Remembrance Season – How Was it for You?

Every year the few get fewer

Every year it gets more and more politicised

Every year it turns more and more into a soap opera

But please, journalists and columnists, spare us from your opinion on why you will or will not be wearing a poppy, why you think it should be a lilly or another colour or what it means personally to you.

No one is interested

Please, Z list celebs, no one wants to hear about your great Uncle because we know it’s about you not him

No one is interested

Please, BBC, stop making everyone wear a poppy, it is beginning to look faintly ridiculous and certainly disingenuous.

Everyone knows they forgot, it’s not a capital offence

Please, protesters and those wanting to embarrass politicians, the day is not a time for protest

No one thinks you are being clever

And finally, MoD, please get a grip of your PR and Media Relations teams who are rapidly turning the armed forces into the paramilitary wing of Cilla Black’s Surprise Surprise

It’s getting embarrassing

So next year, do you think people could buy a poppy or not, mark the occasion or not, observe the two minutes silence or not.

Or maybe, just remember the fallen

Now that would be a novelty.

 

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Mental Crumble
Mental Crumble
November 12, 2013 9:07 am

Agree.

For some reason yesterday I was reflecting on people I knew who were killed in training and RTA’s. One newly arrived subaltern was killed as a result of internal injuries sustained while sitting in the back of a Land Rover on the Sennelager ring road when an HGV’s bumper brushed the side of the canopy. Decent guy, a freak accident but a terrible, terrible waste.

dave haine
dave haine
November 12, 2013 9:20 am

Every 3 months or so “the Tylers toast”. Once a year, i stand in silence for two minutes. Whenever I come across a memorial I take the time to stop and bow my head, in silent gratitude.

So I don’t feel the need to wear a poppy (i buy one because it helps the British Legion), I reckon remembering the fallen is the point- not showing everyone else, that you conform to a social norm.

Brian Black
Brian Black
November 12, 2013 10:09 am

Next year is the centenary of the start of the Great War, so expect a bit of a circus around the day.

Remembrance day was initially dedicated to those that had fallen in WWI. After the second world war, the dedication was naturally expanded to commemorate all our dead service men and women; to share a thought for all victims of war, civilians, wounded soldiers, is also understandable.

Unfortunately, and I don’t know when it happened, a political undertone has elbowed its way into the day. We now hear more about freedom, and soldiers’ daily sacrifices as they fight for freedom around the world.

It comes across to me as trying to justify current military expeditions through guilt. Essentially tying other things to the act of remembrance in order to establish the idea that if you don’t wholeheartedly support that other thing, then you don’t care about the fallen. If you don’t approve of the government’s decision to fight for freedom in Afghanistan (or elsewhere), then you don’t care about our ranks of war casualties.

If politicians try to politicise remembrance day, then that will also attract political protest; and we will get ever further from a simple day of commemoration.

Monty
November 12, 2013 10:26 am

Well said, TD. my thoughts exactly.

Hugh Otterburn
Hugh Otterburn
November 12, 2013 10:41 am

Whilst the time of Remembrance is mainly about the fallen, it is also about the wounded and hopefully preventing insane carnage in the future. Whilst I agree with your comments about so-called celebrities and protesters hijacking the event, the generations that remember WWI and WWII are fast disappearing and even their children are reaching old age. If something is not made of Remembrance then it ill pass away unnoticed into history, so it is vital to promulgate Remembrance for it to continue, as it should. I actually found the tone of your post almost as objectionable as some of the activities you quite rightly descry. The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance is something that has changed character over the past few years – at first, I was far from sure that this was appropriate – but if Remembrance is going to be remembered then it has to be made relevant to those who are still living. Seeing Megan Adams run to her father in fact made my eyes well up, or do you think that that was part of your soap opera ? My feelings and thoughts at the time of Remembrance are not going to be affected by anything or anyone else, although some insight into how others are feeling maybe not a bad thing. As for your ridiculous comment about the BBC making everyone wear a poppy, you clearly have not spotted this [and no, I am not a reader of the Daily Mail!] :-
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-82197/Poppy-ban-BBC-overseas-TV-presenters.html
The RBL struggles with its funding and poppy sales are vital to its core work, so it would not be incongruous of the BBC to promote this – I dare say it has prompted many an individual to buy a poppy.
I just wish that I could have been at Capel-le-Ferne on Sunday and yesterday and been with the few of The Few that remain . . . . . . . . .

Paul Robinson
Paul Robinson
November 12, 2013 10:45 am

As ex pat Briit/Irish now living near many of the old battlefields & war cemeteries great & small dotted all around, i’m aware of the wars day to day. Sickened at all the political posturing on both sides of the channel. Surely a time to put politics to the side & remember the common causes everyone fought for in first place. Urinated off seeing “Bonnets Rouges” – the Breton ecotax protesters interrupting the services of remembrance in Paris. Reminded everyone listening over half their red hats were imported from Scotland in first place, so why did they think they were any more patriotic than those who were being commemorated? Thanks to the squaddies who served in Northern Ireland – i’m one of the lot that appreciate your service in a conflict nobody understood. Thanks to all that served & still serve.

