Editing Geologists at war, 1914-1918

Jump to navigation Jump to search

Warning: You are not logged in. Your IP address will be publicly visible if you make any edits. If you log in or create an account, your edits will be attributed to your username, along with other benefits.

The edit can be undone. Please check the comparison below to verify that this is what you want to do, and then save the changes below to finish undoing the edit.

This page supports semantic in-text annotations (e.g. "[[Is specified as::World Heritage Site]]") to build structured and queryable content provided by Semantic MediaWiki. For a comprehensive description on how to use annotations or the #ask parser function, please have a look at the getting started, in-text annotation, or inline queries help pages.

Latest revision Your text
Line 85: Line 85:
  
 
== Water supply ==
 
== Water supply ==
Almost as soon as war broke out the Survey was being asked to give advice on obtaining supplies of drinking water for military personnel. By 1915 there were water supply problems on the Western Front and [[William Bernard Robinson King B.A.(Cantab.) O.B.E.|W B R King]] was sent to help deal with this, becoming what has been described as "the first British military hydrogeologist"<ref name="Rose, 2012">Rose, E. P. F. 2012. Groundwater as a military resource: pioneering British military well boring and hydrogeology in World War I. In: Military aspects of hydrogeology, edited by E. P. F. Rose & J. D. Mather. Geological Society Special Publication 362, 49–72.</ref>. At around the same time as King was helping the allied troops, [http://archives.bgs.ac.uk/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=GSM%2fGX%2fCK&pos=1 Walther Klüpfel] was supplying water to the German troops.
+
Almost as soon as war broke out the Survey was being asked to give advice on obtaining supplies of drinking water for military personnel. By 1915 there were water supply problems on the western Front and[[William Bernard Robinson King B.A.(Cantab.) O.B.E.|W B R King]] was sent to help deal with this, becoming what has been described as "the first British military hydrogeologist". At around the same time as King was helping the allied troops, [http://archives.bgs.ac.uk/CalmView/Record.aspx?src=CalmView.Catalog&id=GSM%2fGX%2fCK&pos=1 Walther Klüpfel] was supplying water to the German troops.
 
 
During the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 three former Survey staff, C H Cunnington, [[Roy Woodhouse Pocock|R W Pocock]] and [[Talbot Haes Whitehead|T H Whitehead]], were sent there on special military duty to try to find an adequate water supply for the troops. They produced an unpublished, and now untraceable, report on the geology of the Gallipoli peninsula for the War Office.<ref name="Doyle & Bennett, 1999">Doyle, P & Bennett, M R 1999. "Military Geography: the influence of terrain in the outcome of the Gallipoli Campaign, 1915". Geographical Journal, 165, p12-35</ref>
 
 
   
 
   
 
== Design of aircraft compasses ==
 
== Design of aircraft compasses ==
[[File:P810111.jpg|thumb|150px|H H Thomas c.1912. © BGS/NERC (Image: P810111)]]
+
In September 1916 the Geological Survey was contacted by the Admiralty Compass Department asking for assistance with the design of aircraft compasses. The problem was with the compass point and cup which were part of the bearing that allowed the compass needle to move. [[Herbert Henry Thomas|Herbert H Thomas]], a petrographer at the Survey, was given the task of finding a solution. The point and cup were both made out of sapphire, which caused the point to develop flaws and cracks. The answer was to still have the cup made out of sapphire but to use agate for the point.
In September 1916 the Geological Survey was contacted by the Admiralty Compass Department asking for assistance with the design of aircraft compasses. The problem was with the compass point and cup which were part of the bearing that allowed the compass needle to move. [[Herbert Henry Thomas|Herbert H Thomas]], a petrographer at the Survey, was given the task of finding a solution. The point and cup were both made out of sapphire, which caused the point to develop flaws and cracks. It was decided to still have the cup made out of sapphire but to use agate for the point. This combination turned out to be successful and solved the problem.
 
  
 
== Analysis of concrete ==
 
== Analysis of concrete ==
In September 1917 it was noticed that German concrete pill-boxes on Vimy Ridge, which had been captured by Canadian troops, were made with gravel which could not have come from Belgium. It was suspected that the Germans had transported the gravel through the neutral Netherlands. If this was the case then it was in contravention of the Netherland's neutrality declaration as the Dutch were supposed to prevent the belligerent powers from transporting military materials across neutral territory. By October samples of the suspect concrete had been received by the Geological Survey and analysed. One of these samples was F2397. In a report H H Thomas wrote that "It has all the characters of the Niedermendig tephrite, so extensively quarried on the eastern slopes of the Eifel, bordering on the Rhine." This meant that the gravel must have come from Germany. The evidence resulted in a Dutch threat to stop the transport of German sand and gravel across the Netherlands. This could have brought the Netherlands into the war but none of those involved wished this so an agreement was reached.
+
In September 1917 it was noticed that German concrete pill-boxes on Vimy Ridge, which had been captured by Canadian troops, were made with gravel which could not have come from Belgium. It was suspected that the Germans had transported the gravel through the neutral Netherlands. If this was the case then it was in contravention of the Netherland's neutrality declaration as the Dutch were supposed to prevent the belligerent powers from transporting military materials across neutral territory. By October samples of the suspect concrete had been received by the Geological Survey and analysed. One of these samples was F2397.
  
