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WW1 Centenary

#2
The bloke`s got a point :-\\\\.
I`m a bit cynical about the whole four year thing. France and Belgium have had plans for quite some time but they have tangible remains over their landscape which people will visit generating income for hotels, cafe`s, museums etc.
I suspect some minister over here has thought, 'Great, we should get on in the act', with the thinking that the UK may profit in the same way they that thought the Olympics would generate income.
The UK has bugger all that I can think of other than names on memorials, and non specific museums. It may generate interest for battlefield tours and employ a few guides, but other than that I`m not sure what they can come up with.
We`ll probably see a load of rehashed footage and documentaries on the box, along with a few books shoved out by the publishers.
The paltry sum which the government has put forward in order to send a 'selected' few school pupils to the battlefields shows their true colours. If they wanted a lasting legacy they would subsidise a trip for every single pupil who was seriously interested in the period.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#3
Today's Sunday Times:
THE government has been accused of pandering to Germany over celebrations to mark Britain’s military victories in the First World War.

“There is an intent in government not to upset the Germans,” said a senior source who is involved in the centenary commemorations of the 1914-18 conflict.
Don't mention we won WW1
 
#5
The bloke`s got a point ... The paltry sum which the government has put forward in order to send a 'selected' few school pupils to the battlefields shows their true colours. If they wanted a lasting legacy they would subsidise a trip for every single pupil who was seriously interested in the period.
I have subsidised several school trips to the battlefields for my crowd as I have always believed it essential to see the land in order to get a feel for the conditions.

However, do we 'celebrate' the start or the 'end'? Perhaps those who wish to make a buck or two don't want to wait that long? It’s how to get the point across without kicking the arrse out of it and getting everyone fed-up by 2018.

How about a staggered approach with certain aspects such as 2nd Ypres, the Somme, Verdun or 3rd Ypres as being landmarks with specific features that are worth remembering? I can see 11 Nov 18 as being second only to the closing ceremony of London 2012. That’ll be something worth turning up for.
 
#6
Personally I don't think a big deal should be made of the centenary of the start of WW1. I do however think a fuss should be made of the centenary of the end of WW1. As for upsetting the krauts? So what, it was them that started it all off in the first place and they forget that it caused the deaths of millions of people who they were not afraid of upsetting.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#7
do we 'celebrate' the start or the 'end'? Perhaps those who wish to make a buck or two don't want to wait that long? It’s how to get the point across without kicking the arrse out of it and getting everyone fed-up by 2018.

How about a staggered approach with certain aspects such as 2nd Ypres, the Somme, Verdun or 3rd Ypres as being landmarks with specific features that are worth remembering? I can see 11 Nov 18 as being second only to the closing ceremony of London 2012. That’ll be something worth turning up for.
I think the 2014 events have been organised so Cameron can be seen to be doing something, anything.
As you say do we have commemorations for each significant battle although I believe the only one pencilled in is 1 July 2016 for the centenary of the first day of the Somme & we didn't exactly cover ourselves in glory on that one.
I believe the biggie for the French will be Verdun.
 
#9
Personally I don't think a big deal should be made of the centenary of the start of WW1. I do however think a fuss should be made of the centenary of the end of WW1. As for upsetting the krauts? So what, it was them that started it all off in the first place and they forget that it caused the deaths of millions of people who they were not afraid of upsetting.
I thought it was the Serbian reservists being transported on tramp steamers on the Danube crossing onto the Austro-Hungarian side of the river at Temes-Kubin then under the Secret Treaty of 1892 Russia and France were obliged to mobilize their armies if any of the Triple Alliance mobilized. Russia's mobilization set off full Austro-Hungarian and German mobilizations..
 
#10
Should be some sort of national campaign to clean up war memorials and war graves. Get the "youf" involved.
Good idea, perhaps they will finally clean up the Cenotaph in Whitehall

The Guards Museum have plans to fill in the pond by the Guards Chapel with soil from France and Belgium where the Guards divisions fought and died to make a Garden of Remembrance, opening May 2014.
 