Chris
Chris
November 12, 2013 10:52 am

On the subject of the BBC and its coverage. The Sunday coverage from the Cenotaph was OK except for the need to ‘go to Sophie now, who’s talking to someone’ – no great insights from people suffering a microphone stuck under their nose when they’ve got more important things to do.

The Saturday night event from the Albert Hall had a spattering of proper thought provoking stuff, but wheeling out professional entertainers to sing tear-jerkers was inappropriate. Not sure how Capt Blunt (Rtd) was given permission to sing a song about Blue-on-Blue casualties though… We remember in years past the Festival of Remembrance was a showcase of Armed Forces teamwork and discipline – a mini-Royal Tournament – with *all* displays by serving personnel (Drill, gymnastics, enactments etc). No more – nothing much about the proud tradition of selfless service of the armed forces, fortunately stopping just short of statements of pointless waste although you’d bet that was against the desires of the TV producer. At various times I walked out of the room when the acted sincerity got too annoying to sit and suffer. Where did the basic message “Thanks for all your efforts and sacrifices made to keep our Country safe” get lost?

The BBC has also announced its focus for the commemoration of WW1:
http://www.1914.org/news/bbc-working-with-iwm-on-world-war-one-at-home/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/ww1/

It seems it has decided its commemorations will not be sharply focused on those who went to war. It will put much of its efforts into:

– The effect of the war on those at home (wives, children, parents, munitions workers, doctors/nurses etc)
– The contribution of ethnic minorities (of course)
– Women’s perspective (described as unique and vastly important)
– How we dealt with prisoners of war (no doubt ending with someone declaring we denied their human rights and should beat ourselves in endless penance for such hideous wickedness)

All to be made ‘accessible’ and ‘involving’ for the young, no doubt with hands-on activities and music from X-factor boy-bands winners and ‘thought-provoking drama’ (that will be the stuff on CBBC).

In essence then the BBC is going to soften their coverage of the war experienced by the millions of soldiers sailors & airmen because that would be glorification of nasty violence, instead they want to promote their normal feminine biased multi-cultural left-wing liberal position which is much more important than the sacrifice made by 956,703 British & Commonwealth troops killed and two million odd wounded. And of course it will be all accessibly dumbed down and made nice so it doesn’t upset anyone as you’d expect. Well done BBC…

As for me, I do buy a poppy and I do make efforts to wear it not to show anything about me or establishment or accepted norms, but to signal to current, future or ex-servicemen/women that their efforts are still greatly appreciated by at least this one man in the street, that’s all.

Bob
Bob
November 12, 2013 11:36 am

Chris,

I hope you are not surprised. The BBC loathes anyone who has ever so much as looked at a firearm (unless they are a south London gangster then the BBC believes them to be heroic freedom fighters). Furthermore the ideology of the BBC is increasingly in direct opposition to everything the men and women who fought in WW1/2 actually fought for. The BBC favours the end of a free press, the end of free speech and the end of the UK as an independent nation.

Zaitsev
Zaitsev
November 12, 2013 11:48 am

Home front = Feminism?
overseas troops (anzacs) = ethinic minorties?
stories about prisnors of war = how we denied them there human rights?

You just made it all up yet you have the gall to call acuse the BBC of bias.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 12, 2013 12:07 pm

On the BBC coverage of Sunday I thought it was very good and the only improvement would have been if they had moved all the films they showed to a pre ceremony broadcast and cut Sophie out, basic coverage is often best for such occasions. Sky’s coverage on the other hand I thought was quite bad, they had horrendous quality and had overlayed the screen with their logos and how to contact them etc, I don’t know what their coverage consisted of as I switched over to the BBC within 2 minutes as they had perfect picture quality.

As well as remembering our dead I feel we should also celebrate in what they achieved, this is a very unfashionable point of view, if many in the media got their way our history would be rewritten without the words won or victory. I doubt any BBC coverage will come out and openly say that WW1 was a victory without prefacing it with the word costly or similar. (Another victory we need to celebrate in coming years is Waterloo.)

Though we need to remember the sacrifice on the home front, the main sacrifice has always been the troops themselves. As we have next to no decent series depicting WW1 surely that is what the BBC should be commisioning a detailed account of the war using archive footage, pictures and recorded interviews. I am thinking of the excellent WW2 series The World At War, which is still very watchable even 30 years on.

Any coverage looking at the impact of minorities on the war should be just that a minority of the coverage, it should of course be documented, but not so much that it takes over from the main scope of covering the war itself.

Also any use of young celebrities with no connection to the war or any of their other usual attempts to make themselves looking like the understand young people, will result in me sending the BBC a very nasty letter asking for my licence fee back. They should use established presentors/historians to lead overage.

dave haine
dave haine
November 12, 2013 12:26 pm

@ zaitsev

No, it’s true- I’ve seen the trailers for the BBC coverage, and it seems to be emphasising all of those things. Apart from daytime TV, which has been mainly from ‘stan.

The BBC does have a liberal, left-wing bias, so much so that it only advertises jobs in one paper- the Guardian, a notably left-wing, liberal newspaper. This, unfortunately has created a situation where the BBC does not represent all political views in this country. it was derided in a parlimentary committee, for just that.

Now, don’t get me wrong- I like the BBC, their drama (except the soaps, which i think are TV for the mindless) and, generally, factual programming is without peer, but if I’ve noticed the bias….

