Many historians and writers consider the Canadian victory at Vimy a defining moment for Canada, when the country emerged from under the shadow of Britain and felt capable of greatness. Canadian troops also earned a reputation as formidable, effective troops because of the stunning success. But it was a victory at a terrible cost, with more than 10,000 killed and wounded.
The Canadian Corps was ordered to seize Vimy Ridge in April 1917. [Map] Situated in northern France, the heavily-fortified seven-kilometre ridge held a commanding view over the Allied lines. The Canadians would be assaulting over an open graveyard since previous French attacks had failed with over 100,000 casualties.
Naval 12 inch howitzer in action
To capture this difficult position, the Canadians would carefully plan and rehearse their attack. To provide greater flexibility and firepower in battle, the infantry were given specialist roles as machine-gunners, rifle-men and grenade-throwers. These same soldiers underwent weeks of training behind the lines using models to represent the battlefield, and new maps crafted from aerial photographs to guide their way. To bring men forward safely for the assault, engineers dug deep tunnels from the rear to the front. Despite this training and preparation, the key to victory would be a devastating artillery barrage that would not only isolate enemy trenches, but provide a moving wall of high explosives and shrapnel to force the Germans to stay in their deep dugouts and away from their machine-guns. “Chaps, you shall go over exactly like a railroad train, on time, or you shall be annihilated,” warned Canadian Corps commander Sir Julian Byng.
In the week leading up to the battle, Canadian and British artillery pounded the enemy positions on the ridge, killing and tormenting defenders. New artillery tactics allowed the gunners to first target, then destroy enemy positions. A nearly limitless supply of artillery shells and the new 106 fuse, which allowed shells to explode on contact, as opposed to burying themselves in ground, facilitated the destruction of hardened defences and barbed wire. The Canadian infantry would be well supported when it went into battle with over 1,000 artillery pieces laying down withering, supportive fire.
Taking Vimy Ridge, advancing with tank class=
Attacking together for the first time, the four Canadian divisions stormed the ridge at 5:30am on 9 April 1917. More than 15,000 Canadian infantry overran the Germans all along the front. Incredible bravery and discipline allowed the infantry to continue moving forward under heavy fire, even when their officers were killed.There were countless acts of sacrifice, as Canadians single-handedly charged machine-gun nests or forced the surrender of Germans in protective dugouts. Hill 145, the highest and most important feature of the Ridge, and where the Vimy monument now stands, was captured in a frontal bayonet charge against machine-gun positions. Three more days of costly battle delivered final victory. The Canadian operation was an important success, even if the larger British and French offensive, of which it had been a part, had failed. But it was victory at a heavy cost: 3,598 Canadians were killed and another 7,000 wounded.
The capture of Vimy was more than just an important battlefield victory. For the first time all four Canadian divisions attacked together: men from all regions of Canada were present at the battle. Brigadier-General A.E. Ross declared after the war, “in those few minutes I witnessed the birth of a nation.” Canadians Returning from Vimy Ridge 1917, First World War
The objective of the Canadian Corps was to take control of the German-held high ground along an escarpment at the northernmost end of the Arras Offensive. This would ensure that the southern flank could advance without suffering German enfilade fire. Supported by a creeping barrage, the Canadian Corps captured most of the ridge during the first day of the attack. The town of Thélus fell during the second day of the attack, as did the crest of the ridge once the Canadian Corps overcame a salient against considerable German resistance. The final objective, a fortified knoll located outside the village of Givenchy-en-Gohelle, fell to the Canadian Corps on 12 April. The German forces then retreated to the Oppy–Méricourt line.
Historians attribute the success of the Canadian Corps in capturing the ridge to a mixture of technical and tactical innovation, meticulous planning, powerful artillery support and extensive training, as well as the failure of the German Sixth Army to properly apply the new German defensive doctrine. The battle was the first occasion when all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force participated in a battle together and it was made a symbol of Canadian national achievement and sacrifice. Recent historical research has called this patriotic narrative into question, showing that it developed in the latter part of the twentieth century. The nation-building story only emerged fully formed after most of those who experienced the Great War directly or indirectly had passed from the scene. A 100-hectare (250-acre) portion of the former battleground serves as a memorial park and site of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial
William Frederick “Billy” McFadzeanVC (9 October 1895 – 1 July 1916) was born in Lurgan, County Armagh. From Ulster, he was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
No. 14/18278 Pte. William Frederick McFadzean, late R. Ir. Rif.
For most conspicuous bravery. While in a concentration trench and opening a box of bombs for distribution prior to an attack, the box slipped down into the trench, which was crowded with men, and two of the safety pins fell out. Private McFadzean, instantly realising the danger to his comrades, with heroic courage threw himself on the top of the Bombs. The bombs exploded blowing him to pieces, but only one other man was injured. He well knew his danger, being himself a bomber, but without a moment’s hesitation he gave his life for his comrades.
Kitchener, wearing the cap of a British Field Marshal, stares and points at the viewer calling them to enlist in the British Army against the Central Powers. The image is considered one of the most iconic and enduring images of World War I.
A hugely influential image and slogan, it has also inspired imitations in other countries, from the United States to the Soviet Union
Lord Kitchener Wants You
“Britons: Lord Kitchener Wants You. Join Your Country’s Army! God save the King.”
As war loomed in late 1913 the number of advertising contracts expanded to include other firms. J. E. B. Seely, then the Secretary of State for War, awarded Sir Hedley Le Bas, Eric Field, and their Caxton Advertising Agency a contract to advertise for recruits in the major UK newspapers. Eric Field designed a prototype full-page advertisement with the Coat of Arms of King George V and the phrase “Your King and Country Need You.”
Britain declared war on the German Empire on 4 August 1914 and the first run of the full-page ran the next day in those newspapers owned by Lord Northcliffe.
Eric Field’s original design that caught the attention of Lord Kitchener
Unlike some of his contemporaries who expected a short conflict, Kitchener foresaw a much longer war requiring hundreds of thousands of enlistees. According to Gary S. Messinger, Kitchener reacted well to Field’s advertisement although insisting “that the ads should all end with ‘God Save the King’ and that they should not be changed from the original text, except to say ‘Lord Kitchener needs YOU.'” In the following months Le Bas formed an advisory committee of ad men to develop further newspaper recruiting advertisements, most of which ran vertically 11 inches (28 cm), two columns wide.
