Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

Centennial Anniversary 2014


78 replies to this topic

#1 geraint

geraint

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,637 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruthin, NE Wales and Chateauponsac, Limousin
  • Interests:4th RWF TF; Mametz Wood.

Posted 11 January 2011 - 11:43 AM

I have today written to this town council and to the local branch of the RBL asking them of their intentions regarding the hundredth anniversary of the start of the Great War. I have also submitted some ideas as to how the 101 men who died can be remembered in a pertinent and relevant way to today's younger generation. I know the RBL people well enough to know that they will be happy to continue with the annual remembrance service perhaps slightly enhanced, and will not want to be otherwise involved. I know that the town council will be happy to accept learned suggestions. They were most supportive 5 years ago when 30 'missing' names were added to the town's memorial.
Any suggestions ? Are you considering a parade, exhibition, re-enactment, etc in your area? Have other pals involved themselves as yet in your town's centennial remembrance?

#2 kenf48

kenf48

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,794 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eastbourne

Posted 11 January 2011 - 01:11 PM

To be a little provocative... Posted Image

Why celebrate the beginning of an event where millions suffered directly, not only those on the war memorial (it is, as the poet said, 'easy to be dead') but generations across the world who lived, and in some countries are still living with the consequences?

Centennial Remembrance should surely be reserved for 2018 - or are you suggesting for four years we commemorate each anniversary of every battle?

What happens in 2016? First day on the Somme - has little relevance to your community - do you choose the 7th or the 12th?



Ken

#3 geraint

geraint

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,637 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruthin, NE Wales and Chateauponsac, Limousin
  • Interests:4th RWF TF; Mametz Wood.

Posted 11 January 2011 - 01:18 PM

I've not used the word 'celebrate.'

#4 Alan Tucker

Alan Tucker

    Brigadier-General

  • R.I.P.
  • 1,989 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Solihull, West Midlands
  • Interests:Birmingham and the Great War
    Devonshire Regiment

Posted 11 January 2011 - 02:55 PM

Very narrow perspective here. Every significant centenary from 1918-1918 should be commemorated, particularly as in 2024 most of us with direct family links in living memory to the Great War will be gone. It is not just about commemoration but reflection and a good opportunity to put to bed once and for all the 'lions led by donkeys' 'school of history'. I would like to see the Battle of the 100 Days' in 2018 given the prominence of D Day, El Alamein and Dunkirk in the national memory. On the Somme we need a 2016 commemoration where we recognise it was an Anglo-French battle and was about a lot more than what happened on the first day.

To be a little provocative... Posted Image

Why celebrate the beginning of an event where millions suffered directly, not only those on the war memorial (it is, as the poet said, 'easy to be dead') but generations across the world who lived, and in some countries are still living with the consequences?

Centennial Remembrance should surely be reserved for 2018 - or are you suggesting for four years we commemorate each anniversary of every battle?

What happens in 2016? First day on the Somme - has little relevance to your community - do you choose the 7th or the 12th?



Ken



#5 Andrew Hesketh

Andrew Hesketh

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 7,371 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Wales
  • Interests:Sherwood Foresters. Nottingham Forest FC.

Posted 11 January 2011 - 03:21 PM

Why celebrate the beginning of an event where millions suffered directly


I agree Ken that to 'celebrate' would be entirely wrong, but I don't think Geraint used that word or even suggested it. He was asking about intentions to 'commemorate' the beginning of something that, by any measure, had profound effects on the world as well as individual towns and villages such as his own.

I also agree with Alan's comments, but commemorating the start may well lead to four years of more considered reflection that may just (I say may) redefine a few myths and misunderstandings, or give them an airing. At the very least it may provoke some thought about why the war was fought. The layman's myth that it was a pointless war does more to hide the true heroism of individuals and episodes such as the 100 Days than anything else. If the start isn't commemorated then not much else will be except probably 1 July 2016 and 11 November 2018.

Of course, when the first TV programme begins with the line, 'This was the war fought to end war, when millions of young men were led to their deaths by uncaring Generals...." we can just give up.

#6 kenf48

kenf48

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,794 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eastbourne

Posted 11 January 2011 - 08:41 PM

I've not used the word 'celebrate.'




I appreciate you used neither 'commemorate' nor 'celebrate', whereas I used both very carefully as that seemed to be the tone of your OP, apologies if it caused offence; but what is a parade if not a triumphant celebration?
You don't actually say what 'intentions' you expect from the Council - why should they have any at all?