It is not heresy to criticise the BBC, but it is heresy to use pretend indignation instead of sound, analytical reasoned argument…OK not, heresy, maybe juvenile.

Zaitsev
Zaitsev
November 12, 2013 1:11 pm

I have no problem with criticising the bbc although i actually think their incompetantance is worse than their bias. I dont know the bbc rationale for advertising in the guardian, but i know right and left wing job seekers use it for the job section just as the far left would read the times for the crossword, because it is the best. From my point of view it seems every bbc article I read comes across as the work of a english graudate who knows nothing about the world trying to present an unbiassed account of an event that, becuase they are so ill informed, comes across as hilariously biased to any one who reads it who accutely knows anything about it. However I think any acount of ww1 that does not include people from overseas (we were an empire!) , the home front, and the lives of POW would seem a little lacking in bredth. The focus on these things is due ot the fact that it is a programme called the “World War One At Home’ ” which is part of the cenatinary not all of it.
Its hardly soley the bbc that was responsibilty for portraying ww1 as a complete waste and the greatist example of miltarty incompetence ever. However I can understand why poeple might fear that is what was going to happen. However I have some (resevered) hope that the cenatianry of ww1 will bring a aim to change the common perception off ww1 as being a waste and effectivly a draw with the germans, into a more sympathtic view of the brish cause and the generals and soildiers who took part. I think this because of listing to this http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/r41913 which seemed to me to be a gearing up to exactly this approach. I think there was even a historian saying that academics where desprate for this chance to reeducate people about ww1 I hope that the bbc will give them this chance.

Bob
Bob
November 12, 2013 1:12 pm

The BBC, better known as the Bolshevik Bullshit Corporation is a hard-left propaganda outfit whose central mission appears to be the denigration of everything ever done by the British with the aim of destroying Britain’s sense of national identity (along with everything that goes with it such as a belief in democracy, liberty and freedom of speech) in an effort to impose socialism on the UK.

Chris
Chris
November 12, 2013 1:19 pm

Zaitsev – these from the first linked webpage: “accounts of the vastly important role women played” & ” the many soldiers who came to Britain from overseas” & “surprising stories about familiar neighbourhoods where … prisoners of war were held” – OK the last two were a leap but the BBC does have previous on this sort of reporting. I look forward to being proven wrong over the next four years, but from the press releases thus far the bias seems to be focused away from the front lines and towards the more liberal concerns of the effect on those related to the soldiers and friends from abroad and looking after poor prisoners and so on. A bit like looking back on the Clapham train crash and focusing on how dreadful it was for the news teams reporting on it – I’m sure it was rough for them but that wasn’t as important as those hurt on the train.

When I see the phrase “important that we question and challenge ‘perceived wisdom’ and contested narratives about the war” in the second linked webpage that really does get the alarms ringing, because such reappraisals have nearly always applied whatever current sensitivities may be to a world that operated under different values and references. A common focus of latter-day reporting of the Western Front was the living conditions of the soldiers – dreadful; cold; wet; poor rations; bully beef every day; squalor – and so on. But civilian life pre-1914 was tough – no social services, no central heating, work was long hours mostly physical hard labour in factories & fields, hunger was never far away – the Army gave its soldiers three meals a day which is more than they could have guaranteed back in civvy street. The trenches were unpleasant; the ever present death & corruption was horrific. But living conditions were much less of a step away from home comforts than we are led to believe. I will be amazed if the result of “important that we question and challenge ‘perceived wisdom’ and contested narratives about the war” isn’t the application of current liberal views on the horrors of warfare, when at the time and under the values of the time the war was an absolute duty to protect the Country and to do the right thing. In the 1914 mindset it was unconscionable that a British man could stand back and let the Kaiser’s thugs have their wicked way with the Belgian and French peoples. There was no question about it; something just had to be done.

Have I pre-judged? Certainly, as none of the coverage has yet been screened. But its not empty prejudice, it is founded on the evidence of much TV historical documentary that has particularly in recent years been reappraised – spun – under modern liberal (small L) values which would have been completely alien to those taking part at the time.

I am aware that my mindset is more modern than those of the participants in the Great War – an example; I read All Quiet On The Western Front and found it harrowing and unapologetic – it seemed to me to be quite ‘documentary’ in its matter-of-fact depiction of trench warfare. And yet when it was first published it apparently caused great unrest for its subversive pacifist subtext. I find it very hard to accept that we can, 95 years after the event, put any moral judgement upon the combatants of either side – their environment, their sensibilities, their society defined what their duty had to be; I would never presume to put forward my opinion of the rights or wrongs of their decisions as if my view was somehow better; more informed; more moral than theirs – that’s arrogance in the extreme.

In common with most people, my family history has direct connection with the 14-18 war. Both my Grandfathers joined up – underage – and fought in the Royal Field Artillery on 18pdr guns in different Divisions. They were both gassed but both survived although the effects shortened their lives. I will be very angry if some modern commentator armed with a Sociology degree pronounces my Grandfathers and their 8,689,465 fellow servicemen to have been guilty of human rights violations because they fought in the war; because they did their duty.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 12, 2013 1:20 pm

@ Z

I am not suggesting we forget about minorities (different to foreign troops, and they should be covered separately) and the home front, but rather that we don’t as many are suggesting concentrate on them to the detriment of covering the actually combat that took place.