Alfred Leete, one Caxton’s illustrators, designed the now-famous image as a cover illustration for the 5 September 1914 issue of London Opinion, a popular weekly magazine, taking cues from Field’s earlier recruiting advertisement. At the time, the magazine had a circulation of 300,000. In response to requests for reproductions, the magazine offered postcard-sized copies for sale. The Parliamentary Recruiting Committee obtained permission to use the design in poster form.
A similar poster used the words “YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU”.
Kitchener, a “figure of absolute will and power, an emblem of British masculinity”, was a natural subject for Leete’s artwork as his name was directly attached to the recruiting efforts and the newly-forming Kitchener’s Army.
Sir Hedley Le Bas was the founder of the Caxton Publishing Company Limited
Le Bas of Caxton Advertising (for whom Leete worked) chose Kitchener for the advertisement because Kitchener was “the only soldier with a great war name, won in the field, within the memory of the thousands of men the country wanted.”
Kitchener’s appearance including his bushy mustache and court dress jacket was reminiscent of romanticized Victorian era styles. Kitchener, 6 ft 2 in (188 cm) tall and powerfully built, was for many the personification of military ethos so popular in the present Edwardian era. After the scorched earth tactics and hard-fought victory of the Second Boer War, Kitchener represented a return to the military victories of the colonial era.
The fact that Kitchener’s name is not used in the poster demonstrates how easily he was visually recognized. David Lubin opines that the image may be one of the earliest successful celebrity endorsements as the commercial practice expanded greatly in the 1920s. Keith Surridge posits that Kitchener’s features evoked the harsh, feared militarism of the Germans which bode well for British fortune in the war.
Hampshire at anchor
Kitchener would not see the end of the war; he died onboard HMS Hampshire in 1916.
Original versions by Alfred Leete
Alfred Leete in uniform, c. 1916
See Below for more details on Alfred Leete.
The 5 September 1914 London Opinion magazine cover that inspired the posters. The caption reads “Your Country Needs YOU”
The “Britons (Lord Kitchener) Wants YOU” poster dating from September 1914
Leete’s drawing of Kitchener was the most famous image used in the British Armyrecruitment campaign of World War I. It continues to be considered a masterful piece of wartime propaganda as well as an enduring and iconic image of the war.
Recruitment posters in general have often been seen as a driving force helping to bring more than a million men into the Army. September 1914, coincident with publication of Leete’s image, saw the highest number of volunteers enlisted.
The Times recorded the scene in London on 3 January 1915; “Posters appealing to recruits are to be seen on every hoarding, in most windows, in omnibuses, tramcars and commercial vans. The great base of Nelson’s Column is covered with them. Their number and variety are remarkable. Everywhere Lord Kitchener sternly points a monstrously big finger, exclaiming ‘I Want You'”.
One contemporaneous publication decried the use of advertising methods to enlist soldiers:
“the cold, basilisk eye of a gaudily-lithographed Kitchener rivets itself upon the possible recruit and the outstretched finger of the British Minister of War is levelled at him like some revolver, with the words, ‘I want you.’ The idea is stolen from the advertisement of a 5c. American cigar.”
Although it became one of the most famous posters in history, its widespread circulation did not halt the decline in recruiting.
This 30-word poster was an official product of the Parliamentary Recruitment Committee and was more popular contemporaneously.
The use of Kitchener’s image for recruiting posters was so widespread that Lady Asquith referred to the Field Marshal simply as “the Poster.”
The placement of the Kitchener posters including Alfred Leete’s design has been examined and questioned following an Imperial War Museum publication in 1997. The War Museum suggested that the poster itself was a “non event” and was made popular by postwar advertising by the war museum, perhaps conflating Leete’s design with the so-called “30-word” poster, an official product from the Parliamentary Recruitment Committee.
The 30-word design was the most popular recruitment poster at the time having been printed ten times the volume of Leete’s image. Leete’s image has been praised for being more arresting while his accompanying text is also far less verbose. The official wording, taken from a Kitchener speech, may seem more fitting for a character in a Henry James novel.
The 30-word recruiting poster was developed as Britons’ collective hopes of the war being over by Christmas were dashed in January 1915 and volunteer enlistments fell. A 2013 book researched by James Taylor counters the popular belief that the Leete design was an influential recruitment tool during the war. He claims the original artwork was acquired by the Imperial War Museum in 1917 and catalogued as a poster in error.
Though the image of Kitchener (Britain’s most popular soldier) inspired several other poster designs, Taylor says he can find no evidence in photographs of the time that the Leete poster was used, although a photograph from 15 December 1914 taken at the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway station in Liverpool clearly depicts Leete’s depiction among other recruiting posters.
The effectiveness of the image upon the viewer is attributed to what E. B. Goldstein has called the ‘differential rotation effect.’ Because of this effect, Kitchener’s eyes and his foreshortened arm and hand appear to follow the viewer regardless of the viewer’s orientation to the artwork. Historian Carlo Ginzburg compared Leete’s image of Kitchener to similar images of Christ and Alexander the Great as depicting the viewer’s contact with a powerful figure. Pearl James commented on Ginzburg’s analysis agreeing that the strength of the connotation lies with a clever use of discursive psychology and that art historical methods better illuminate why this image has such resonance. The capitalized word “YOU” grabs the reader, bringing them directly to Kitchener’s message. The textual focus on “you” engages the reader about their own participation in the war. Nicholas Hiley differs in that Leete’s portrayal of Kitchener is less about immediate recruiting statistics but the myth that has grown around the image, including ironic parodies. Leete’s Kitchener poster caught the attention of a then eleven-year-old George Orwell, who may have used as it the basis for his description of the “Big Brother” posters in his novel 1984.
In 1997 the British Army created a recruiting ad re-using Leete’s image substituting Kitchener’s face with that of a British Army non-commissioned officer of African descent. Leete’s image of Kitchener is featured on a 2014 £2 coin produced by sculptor John Bergdahl for the Royal Mint.
