(civi?) Engineer to re-enact great uncles 5 day march in WW1

#1
from the BBC

Neil McGurk, an engineer from Cambridgeshire, is about to take part in a five-day commemorative march in France to mark the 90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
Re-enacting historical events is a favourite hobby of Neil's. But this march is a personal pilgrimage as he retraces the footsteps of three of his ancestors.

William, Ernest and Horace Clark, all fought in the Great War but only Neil's grandfather Horace survived.

Horace lived with Neil and his parents in the family home in Middlesbrough, but he never spoke about the war - the memories were too much to bear - and he died in 1977.

So Neil has had to piece together his family's role in the Great War himself - a daunting task bearing in mind that most World War I military service records were destroyed by World War II bombing.

Full story here 5 day walk
 
#2
Saw it on the Beeb this morning. I'm sure the sentiment behind this honourable but I do feel that eating corned beef and marching the front for five days is not really in any way representative of a battle that saw 20,000 troops killed on the first day alone. But if they feel that it brings them closer to their lost relatives then I don't think they are actually doing any harm.

My grandfather was one of the 'Ladies of Hell' but that doesn't mean I have the urge to stand kilted in a Belgian field and re-inact the symptoms of dysentery or the deadly effects of artillery or machine gun fire. He did however tell me that kilt is a distinct advantage when suffering from dysentery.

I have a violent hatred of re-inactments and if the history books say that 5,000 of X fought 7,500 of Y then I would not go if you paid me to see two groups of slightly overweight, balding greengrocers and chartered accountants pretending to beat the crap out of each other, armed to the teeth courtesy of B&Q, just because Joe Public no longer has the imagination or the ability to comprehend a particular moment in history.
 
#3
Well said mrsoft! We have many re enactors in this part of Belgium and I also find it extremely difficult to understand! Around me are hundreds of WW1 pictures, of mostly very young soldiers, of every army. What you do not see, is WW1 pics of big, balding, overweight old blokes! Why are the re enactor groups, full of this type? By the way, I also feel your relatives intentions are honourable, but for the rest, get some in! ( or is a case of too late) :x
 
#4
what made me laugh was this

Members of the public can join the march or send Great War style letters or appropriate presents to the troops from home. These will be distributed and those that receive a message from "home" will write back.

There will be some concessions to modern living - portable toilets and showers, for one, and tents and other heavy equipment will be moved by 21st century vans. Neil will be allowed a mobile phone so he can let us know how he's coping with life as a Great War soldier.
Sad or not, its still an act of rememberance and much more than the majority will ever do.



"We WILL remember them"
 
#5
In 2 minds about this Yes its an act of remeberence ,but,dressing up as a tommy strikes me as bad taste .Fair enough doing a living history event but not over the bones of dead soldiers very odd.
 
#6
I agree with Mistersoft.

Nice to commemorate grandad I'm sure, but one gets the impression that the bloke does this all the time anyway. Besides which, portaloos, showers and a mobile phone to keep in touch with the missus and the kids every ten minutes is hardly entering into the spirit of things, and althought the 'march' looks very impressive on the screen, it's actually all of about 6 miles....

When it comes to big anniversaries like the up-coming Somme ninetieth, I'm always in two minds. Whilst I like seeing these things splashed all over the media because it rams the point home to Joe Public that his forefathers had larger gonads that most of us have today, it also (and I'm not necessarily including the marching bloke in this), brings the jackdaws out of the woodwork; the jackdaws being the ones who like the bright and shiny lights of media attention.

Increasingly now on the WW1 battlefields, it is getting harder and harder to actually visit the sites on any significant anniversary because either the National Association of Great War Button Collectors have arranged and booked all the accommodation and are swamping the field just below Thiepval where five years ago one of their members found a four-hole XK156UY, or the local and national politicians (with all their security staff, who will actually exclude the public) are greasing their hair and brushing their suits because they know they have to be seen there. Either way, I personally have more respect for those who go to quietly walk around in mid-January with only a couple of mates or their own thoughts for company.
 