As for the suggestion of a re-enactment, what will that portray? Fat old men encouraging the young to go for glory and adventure, while they stay at home and reap the profits of war? Women handing out white feathers?
How do you justify remembering the dead on a war memorial in a 'pertinent and relevant' way on the outbreak of war? Many were not conscripted until 1916, and what about those who died in 1919?

For better or worse it is the Somme, or perhaps 'Passchendale', that is forever associated with the Great War in the national psyche in the UK, just as it is Gallipolli in the Southern Hemisphere. The fact my grandfather landed on the beaches with the SWB might as well not have happened as far as popular culture is concerned it was . How can every single event of note be commemorated?

I agree with Andrew August 2014 may be a time to reflect, but in my opinion reflection is a personal, not public event.

Ken

Ken








#7 Bardess

Bardess

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,861 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Melbourne Australia
  • Interests:Smethwick RoH
    Casualty Lists
    IFCP

Posted 11 January 2011 - 09:33 PM

Why not get the schools involved and set the task of commemorating, say, 5 casualties for every day of the war in each of the main theatres. They could be displayed in the Town Hall or RBL or ...

#8 Alan Tucker

Alan Tucker

    Brigadier-General

  • R.I.P.
  • 1,989 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Solihull, West Midlands
  • Interests:Birmingham and the Great War
    Devonshire Regiment

Posted 12 January 2011 - 08:48 AM

Er when the veterans march parade the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday this is not a triumphant celebration! You are being very unkind to Geraint by putting 'words into his mouth'. We all know what re-enactments are in Great War terms and your jibe on this appears to have political overtones banned by the Forum.

I expect Birmingham City Council to take a lead, with others, in a variety of ways to commememorate the city's sacrifice with its three Pals Battalions and three Territorial Battalions. To hopefully resurrect its strong post-1918 links with Albert, for example. The war was woven into the fabric of the city - its university, its hospitals, its industries, its hospitality to Belgian refugees etc etc.

So all because 'Somme' and 'Passchendaele' are part of the national psyche we should make no attempt to redress the balance and seek to portray the war in the light of our deeper historical understanding which has emerged over the last 30 years?

I am aware of two local branches of the WFA who are thinking ahead about how the war might be 'commemorated'.We are in early days and I am sure plenty of ideas will be forthcoming. I would expect to see events of some scale held at, for example, the CWGC and German cemeteries on Cannock Chase and the National Memorial Arboretum. Education and schools will also have an important involvement.

I appreciate you used neither 'commemorate' nor 'celebrate', whereas I used both very carefully as that seemed to be the tone of your OP, apologies if it caused offence; but what is a parade if not a triumphant celebration?
You don't actually say what 'intentions' you expect from the Council - why should they have any at all?

As for the suggestion of a re-enactment, what will that portray? Fat old men encouraging the young to go for glory and adventure, while they stay at home and reap the profits of war? Women handing out white feathers?
How do you justify remembering the dead on a war memorial in a 'pertinent and relevant' way on the outbreak of war? Many were not conscripted until 1916, and what about those who died in 1919?

For better or worse it is the Somme, or perhaps 'Passchendale', that is forever associated with the Great War in the national psyche in the UK, just as it is Gallipolli in the Southern Hemisphere. The fact my grandfather landed on the beaches with the SWB might as well not have happened as far as popular culture is concerned it was . How can every single event of note be commemorated?

I agree with Andrew August 2014 may be a time to reflect, but in my opinion reflection is a personal, not public event.

Ken

Ken



#9 geraint

geraint

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,637 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruthin, NE Wales and Chateauponsac, Limousin
  • Interests:4th RWF TF; Mametz Wood.

Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:11 AM

The Remembrance Sunday parade held annually is certainly neither triumphant nor celebratory. I would expect communities to do something on the centennial of the greatest cataclysm to hit this town of mine, as well as hundreds of other towns throughout Britain. As Diane suggests, I would hope that it involves local children predominantly for them to realise the implications of those days of war on the community and on their families. I'd have no problem with re-enactors showing and displaying authentic kit as part of that, neither would I have a problem with a display/exhibition of Great War related documents and artifacts in the public library. I've researched the town's involvement and deaths in the war for the last 10 years, and would be proud to give the Town Council my research for free if they wish to publish a condensed version for school children.

I'm not talking of every single act. August 1914 is the onset of a war which lasted for four years, but affected all involved for their lifetime. Choosing or picking a few dates here and there is irrelevant in the broad picture. 1st July 1916 may be important to you, but here, only 1 man died whereas 24 died on 11-12 July. These dates I would certainly commend as being suitable for personal commemoration.