The coin was the first of a five-year series to commemorate the centennial of the war. Use of Leete’s image of Kitchener has been criticized by some for its pro-war connotation in light of the human losses of the First World War and the violence of Kitchener’s campaign in Sudan. In July 2014, one of only four original posters known to exist went to auction for more than £10,000. The other three originals exist on display in State Library of Victoria, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, and the Imperial War Museum. Leete’s design was also used for a corn maze in the Skylark Garden Centre in Wimblington to mark the centenary of World War I.
The image of Lord Kitchener with his hand pointing directly at the viewer has inspired numerous imitations:
British World War I recruiting poster featuring the national personification, John Bull, c. 1915. “Who’s absent? Is it you?”
His career as a paid artist had begun in 1897 when the Daily Graphic accepted one of his drawings; later he contributed regularly to a number of magazines including Punch magazine, the Strand Magazine, Tatler, etc. As a commercial artist he designed numerous posters and advertisements, especially in the 1910s and 1920s, for such brands as Rowntrees chocolates, Guinness and Bovril, and his series of advertisements for the Underground Electric Railways Company (the London Underground) were very well known; his work as a wartime propagandist includes the poster for which he is known above all, the Lord Kitchener poster design, which first appeared on the cover of the weekly magazine London Opinion on 5 September 1914.
“His prolific output was characterized by its humour, keen observation of the everyday, and an eye for strong design”
Invitation to one of the regular “smoking” evenings at the London Sketch Club, dated at 11 November 1921. Designed by Alfred Leete.
Leete died in London in 1933. In 2004, Leete’s work was on display in his native Weston at the North Somerset Museum
An RAF board of inquiry in 1995 ruled that it was impossible to establish the exact cause of the crash. This ruling was subsequently overturned by two senior reviewing officers who said the pilots were guilty of gross negligence for flying too fast and too low in thick fog. This finding proved to be controversial, especially in light of irregularities and technical issues surrounding the then-new Chinook HC.2 variant which were uncovered. A Parliamentary inquiry conducted in 2001 found the previous verdict of gross negligence on the part of the crew to be ‘unjustified’. In 2011, an independent review of the crash cleared the crew of negligence.
Earlier on 2 June 1994 the helicopter and crew had carried out a trooping flight, as it was unsafe for British troops to move around in certain parts of Northern Ireland using surface transport at the time because of Provisional IRA attacks. The mission was safely accomplished and they returned to Aldergrove at 15:20.
Mull of Kintyre
They took off for Inverness at 17:42. Weather en route was forecast to be clear except in the Mull of Kintyre area. The crew made contact with military air traffic control (ATC) in Scotland at 17:55.
One commentator stated that the loss of so many top level Northern Ireland intelligence officers in one stroke was a huge blow to the John Major government, “temporarily confounding” its campaign against the IRA. That the crash killed so many British intelligence experts, without any witnesses in the foggy conditions, encouraged speculation and conspiracy theories over a cover-up.
“The initial point of impact was 810 feet [250 m] above mean sea level and about 500 metres east of the lighthouse, but the bulk of the aircraft remained airborne for a further 187 metres horizontally north and 90 feet [27 m] vertically before coming to rest in pieces. Fire broke out immediately. All those on board sustained injuries from which they must have died almost instantaneously. The points of impact were shrouded in local cloud with visibility reduced to a few metres, which prevented those witnesses who had heard the aircraft from seeing it.”
In 1995, an RAF board of inquiry found that there was no conclusive evidence to determine the cause of the crash. An immediate suspicion that the helicopter could have been shot down by the Provisional IRA, with their known Strela 2surface-to-air missile capability, had been quickly ruled out by investigators. Two air marshals, on review of the evidence, found the two pilots guilty of gross negligence by flying too fast and too low in thick fog.
Both the incident and the first inquiry have been subject to controversy and dispute, primarily as to whether the crash had been caused by pilot error or by a mechanical failure. The 2011 Parliamentary report found the reviewing officers to have failed to correctly adhere to the standard of proof of “absolutely no doubt” in deciding the question of negligence.
The new inquiry took place in the House of Lords from September to November 2001. The findings were published on 31 January 2002, and found that the verdicts of gross negligence on the two pilots were unjustified.
In December 2007, Defence Secretary Des Browne agreed to conduct a fresh report into the crash. It was announced on 8 December 2008 by Secretary of State for Defence John Hutton that “no new evidence” had been presented and the findings of gross negligence against the flight crew would stand. On 4 January 2010, doubts of the official explanation were raised again with the discovery that an internal MOD document, written 9 months before the incident, described the engine software as ‘positively dangerous’ as it could lead to failure of both engines. The 2011 Review concluded that criticism that the original board had not paid enough attention to maintenance and technical issues was unjustified.
On 13 July 2011, Defence Secretary Liam Fox outlined to MPs the findings of an independent review into the 1994 crash, which found that the two pilots who were blamed for the crash had been cleared of gross negligence.
In doing so, the Government accepted Lord Philip’s confirmation that the Controller Aircraft Release (CAR) was “mandated” upon the RAF. Issued in November 1993, the CAR stated that the entire navigation and communications systems used on the Chinook HC2 were not to be relied upon in any way by the aircrew, and therefore it had no legitimate clearance to fly. Knowledge of the CAR had been withheld from the pilots; by withholding this when issuing their Release to Service (RTS) (the authority to fly), the RAF had made a false declaration of compliance with regulations. In December 2012, the Minister for the Armed Forces, Andrew Robathan, confirmed such a false declaration did not constitute “wrongdoing”, despite it leading directly to deaths of servicemen.
ZD576’s service history
Boeing CH-47C Chinook, construction number B-868, RAF serial number ZD576 was originally delivered to the Royal Air Force as a Chinook HC.1 on 22 December 1984.
It was re-delivered to No 7 Squadron as a Chinook HC.2 on 21 April 1994. On arrival at RAF Odiham, its No.1 engine had to be replaced. On 10 May 1994, a post-flight fault inspection revealed a dislocated mounting bracket causing the collective lever to have restricted and restrictive movement. This resulted in a “Serious Fault Signal”m being sent as a warning to other UK Chinook operating units. On 17 May 1994 emergency power warning lights flashed multiple times and the No.1 engine was again replaced. On 25 May 1994 a serious incident occurred indicating the No.2 engine was about to fail.