#7
A five-day commemorative march or are they just Honourable Walts?

There is a fine line and I think the jury is still out as to whether they have crossed it or not.
 
#8
Awol said:
I agree with Mistersoft.

Nice to commemorate grandad I'm sure, but one gets the impression that the bloke does this all the time anyway. Besides which, portaloos, showers and a mobile phone to keep in touch with the missus and the kids every ten minutes is hardly entering into the spirit of things, and althought the 'march' looks very impressive on the screen, it's actually all of about 6 miles....

When it comes to big anniversaries like the up-coming Somme ninetieth, I'm always in two minds. Whilst I like seeing these things splashed all over the media because it rams the point home to Joe Public that his forefathers had larger gonads that most of us have today, it also (and I'm not necessarily including the marching bloke in this), brings the jackdaws out of the woodwork; the jackdaws being the ones who like the bright and shiny lights of media attention.

Increasingly now on the WW1 battlefields, it is getting harder and harder to actually visit the sites on any significant anniversary because either the National Association of Great War Button Collectors have arranged and booked all the accommodation and are swamping the field just below Thiepval where five years ago one of their members found a four-hole XK156UY, or the local and national politicians (with all their security staff, who will actually exclude the public) are greasing their hair and brushing their suits because they know they have to be seen there. Either way, I personally have more respect for those who go to quietly walk around in mid-January with only a couple of mates or their own thoughts for company.
And so do I Awol.

Well said.
 
#9
mistersoft said:
Awol said:
I agree with Mistersoft.

Nice to commemorate grandad I'm sure, but one gets the impression that the bloke does this all the time anyway. Besides which, portaloos, showers and a mobile phone to keep in touch with the missus and the kids every ten minutes is hardly entering into the spirit of things, and althought the 'march' looks very impressive on the screen, it's actually all of about 6 miles....

When it comes to big anniversaries like the up-coming Somme ninetieth, I'm always in two minds. Whilst I like seeing these things splashed all over the media because it rams the point home to Joe Public that his forefathers had larger gonads that most of us have today, it also (and I'm not necessarily including the marching bloke in this), brings the jackdaws out of the woodwork; the jackdaws being the ones who like the bright and shiny lights of media attention.

Increasingly now on the WW1 battlefields, it is getting harder and harder to actually visit the sites on any significant anniversary because either the National Association of Great War Button Collectors have arranged and booked all the accommodation and are swamping the field just below Thiepval where five years ago one of their members found a four-hole XK156UY, or the local and national politicians (with all their security staff, who will actually exclude the public) are greasing their hair and brushing their suits because they know they have to be seen there. Either way, I personally have more respect for those who go to quietly walk around in mid-January with only a couple of mates or their own thoughts for company.
And so do I Awol.

Well said.
I have always had more respect for those who do things quietly and with no fuss. I'm in two minds about this one though, on the one hand he has researched his family and paying his respects in a way he sees as fitting. no problems with that, however its being done in a loud and modern manner. everything is being carted around for him in modern vehicles, showers ffs, how often were showers (and I'll bet these are nice heated showers) available to the average man in the trenches?) he will be getting WW1 style letters and gifts, again how often did that happen for the average soldier? the mobile phone annoys me though. an emergency one yes, and if the BBC want to get the story from him, why not send someone along to walk with him?
 
#10
look liked there were regular squaddies in support on the tv.
or are ther uber rlc type walts t shirts combat 95s destroying pallets to make a camp fire ?
at least theres not shooting blanks at pretend germans
 
#11
brighton hippy said:
look liked there were regular squaddies in support on the tv.
or are ther uber rlc type walts t shirts combat 95s destroying pallets to make a camp fire ?
at least theres not shooting blanks at pretend germans
Yeah I saw that as well. I assumed they were regulars, why else would they have been wearing C95s?
 
#12
They will even wash their clothes in buckets and hang them out using period clothes pegs.

