Private Eyes Act of Remembrance

#1
Noted ARRSEr Ian Hislop is taking the act of remembrance onto the chav loaded streets of Britain:

Hislop turns a private eye on the Great War's forgotten heroes

David Smith
Sunday November 6, 2005
The Observer

He is best known for his dry wit on Have I Got News for You and for being the editor of Private Eye. Ian Hislop is deadly serious, however, about his mission to preserve the memory of a generation of heroes - the young men, including his grandfather, who fought in the First World War.

'We say every year, "At the going down of the sun and in the morning/ We will remember them." But will we? Do we? Sometimes I think it needs a kick,' he told The Observer.

Speaking a week before veterans gather for Remembrance Sunday, Hislop continued: 'I fear that by repetition it becomes forgotten because it's a cliché or it's banal or, "Oh God, it's the Cenotaph and it's the old blokes and the poppies again." Whereas they weren't old blokes at all, they were very young blokes, that's what's interesting. The history is absolutely fascinating.'

The humourist, who admits he is 'slightly obsessed' with the 1914-18 conflict, found high levels of apathy and ignorance during the making of a television series, Not Forgotten, in which he toured some of Britain's 37,500 First World War memorials, which bear nearly a million names.

'I stood outside a supermarket and stopped people with their shopping and asked if they knew they were walking past a war memorial. They only recognised two names, Charlene and Tom, which had been graffiti'd on.'

He found that some memorials had been neglected and fallen into disrepair. 'The condition entirely depends on locally whether they're interested. A surprising number are beautifully kept, while some are falling apart. There are a number of broken or bust or falling down memorials, which are sad in themselves. But the majority I saw are still in pretty good nick.'

Hislop's grandfather died before he was born, but last year Hislop traced his involvement in the war for the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? David Murdoch Hislop was a classics graduate from Edinburgh who had become a schoolteacher by the time war broke out. As a graduate he would usually have been expected to join the officer class, but in 1915 he volunteered for the ranks because it got him to the front line more quickly.

David Hislop saw action in 1917 and 1918, but emerged unscathed. Ian Hislop added: 'When I look at the lists of his fellow soldiers [on memorials], I think how easily it could have been him, not them. There's no memorial to him because he made it. He survived, which is why I'm here.'

In Not Forgotten, a four- part series starting later this month on Channel 4, Hislop chooses names of the fallen from memorials and traces their descendants in what he describes as 'genealogy in reverse'. Among the most harrowing stories is that of Annie Souls, who lost five sons in the war. Albert, Frederick, Walter, Alfred and Arthur Souls are commemorated in a memorial which includes their photographs in a church in Great Rissington in the Cotswolds.

Another story told is that of Private Charles Kirman of the Lincolnshire Regiment, who was shot at dawn for going absent without leave in September 1917. Disagreement over whether Kirman should be included meant that his home, Fulstow in Lincolnshire, was one of the few villages in Britain not to have a First World War memorial. Nine decades later, the village decided this year to erect a commemorative plaque to the seven Fulstow men killed - including Kirman.
Good man - not entirely surprising - but I don't think we could ask for a more acerbic proponent of what the 11th of November is all about.

The full story is here
 
#2
I remember his defence of the statue of Napier on HIGNFY a few years ago, when Red Ken wanted it taken down.

For a short arrse, he's a good bloke IMHO, and this programm will hopefully find a wider audience due to his involvement, rather like I imagine the Clarkson VC programme did last year.

Kind regards

Fluffy
 
#3
Looking forward to watching this tonight
 
#4
Could be a good chap to get involved in the campaign for a State Funeral, for the last surving World War1 chaps
 

Ventress

LE
Moderator
#7
Good programme, I was shocked to see the broken memorial stone found in a skip in Marleybone. I hope CH4 might get it repaired and replaced somewhere with the Bank of Scotland's help.

It was suprising how many plaques are about we never even see or know about.
 
#11
I was quite shocked to see Ian Hislop's first visit was to the war memorial in Hull my Great Uncle Louis' name is on. This looks set to be an excellent series - we hear a huge amount about Generals etc but too little about the ordinary people affected by war. Maybe it will stir councils and local people to look after these memorials.
 