The problem is the BBC will spend millions of taxpayer money to cover this, and I daresay the commercial channels will produce far better coverage.

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 12, 2013 1:25 pm

I’d be interested to know at what point being “Liberal” became automatically associated with the left wing, and at what point being “liberal” or “liberal minded” became a bad thing?

Zaitsev
Zaitsev
November 12, 2013 1:34 pm

But the percived wisdom of ww1 is not just that the serveice men did there duty, its also that the war was pointless and and soley the result of the rich profarteering from the deaths of the working class.
“However, it is also important that we question and challenge ‘perceived wisdom’ and contested narratives about the war” is followed by
” We’ve asked eminent historians, including Sir Max Hastings, Christopher Clark and Niall Ferguson, to tackle some of the biggest debates about World War One from their own expert standpoints so that viewers and listeners have more information and perspectives on the key questions. I think it is incumbent upon us to offer differing interpretations of the war and we won’t shy away from doing that.” If you look up the background of Hastings and clark, you will see that they are trying to present an idea of the war that sees British soldiers fighting for freedom, not simply wasting there lives.

Bob
Bob
November 12, 2013 1:39 pm

Chris.B,

Interesting question. Most self-identifying liberals today are not liberals at all. In fact that tend to be fascists (a sub-set of socialism), they despise personal freedom, freedom of speech and any concept of rights. The transition seems to have happened in the late 80s early 90s when the communists realised there previous identity had become to toxic to use so they appropriated “liberal” irrespective of its complete lack of appropriateness for their vile ideology- the same ideology the BBC espouses.

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
November 12, 2013 2:13 pm

I watched the Cenotaph again on iPlayer BBC Parliament, no commentry just the sounds as they occurred http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b03hj8j3/

Appropriate given my handle.

Chris
Chris
November 12, 2013 2:48 pm

Chris.B – I hope you noted I used the word ‘liberal’ throughout with a small L – nothing to do with the political movement of the same name. I have not said liberal values are bad; sometimes they might be unaffordable, sometimes misguided, but not out & out bad. The problem I see when applying the modern liberal values to events of a century back is that such ideals of individual’s rights and big society and governmental responsibilities for looking after the disadvantaged and so on were either hugely weaker or absent altogether – using such criteria to measure actions taken back then is somewhat unfair, don’t you think? Like you yourself being retrospectively branded by your descendants a murderer because you ate meat and vegetables rather than synthetic nutrition pills. People have to be judged by the rules and norms of their day not those that have developed since.

I tend to veer to the right of most liberal views but I don’t proclaim them to be wrong or invalid, just a bit too far over for my liking. However I do draw the line at others, particularly those with very loud voices (such as national broadcasters) driving their preferred political line into every possible broadcast, allied to a not very subtle message that if you disagree with their view you are wrong, a heretic, borderline criminal and downright despicable, only suitable for eradication or corrective surgery at the earliest possible opportunity.

The BBC has a motto. In 1927, five years after the Liberals lost their essentially left-wing political monopoly to Labour, the BBC created a coat of arms with the motto “Nation shall speak peace unto Nation”. In 1934, as the situation in Germany was evidently brewing into something nasty, it changed its motto to “Whatsoever”, according to Wiki a severe abbreviation of “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” as in St Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians. After the Second World War in 1948 the motto reverted to the original. Whether because its wartime motto did not reject fighting for what’s right or because the corporation liked the words better isn’t clear… A liberal view verging on pacifism is it would seem a core value for the BBC.

I fully support your right to hold liberal, or Liberal, views. I trust you equally accept I may hold slightly different views, and agree they make us neither better nor worse than the other? That is how we all get along in our democracy after all. Shame the national broadcaster is more narrow minded than the nation its meant to serve and represent.

Anyway. Back on topic. I fear the planned commemoration of the Great War will be spun by the BBC to suit its chosen political viewpoint; that that viewpoint is inappropriate as a yardstick to measure the actions of those who took part in the war because it did not yet exist; and that the programming will be more about the BBC’s vision of a more BBCesque future than a true unspun documentary of life through the wartime years both in the forces and in the country as a whole. Like I said earlier, the BBC has previous in this regard – remember the Falklands retrospective last year on the 20th anniversary? No? Radio 4 broadcast one radio archive each day covering the full duration of the war, but apart from that it was ‘blink and you’ll miss it’.

As time goes by and the proportion of current and ex-servicemen reduces, I suppose the national psyche will drift away from matters military. Obviously all my life I’ve been surrounded by veterans – of both World Wars and Korea and The Troubles and the Falklands and the Balkans and the Gulf and now Afghanistan. But each generation of Armed Services is smaller than the last; the youngsters of today may rarely meet someone who went to war. It may never be as important to them as it was and is to my generation. But surely that’s no justification for the media to sideline the efforts and sacrifices of those that did fight on our behalves?

mickp
mickp
November 12, 2013 2:57 pm

The live cenotaph coverage was the BBC at is best – minimalist commentary and the event itself taking centre stage. I watched it in silence with my 11 yr old and it conveyed perfectly what the remembrance thing is about. My sons connect with their great grandfather who was one of the first over the top on the Somme in the 1st Bradford Pals. It’s not about whether the war was right or wrong but about those young mens bravery and in memory of all who were lost.

