French hold firm against German onslaught at Verdun

1916/2016: A miscellany

Wounded French troops on the Western Front. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Wounded French troops on the Western Front. Photograph: Hulton Archive/Getty Images


February 25th, 1916

The Times of London reported that the French have stood up well to the German onslaught at Verdun. The battle began on February 21st when the Germans bombarded the French lines . Four days into the battle, the Times, in a despatch published by The Irish Times, is reporting that the French have responded with “considerable satisfaction”. The report continued: “It was expected and foreseen. The French were ready; their front remains unbroken in spite of withdrawals and they have had the chance they sought of inflicting heavy losses on the Germans.

“The battle is, of course, only now beginning and it may continue for many days. Our Paris correspondent hints the reasons which have led the Germans to attack Verdun are believed in France to be dynastic. The Kaiser, whose appearance on the Western Front has so often been the presage of failure, is present in person. The Crown Prince, who commands the flower of the troops in the West and asks for supplies in vain, is in nominal control.”

Recruitment in Co Kerry is “dead”, according to The Irish Times. The absence of men to join up for the British war effort is down to an “open and avowed pro-German, anti-recruiting Sinn Féin element that has been allowed to spread and to spread until every village in Kerry is rotten with it”, according to Sir Morgan O’Connell . A relative of the Liberator, Daniel O’Connell, he spoke of witnessing an anti-recruiting meeting in Killarney. “A Sinn Féin mob, headed by the band, marched up and down through the meeting with the usual accompaniment off booing and yelling. This riotous mob was led by one of the Justices of the Peace for Co Kerry.”