 
==Museum damaged by bomb==
 
==Museum damaged by bomb==
[[File:J_A_Howe.jpg|thumb|150px|J Allen Howe c.1912. © BGS/NERC (Enlargement from image: P008712)]]
 
 
[[File:P640471.jpg|thumb|150px|Main floor of museum. Scaffolding in place to support the roof whilst repairs to the cracked beams are investigated. © BGS/NERC (Image: P640471)]]
 
[[File:P640471.jpg|thumb|150px|Main floor of museum. Scaffolding in place to support the roof whilst repairs to the cracked beams are investigated. © BGS/NERC (Image: P640471)]]
[[John Allan Howe|J Allen Howe]] was the Curator and Librarian of the Museum of Practical Geology. In a memo book he wrote a few war-related entries, for example "Aug 1914 - War". Slightly more detailed was "20 Oct 1917. Museum damaged by concussion from bomb dropped from a Zeppelin outside Swan & Edgars in [Piccadilly] Circus"<ref>Notebook of memoranda kept by J Howe (BGS Archives: GSM/MG/P/6)</ref>. This explosion may have caused several roof beams in the museum to fracture but this was not discovered until later.
+
[[John Allan Howe|J Allen Howe]] was the Curator and Librarian of the Museum of Practical Geology. In a memo book he wrote a few war-related entries, for example "Aug 1914 - War". Slightly more detailed was "20 Oct 1917. Museum damaged by concussion from bomb dropped from a Zeppelin outside Swan & Edgars in [Piccadilly] Circus”. This explosion may have caused several roof beams in the museum to fracture but this was not discovered until later.
 
 
==Choice of stone for war graves==
 
It was decided that the over 700,000 British soldiers that were killed during the war should be buried close to where they died rather than being returned home. The Imperial War Graves Commission contacted the Geological Survey in early 1918 enquiring about the suitability of "Lunel Clair" stone for making headstones. J Allen Howe carried out some investigations and concluded that the stone would be suitable and there would be enough of it if "Lunel rosé" stone was used as well. In the end it was decided to use Portland Stone for the majority of the headstones but advice on other types of stone was still requested from the Survey for several years after the end of the war.
 
 
 
== Other wartime activities ==
 
In the Survey's [http://pubs.bgs.ac.uk/publications.html?pubID=B00104#f=true&v=d&z=3&n=5&i=B00104_0005.jp2&y=836&x=450 Summary of Progress for 1918] Aubrey Strahan listed many of the activities that the Survey had carried out during the war. In many cases no other details of these activities have survived. A few of these were:
 
 
 
* Report on use of hexahedric crystals of iron pyrites by the Germans
 
* Consultations on the construction of seismographs for locating camouflets [an underground explosion that does not break the surface, but leaves an enclosed cavity of gas and smoke.]
 
* Reports on selection of quartz crystals for Anti-Submarine Division of the Admiralty
 
* Consultations on sites for aerodromes
 
* Report on the cause of sores on the hands of tunnellers at the Western Front
 
* Report on suitable valleys for airship sheds
 
 
 
==Further reading==
 
For more details about activities on the Western Front see [http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/518164/ Some aspects of the British Geological Survey’s contribution to the war effort at the Western Front, 1914–1918].
 
 
 
To read how C B Wedd was mistaken for a German spy see [[C B Wedd — the spy who never was]]
 
 
 
==References==
 
<References/>
 

Please note that all contributions to Earthwise may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. If you do not want your writing to be edited mercilessly, then do not submit it here.
You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource (see Earthwise:Copyrights for details). Do not submit copyrighted work without permission!

Cancel Editing help (opens in new window)

  [] · [[]] · [[|]] · {{}} · · “” ‘’ «» ‹› „“ ‚‘ · ~ | ° &nbsp; · ± × ÷ ² ³ ½ · §
[[Category:]] · [[:File:]] · <code></code> · <syntaxhighlight></syntaxhighlight> · <includeonly></includeonly> · <noinclude></noinclude> · #REDIRECT[[]] · <translate></translate> · <languages/> · ==References== · {{reflist}} · ==Footnote== · {{reflist|group=note}} · <ref group=note> · __notoc__ · {{DEFAULTSORT:}} <div class="someclass noprint"></div> {{clear}} <br>