I don’t mind the WW1 coverage dealing with all aspects but as long as those that fought remain at the centerpiece of the commemoration.

The BBC has a really poor track record in my view of recent major event coverage. Let’s hope they improve

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 12, 2013 3:18 pm

I personally believe the medias view has changed dramatically in the last few years now any mention of military action and Iraq is brought up, the Iraq war allows the media, and at it’s heart the BBC, to say all military action is wrong and that they have the publics backing in this view. I struggle to think of other UK military action prior to the Iraq war which the public hasn’t either approved of or accepted as nessacary.
This view is now being backtracked to previous actions and declaring them as unnessacary and wasteful. I can’t wait for when in 25 years time they try and say that WW2 was an unnessacary loss of life.

Ex Waffu.
Ex Waffu.
November 12, 2013 3:20 pm

WORLD WAR ONE. Its a good descriptive title. So why is it always portrayed as only being fought in France and Belgium. Our servicemen fought on a lot of other fronts, Gallipoli, Middle East, Italy, The Balkans, East Africa and not least at sea!

Chris.B.
Chris.B.
November 12, 2013 3:49 pm

@ Chris,

No, you’ve missed the point. There is no distinction between Liberal with a big L and liberal with a little l. A liberal is merely a person who believes in liberty and equality, equality in the sense of all men being equal before the law and all having equal access to civil rights etc, not economic equality.

What you’re talking about, big society and government responsibility etc are political viewpoints and have nothing to with liberalism. Thatcher was a liberal. Ronald Regan was a liberal. Hitler was very left wing, as was Stalin, but neither of them were liberals. A party that use the word “Liberal” in its title isn’t automatically a liberal party, in the same way that a “Peoples” party isn’t automatically a party of the people.

Liberals and left wingers are two different things. One can be both, one can be neither. The point being that in this thread lots of people are using the words left wing and liberal as if they mean the same thing and they most definitely do not.

Chris
Chris
November 12, 2013 4:32 pm

Chris.B – I stand corrected. Although I still suspect even under your clear definition, Britain in 1914 was nowhere near as liberal-minded as it is now – an acceptance (if begrudging) that some people had better access to rights, with the common man in no doubt where his place was in society, and probably certain that give or take a rung or two that’s where he’d be for life? To a degree the loss of the landed gentry (AKA Officers) to German bullets & shells and the consequent promotion of ordinary common folk to Officer ranks (Gasp!) was the catalyst for these liberal ideals to ripple out into the wider society. But yes I am guilty of misuse of the word liberal; sorry.

As it happens, the RFA Battery one of my Grandfathers was in had a notable event. He would have been one of 18 Drivers I believe; two of them suffered Court Martial for striking their Officer – not only a higher military rank but also gentry! What?! What?! The two Drivers couldn’t have been given a worse punishment. The military hierarchy largely reinforced social hierarchy but with far harsher punishments for those that overstepped the mark. I have yet to find out how close my Grandfather was to this incident…

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 12, 2013 4:58 pm

We were definitely less liberal, universal suffrage didn’t come in until 1928.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
November 12, 2013 5:20 pm
a
a
November 12, 2013 5:40 pm

” the Iraq war allows the media, and at it’s heart the BBC, to say all military action is wrong and that they have the publics backing in this view.”

You will find no example of the BBC saying that all military action is wrong, however hard you look. This is just making stuff up.

x
x
November 12, 2013 6:03 pm

@ Chris

You will be telling us next your generation invented sex………….

Recognising that prior to 1968 women had agency, that homosexuality was present in society, and that majority accepted the other undermines the socialist dialectic and mocks the intellectual Left’s cultural masochism. A vote doesn’t equal power, a society openly objecting to a behaviour doesn’t equal a society that knows that behaviour goes on in private, and small horizons, unfamiliarity, and the shock of the new doesn’t equal deep seated bigotry or hatred. Be careful not to view history through their tainted lens. The world has always been diverse and the majority for the most part have always been accepting. Socialism is the creed of division, because through division comes control. Socialism is the antithesis of diversity.

Chris
Chris
November 12, 2013 7:20 pm

x – I *think* we’re in agreement although I almost drowned in your last comment – a bit too deep for me…

What I see as important is that the actions of those directly involved (in trench or home) in the Great war are measured by the standards of their time, not by the standards of ours. 100 years ago patriotism & duty were high ideals, now they are frowned upon as Jingoistic. Looking after their own country and countrymen was important and laudable, now its frowned upon because its not multi-cultural enough. Accepting how it had to be was important (stiff upper lip, lad!) but now everything must be challenged under a vast spectrum of laws (human rights, equality, EU regulations, UN mandates, employment law, ecology measures, etc etc etc). Given another hundred years our way of life will be viewed as unacceptable (I already have a candidate list of unacceptables to offer…) and maybe the 1900 values will be more in line with modern ones – impossible to predict.

Phil
November 12, 2013 8:14 pm

Couldn’t agree more.