On 31 May 1994, two days before the accident, two Chinook HC.1s were withdrawn from RAF Aldergrove and replaced by a single HC.2, ZD576.
On 2 June 1994, ZD576 crashed into a hillside, killing the four crew members and all passengers on board.
RAF Chinook HC2 (ZA677) similar to accident aircraft
CH-47 Chinook Overview
Flight Lieutenants Jonathan Tapper (left) and Richard Cook (right) have
Aviation safety author Andrew Brookes wrote that the true cause will never be known, but that pilot error induced by fatigue is likely to have played a part; the crew had been on flight duty for 9 hours and 15 minutes, including 6 hours flying time, before they took off on the crash flight. Had they made it to Fort George, they would have needed special permission from a senior officer to fly back to Aldergrove.
“There is no evidence of any significant change of course and none of the decision, if any, that the crew made. When the crew released the computer from its fix on the Mull, the pilots knew how close to the Mull they were and, given the deteriorating weather and the strict visibility requirements under visual flight rules they should by that time already have chosen an alternative course. As they had not done so, they could, and, under the rules, should have either turned away from the Mull immediately or slowed down and climbed to a safe altitude.”
Baroness Symons, speaking on behalf of the Government in the House of Lords in 2000.
In his book, Steuart Campbell suggested that two errors by the pilots; failure to climb to a safe altitude upon entering cloud, and a navigational error made in the poor visibility (mistaking a fog signal station for a lighthouse), together caused the crash.
The Board of Inquiry had identified that several factors may have sufficiently distracted the crew from turning away from the Mull, and upon entering cloud, failed to carry out the correct procedure for an emergency climb in a timely manner.
RAF Visual Flight Rules (VFR) require the crew to have a minimum visibility of 5.5 kilometres above 140 knots (260 km/h), or minimum visibility of one kilometre travelling below 140 knots; if VFR conditions are lost an emergency climb must be immediately flown. Nine out of ten witnesses interviewed in the inquiry reported visibility at ground level in the fog as being as low as ten to one hundred metres at the time of the crash; in-flight visibility may have been more or less than this. The tenth witness, a yachtsman who was offshore, reported it as being one mile (1.6 km), though he is regarded as a less reliable witness as he changed his testimony.
If witness accounts of visibility are correct, the pilots should have transferred to Instrument Flight Rules, which would require the pilots to slow the aircraft and climb to a safe altitude at the best climbing speed.
In the area around the Mull of Kintyre, the safe altitude would be 2,400 feet (730 m) above sea level, 1,000 feet (300 m) above the highest point of the terrain. The height of the crash site of ZD576 was 810 feet (250 m), 1,600 feet (490 m) below the minimum safe level. The Board of Inquiry into the accident recommended formal procedures for transition from Visual Flight Rules to Instrument Flight Rules in mid-flight be developed, and the RAF has since integrated such practices into standard pilot training.
Regarding negligence on the part of the pilots, the 2011 Report said:
“the possibility that there had been gross negligence could not be ruled out, but there were many grounds for doubt and the pilots were entitled to the benefit of it… [T]he Reviewing Officers had failed to take account of the high calibre of two Special Forces pilots who had no reputation for recklessness.”
“The chances are that if software caused any of these accidents, we would never know. This is because when software fails, or it contains coding or design flaws… only the manufacturer will understand its system well enough to identify any flaws… Step forward the vulnerable equipment operators: the pilots… who cannot prove their innocence. That is why the loss of Chinook ZD576 is so much more than a helicopter crash. To accept the verdict against the pilots is to accept that it is reasonable to blame the operators if the cause of a disaster is not known.”
At the time of the crash, new FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) equipment was being integrated onto all RAF Chinooks, as part of an upgrade from the Chinook HC.1 standard to the newer Chinook HC.2 variant. The Ministry of Defence was given a £3 million settlement from Textron, the manufacturers of the system, after a ground-test of the FADEC systems on a Chinook in 1989 resulted in severe airframe damage. Contractors, including Textron, had agreed that FADEC had been the cause of the 1989 incident and that the system needed to be redesigned.
The committee investigating the crash were satisfied that the destructive error in 1989 was not relevant to the 1994 crash. Information provided from Boeing to the investigation led to the following conclusion regarding FADEC performance: “Data from the Digital Electronics Unit (DECU) of the second engine showed no evidence of torque or temperature exceedance and the matched power conditions of the engines post-impact indicate that there was no sustained emergency power demand. No other evidence indicated any FADEC or engine faults.”
It was expected that in a FADEC engine runaway, engine power would become asynchronous and mismatched. The investigation found the engines at the crash to have matched settings, decreasing the likelihood of a FADEC malfunction being involved.
EDS-SCICON was given the task of independently evaluating the software on the Chinook HC.2 in 1993. According to the House of Commons report:
“After examining only 18 per cent of the code they found 486 anomalies and stopped the review… intermittent engine failure captions were being regularly experienced by aircrew of Chinook Mk 2s and there were instances of uncommanded run up and run down of the engines and undemanded flight control movements”.
Tests upon the Chinooks performed by the MOD at Boscombe Down in 1994 reported the FADEC software to be
“unverifiable and … therefore unsuitable for its purpose”.
In June 1994, the MoD test pilots at Boscombe Down had refused to fly the Chinook HC.2 until the engines, engine control systems and FADEC software had undergone revision. In October 2001, Computer Weekly reported that three fellows of the Royal Aeronautical Society had said that issues with either control or FADEC systems could have led to the crash.
The main submission to Lord Philip (see above) revealed that the FADEC Safety Critical software did not have a Certificate of Design, and was therefore not cleared to be fitted to Chinook HC2. It further revealed that John Spellar MP had been wrong when claiming the software was not Safety Critical, providing the original policy document governing this definition to Lord Philip. MoD subsequently claimed it did not have its own copy, calling in to question how it could advise Spellar one way or the other.
The onboard Tactical Air Navigation System, which only retained the last measured altitude, gave an altitude reading of 468 feet (143 m). The investigation observed that it was possible for some of the avionics systems to interfere with the Chinook’s VHF radio, potentially disrupting communications.