#13
Slightly off thread, but for what it's worth I can recommend Private Eye as an excellent and informative read.

It is not all humour with some serious commentary on newspapers, politics, media and news items.

The send up of Mr T. Blair as a parish vicar has me in tears each issue.

Been a subscriber for several years and best use of a few quid I have ever made
 
#14
Good lad Hislop - at least with him at the helm we wont get the ubiquitous band of Z-listers jumping on a band wagon and chavving up the cause.

Plant-Pilot said:
Is it going to get shown on BFBS?
Probably in 2008 just after the first screening of the Queens Mother's state funeral.
 
#16
Poppy said:
...we hear a huge amount about Generals etc but too little about the ordinary people affected by war.
Thankfully, Pops, I really don't think that's true any more. There is now such a wealth of literature, film, sculpture etc celebrating the plight of the common soldiery of both World Wars that it is remarkable to hear or see a balanced portrayal of anyone's service above the rank of major.

About a year ago (maybe two) there was a documentary about Haig. The 'wow' factor in this piece of work was that an Australian academic had challenged the revisionist position that he was an incompetent and soulless butcher who won simply because he was the 'last man standing' (which might have been the title). I cannot recall with any great accuracy the line that this man took but I think the thrust was along the lines of a modern day comparison. How would today's senior officers cope if confronted by an entirely new form of warfare involving weapons of mass destruction the like of which had never been seen before (eg gas, machine guns, aircraft, massed artillery etc) and which had to be defeated by an army that had increased in size tenfold almost overnight? He went on to debunk the myth that Lloyd-George was the champion of the common soldier and by the time he had finished one was left thinking that there was precious little difference between LG and Bliar.

Whether you think his ideas right or wrong, this documentary was notable for two reasons; the first was up till that point no-one in the mainstream media had dared challenge the received post-Somme wisdom that all red tabs were by their very nature callous murderers and unworthy of anything other than outright contempt (I should add that he did not, IIRC, denigrate the fighting prowess of the rank and file) and the second was that it was, as a study of the general staff and not the fighting man, aired at all.
 
#17
Mr Hislops series is excellent, some interesting and moving stories, compared to most of the programmes on TV this was a breath of fresh air.
 
#18
In the month or so leading up to next years Rememberance day how about a thread with names from memorials local to each participating arrser. or could we start it now?

anyone interested?
 
#19
Glaramara said:
I missed this programme. Was it any good?
Act of Remembrance for a gross Act of Stupidity

I'm inclined to believe we remember the wrong thing - and I think the dead will endorse this - who is the stupid 'twat' that put us in this predicament in the first place - charge .. tally ho - thwap - oh tit - thar goes my brains! More than a minutes silence to follow ... Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... boy I wished I stayed in my trench.

But we don't remember - today it's missing WMD - boy those limp wristed politicos and Spectator commentators know how to play the game ...

Hasn't it been said soldiers are "the scum of the earth, the mere scum of the earth" (Duke of Wellington) and also "military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy" (Henry Kissinger) You think Hoon / Reid / Straw / Blair share this sentiment?

So, again - Remember? Remember what? U're better off closing the curtains and shaking a quick one off the wrist - the good remembrance does! Jerusalem, Jerusalem ...
 
#20
Glaramara said:
I missed this programme. Was it any good?
Act of Remembrance for a gross Act of Stupidity

I'm inclined to believe we remember the wrong thing - and I think the dead will endorse this - who is the stupid 'twat' that put us in this predicament in the first place - charge .. tally ho - thwap - oh tit - thar goes my brains! More than a minutes silence to follow ... Jerusalem, Jerusalem ... boy I wished I stayed in my trench.

But we don't remember - today it's missing WMD - boy those limp wristed politicos and Spectator commentators know how to play the game ...

Hasn't it been said soldiers are "the scum of the earth, the mere scum of the earth" (Duke of Wellington) and also "military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy" (Henry Kissinger) You think Hoon / Reid / Straw / Blair share this sentiment?

So, again - Remember? Remember what? U're better off closing the curtains and shaking a quick one off the wrist - the good remembrance does! Jerusalem, Jerusalem ...
 
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