The jury was still out as far as whether it was an honourable thing to do but I'm starting to get annoyed now.
 
#13
mistersoft said:
They will even wash their clothes in buckets and hang them out using period clothes pegs.

The jury was still out as far as whether it was an honourable thing to do but I'm starting to get annoyed now.
As far as I can tell, what they are doing is to try and get a feel of life as a WWI soldier. Personally I don't see how it is possible to do this.


You can dress up in the uniforms, you can go on marches, you can even eat corned beef, but after it all, you will know that you are going to get home safe.
 
#14
theoriginalphantom said:
what made me laugh was this

Members of the public can join the march or send Great War style letters or appropriate presents to the troops from home. These will be distributed and those that receive a message from "home" will write back.

There will be some concessions to modern living - portable toilets and showers, for one, and tents and other heavy equipment will be moved by 21st century vans. Neil will be allowed a mobile phone so he can let us know how he's coping with life as a Great War soldier.
Sad or not, its still an act of rememberance and much more than the majority will ever do.



"We WILL remember them"
"Good morning, good morning"the General said, as we passed on the way to the line
Now most of the chaps that he smiled at are dead
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine
"He's a cheery old soul" grunted Harry to Jack as they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack
"Yes, I think I'll text him once we get into the German reserve line..."
 
#15
Cuddles said:
theoriginalphantom said:
what made me laugh was this

Members of the public can join the march or send Great War style letters or appropriate presents to the troops from home. These will be distributed and those that receive a message from "home" will write back.

There will be some concessions to modern living - portable toilets and showers, for one, and tents and other heavy equipment will be moved by 21st century vans. Neil will be allowed a mobile phone so he can let us know how he's coping with life as a Great War soldier.
Sad or not, its still an act of rememberance and much more than the majority will ever do.



"We WILL remember them"
"Good morning, good morning"the General said, as we passed on the way to the line
Now most of the chaps that he smiled at are dead
And we're cursing his staff for incompetent swine
"He's a cheery old soul" grunted Harry to Jack as they slogged up to Arras with rifle and pack
"Yes, I think I'll text him once we get into the German reserve line..."
"They're a bit heavy"
"Ah, throw them in the back of the van"
"But do NOT forget your clothes pegs"
"It's alright, we will remember them"
 
#16
Death_Rowums said:
mistersoft said:
They will even wash their clothes in buckets and hang them out using period clothes pegs.

The jury was still out as far as whether it was an honourable thing to do but I'm starting to get annoyed now.
As far as I can tell, what they are doing is to try and get a feel of life as a WWI soldier. Personally I don't see how it is possible to do this.


You can dress up in the uniforms, you can go on marches, you can even eat corned beef, but after it all, you will know that you are going to get home safe.
As we all know, the 'getting shot at' bit isn't by far the only hardship. Even today, a soldier's lot in the field is bloody 'orrible, with dirt, discomfort and crapping whilst gripping a spade handle. Not to mention being away from loved ones for god knows how long.

If you take away all that, 're-enacting' like this is just posturing for the cameras.
 
#17
Harry to Jack, bursting into song, as they slogged up to Arras in the Transit....

"It's a long way, to Tipperary, it's a long way to go..."

Jack to Harry, under his breath...

"Not by Ryanair it isn't mate, I'm off home at the weekend, got a 24 hour pass...."
 
#18
I've just got a copy of Macrosoft's Trench Foot Simulator 2006

Anybody want a copy?
 
#19
Awol said:
Harry to Jack, bursting into song, as they slogged up to Arras in the Transit....

"It's a long way, to Tipperary, it's a long way to go..."
Jack to Harry, under his breath...

"Not by Ryanair it isn't mate, I'm off home at the weekend, got a 24 hour pass...."
It is when they land at Dublin by mistake.
 
#20
anyone fancy taking a few pot shots at him as he does his walk? Does anyone have some WW1 sniper rifles we could take over to France
 

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