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JohnD

They Shall Not Grow Old

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On the 16th October, a new documentary will be premiered all over the UK.  "They Shall Not Grow Old" is by Peter Jackson, of the Hobbit and Ring films fame, who has used technology to restore and revive original film of the First World War, making it look like modern footage.  He was comissioned to do so by the Imperial War Museum and in association with the BBC, which further gives this film authority.    The result is remarkable, at the very least, if the trailer is true to the rest of the film:

Many theatres may also show, live, the Q&A discussion with Jackson that will follow the film at the London Film Festival.

One to take your children to, and grandchildren if they are old enough.

JOhn

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3 hours ago, JohnD said:

Just heard that film is Cert15, so not the youngest grand kids then!

Think you were supposed to be at least 18 to get shot at in the main event...... and get shot, blown up, drowned and poisoned they did.  In their millions ...... Impossible to do the true horror any kind of justice and remain suitable for "family viewing" IMO.

Nick

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I did wonder how 'family friendly' the footage would be.  The trailer is unexceptional in that respect, so an age cert is useful.

But in this Internet, Xboxed, Grand Theft Autoed age, 15 year olds should be able to to take whatever Jackson will show.  It can't be as horrifying as it really was, or even the opening scenes of "Saving Private Ryan".     Just for the record, the Wiki says that a 12 year old, Sidney Lewis, served at the Somme. 

As he worked in a City bank, one grandfather served in the Honourable Artillery Company, the other was a railwayman, a 'reserved occupation'; an uncle, his son, was shot through the chest at the Somme; Dad was in WW2, and all survived, rather obviously, as I'm here.     Other family members did not escape National Service, and served in Korea, also surviving.     As Dr.Johnson said, "Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier", and while I agree, I am more than thankful that there has been no necessity for me to do so.

Ther seem to me to be two sorts of ex-service person.     For one it was the best time of their life, and they love to talk about it.   For the others, the reverse, and they never do.    My father was in the latter group, except for one or two glimpses, never repeated, both horrifying.

John   

  

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My wife and I made the journey to visit some family grave sites in Belgium and France in 2015. I hope the film handles the situation appropriately.

We visited a few smaller cemetery (Mendinghem, Klein Vierstraat) as they are where my relatives are buried. But then my wife's relative is commemorated at Thiepval, it's utterly overwhelming

We also visited the Menin Gate, Tyne Cot and Langemarke. I was utterly overwhelmed with sadness and a sense of loss.

My grandfather's uncle made it out alive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernest_Sykes_(VC)

 

You could never get either of my grandfathers to talk about the second world war. Granddad Clayton was one of the first allied soldiers to arrive at Bergen-Belsen in April 1945. After he got home he never left the country again. Granddad Bullough worked in bomb disposal in London during the bllitz and was the only member of his original unit to survive.

Anyway, I'll stop rambling on, as I say, I just hope the subject matter is handled appropriately.

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We took the boys to Thiepval and some other sites on our road trip to Switzerland in 2009.  Was an eye-opener for all.  The scale..... the numbers.......!

My fathers father fought in North Africa and Italy in WW2.  He didn't talk about it.  Ever.

Nick

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Hello All

                 I have been to the WW1 Battle fields 4 times and it never fails to move me to tears.

Last time was on the way back from Spa 2017 with my mate John and we stayed at Talbot House (TOC H)

A few photos

Roger

ps I think all schools should have a trip there to show the utter waste that War is!

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One year whilst exploring Alsace we came across Hartmannswillerkopf and were very moved by the experience. Opposing trenches so very, very close together and so extensive and so well preserved, just abandoned and left for nature to reclaim. When you look around it is just a rocky tree clad hill. Impressive crypt and memorials to honour and remember the fallen. We have never come across anyone who had heard of the place, but then it was a French / German battlefield.

http://pierreswesternfront.punt.nl/content/2012/02/hartmannswillerkopf--vieil-armand

Alan

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Just 12 years old -  many brave souls like him lied about their age just to enlist and probably 'bought it' on their first day. Yes - it just chokes you doesn't it.

No veteran that I have met can talk about it.... it's like a type of 'locked in syndrome'. What they witnessed is too terrible to speak about and they keep their own special 'silent remembrance' of their comrades until the end.

We have one hell of a lot to be thankful for. RIP all of them.

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Ads in my newspaper today, and in Radio Times.

The film will be broadcast on Armistice Day, the 11th, Remembrance Sunday at 2130 on BBC2.

