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Genealogy Blog

1 December 2014

Japanese Newspaper Prints Apology for Using the Term ‘Sex Slaves’

The Yomiuri Shimbun, the conservative newspaper that is the largest-circulation daily in Japan, has apologized for using the term “sex slaves” to refer to the women many historians say were coerced into working in a sprawling network of brothels supervised by the Japanese military during World War II.

In a challenge to the view held by those historians, as well as by the governments of South Korea and China, the newspaper said it was “inappropriate” to suggest that the women had been recruited against their will. Writing “as if coercion by the Japanese government or the army was an objective fact” was incorrect, it said.

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26 November 2014

New Ulster Museum Exhibition Is Insight Into 500 Years of History in Northern Ireland

Ulster's fascinating past is on display in a major new exhibition at the Ulster Museum, showcasing 500 years of history.

Almost 400 objects have now been put on show at the Belfast museum, some 150 of which have not previously been on display. The exhibit, Modern History, is arranged around particular events and themes and tells the story of the historic province of Ulster from 1500 to 1968.

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13 November 2014

Photographer Unearths 'Lost' Underground Cities of World War I

A Houston area doctor is revealing for the first time photographs taken of underground cities used to house troops in France during World War I. The vast giant underground spaces, sometimes measuring over 18 miles long, are forgotten quarries which ran under the Western front line.

During the Great War, which began a century ago this year, the quarries were transformed into fully-functioning cities with electric lighting systems, plumbing, railways, chapels and formal living quarters. Some even had street signs on the walls so soldiers wouldn't get lost.

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12 November 2014

France Unveils New Monument To Commemorate WWI

President François Hollande on Tuesday is presiding over a series of commemorations marking the end of World War I, culminating with the inauguration of a breathtaking new monument in northern France.

Tributes will be paid in France and around the world on Tuesday to the millions of servicemen who died in the Great War.

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10 November 2014

The Saddest Selfie: Touching Self Portrait Taken By WW1 Soldier Reveals Proud Young Man in His Bedroom Shortly Before Flying To His Death at the Age of Just 21

A photograph uncovered among records from World War I shows a fresh-faced soldier taking a picture of himself in front of a bedroom mirror.

Just months later, the 21-year-old soldier was shot down during an air battle over Germany along with a comrade from No 4. Squadron. His story, and haunting photo, has been released ahead of Remembrance Day next week, and to commemorate 2014 as the 100-year anniversary since the start of the Great War.

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30 October 2014

End of the Line: The Rusting Relics of an Eerie Hungarian Train Graveyard, Including Carriages That Carried Jews To Their Deaths at Auschwitz

These are the eerie images of an abandoned train yard in Hungary where visitors can see rotting carriages once used by the Nazis to transport hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths at Auschwitz concentration camp.

The pictures, taken at the Istvantelek train workshop near Budapest, are a snapshot of a bygone era, with huge locomotives standing in a crumbling shed that is slowly being reclaimed by nature.

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24 October 2014

Secret WWI History of Australian Soldiers with Venereal Disease

Around 60,000 Australian soldiers ended up contracting venereal disease by the end of the First World War. Just as they were hidden away to undergo treatment at the time, their story has, up until now, remained largely untold.

The image of a soldier riddled with gonorrhoea and syphilis, hiding weeping ulcers on his genitals beneath the emblematic khaki uniform, is a far cry from the usual portrayal of the ANZAC digger.

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17 October 2014

10 Things You Didn’t Know Were Canadian World War I Memorials

When we think of war memorials, we picture cenotaphs, statues of angels and soldiers, but after the First World War, communities searched for original ways to honour their fallen citizens.

Some took the traditional route, while others came up with other methods to memorialize the dead. Here are 10 places and things that you may not realize were meant to honour Canada’s war dead.

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Ireland's Korean War Veterans Remembered

Nestled between the vast expanse of World War II and the shock and horror of VietNam, the Korean War is sometimes overlooked.

It was a bitter and bloody conflict, which has left political scars on the Korean peninsula which ache to this day. Its legacy is bitter division betwen Seoul and Pyongyang, violent flare-ups between North Korea - ruled by the insane and despotic Kim dynasty - and democratic South Korea, and the infamous 'DMZ' which separates the two warring states, strewn with landmines.

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16 October 2014

Australia Claims Britain Ignoring World War One Hero as 'Mere Colonial'

Imperial War Museum's failure to acknowledge Australian war hero Sir John Monash prompts anger in Australia, with critics saying it reflects Britain's disdain for 'mere colonials'.

Australia will press Britain over the failure of the revamped Imperial War Museum to recognise Australia's famous wartime hero Sir John Monash, who was regarded as one of the best military minds on the Western Front during the First World War.

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23 September 2014

An American Sculptor’s Masks Restored French Soldiers Disfigured in World War I

On the day after Christmas in 1920, a French mailman and veteran of World War I wrote an American woman named Anna Coleman Ladd to thank her for what she had done for him during the war.

Ladd knew the veteran, Charles Victor, who had been wounded in the face by a hand grenade in 1915. She had two photos of him. In one, he is sitting in a chair, wearing his uniform and military medals. He has large ears and a shock of dark hair, parted on the side. But the lower half of his face is mutilated. Most of his nose and lips are gone, and his mouth looks crooked and rearranged.

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9 September 2014

Toronto’s First Casualty of World War I

In a war rife with brutality, it is unreasonable to categorize one soldier’s demise as more harrowing than another’s, or his grace in dying as more admirable than that of those who fell around him.

So the horrible circumstances surrounding the death of Bertram Denison, Toronto’s first casualty of the First World War, and the kindness he demonstrated in his final days, didn’t exceed those of his fellow servicemen. They exemplified them.

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4 September 2014

World War I: Australian Teenage Girl Maud Butler Cut Hair, Dressed as Soldier and Stowed Away on Troopship

A teenage girl from the Hunter Valley coalfields was so desperate to be a part of Australia's war effort that she cut her hair, dressed as a soldier and stowed away on a troopship.

The exploits of Maud Butler, a resourceful 16-year-old waitress with a sense of adventure, are being researched by historian Professor Victoria Haskins. As part of her study, Professor Haskins is researching Maud's expedition, which she says runs several chapters. Here, Professor Haskins writes about Maud's initial run-in with authorities.

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3 September 2014

War Against Japan Archives Cover Disastrous Defense of Nanking

The eighth part of an archive series on the Second Sino-Japanese War on Monday covered the Battle of Nanking (Nanjing) in 1937, in which Japanese troops captured the Republic of China capital and unleashed a six-week orgy of slaughter.

Starting on Aug. 25, the archive series is being released on the website of China's State Archives Administration, one battle per day, in a drive to raise awareness of the war, known in China as the War of Resistance Against Japan.

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25 August 2014

20,000 Irishmen Fought for Canada in World War I

Almost 20,000 Irish soldiers fought in the Canadian army during World War I new figures show. According to an unpublished document from Canada’s Department of National Defense, 19,327 Irish served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.

However, the Irish Times reports that number may be underestimated as many Irish who enlisted in the army came from across US border and would have been regarded as American. Canada went out of its way to recruit Irish soldiers and a number of Irish battalions were raised during the war.

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