Flight data recorders and cockpit voice recorders were not fitted to all RAF Chinooks at the time of the accident. The absence of this data greatly reduced the amount and quality of data available to subsequent investigations. Information on speed and height were derived from the position of cockpit dials in the wreckage, and the wreckage’s condition. The RAF had begun to fit these recording devices across the Chinook HC.2 fleet in 1994, prior to the accident; this process was completed in 2002.
Rigby was off duty and walking along Wellington Street when he was attacked.
Jurors Shown Footage Of Callous Murder Of Soldier Lee Rigby
Adebolajo and Adebowale ran him down with a car, then used knives and a cleaver to stab and hack him to death. The men dragged Rigby’s body into the road and remained at the scene until police arrived. They told passers-by that they had killed a soldier to avenge the killing of Muslims by the British armed forces. Unarmed police arrived at the scene nine minutes after an emergency call was received and set up a cordon. Armed police officers arrived five minutes later. The assailants, armed with a cleaver and brandishing a gun, charged at the police, who fired shots that wounded them both. They were apprehended and taken to separate hospitals. Adebolajo and Adebowale are British of Nigerian descent, were raised as Christians, and converted to Islam.
On 19 December 2013, both of the attackers were found guilty of Rigby’s murder. On 26 February 2014, they were sentenced to life imprisonment, with Adebolajo given a whole life order and Adebowale ordered to serve at least 45 years. The attack was condemned by political and Muslim leaders in the United Kingdom and in the international press.
Murder of Lee Rigby
Tribute to Lee Rigby
Manchester Day Parade, 2 June 2013
Retaliation for British military’s presence in Islamic countries
Fusilier Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion Royal Fusiliers
Least We Forget
The soldier killed in the attack was 25-year-old Lee Rigby, a drummer and machine-gunner in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Rigby, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, had served in Cyprus, Germany, and Afghanistan before becoming a recruiter and assisting with duties in the Tower of London. He was attacked when he was returning to barracks from working at the Tower. Rigby married in 2007 and had a two-year-old son, but had separated from his wife.
He was engaged to a new fiancée at the time of his death.
Rigby supported British Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes and was wearing a hoodie supporting the charity when he was attacked. In the five days after his death the charity received more than £600,000 in donations.
Rigby was given a military funeral at Bury Parish Church on 12 July 2013. The service was attended by several thousand people, including present and former soldiers, Prime Minister David Cameron, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson. A private burial service was then held at nearby Middleton Cemetery. The first permanent memorial to him was installed in February 2014 at The Valley, a football stadium less than 1 mile (1.6 km) from the site of his murder.
Lee Rigby jury shown Adebolajo #039;eye for eye #039; video, BBC News
On 1 September 2014, Rigby was honoured at a ceremony in Staffordshire, with his name added to the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.
Plans for a memorial to Rigby in Woolwich initially ran into opposition from local MP Nick Raynsford, who expressed concerns that it would generate “undesirable interest” or become a target for vandals. Greenwich Council said that it had not received a request from the Army to erect a memorial at the site.
Following a campaign for a memorial supported by Boris Johnson and a petition with 25,000 signatures, plans for a memorial near the site of the attack were announced on 11 June 2014. In April 2015, Greenwich Council said that rather than creating a memorial specific to Rigby’s memory, it would “create two memorials to both soldiers and civilians from the Royal Borough who have given their lives for our country”.
A memorial to Rigby in his home town of Middleton was unveiled on 29 March 2015.
The site of the attack in Wellington Street, with floral tributes and flags
The attack took place shortly before 14:20 in Wellington Street, and near its junction with John Wilson Street, part of the South Circular Road (A205) in Woolwich, near the perimeter of the Royal Artillery Barracks where Rigby was stationed.
While Rigby was crossing the road to get to a shop, two men, who were later identified as Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, drove a Vauxhall Tigra car at him at 30 to 40 miles per hour (50 to 60 km/h), knocking him to the ground.
Passerby Film Woolwich Soldier Murder Attackers London Suspect is Michael Adebolajo
They attacked Rigby with knives and a cleaver, and attempted to behead him.
Immediately after the attack, several passers-by stood over Rigby’s body to protect him from further injury.
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a cub scout leader from Cornwall, disembarked from a passing bus with the intention of rendering first aid, after she saw what she thought was a road accident. On discovering that the victim was dead she engaged one of the assailants in conversation. The man said he was responsible for killing the man on the ground – a British soldier who the attacker claimed had:
“killed Muslims in Iraq and in Afghanistan”.
She asked one of the men to hand over his weapons, but he refused.
In a video shot by a bystander, Adebolajo said:
The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers. And this British soldier is one … By Allah, we swear by the almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. So what if we want to live by the Sharia in Muslim lands?
Why does that mean you must follow us and chase us and call us extremists and kill us? … when you drop a bomb do you think it hits one person?
Or rather your bomb wipes out a whole family? …
Through many passages in the Koran we must fight them as they fight us …
I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your governments, they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is gonna get caught in the street when we start busting our guns?
Do you think politicians are going to die? No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back … leave our lands and you will live in peace.
Adebolajo also gave a bystander at the scene a handwritten two-page note which set out his justification for his actions. The assailants remained at the scene and asked bystanders to call the police.
The Metropolitan Police received the first 999 call about an assault at 14:20 and regular unarmed police were deployed. Subsequent 999 calls said the attackers had a firearm, and armed police were ordered to the scene at 14:24. Unarmed police arrived at 14:29, set up a cordon, and remained behind it.
Authorised Firearms Officers arrived at 14:34. Two men, one brandishing a cleaver and the other a revolver, charged at the police. Armed police fired eight times and both men were wounded. They were arrested and taken to separate hospitals. A revolver, knives, and a cleaver were seized at the scene. The victim, Rigby, was pronounced dead and formally identified. The revolver was later determined to be a non-functioning 90-year-old Dutch KNIL 9.4mm. Adebowale pointed the gun at responding armed police officers, who opened fire and shot off one of his thumbs.
Attackers and other suspect..
The two men who carried out the attack, Michael Olumide Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale, 22, are British of Nigerian descent.
Both men were known to British security services.