And, at cinemas around the UK, 9th, 10th, and the 11th.

John

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Chaps

This has been up on YT for a couple of years, according to the date, but I've only just come across it.  Very skilfully done:

Paul

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Anyone else?  I found it extraordinary.    I felt as if I knew some of the faces we saw, apart from their dreadful teeth.      As they are our grandfathers and great grandfathers, that's not so surprising, but that's not how it is when you see the old films projected in the usual way.

It held almost nothing back - the dead, the blood, the wounds.  Although a film that will be shown again and again, I hope, in schools and on TV, children will need to be of a certain age and well prepared for what they will see.

The central section, that dealt with hand to hand trench fighting leant a little too much on 'artists impressions' from the day, but there cannot be any film of that, so it must be forgiven.    And those graphics included Allied propaganda images of "The Hun", that are no longer appropriate, when the German President was at the Westminster Abbey Rememberance Day service.     But those are almost trivial criticisms.

For annual showing, please, BBC.

John

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The stories of compassionate acts between the German and British troops (in both directions) actually moved me to tears. I thought it was amazing that human beings who had seen such horror were still capable of compassion towards their "enemies" and able to recognise that the "other side" were just like them. Absolutely amazing.

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I'm not sure whether this is the right thread for my anecdote - I certainly don't want to take away from its gravitas.

When the process of opening historic service records to public inspection began five and more years ago, retirement gave my big sister the opportunity to fill in some gaps in the family tree. Both of our parents served towards the end of WW2 and their fathers had both been in France late in WW1.

Or so we thought. My sister established that one grandfather had a distinguished service career, mentioned in dispatches, etc., and returned a damaged man. The other did not. Contrary to the myth he evidently allowed to grow around him (no lies, just the authority of somebody who didn't talk about The War), he had served his country digging ditches in Kent on punishment duty for falsely seeking medical discharge.

Under other circumstances, a bit of deceit perpetrated a century ago would be a source of amusement, but my sisters and I have found ourselves bearing an inexplicable feeling of guilt.

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44 minutes ago, PaulAA said:

I'm not sure whether this is the right thread for my anecdote - I certainly don't want to take away from its gravitas.

When the process of opening historic service records to public inspection began five and more years ago, retirement gave my big sister the opportunity to fill in some gaps in the family tree. Both of our parents served towards the end of WW2 and their fathers had both been in France late in WW1.

Or so we thought. My sister established that one grandfather had a distinguished service career, mentioned in dispatches, etc., and returned a damaged man. The other did not. Contrary to the myth he evidently allowed to grow around him (no lies, just the authority of somebody who didn't talk about The War), he had served his country digging ditches in Kent on punishment duty for falsely seeking medical discharge.

Under other circumstances, a bit of deceit perpetrated a century ago would be a source of amusement, but my sisters and I have found ourselves bearing an inexplicable feeling of guilt.

It is entirely possible that his asking for a medical discharge would have been permitted by the standards of today?

What you have to bear in mind is that the authorities a century ago had very little understanding and therefore empathy for those suffering with stress
and it is only very recently that the MOD has started to acknowledge PTSD (although having said that, they do consider it an NHS matter).

 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0brzl3w/wwis-secret-shame-shell-shock
This documentary is well worth watching.

 

 

 

Ian.

 

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Spent a good few days of the Driving Miss Daisy Tour last month in the battlefields of the Somme.

Sobering stuff.

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I came away very grateful to be an observer rather than participant.

C.

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4 hours ago, Sprint95m said:

It is entirely possible that his asking for a medical discharge would have been permitted by the standards of today?

What you have to bear in mind is that the authorities a century ago had very little understanding and therefore empathy for those suffering with stress
and it is only very recently that the MOD has started to acknowledge PTSD (although having said that, they do consider it an NHS matter).

 

 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0brzl3w/wwis-secret-shame-shell-shock
This documentary is well worth watching.

 

 

 

Ian.

 

Ian

I absolutely wouldn't question PTSD, but his medical grounds were physical and made immediately upon call-up - he got no closer to the Front than Kent.

Paul

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The phisical condition of recruits in WW1 was shockingly bad.   In the whole country no more than 40% were judged to be  Class 1 and fit to fight, and in London it was less than 30%.   No doubt there was presure to pass more recruits as fit, and so he was doing no more than asking for a second opinion!

It was this picture of an unfit, ill nation that led to Lloyd George's post war National Insurance legislation, and ultimately the NHS.

John

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