
Till the commandant tries the case.

She’d a son who in France was fighting,
Where they’re giving the Huns no rest,
And the bullets their way are biting
To the hearts of the brave and best.

I’ve a son in France, said the mother,
A stripling, handsome and young;
Next year I shall send another,
Where the songs of battle are sung.

But you are as old as their father,
And I honor you, sir, she said;
I honor the lie you told them,
I honor the grey of your head.

But why, asked the loyal old lady,
Have you past the prime of life,
To shoulder the burden of Empire,
Left home, left your friends, left your wife?

And why is it you, who should stay here,
Are facing the shot and the shell?
Are you going to avenge some dear one
Who has fallen where so many fell

Did the loud voice of duty awake you
And point out your pathway clear,
To the shame of the fit and the single
Who are lagging behind in the rear?

The man from whom youth had departed,
He with no spring in his tread,
Stood to a stricter attention,
And unto the lady he said:

It isn’t no vengeance that drags me
where the rifles and cannonades roar;
But I married a woman wot nags mo.
An that’s why I’m going to war!

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12 July 1917

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