As usual something that should be simple has been turned into a self-indulgent, emotionally incontinent-wankfest that makes the middle classes tumescent at the thought of all that grave introspection they can publicly claim to be enduring for a few weeks and all the insights they gain about the nature of man’s inhumanity to man. Not to mention the inevitable gargoylian single-interest groups and the usual narcissistic attention seeking political commentators trying to hang their hats on it and use it as a podium for their bollocks.

Daniel Hodges
Daniel Hodges
November 12, 2013 8:33 pm

This day is and should always be for the service men and women of this country and the commonwealth and there familys now if the bbc want to cover what it was like for those at home and to enlighten us on who from the ethnic minorites then about time because i would be damm sure that sky or itv would be portraying a very middle class veiw of the war just because some one never wore a services uniform dosn’t mean they haven’t served or experanced the horrors of war or suffer the effects of it afterwards i am proud of my armed forces i have not served but that dosn’t mean that i don’t have a veiw that counts and i think as every genaration comes along they will remeber the fallenin there own way

Daniel Hodges
Daniel Hodges
November 12, 2013 8:34 pm

Just to add that it is a remeberance day to all that have fallen not just for yhe armed services

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
November 12, 2013 8:39 pm

Top post.

“… a self-indulgent, emotionally incontinent-wankfest…” Lovely turn of phrase.

Phil
November 12, 2013 8:54 pm

yes, the little girl and her father at the festival is the apogee of what I am talking about

Apparently the country needs to have the equivalent of an emotional defibrillator these days to feel anything.

El Sid
El Sid
November 12, 2013 8:55 pm

@TD
I don’t think the RN has enough manpower to spell out four letters!

Phil
November 12, 2013 9:03 pm

X-Factor does Remembrance Day.

As the Queen lays her wreath, Westlife’s You Raise Me Up should belt out and everyone will arise and begin to applaud like mindless lunatics until their heads fall off.

An overly excited dog can then leap into scene and be reunited with its master who has done a hazardous tour in the JF Equipment Support Group stores in Camp Bastion and then the nation can fall into a self-congratulatory coma, its feelings spent until the John Lewis Xmas advert comes on again.

WiseApe
November 12, 2013 9:04 pm

What they should spell out on the flightdeck is: “Second helo wanted here.”

x
x
November 12, 2013 9:12 pm

TD said “I do have to say, the RN media team are definitely the worst offenders in my surprise surprise analogy and yes, the little girl and her father at the festival is the apogee of what I am talking about, closely followed by sailors making a poppy on the flight deck, sailors spelling out mothers day on the flight deck, sailors spelling out valentines day greeting on the flight deck, stories about boyfriend and girlfriend having a brief liaison between deployments and, well, you get the picture.”

Horlicks! Do you know what I see every Remembrance Season? Light blue uniforms freaking everywhere. If it isn’t RAF proper it is ruddy ATC. Think on to make a poppy on a flight deck you have to be in a ship. A ship that is deployed. Unlike the majority of the other services who are at home…………

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
November 12, 2013 9:13 pm

Agreed with almost everything. That \”Surprise!\” moment with the young Poppy Girl Singer and her father was truly cringe-worthy. Even otherwise soppy female friends of mine remarked on how cynical it seemed.nnBut.nnI approve of everyone in the BBC wearing Poppies, it\’s a large media organisation, after all, they have assistant editors and PA\’s to dole them out. And if some went on air without one, well it would seem much less than professional. And the BBC are *meant* to be held to high standards of public behaviour!!

mike
mike
November 12, 2013 9:22 pm

@TD & X

Now you guys mention it, the Navy has been rather up-front in naff PR stunts. But X has a point, deployed… maybe sauntering around in the Caribbean and Medd, but deployed!

Don’t you worry X, we’ll be sure to be back on form to annoy soon :)

I second your sentiments TD, but it is sad to see this thread become one big rant on things they feel is wrong with the nation. We need an ‘old man’s rant’ thread please!

Then again, people need to get it out of them, so no worries. It is just depressing… or…Gloomy!

WiseApe
November 12, 2013 9:26 pm

“Unlike the majority of the other services who are at home…” – That’s harsh. The RAF make regular sales trips around the globe. Sometimes they’re gone for days. Weeks even.

I see Daring has pitched up in the Philippines; how long has she been out now?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 12, 2013 9:28 pm

I have 5 people specifically in mind when I attend a Remembrance Day commemoration. Two of my great uncles who died in the Great War, which are private names to me, and in both cases I know are publicly remembered on war memorials. And 3 of my comrades who died in the first Gulf War, who I do not know if they are publicly remembered. So, as a tiny digital memory, please all at least know of the sacrifice of Lieutenant Edward Whitehead 16/5L, Sergeant Mick Dowling MM REME attached 16/5L, and Corporal Frank Evans REME attached 16/5L.

To do some practical remembrance, I have engaged in a project with a cousin. We are seeking to raise about £250,000 for a permanent memorial to the 26th Royal Fusiliers (The Banker’s Battalion), who were very largely wiped out in 3rd Ypres (Passchendaele) on 20/21 September 1917. Their graves were later fought over and very few of them recovered for re-burial, so mostly they are names on the panels at Tyne Cot Cemetery. My great uncle is among those names, a Lieutenant, acting Captain, brevet Major killed commanding A Company as they attacked towards Lone Star post.