#10 KOF

KOF

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 106 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Scottish Borders
  • Interests:Black Watch, A&SH, art and biscuits.

Posted 12 January 2011 - 09:57 PM

A few good points there re the "commemoration" of the beginning of The Great War. It's an important anniversary, which should be given remembered just as much as the end of the war (and it's aftermath).

I've thought long and hard about remembrance this last while. Part of my own personal remembrance will be a book about my grandfather and his battalion during the fighting on the Somme in 1916. This is fair enough, as it goes, but it's only one aspect of this huge and devastating conflict. Something of relevance to me may not be of relevance to someone else. Which dates are important? Which battles? They're all important,...yet not. What is important? The men (and women and horses, etc) are important. When we talk of battles, what do we really remember? We remember Sargent Soandso, Private Thingy and General Wosname. We remember what they did, when they did it and where. Why they did it is a very difficult question to answer. Duty, honour, faith, king and country, all cliches, but for some the truth. Others? "Well they bombed me Nan's chip shop, didn't they!? -Them and their flying dirrirgjib....balloons! I'm off to give 'em wot!!" The socio-political commentaries.

In the end all we can really do is remember people. By remembering people we remember what they did, and what they left behind. There is no way this can be achieved on national media, I mean where would the space in the television schedules be for "Strictly come Jungle" or "Streetenders"? To me the realistic way to remember will, and can only be, local. Councils, schools, libraries, etc. The national events will be, for better or worse, the "premier" events of WW1. Somme, Gallipoli, etc.

Enough rambling! Here's the nub of my idea.

My WW1 familial connections are 8th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and 7th RHR (Black Watch). The Argylls? I dunno yet. 7th Black Watch however I have an idea for, which I think may be feasible.

It is thus. The reforming of the 7th . What I propose is to find a picture of every man who served with the 7th in WW1 and display them as a complete unit. We've all seen the names on memorials and to many that is all that they will ever be, just names. By simply adding a photo to a name one can begin to see the person behind that name and through that their story, and the story of The Great War. In 2014 the first batch of photos will be those who were already in the battalion. As time goes by to 2018 more photos are added. These will be the photos of those who enlist after the outbreak of war, who joined the battalion. This way the observer can see how the war developed, how it affected local communities. "Why did so many men join the battalion on this day?" "They're there to replace those who died." It would hopefully give people a sense of the times, of the sacrifice (for wont of a better word) of not only the men, but also communities as they are left bereft of young men.

Each photo would have the name and number of each man, hopefully with a short bio. On days when an individual is killed then something should be done to mark it somehow. Perhaps a red poppy is fixed to the photo to signify KIA? Also some other method to signify a permanent wounding?ie invalided out of the fighting. This would give people a chance to see not only how many were killed, as is indicated by war memorials, but how many survived and in what condition. It would be a way to remember the survivors as well as those who didn't.

It's a big project, but not un-feasible. As yet I have no idea about how to do this. Who to contact, etc? I do know I'd like it to be in Dunfermline, as it was where my grandfather was from. I do know he was proud to be from Dunfermline, he lived there till his death. He didn't want to live anywhere else. For me it's the right location.

Enough, enough rambling!


Cheers

Colin

#11 MichaelBully

MichaelBully

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,987 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hove
  • Interests:Priority for the remainder of Spring 2014 is to try to get the 'Great War at Sea Poetry' project off the ground.
    http://greatwaratsea.blogspot.co.uk/

Posted 14 January 2011 - 08:59 PM

I am in favour of marking the Centennial Anniversary for a number of reasons. Firstly, we are in a culture where anniversaries are given significance so those of us who study the Great War may as well try to have some say in what happens locally. In some respects I am dreading the crop of cable TV documentaries and the endless cliches they are going to repeat in 2014 but the Centennial Anniversary is going to happen. Secondly I am interested in conserving and protecting war memorials so the Centennial Anniversary will be useful in this respect. Thirdly I think that it is important to encourage a wider awareness of the Great War, the sacrifices that were made, and the consequences of the War for the future of so much of the world. For example, I am a volunteer at Saint Andrews church in Waterloo Street, Hove. No longer used for regular worship, but kept open as an arts venue and also as a building of historical interest. Researching the lives of the Great War dead who are named on memorial plaques there has hopefully added to an overall appreciation of the building by the wider public. The Centennial Anniversary will be used to develop research already done in this field.
Regards
Michael Bully

#12 sassoon

sassoon

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Toronto
  • Interests:The Great War and all things related.