On 23 May, a man aged 29 and two women aged 31 and 29 were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder.The Metropolitan Police arrested three people aged between 21 and 28 in south-east London, at two separate locations on the evening of 25 May.
On 26 May, a 22-year-old male was arrested in Highbury. On 27 May, a 50-year-old male was arrested in Welling. Of the eight people arrested, six were freed on bail, and two released without charge.
Inside the mind of Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebolajo
Adebolajo, born in Lambeth to a Christian family, went to Marshalls Park School and studied sociology at the University of Greenwich. He has a history of involvement in radical Islamist activities and had been arrested at a violent protest and later released.
Crazy Muslim Cleric Anjem Choudary chants his shit on GMTV and ends up looking a tit
“Don’t be scared of them, do not be scared of the police or the cameras. You are here only to please Allah. You’re not here for any other reason, if you are here just for a fight, please leave our ranks. We only want those who are sincere to Allah. Purify your intention.”
In 2010, Adebolajo was arrested in Kenya with five others. He travelled using a British passport in the name Michael Olemendis Ndemolaj Boniface Mwaniki, head of Kenya’s anti-terrorism unit, said he believed Adebolajo was planning to train with Al-Shabaab, a militant group linked to al-Qaeda. He was released to British authorities in Kenya and deported. The British Foreign Office confirmed “a British national was arrested in Kenya in 2010” was given consular assistance. No charges were filed against Adebolajo.
Abu Nusaybah, a friend of Adebolajo, said on BBC’s Newsnight on 25 May that Adebolajo had complained of persistent questioning by the British Security Service (MI5) specifically concerning his knowledge of “certain individuals”. He said Adebolajo alleged that MI5 had asked him to work with them and he had refused. He also said Adebolajo claimed he had been tortured and sexually assaulted by Kenyan troops after his arrest.
Adebolajo was released from hospital on 31 May and taken into police custody. The following day he was charged with Rigby’s murder, two charges of attempting to murder police officers, and possession of a firearm. At a court appearance on 3 June, he asked to be known as Mujahid Abu Hamza.On 17 July, Adebolajo lost two of his front teeth while being restrained by five prison officers at Belmarsh prison. The officers were suspended from duty.
Following media reports that Michael Adebowale had attended the University of Greenwich with Michael Adebolajo, the university issued a statement, in which it said that there were “no records relating to [Adebowale] in connection with the Woolwich incident”, and that the university had launched an investigation into the matter. Adebolawe’s mother is a probation officer and his father a member of staff at the Nigerian High Commission.
On 28 May Adebowale was released from hospital and taken to a police station in south London.e charged him with the murder of Rigby and possession of a firearm.
Investigators searched four houses in Greenwich, south London; one in Romford, east London; another in north London; and a property in Saxilby, Lincolnshire.
The Prime Minister David Cameron cut short a visit to Paris to chair a second COBRA meeting.
On 31 May, the inquest into Rigby’s death was opened and adjourned at Southwark Coroner’s Court. The inquest heard that Rigby had been identified by his dental records.
On 27 September 2013, the two accused men appeared via videolink in court at the Old Bailey, where they both pleaded not guilty to the murder of Lee Rigby, and to other charges relating to the incident. The trial began at the Old Bailey on 29 November 2013. Adebolajo asked to be known as Mujaahid Abu Hamza in court with Adebowale wishing to be known as Ismail Ibn Abdullah.
On 19 December 2013, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were found guilty of the murder of Lee Rigby. The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, said that he would pass sentence after a key appeal court ruling on the use of whole life terms. On 26 February 2014, both men were sentenced to life imprisonment. Adebolajo was given a whole life order excluding the possibility of parole, and Adebowale, the younger of the two, was given a minimum term of 45 years in prison.
During the sentencing, Mr Justice Sweeney said that the extremist views of the attackers were a “betrayal of Islam”, prompting Adebowale to shout “That’s a lie”, while Adebolajo shouted “Allahu Akbar“.
Following a scuffle with security guards in the dock, both men were removed from the court and the sentencing continued in their absence.
On 8 April 2014, Adebolajo launched an appeal against his whole life term.
On 29 July, he was refused permission to appeal, and the case was heard by a panel of Court of Appeal judges.
On 3 December 2014, Rigby’s killers lost legal challenges to their sentences. Michael Adebolajo had attempted to have his conviction overturned and whole-life sentence reduced, while Michael Adebowale attempted a reduction in his minimum sentence of 45 years. Both requests were rejected at the Court of Appeal.
The Ministry of Defence investigated the incident. Immediately after the death, British service members were advised not to wear military uniforms in public, although the advice was later relaxed.
In the immediate aftermath, Julie Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of Britain expressed concern that the killing would be used to create ethnic and community divisions. Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe condemned the attack and called for calm and a “measured response”, adding “we have met with community representatives, and extra officers remain on duty there tonight.
Across London our officers are in contact with their communities too.” Commander Simon Letchford later noted community concerns following the incident and assured that an investigation was under way. He also appealed for calm and avoidance of speculation. An additional 1,200 police officers were deployed across London to prevent revenge attacks on Muslim communities.
The BNP scheduled their protest for 1 June, but Scotland Yard refused to permit them to march from Woolwich Barracks; the demonstration instead took place at Whitehall in central London.Unite Against Fascism mounted a counter-protest. Police arrested 58 people, all anti-fascist protesters, for breaches of the Public Order Act.
On 7 June 2013, a 21-year-old woman from Harrow was ordered to complete 250 hours of unpaid work after tweeting that people in Help for Heroes T-shirts “deserve to be beheaded”.
On 14 March 2014, a married couple from London – who pleaded guilty to disseminating a terrorist publication – were jailed for posting videos on YouTube which condoned the death of Lee Rigby, with one video describing it as a “brilliant day”.
In the aftermath of the attack, an anti-Muslim backlash occurred across the United Kingdom.A representative of Hope not Hate said the number of phone calls to its helpline concerning anti-Muslim incidents greatly increased after the murder.
Hope not Hate reported 193 Islamophobic incidents, including attacks on 10 mosques, as of 27 May.On 1 June, Tell MAMA, a government-funded project, reported 212 anti-Muslim incidents, including 125 online incidents, 17 incidents involving physical attack, and 11 attacks on mosques.
