Lest we forget

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Draft Dodger, Nov 22, 2012.

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  1. So when do you think we will?

    By the number of books, films, documentaries, tv dramas etc etc about the world wars its clear that as a nation we are still very interested in their history and with the preparations for the up coming 100th anniversary of the beginning of the first world war as well as the levels of turn out each Rememberance day there are still high levels of respect for the fallen of both wars.

    However, with WW1 passing from living memory and WW2 on the way out how long do you think modern rememberance, respect and interest will continue?*

    *is there a 4-5 generation limit (we dont pause to remember the dead from the crimean, boer, zulu or napoleonic wars)? will the world wars be remembered longer because of their sheer scale?are there examples of rememberace taking place long after that generations time has passed (for example do the colonists pause to remember the dead from the civil war?)? is the culture of rememberace day just a relatively modern concept which will die out?
  2. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    WW1 will be remembered for longer because the myth and reality of the impact on British families, but I suspect mostly for the myth of the "wasted generation" and "pointless war." WW1 soldiers are currently seen as victims to be pitied. I also suspect that if the European project continues there will be a muted campaign to reduce the memories of WW1 and WW2 as it speaks to the tribal tendencies in people - us against them. It's already happening in schools - WW1 was pointless and WW2 was fighting "Nazis" so don't hate the Germans because they were victims too.
  3. unless we have a good old massive war of national survival anytime soon i reckon that in two more generations Rememberance Sunday as we know it will be a thing of the past
  5. you look around the service at Rememberance Sunday and there's not a lot of young faces and i reckon the ones you do see are serving or ex, so with a reducing military it'll just fall away. i do wonder if we'll continue to be as fascinated with the two world wars as we are.
  6. Actually I was quite pleased to see the increased numbers of the public, of Ex-servicemen and women, of youth organisations, and of serving personnel at the Remembrance Service in my (adopted) city. As we ex-service were forming up a man of middle age stepped up beside me. He had a rack of neatly court-mounted medals from WWII and later campaigns on his right breast. (He had no others).

    He said "These are my father's. He died this year. May I join you? Where do I stand?" I said "with me", and we marched off to the Cenotaph. Unfortunately when we dismissed I lost him in the general handshaking. I never found out if he himself had served.

    Perhaps next year?

    I was somewhat touched that a son felt his father's medals should be on parade even if the recipient was no longer with us.

    Am I getting old and soppy?

    (And for those of suspicious mind - I do not believe he was a "walt").
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  7. As long as memorials stand in every village town or city, people will stop read the names then maybe learn who where and why the names are there.
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  8. CountryGal

    CountryGal LE Book Reviewer

    Agreed - when I'm out walking with my son and we see a memorial we stop snd look at names - sometimes working out their ages or what job they did - as some memorials have more info than just names and dates of death.
  9. Never I hope, but realistically, probably when those of us who had a grandfather involved in one or the other are gone. Especially as the time when every family had at least a cousin serving in the military are now gone.
  10. Well the prompt for the occasion was the end of the Great War, and any subsequent conflict has been added to it, so it's inextricably linked to post-1914 conflict.

    But for my take on it all, conflict will carry on for many more years unfortunately. The only time we'll stop having cause to remember is when we don't have British Troops being killed every year. My question, is which would you prefer? A nation in which we don't remember but are at perpetual peace, or the alternative?

  11. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    The only year no post WW2 a soldier hasn't been killed in action is 1968.

    Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Edmund Burke
  12. i just wondered if it would be longer than that. recently we spent a lot of time effort and money to celebrate the victory of the battle of britain, commemorating bomber command and now look to spend a large sum of money commemorating the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WW1. before anyone spills their ovaltine i'm not saying we shouldn't but i'm curious to know whats driving this. is it a collective sense of honouring our relatives who where there, who we actually knew and remember or is it something else which may be more lasting?

    the bomber command memorial; the veterans of WW2 are a small and dwindling bunch therefore you'd think they have less collective influence however the memorial is built now. why? is it that the governments/general population who campaign for, donate to and make these decisions (to build memorials, have anniversary celebrations and commemorations) are more interested in the history of these conflicts than previous generations who were actually there?

  13. I thought it went back further than that?? Of course more than ready to stand corrected.

    The WW2 bit I meant.
  14. I've a feeling there will be a resurgence in interest around Bannockburn and Culloden very soon...

    I'd hope people will continue to remember. Thanks to the development of film, photography in general and the efforts that have been put into recording interviews with veterans of WW1 & WW2 I suspect they will continue to be more real to people of subsequent generations than the Napoleonic, Crimean or Boer Wars and so people will know much more about them. There's a good chance Dads Army will still be on in 2212 anyway.

    I'm of an age where we had a number of neighbours who had fought in WW1 and WW2. I was probably too young to understand what they'd done when I first knew them but as I got to 9 or 10 and got into the history I did.

    My special thanks to Mr Tunnelly, a WW1 TA Sherwood Forester, a really nice bloke who showed me how to tie puttees properly when I joined the TA.

    Another neighbour was Mr Butler, a RAFVR Bomber pilot who saw action supporting the Dieppe raid as well as bombing Germany. I remember vividly him letting me hold his flying helmet (fnarr fnarr) whilst showing me and my dad (a History teacher) his log and approach plan for Dieppe harbour complete with German Flak positions and marked out of bounds areas from the Naval fireplan. Fascinating and a genuinely unique peice of history. Then there was "Bertie", a bit of a ladies man even in old age, who had spent a period as one of Churchill's RMP guards. I tend to remember them and my Free Polish grandfather in particular on Nov 11. Real people.

    People won't have that direct connection in the future but they will at least have the images and knowledge of the sheer scale of those conflicts to remind them
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  15. Previous wars up to and just past the Great War were fought against a background of high everyday mortality rates. Life expectancy was not great and many more people died young than reached old age. The death of soldiers in foreign lands months away across the ocean were already history by the time the news reached the UK. Soldiers setting sail for the Empire weren't really expected to return for one reason or another so their deaths stood out less.

    As communications improved at the turn of the twentieth century so we remembered the fallen of the Boer war and public sentiment was aroused enough for memorials to the fallen to be erected. However, death by disease still outweighed those killed in battle so the numbers of those actually killed in battle were relatively few.

    When you get to the Great War we had war photography and moving pictures capturing some of the conditions. It was right on our doorstep and those on the South Coast could even hear the action. Plus there were millions of young men being conscripted or encouraged to volunteer, there was no single village in the UK who did not send at least one of their sons and that included Ireland. Communication was good, pictures brought home the graphic reality and injured troops in vast numbers started coming home. The sacrifice was there and obvious to all who saw it and few could help but be affected by what they saw, public sympathy was enormous and was not even diminished by any even greater mortality during the great flu pandemic.

    WW2, more than ever before, was a fight for our very survival. The Nazis had reached the Channel Islands and were a short barge trip away from invasion. Our cities were being bombed and the RAF were defending the very skies above us. Our lives and our liberty relied on our Armed Forces and the strength of will of our people. That is why so many civilian entities are remembered as well as military, we were in dire peril and we all managed to pull together and survive. That we are here and free now is testimony to our forebears. That gratitude will last the generations in one form or another and I feel Remembrance Day may be recognised, not necessarily in its present form but it will be recognised in perpetuum et unum diem.
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