Posted 15 January 2011 - 08:00 PM

A few good points there re the "commemoration" of the beginning of The Great War. It's an important anniversary, which should be given remembered just as much as the end of the war (and it's aftermath).



Well said. Not sure why some people get their nose so out joint.

#13 Andy Wade

Andy Wade

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweat
  • 1,473 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oakworth, West Yorkshire.
  • Interests:Beer. Oh, and history.

Posted 16 January 2011 - 12:39 PM

Well said. Not sure why some people get their nose so out joint.


Because they can?

We will be remebering and taking the opportunity to educate as well as commemorate. Everything we're doing at the moment is actually leading up to 2014. We hope to have a significant number of the men and women who served recorded, at least all those who died which is a far greater number than those who are named on the memorials. Seems they missed quite a few off the lists, so we'll be trying to correct that with additiions to the roll of honour (there is a precedent for this as it already has an addenda page). We have greater access to the service records now so the opportunity is there. So far we have had a lot of local support with people being very encouraging especially from the educational angle with at least two teachers wishing to get closely involved. It may seem a while away but we'll need to spend a long time preparing. One other thing we aim to do is get all our stored war memorials back on public display where they belong.

#14 sassoon

sassoon

    Second Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 126 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Toronto
  • Interests:The Great War and all things related.

Posted 16 January 2011 - 02:32 PM

I'm fully aware that they can, just not sure why it seems to happen so often on this forum. I'll let those of you with your noses out of joint squabble amongst yourselves now, as you usually do.

#15 Andy Wade

Andy Wade

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweat
  • 1,473 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oakworth, West Yorkshire.
  • Interests:Beer. Oh, and history.

Posted 16 January 2011 - 03:11 PM

What are you going to do in 2014 then?

#16 kenf48

kenf48

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,794 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eastbourne

Posted 16 January 2011 - 08:09 PM

I'm fully aware that they can, just not sure why it seems to happen so often on this forum. I'll let those of you with your noses out of joint squabble amongst yourselves now, as you usually do.


Wise move, after all your lines

Squire nagged and bullied till I went to fight
(Under Lord Derby's scheme). I died in hell--


....

Can apparently be construed as a 'jibe that appears to have political overones banned by the Forum'.

Ken

#17 kenf48

kenf48

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,794 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eastbourne

Posted 16 January 2011 - 08:29 PM

What are you going to do in 2014 then?


The intentions of forum members were discussed in an earlier thread begun by the late 'KevinEndon' http://1914-1918.inv...ic=153933&st=25

I think the best and most appropriate suggestion was that made by Chris Baker concerning the records, I think that would be a fitting tribute, after all the ANZACs can do it. Though perhaps too subtle for the apparent need this century for public outpouring of emotion.

As for the involvement of local authorities, in my opinion that would be a disaster of 'inclusiveness' especially as they strive to recapture the spirit of innocence of 1914 and sanitise the atrocities of the subsequent years.

Ken

#18 geraint

geraint

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,637 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruthin, NE Wales and Chateauponsac, Limousin
  • Interests:4th RWF TF; Mametz Wood.

Posted 26 January 2011 - 06:53 PM

I've had a reply from the Town Council today. They are very keen to do something, and they've elect five members to form a sub-committee to meet me in a fortnight. Apparently, they fought amongst themselves to decide which five would form the sub-committee, such was the interest amongst them. I have a specific agenda to propose to them, but would appreciate suggestions from GWF pals regarding ideas!

#19 Bardess

Bardess

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,861 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Melbourne Australia
  • Interests:Smethwick RoH
    Casualty Lists
    IFCP

Posted 27 January 2011 - 06:11 AM

How exciting! Just a general idea really. Involve the local schools in researching at the local library [before the celebrations] and invite their thoughts on a display and how to 'keep their memory alive'. August is right in the middle of the holiday season so outside stalls selling bunting and mini flags etc to perhaps support the RBL. Also invite locals through the newspapers to bring along any photos and medals for display in the library or council offices. That sort of thing. Maybe a laptop or two displaying the GWF, CWGC and LG :thumbsup:

#20 Bardess

Bardess

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,861 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Melbourne Australia
  • Interests:Smethwick RoH
    Casualty Lists
    IFCP

Posted 27 January 2011 - 09:16 AM

Another thought, if you wanted to share some of your research to show how it is done and maybe some trench maps? A model would be brilliant if you could lay your hands on one

#21 Andy Wade

Andy Wade

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweat
  • 1,473 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oakworth, West Yorkshire.
  • Interests:Beer. Oh, and history.

Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:06 AM

We might even be looking at a modern sculpture to mark the occasion. I have already spoken to the local museum who have row upon row of period uniforms etc in storage plus mannequins so they'd be only too happy to set up a public display to go with the project display of men's biographies and pictures. There's lots of scope here and with a little bit of effort it will be easy to get the schools involved as it ticks a lot of boxes for the teachers. I like the idea of addressing the local council as a whole and will have to get in touch with a couple of councillors that I know very well, to see if I can get an invite to address the council about this. The thing is, that my project is already set up by area so each Town Councillor could 'adopt' their own area within the project to encourage people from that area to get involved. Hmmmm... <rubs chin>

We've already had the nod (and a wink) that our local war memorials in storage are to get a new and permanent home on public display. So that's one tailor made venue we can use already.

#22 geraint

geraint

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,637 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Ruthin, NE Wales and Chateauponsac, Limousin
  • Interests:4th RWF TF; Mametz Wood.

Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:45 AM

Diane and Andy
Thanks for your thoughts - really appreciated. Local school involvement is probably the most important aspect of a centennial like this, and having read both your comments I've also contacted the County Council heritage department, and arranged a meeting with the museums officer and curator. I was astonished in the fact that the county council have over 160,000 items curated by the department, many of Great War vintage pertaining to the county.

#23 Andy Wade

Andy Wade

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweat
  • 1,473 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Oakworth, West Yorkshire.
  • Interests:Beer. Oh, and history.

Posted 27 January 2011 - 10:55 AM

You're welome, I'm hoping to pick up a few ideas myself.
Wait until you get in the storage rooms where the uniforms are kept. You'll have a dickey fit, which is what I did when I saw what ours had in stock. No reproduction stuff, all genuine items from the Great War period that rarely see the light of day. The museum staff are also very keen to get involved and I've provisionally booked the museum display rooms already as they have a two year advance list for exhibitions. Yes, two years! Better think about booking yours soon!

#24 dycer

dycer

    Major-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 3,857 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Macclesfield,Cheshire
  • Interests:8th Royal Scots.

Posted 27 January 2011 - 11:04 AM

I'd prefer the School/Education approach generally, although I accept the Community precedence.
For example to remember V.E/V.J.Day the local Primary School asked for WW2 Memorabilia exhibits for a temporary display and accepted the late Father-in-Law's RAF de-mob papers(he moved to the Town in the late 1950's) and my Scots 1950 National Registration Card. :D
My Family WW1 photographic and Medal bits and pieces "belong" to a Town in Scotland, which, if it requested to borrow, for a Town Centenary event I would be glad to lend but I may never know of any such request the Town, makes as I have no relatives living in the Town and have never had any direct association with it, i.e. never lived in Haddington.
Equally if the Town,I now call Home,requests artefacts to mark its service and sacrifice,in WW1,I cannot offer my memorabilia as they have no direct association, to Macclesfield in WW1.If a request for general WW1 memorabilia is made,however,I will be glad to oblige.
I appreciate the Centenary will be marked in many ways but personally I favour the education of the young approach.
George

#25 David Faulder

David Faulder

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,980 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:3rd, 1/4th, 14th Battalions York and Lancaster Regiment

Posted 27 January 2011 - 11:04 AM

If by 2014 we still have a local press, I think there is a huge opportunity for them to reconnect with their local readership (and demonstrate that some journalism has integrity).

Can they 100 years on from each day (or week), republish the actual war reports (in facsimile) from that day (or week) as part of their normal publications, and (possibly in arrangement with local authorities - if they still exist - or other local organisations) arrange for transcripts to be published on the internet in such a way that schools etc. can link their projects to those reports and others (such as us) can link discussions about how the war was being reported?

The published facsimiles (say regularly on page 3!) could include reports from the front, details of local soldiers (photos of those who died etc.), as well as "colour" articles about how the war was affecting life at home (shortages, zeppelin raids, war production).

The more interesting articles may even provoke regional TV news coverage (again if such institutions still exist).

There is a danger that myths will be promoted - but I fear that is true of anything (expect of course stuff produced by us!), but it will widen knowledge of the Great War across more of the population, as well as getting people more interested in their own localities.

David