#12
The Imperial War Museum has been planning for this for quite some time now. The project I help run has been a partner with them for over two years and we are planning something for every year in the four year centenary period, with particular emphasis on the men and women from our local town and villages. We're focusing on the local 'Old Contemptibles' for 2014 and will be featuring people chronologically so that the exhibition is relevant to the centenary dates as they come up and to the local area. We hope to be able to project information street by street but there's a lot of work to do and well over 4 thousand names on our lists so far. Fortunately we have found the membership forms for the town's 'Old Contemptibles Association' which gives us about 80 names to start with, added to those whom we know served (and those who died) at this time will mean we can put up a pretty good exhibition to kick things off. Amazingly our local museum has some original army uniforms and even some equipment stored away and they are very keen to get them out on display to go with our exhibition of profiles of those who took part.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#13
Mrs S is researching the local links of the WW1 names on our local memorial. The granddaughter of one of the names, traced by Mrs S, came to see us quite recently. Some interesting stuff has turned up, and often very poignant such as three names from one road. The result, including photos, will go into a booklet for sale locally. Only one of the 100+ names has us totally foxed, as he was a civilian hand on a small ketch which seems to have left no trace in the records. Eight are buried locally (CWGC stones) but some of those belong to an adjoining parish with its own list. It's about turning the names back into people and how their deaths affected their families in the town.

The Germans wrecked the first half of the twentieth century for most of Europe and many places further away and need to be reminded of that.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#14
.. nearly three years ago a propos what he was 'doing' in History I put together an account of 'Our Family in WW1' for my then 10 y o grandson covering my grandfather's and great uncles' war.
 
#15
We also have the local 'Old Contemptibles Association' Standard which we are negotiating the loan of for the exhibition. It should make a great centrepiece.
By all accounts most of the records for the O.C.A. seem to have disappeared. Everyone I have mentioned this to has no idea where their local association records have got to. It would seem we are very lucky to have ours safely stored away. They were in the family care, with the son of the Chairman/Secretary who died quite a few years ago and his son kept his records for posterity. I'm trying to get him to release them to our local history archive.

Seaweed, have you tried local newspaper records (local library?) for your local civilian hand on the ketch? Can't think of any other potential sources other than BMD and Census to at least confirm he existed and where he lived. Possibly Burgess rolls too? He might have surviving relatives and as our local newspaper is now getting interested in the subject and willing to do articles for us to locate relatives of noted men from the war, perhaps your local newspaper might be persuaded to help with it as well.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
We have a local guru who knows everything (even what so and so's gardener was called in 1931, things like that) who tells us the ketch was built for cod fishing off Newfoundland. Presumably taken up by the Admiralty in some way. The sailor has MN form, there is a pic of him in square rig from a pukka liner before the war. We'll get there, Mrs S has got the bit between her teeth. In fact she is off grubbing in newspapers tomorrow. Trouble is, the Portsmouth News where families post notices is not indexed and the Hants Telegraph coverage is sparse.
 
#19
Short of a detailed history lesson, interspersed with commemorative events for specific days, it's hard to see what will address the general lack of understanding of the war, it's conduct and effects.

It's true that The Great War has generated more interest in recent years than it has received since the Second World War but still the general impression is informed by the 'Oh What a Lovely War' mentality (or Blackadder Goes Fourth for later generations).

If there's any justice, the four centenary years will address the misconceptions. Whether it's ever going to be successful is doubtful. For most people the belief is that every day on the Western Front was either like the first day of the Somme Offensive or the worst of the Passchendaele mud, for Aussies Gallipoli was an ANZAC affair and few people know anything about the other fronts.

Unfortunately, those in a position to inform, the broadcast and print media bosses, are of the generations that are stuck in the tragic and futile waste school so I expect the commemorative events to focus on the failures and to perpetuate their own perceptions.

I very much doubt that any reference to the generally widespread welcome of the start of hostilities in Britain, where it was felt that the war was needed to put the upstart unified Germany in its place, will be mentioned.
 
#20
Following up on what seaweed posted, one great way of making this relevant to today's kids and by extension their families is the "research the names on your war memorial" idea which I know is taking place in many towns and villages. Nothing like reading the WW1 service records of an 18 year old from your village who went to your school and lived along the road from you and then went to war in 1914 and never came back to bring it to life for people.

Anyone who has delved at all into the history of WW1 soldiers knows very well that it wasn't all like 1 July 1916 and that there are many perfectly ordinary stories to be told. I still have the album full of postcards sent by my Great Uncle to my Great Aunt. He was a private soldier in KRRC, went to war in 1916, spent the whole time in France/Flanders and died during the German Spring offensive of 1918. No-one knows how and his body was never found - just another "missing presumed killed" soldier, but the individual tragedy resulting from it was one that his wife never got over. She died in the 1980s having never remarried.

I still have the postcard he wrote to her two days before he died saying "don't worry love, I'm fine and will soon be home". Brings a tear to the eye every time I see it. That's the real history we need to remember.
 

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