Leeds nostalgia: November 1917: Scandal over Dutch Blue Circle cement used for building German defences

editorial image
0
Have your say

A Hundred years ago today, as English troops fought German on the Continent, a scandal emerged - namely that English cement may have been used to build some German pill-boxes. The cement in question had been exported to Holland and it was assumed it then found its way into German hands.

The Government was urged to ban all exports to Holland and, indeed, Lord Robert Cecil, the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, said that if investigations proved it to be the case, then all exports would halt but he added that at that stage no conclusions could be drawn.

Undated handout photo issued by The Tank Museum of tanks preparing for the Battle of Cambrai, as curator David Willey said that First World War commanders were not buffoons who willingly sacrificed their men. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday November 8, 2017. Mr Willey said some senior officers had been subjected to "Blackadder-style mocking" but insisted many were courageous soldiers who led their men into battle. See PA story HERITAGE Cambrai. Photo credit should read: The Tank Museum/PA Wire

NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

Undated handout photo issued by The Tank Museum of tanks preparing for the Battle of Cambrai, as curator David Willey said that First World War commanders were not buffoons who willingly sacrificed their men. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday November 8, 2017. Mr Willey said some senior officers had been subjected to "Blackadder-style mocking" but insisted many were courageous soldiers who led their men into battle. See PA story HERITAGE Cambrai. Photo credit should read: The Tank Museum/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

As it later turned out, bags of Blue Circle cement made in Holland, which was neutral in the war, were discovered on the half-built German Atlantic seawall.

Meanwhile, on the Continent, the British were using tanks in the Battle of Cambrai in a bid to secure the Hindenberg Line, a major supply route for the Germans, however, the tanks were plagued by mechanical breakdowns and were overcome in some cases.

Also on this day there was a brief report on the situation in Russia, with an update on the revolution from Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, who described the situation as “obscure”, adding: “the extremists had complete control in Moscow”.

In last week’s article on the Leeds Liverpool Canal, we are happy to point out that historian Mike Harwood said the measurements for the canal began at the Liverpool end, this being the location of the company headquarters at the time, hence the distances from Leeds baring the additional quarter mile (and not the other way around). Mr Harwood added: “What I was finding curious is any measurement over such a long distance could claim to be accurate to within a quarter of a mile.”

Leeds nostalgia: November 1947: Country braced for three more years of rationing as Princess Elizabeth marries

CASTLETON MILLS:  Since being bought in 2013, over �1.5m has being spent on its restoration.

Leeds mill regeneration hailed as beacon of conservation