There is no single memorial to them in Britain. The City of London is the right place for one, in one of the churches, and I am getting the money from the City corporations. It is a bit of a slog: £2,000 here, £5,000 there.

We will also from the money raised commission a digital history / website of the battalion, and I have sought out a well-known conductor / composer with his own orchestra to re-record Handel’s “Largo from Xerxes“. It was specifically noted by my great Uncle in his last letter home as being played by the battalion band after a church service just behind the lines a few days before the attack. It will be released among an album the conductor is planning anyway as a tribute to the dead of the Great War, on the 100th anniversary.

I think it is the very least I can do.

(EDIT: I am not seeking any donations from TD readers. The banks are rich enough, they just need to be persuaded)

Phil
November 12, 2013 9:30 pm

Good to see x that I go away for a while and come back to you still expressing disagreement using various foodstuffs. The continuity is comforting.

x
x
November 12, 2013 9:48 pm

@ Mike

Actually for all my faux indignation and pantomime outrage you chaps this time of the year are ubiquitous.

@ Phil

kumquat

x
x
November 12, 2013 9:55 pm
mike
mike
November 12, 2013 10:28 pm

@ X

I blame the blue… more visible than black and dark green! ;)

@ all

As with Remembrance, I think it evolves as society (or whatever it is) does, I dont think that’s necessarily a bad thing. The heart and soul of it – the poppy itself and the Cenotaph/memorial services – is still there. It will come in and out of national awareness as events come and go… as it has throughout history. It is as part of HM Forces as much as any other seminal event in our history.

I think trying to compare it with decades past is a little too out there, seeing as how the nation, people, threats and experiences changes. Nothing stands still, when it comes to a population… and well, that in itself is a homage to those who gave life, limb and mind past and present; as our way of life – our right to change, doing and saying what you want within the rule of law, is still there… and continuing. Whether or not in the right way is totally up to your own interpretation as gents on here have already very firmly put.

And again, having and voicing your own interpretation and opinion is again homage to those who gave for that right – for your right to be annoying to the gent who disagrees!

paul g
November 12, 2013 10:36 pm

@RT, I join you with ref to mick and fran, fran was a local boy to me and part of 119 rec (V) coy and also spent time at 7 armd at fally. Sadly I never knew fran well and only found out he was local to me after his passing.

Due to others passing on ops or shortly after (grade 1 conspiracy theory on the med jabs) I will attend a service can’t be arsed with all that medals down the pub later stuff though. My beef is how come when I was in Northern Ireland in the 80’s I didn’t see the celebrities rushing forward to “salute” our heroes then? Sadly for some it is self publicity, although I believe with media as it is today we are now seeing the hardships close up and some of the celebs are genuine.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 12, 2013 11:20 pm

Paul,

thanks for that info about Fran’s previous postings. I didn’t know him so well (and only knew him by name as Frank, not Fran, but clearly you knew him better than I), as I was the RSO and not part of C Squadron until about a month before the off (the Colonel sacked me because I had a major shout at him after he cocked up on something, and while I was correct to do so, he was also correct to Mag to Grid me as the boss can’t have his RHQ officers calling him out in front of the boys. Happy compromise: I became Battle Captain C Squadron 16/5L, and so joined the bunch which by then included Fran in the Squadron Fitters. Fran sharpened my bayonet for me with an angle grinder he controlled in the back of a Samson a couple of days before it all kicked off.

I’ve asked TD by email to post an image of the last moments of Mick Dowling and Fran Evans – a painting our LAD commissioned from our Regimental War Artist. In Remembrance of them, as otherwise unremarked soldiers of the Crown. There’s some explanatory text, and if you are interested, I can privately via TD give you my own interpretation of how and why it happened. I’ll not do so publicly on the TD blogsite: it’s too much detail for public consumption, and probably subjective.

Tell me please, so that I know, where was 119(V) based? Which part of the country was he from?

El Sid
El Sid
November 12, 2013 11:31 pm

@x
I’ve not read that article on principle, but I assume the URL tells the story. Just remember that the advice given to journalists starting work at the Daily Mail is that a good DM article should make the reader angry, and apply pinches of salt accordingly.

@TD
It’s an interesting point now you mention it, the USN used to play flightdeck Scrabble all the time back in the Cold War, but I’ve not seem them do it for a while now. The RN never used to do it and now they seem to be obsessed. Perhaps this should be the new metric for flightdecks, not whether they can take a Chinook, but whether they can spell “Chinook”. Obviously CVF would be the winner, with its Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-capable flightdeck.

As for the cringing – I forgive them quite a lot just because it’s so difficult for anything to break through into public attention that doesn’t fit a certain metropolitan liberal view of the world. That applies to everything from agriculture to the Aberdeen oil industry to the issues affecting small businesses. The RN has it particularly hard because they’ve not had a “proper war” for 30 years even if they are now as busy as they have ever been, it’s just that training Albanians how to intercept drug smugglers will never hit the 10 o’clock news. But to make up for that, I think they probably do a better job of strategic messaging than the other services, even if noone is really listening.