It was reported on 9 June that government funding for Tell MAMA would not be renewed, due to concern over the reliability of data reported by the organisation, although the decision had been made before Rigby’s death.
Incidents ranged from verbal abuse to physical assaults in which women’s headscarves were pulled off.
Graffiti was scrawled over mosques and Muslim-owned businesses.Hope not Hate claimed that online activity suggested some of the attacks on Muslims were co-ordinated.
At least seven people have been arrested for a range of social media-related issues.
During the night after Rigby’s death, two mosques were attacked. In Braintree, Essex, a man entered a mosque with two knives, threatened the congregation, and threw an explosive device. Witnesses say the explosive device was a grenade or gas canister. In Gillingham, Kent, a man ran into a mosque and smashed windows and bookcases, specifically targeting those containing copies of the Quran. Two men were arrested in connection with the attacks.
On 26 May, several petrol bombs were thrown into a mosque in Grimsby. No one was injured and the fires were rapidly extinguished.Two former soldiers were arrested in connection with the attack.
On 5 June, the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill – which was used by children after school – was destroyed by a fire.
The building had been sprayed with graffiti making reference to the English Defence League.
The fire investigation is being conducted by Scotland Yard‘s counter-terrorism command, because of a possible link to domestic extremism. On 8 June, a fire at Darul Uloom School, an Islamic boarding school in southeast London, forced the evacuation of 128 students and teachers. Police said they feared the incident may have been a revenge attack.
On 10 June, a senior Metropolitan Police officer confirmed there had been an eight-fold increase in the number of Islamophobic incidents since Rigby’s death, and that the real figure may be higher due to under-reporting.
London police shoot attackers who killed British soldier Lee Rigby
Video footage of one of the perpetrators justifying the killing of Lee Rigby was obtained by The Sun and ITN. ITN’s video, which was edited before it was broadcast, aired during the 18:30 ITV News bulletin before the 21:00 watershed, and again in its 22:00 bulletin. After being posted on the ITN website in the afternoon, the high level of visits caused the site to crash and go offline for around half an hour.
Total traffic on the site, which averages 860,000 unique users per week, reached 1.2 million for the day of the attack.
Managing editor of The Sun, Richard Caseby, said the newspaper had faced “a very difficult decision”. Both media outlets argued they had released the video “in the public interest”. BBC News showed some parts of the video. Sky News decided not to follow suit, as senior editors were of the opinion that the graphic images were “unnecessarily distressing”. Both ITV and the BBC ran warnings before showing the footage.
Most of Britain’s national daily newspapers grabbed still images from the video footage for their front pages the next morning.
A BBC executive said that the news organisation edited the footage before broadcasting, and “dealt with the material as carefully as we could.” The spokesman said they “thought very carefully about the pictures… and gave great consideration to how we used the footage”. They argued that the footage was an important element of the story and shed light on the perpetrators and the possible motives for the attack.”
The Guardian reported there were “around 800 complaints from distressed viewers”.Most complaints were targeted at the television coverage, with ITV receiving 400 complaints in the 24 hours following the broadcast.
Sky News, which showed a still image of one of the suspected attackers with bloodied hands, received “a handful of complaints”.
On 17 June, the broadcasting standards watchdog Ofcom launched an investigation into broadcast of footage from the attack after receiving about 700 complaints. Ofcom published its findings on 6 January 2014, ruling that the news footage had not breached broadcasting regulations. Ofcom issued new guidelines to news outlets on giving appropriate warnings before airing distressing content.
Anti-terrorism task force
The UK government established a task force to look at ways of stemming the growth of Islamic extremism in Britain, focusing on the radicalisation of worshippers in mosques, university students and prisoners. The task force – chaired by David Cameron – had its inaugural meeting at 10 Downing Street on 3 June 2013, and includes Cabinet Ministers, and representatives from the police and intelligence services. Later that day Cameron made a House of Commons statement on the Woolwich attack, saying that lessons must be learned.
“When young men born and bred in this country are radicalised and turned into killers, we have to ask some tough questions about what is happening in our country. It is as if that for some young people there is a conveyor belt to radicalisation that has poisoned their minds with sick and perverted ideas. We need to dismantle this process at every stage – in schools, colleges, universities, on the internet, in our prisons, wherever it is taking place.”
On 25 November 2014, the findings of a British parliamentary inquiry into the murder of Lee Rigby were published. The report found that the death could not have been prevented, although his killers had appeared in seven intelligence investigations.
In December 2012, Michael Adebowale had discussed killing a soldier on Facebook with a foreign-based extremist known as “Foxtrot”. The UK authorities did not have access to the details of the conversation until June 2013, when they were disclosed to GCHQ.
The Intelligence and Security Committee stated “Had MI5 had access to this exchange, their investigation into Adebowale would have become a top priority.” Facebook said that it did not comment on individual cases, but responded that “Facebook’s policies are clear, we do not allow terrorist content on the site and take steps to prevent people from using our service for these purposes.”
In an interview with BBC News on 26 November 2014, Richard Barrett, the former Director of Global Counter-terrorism at MI6, said that it was unfair to expect companies to monitor websites for all potentially extremist content. Facebook had blocked seven of Adebowale’s accounts prior to the killing, five of which had been flagged for links with extremism. The accounts had been flagged by an automated process, and no person at Facebook had manually checked the accounts.
Queen Elizabeth II, political leaders and religious leaders variously expressed concern and distress over the incident, and called for calm. Prime Minister David Cameron made the following statement:
This country will be absolutely resolute in its stand against extremism and terror. This action was a betrayal of Islam and the Muslim communities that give so much to our country. We will defeat violent extremism by standing together. We will not rest until we know every detail.
The attackers told Ingrid Loyau-Kennett that] they wanted to start a war in London and she replied, “You are going to lose, it is you against many.” She speaks for all of us.
Many Muslim leaders denounced the attack. The Prime Minister’s statement was echoed by Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the co-chair of the Christian Muslim Forum, in a joint statement.The Muslim Council of Britain said the attack “has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly”.
