Friday, 22 July 2016

Thank you to those who have stuck with me this far :).

After spending a fortnight on the northern part of the western front of WW1, we had the further pleasure of a fortnight in Normandy, travelling the beaches from Sword to Utah, and considering how rememberance works differently with WW2. There will be less posts and pics - I'm told not everyone is as excited about 70 year old concrete and tanks as I am!

We travelled on the ferry from Portsmouth to Ouistreham - approaching the coastline as many of the allied D-Day veterans did.

Sword Beach from the ferry:


Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Villers Bretonneux

The Australian memorial at Villers Brettoneux is in a beautiful setting. Designed by Lutyens (again - the Aussies ran out of money so the UK took over the design and build), it is not a climb for the faint hearted.

It is a fitting final WW1 post from me (I think), as the memorial was damaged during the fighting in WW2.

Peronne and museums ...

Peronne WW1 museum is good. It was undergoing work when we were there, and there were some missing bits to the English commentary and signage, but it was still an interesting visit. The contrast with the Imperial War museum's WW1 section was large - and I was struck again about the sanitised history and reporting of conflict that we have in the UK. Denis Winter, in "Death's Men" (pub. Allen Lane 1978) asserts in a photo caption "Many shell victims were even worse
mutilated than this man but our photo archives were carefully vetted so that very few pictures of dead Englishmen remain." (emphasis mine). We will know in this age of access to news across world wide platforms, that the UK news agencues will self censor the pictures they show. Our museums self censor the exhibits they have. Presumably UK residents are too sensitive, our children too delicate to know that war is a horrible business. Being shot or blown up is not a pretty thing and the results can last a lifetime. How refreshing it was for us when Simon Weston dared to show his injured face on Blue Peter - yet still our museums and history lessons shy away from showing the horrifying reality of injury.

Those who tell us that great steps are made in medical expertise and research in war situations need to be open about why and how!