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The Forgotten Army

Danny and his dad wanted to know about Grandad Wilfred who they knew had served in World War I. They were not disappointed with what I discovered!

Wilfred Mitchell was a 20 year-old married man with 2 young children when he enlisted with 13th Btn Manchester Regiment. For 3 years he served in Salonika, Greece which is recognised today as 'The Forgotten Front'.

A multinational allied force of 500'000 men created to fight at the Bulgarian border, it was viewed by many (especially back home in Britain!) as pointless, and that the men should be in France.

Supplies to the area were stopped, forcing them to grow their own food and be mocked as 'The Salonika Gardeners'.

Several months of static trench warfare during the winter saw entire units wiped out by disease, untreated wounds and starvation.

On 15th September 1918, everything changed. Under new command the troops of the Salonika Front were mustered at dawn, and marched towards the Bulgarian defenses, cutting them in half and leaving them no option to surrender.

A week later, Bulgaria signed an Armistice. Ottoman and Austria followed, with Germany signing the fourth and final Armistice on 11th November 1918.

Advances in France had been slow and costly, and while the story of the Salonika Front has always fallen outside the spotlight it is widely accepted that the men involved were among the key players who brought about the end of World War I.

Most importantly, Wilfred got to return home to his family.

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