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
November 12, 2013 11:33 pm

I wonder if the RN stunts that seem to happen quite regularly (The Portsmouth newspaper prints them all) are more about a break in routine for the crew, maybe they should arrange other events that aren’t for pr, ie boxing tournaments etc. I’m sure someone can design a ring that fits in a merlin capable hangar and can be collapsed down to fit into a reasonably sized box.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 13, 2013 12:05 am

In two minds about this one; the mawkishness can be revolting…but on Friday last I stood at the back of my Son’s Prep School Hall and watched row on row of boys participate with solemn attention in a quite astonishingly moving Remembrance Service led by Major K….. – by far and away the most popular Form Teacher in School – in the Uniform he earned by 37 years service in the TAVR (Signals)….and I thought of two Great Uncles (one wounded with Allenby, the other lost on the Somme); my Father (wounded after D-Day) his Troop (very badly cut up after he was wounded – he never really forgave himself for not being with them).

And it felt like the right thing to do and the right place to be…

On lighter matters, and bearing in mind the current popularity of Bankers, am I the only one delighted by the Quixotic Quest taken up by our good friend @RT? I only hope he invites us all to the Inauguration…

A thoughtful Gloomy

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 13, 2013 12:23 am

GNB,

there might be some public stuff going on from August 2014, although TBH you’d probably be more worthwhile if you click an iTunes link to download a new recording. I’ve written to Richard Chartres as the Bishop to ask him to suggest a church: so far nothing in reply, but I’ve visited so far 24 City Churches, and got one in mind as being sufficiently big, with a spare space, and existing in 1914. But I expect my letter only made his outer office. I’ll up the ante.

Anyway, while you may feel me to be Quixotic (probably guilty as charged, M’Lud), I hope you don’t retrospectively apply that to a great Uncle, who I’d have thought was more Patriotic.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
November 13, 2013 1:03 am

@RT – absolutely not – and having read Don Quixote, I should stress that I consider him to be a very gallant Gentleman (if occasionally a little misguided)…and one whom I would be proud to have sunk a bottle or two with.
I wish you well with the memorial…my concern is the likelihood of getting the Bankers to pony up…the endeavour itself does you considerable credit…

GNB

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
November 13, 2013 1:16 am

@Red Trousers

I am sure you already know this, Mr. Trousers, but just in case you didn’t I’ll mention it. There is a memorial chapel in the Fusiliers’ Church, St. Sepulchre’s-without-Newgate. It is a beautiful church with a long association with the Regiment.

Are you just taking money from Banks? What the Livery companies? Would their dosh be acceptable?

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 13, 2013 6:42 am

GNB,

I’d better re-read Quixote! ….noting in particular any views he has on ships with flat tops, flying machines, the grossly disproportionate expense of any combination of flat-topped ships and flying machines, and the inappropriate use of manmade fibres to clothe officers holding a crown commission.

HL,

I’m aware of that Church, and indeed it’s a strong candidate. But the association is with the whole Royal Fusiliers, and our project is merely with a single battalion, and so there is a risk of it becoming lost among a wider whole. Swings and roundabouts.

Livery companies are certainly fair game, but as yet I’ve not approached them. Thank you for the reminder.

Was down your way last weekend to commemorate t’other great uncle who is on the Balcombe memorial. Shot down in 1916 near Loos.

dave haine
dave haine
November 13, 2013 7:51 am

“So, as a tiny digital memory, please all at least know of the sacrifice of Lieutenant Edward Whitehead 16/5L, Sergeant Mick Dowling MM REME attached 16/5L, and Corporal Frank Evans REME attached 16/5L.”

I raise my glass to them.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
November 13, 2013 9:56 am

@Red Trousers

Take your point about St. Sepulchres.

Once again, I’ll take the risk of appearing to state the bleedin’ obvious. If you are going after Livery Company money I’d start with the Mercers. Not only are they the premier company, and as rich as Croessus, they have a quite a strong link with the RRF, which dates back to pre-amalgamation and the old Royal Fusiliers. Their church is, I think, St. Andrew By the Wardrobe. I have only been in there the once and don’t remember too much about it other than it is by Wren.

Another of the Great Twelve I’d have an early go at is the Ironmongers. They have a separate trust fund for projects related to the City and are a pretty amiable bunch. Three or four years ago their master was Patrick Cordingly, so he will be on a committee somewhere and you can talk horses and GW1 over the pre-luncheon gin. The current clerk is also an ex-cavalryman, a colonel from the Household I believe. The Iron Mongers Church is St Botolph’s Without Aldersgate, one of the few city churches I heartily dislike (the only one I detest is St. Stephens Walbrook, that ghastly Henry Moore Altar in a unique Wren church (only one with a dome) – sheer vandalism).

Next time you are coming down my way I hope you’ll let me know in advance so that I can buy you a drink.

Red Trousers
Red Trousers
November 13, 2013 9:23 pm

HL,

many thanks. Brilliant int on the livery companies. I know little of them other than existence.

HurstLlama
HurstLlama
November 14, 2013 10:27 am

@Red Trousers

You’re welcome Mr. Trousers. If you want to do anything, especially charitable stuff, in the city you will find it a lot easier if you have one of the Great Twelve on your side they have networks like you wouldn’t believe, having been arranging favours for members and friends of members since the 13th and 14th centuries. They are also all very charity minded and very, very wealthy.