The head of the Ramadhan Foundation, Mohammed Shafiq, also condemned the attack. The director of Faith Matters and co-ordinator of the government-backed anti-Islamophobic project Tell MAMA stated:
“We, as the Muslim community, will work against anyone who promotes such hatred.”
“I’m not in the business of condemnation or condoning. I think if anyone needs to be condemned it is the British government and their foreign policy. It’s so clear that that is the cause.”
Anjem Choudary defends Woolwich Attackers on Newsnight 2405.2013
On BBC’s Newsnight, when Choudary was questioned about his role in the radicalisation of Michael Adebolajo, he denied any responsibility, and talked about such radicalisation as a means to an end. He stated that he believed that not many Muslims would disagree with what Adebolajo had said in his videoed statement.
Asghar Bukhari of the UK Muslim Public Affairs Committee said that both the British Government and the Muslim community were at fault in dealing with “extremism”. He criticised the British Government for being involved in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan while “completely denying that it has anything to do with the political situation around the Muslim world”, and said that Muslim organisations “have failed their own community by not teaching these young, angry men how to get a democratic change to this policy that’s ruining so many lives”.
He described Muslim leaders as unwilling to bring about change, focussing on points of theology, rather than the practical education of young people in ways to achieve political change.
George Galloway, then an MP, said that the attack on Lee Rigby was “indefensible”. He criticised British support for the Syrian rebels, stating that similar attacks are likely to occur “as long as we are, as a country, involved in spreading murder and mayhem across the Muslim world.”
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair saw the attack not as an isolated expression of two crazed individuals but part of the broader “problem within Islam”.
In foreign press reports there was widespread outrage and condemnation of the killing. Yusif al-Shihab, in Kuwait‘s Al-Abas, stated that the assailants have “deformed the image of Islam” while Batir Mohammad Wardum in the Jordanian daily Al-Dustur, and other Middle Eastern newspapers, stressed that their actions have endangered the lives of thousands of Muslims.
The killing triggered a public outpouring of grief and hundreds of bunches of flowers, teddy bears, poems and other tributes were left near the scene of the crime.
In a statement issued on 28 May, Adebolajo’s relatives condemned terrorism and violence in the name of religion, and expressed their horror at Rigby’s death.
In October 2013 British anti-terrorist police warned several Muslims who had spoken out against Islamist extremism, some of them explicitly against the murder of Rigby, that they had been targeted in a video created by Al-Shabaab, the group responsible for the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya.
Drummer Lee Rigby’s funeral
Attempted copycat cases
On 19 February 2015, 19-year-old Brusthom Ziamani was found guilty of preparing a terrorist act. He was arrested in London in August 2014 while carrying a 12-inch knife, hammer and black jihadist flag. Ziamani had said that he intended to attack and kill soldiers, and had described Adebolajo as a “legend”.
On 20 March Ziamani was sentenced to 22 years in prison.On 29 April 2015, 18-year-old Kazi Islam, who was inspired by the murder, was convicted by a jury at the Old Bailey of grooming a vulnerable friend to kill two soldiers, and buying ingredients for a pipe bomb.
On 29 May, he was sentenced to eight years in a young offenders’ institution.
On 14 January 2015, 26-year-old white supremacist Zack Davies of Mold, Flintshire attacked a Sikh dentist in a Tesco supermarket with a machete and a hammer. He claimed in court that the attack was revenge for the murder of Rigby.
Davies was sentenced to life imprisonment on 11 September 2015
Instead of being known as the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons, the regiment is known as the Blues and Royals and is therefore the only regiment in the British Army to be officially known by their nickname as opposed to their full name.
Newly commissioned officers in the Blues and Royals are named Cornets, rather than Second Lieutenants as is the standard in the rest of the British Army. The rank of sergeant does not exist in the Household Cavalry. The equivalent is Corporal of Horse, which also applies to any other ranks with the word sergeant in it, such as Regimental Sergeant Major, which is replaced by Regimental Corporal Major. King Edward VII also declared the rank of Private should be replaced by the rank of Trooper in the cavalry.
This set the precedent for the usage of Trooper instead of Private in other cavalry units, such as those of the modern Royal Armoured Corps.
The Queens Cavalry – BBC – Full Video
The Blues and Royals is the only regiment in the British Army that allows troopers and non-commissioned officers, when not wearing headdress, to salute an officer. The custom started after the Battle of Warburg in 1760 by the Marquess of Granby, who commanded both the Royal Horse Guards and the Royal Dragoons, which were separate units at the time. During the battle, the Marquess had driven the French forces from the field, losing both his hat and his wig during the charge. When reporting to his commander, Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, in the heat of the moment he is said to have saluted without wearing his headdress, having lost it earlier. When the Marquess of Granby became the Colonel of the Blues, the regiment adopted this tradition.
Further, the Blues and Royals and the Life Guards are the only two units in the British forces that are not required to remove their headdress indoors, unless they are inside a church.
When the Household Cavalry mounts an escort to the Sovereign on State occasions, a ceremonial axe with a spike is carried by a Farrier Corporal of Horse. The historical reason behind this is that when a horse was wounded or injured so seriously that it could not be treated, its suffering was ended by killing it with the spike. The axe is also a reminder of the days when the Sovereign’s escorts accompanied royal coaches and when English roads were very bad. Horses often fell, becoming entangled in their harnesses and had to be freed with the cut of an axe. It is also said that, in those times, if a horse had to be put to death, its rider had to bring back a hoof, cut off with the axe, to prove to the Quartermaster that the animal was in fact dead, thereby preventing fraudulent replacement. Today, the axe remains as a symbol of the Farrier’s duties.
On ceremonial occasions, the Blues and Royals wear a blue tunic (inherited from the Royal Horse Guards, also known as “the Blues”), a metal cuirass, and a matching helmet with a red plume worn unbound, and against popular belief the regiments farriers wear a red plume like the rest of the regiment but do not wear the metal cuirass. In addition, the Blues and Royals wear their chin strap under their chin, as opposed to the Life Guards, who wear it below their lower lip. On service dress, the Blues and Royals wear a blue lanyard on the left shoulder, as well as a Sam Browne belt containing a whistle. In most dress orders, the Waterloo Eagle is worn on the left arm as part of dress traditions.