The Great War: 74 World War 1 Facts, Heroes and Stories

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26Hugh Lofting

Hugh Lofting, not wishing to write his children about the horrors of trench warfare in WWI, instead wrote them imaginative letters that later became the Dr. Doolittle Stories.


27. Safety Razors were invented in the late 18th century but weren’t popularized until World War 1. During World War I, Gillette worked out a deal with the U.S. Armed Forces to provide with the U.S. Armed Forces to provide Gillette safety razors and blades to every enlisted man or officer on his way to Europe as part of his standard-issue gear.


28. WWI pilots used to use pistols and carbines in air to air combat before guns were installed on planes.


29. Rudyard Kipling urged John Kipling, his 18-year-old son to join WWI. He had such a bad eyesight that he was repeatedly turned down. Kipling used his connections with a Commander-In-Chief of the Army to get him in. John was sent into battle, where an exploding shell ripped his face apart.


30. Because metal was in great demand WWI, corsets began to fade and bras became popular.


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31Liberty Sandwiches

During World War 1, the United States Government tried to rename hamburgers as "liberty sandwiches" to promote patriotism.


32. Kleenex brand of tissues was used as gas mask filters during the WW1.


33. An American hero in WW1 had the amazing ability to sense approaching mustard gas, hear incoming artillery before anyone else and even caught a German spy. He was awarded multiple medals including the purple heart. He was none other than a dog named Sergeant Stubby.


34. During World War 1, German and Allied forces came out of their trenches, on the Christmas day of 1914, to sing carols, trade equipment and even played football between their lines.


35. In 1978 in Yukon, Canada, a bulldozer uncovered buried reels of nitrate film during the excavation of a landfill. About 500 old films dating from 1910 to 1921 were uncovered. This included long lost newsreels of World War 1, and many long lost silent movies.


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36World War 1

At the outset of World War 1, Tsar Nicholas II, King George V, and Kaiser Wilhelm II were first cousins and grandchildren of Queen Victoria.


37. In WW1 British and American fighter pilots were never issued any parachutes because they were considered cowardly.


38. With 1.7 million deaths during World War I, France suffered losses more than the total losses of the US armed forces in all conflicts since 1776, including the civil war.


39. New Zealand had one of the highest casualty per capita (wounded and dead) rates in WW1, at 58%.


40. The first use of anti-aircraft fire was not during World War 1 but during the American Civil War. The Confederates used artillery and small arms to attack the Union Balloon Corps. The first specialized anti-aircraft weapon was used by the Germans during the Franco-Prussian War.


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41Passports

People did not need passports until World War 1.


42. The Eiffel Tower was due to be demolished in 1909 after its lease ran out, but it became useful during WW1 due to its antenna.


43. Germany finally paid off all of its World War 1 debt in 2010.


44. Canadian troops held the line against the first poison gas attacks along the Western Front in WW1, preventing a German breakthrough after French colonial troops broke ranks and abandoned their trenches witnessing the early casualties.


45. Brushing teeth was not a regular practice among Americans before WW1. "So many recruits had rotting teeth the officials said poor dental hygiene was a national security risk."


46Harry Patch

The last surviving Tommy (Harry Patch) of WW1 died aged 111 years, 1 month, 1 week, 1 day. Also, the oddest part is that WW1 ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.


47. Ormer Locklear, a WW1 pilot, got out of his plane, diagnosed the problem, and repaired it all while still flying the plane and then did this numerous times after that.


48. During WW1, a South African monkey was promoted to Corporal


49. During the Battle of the Frontiers, the first major battle between French and German armies in WW1, over 27,000 French Soldiers was killed in a single day (August 22, 1914). More French soldiers died on that day than during the entire 8 years Algerian War (1954-62)


50. In WW1, when a pilot from either side went down behind enemy lines, the "enemy" would drop a note to inform his comrades whether he had been killed in a crash or taken prisoner.

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