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BS: A very strange lesson learned.

Dave the Gnome 06 Apr 14 - 04:33 PM
Bill D 06 Apr 14 - 04:40 PM
Steve Shaw 06 Apr 14 - 04:41 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Apr 14 - 06:12 PM
gnu 06 Apr 14 - 06:29 PM
Jack the Sailor 06 Apr 14 - 10:05 PM
GUEST,Musket 07 Apr 14 - 01:25 AM
Sandra in Sydney 07 Apr 14 - 01:57 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Apr 14 - 02:41 AM
Teribus 07 Apr 14 - 07:53 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Apr 14 - 08:00 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Apr 14 - 08:56 AM
Dave the Gnome 07 Apr 14 - 09:30 AM
GUEST 07 Apr 14 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,sciencegeek 07 Apr 14 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,sciencegeek 07 Apr 14 - 12:28 PM
Pete Jennings 07 Apr 14 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,pete from seven stars link 07 Apr 14 - 03:06 PM
Bob Bolton 08 Apr 14 - 01:04 AM
Mo the caller 08 Apr 14 - 07:18 AM
Musket 08 Apr 14 - 08:27 AM
Backwoodsman 08 Apr 14 - 09:13 AM
Teribus 08 Apr 14 - 09:50 AM
Musket 08 Apr 14 - 09:57 AM
Dave the Gnome 08 Apr 14 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Apr 14 - 08:41 PM
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Subject: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 04:33 PM

People amaze me. No matter how often I see it, I am always surprised at how open, honest and kind they can be. The latest was on, of all things, the Antiques Road Show (BBC prime time thing for those not in the know.)

This week it from the Somme and had me reduced to tears on more than one occasion. The ultimate, for me, was seeing a Canadian guy who had bought an old banjo (hence the Mudcat link) from a shop in the north of England. This banjo had been signed by many people from a Canadian regiment who had fought at the Somme and he had traced the history of a lot of the signees just to complete the picture. The chap then played 'A long way to Tipperary' on a newer banjo, which was very emotional in itself. This was then compounded by them finding a relative of one of the people who signed the banjo. Truly amazing TV from the most unexpected source.

The other high point was having a German man go through his Grandfathers war records. We forget at times that they lost more than we did and they are just people, like you and me. It was a salutary lesson. I wish I didn't need it but , sadly, I think I did. We are all the same under the skin. The best we can do in this life is make sure that we treat everyone the same regardless of their race, background, creed or sex.

Hey, people, I am just and old softie at heart :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Bill D
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 04:40 PM

The Roadshow often finds such amazing stories to tell....

The original version (the UK show) does this more often than the US version, which focuses 'more' on the objects themselves.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 04:41 PM

Nice one, Dave. I didn't see it properly as I was still exulting over Liverpool's famous victory today, but I did see the end of it and will catch up on iPlayer later.

I was just reading the other day about Bert Trautmann, the Man City goalie in the 50s and 60s who had been a German POW here, yet who, in spite of opposition in his early days here, won hearts and minds in the cause of reconciliation. Your post reminded me of him.

:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 06:12 PM

That program may make it to the US in a year or so. I don't always remember to watch the British version, here they usually play it in the middle of a Saturday afternoon when I'm out and about.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: gnu
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 06:29 PM

DtG... "... they are just people, like you and me."

No more need be said.

Thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 06 Apr 14 - 10:05 PM

Nice post DtG.

Where I grew up the battle of Somme was is memory passed down through the generations. If you want to know why, you can put this in your browser. http://www.heritage.nf.ca/greatwar/articles/somme.html



My school class was driven 60 miles to see this memorial.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: GUEST,Musket
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 01:25 AM

I recorded it to watch when I get the chance. Endeavour won the toss last night.

I recall back in the Michael Aspel days, they unearthed a rather moving set of photographs of men standing to have their photos taken at Ypres as street clubs, and the owner saying every man in one of the photos was dead within the day.

Makes you wonder. Really does.


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Subject: RE: LYR ADD- Hic Jacet 1916 poem tune Bob Rummery
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 01:57 AM

World War One treasure trove found The comings and goings of the troops, British, Indian, French, Australians, and Americans, and even some of the Chinese Labour Corps, was recorded by a local photographer, Louis Thuillier and his wife. Throughout much of the war they photographed the fighting men who came to their humble outdoor studio in the courtyard of their house. Thousands of their photographs must have found their way to homes around the world, including Australia.

Remarkably the Thuilliers' glass plate negatives still exist, sitting almost undisturbed for nearly a century. They have recently been located by investigators from Australia's Channel 7. An unknown number of the photographs show Australian diggers, but they must number in the hundreds. (read on)

Australian singers Chloe & Json Roweth's album The Riderless Horse - An Australian Impression of World War 1 includes this song - scroll down to lyrics no. 9 song 'Hic Jacet' - W.A. poet Tom "Crosscut" Wilson, who fought at Gallipoli, wrote this set of words on the 26th on November, 1916. The tune is another beauty from Bob Rummery.

I buried a Turk in a darksome gorge by officer's orders one evening grey –
I had finished my 'twenty-four hours on' and was leaving the trench at the close of day.
"You must dig him in" - and the officer smiled; "he'll need no volleys or muffled drums –
He's been in the sun for a week or so, and it's perfectly awful the way he hums!"

So I filled my pipe ('twas a needful thing), and I got in a blast ere I ventured near.
And I found him lying in shape grotesque 'neath an ominous cliff that was grey and sheer.
He'd crawled to a shelter of prickly scrub - and I never could tell you how looked his face –
But his horrible eyes were blindly turned to a thing he held - 'twas a portrait case!

Though little I worried for sights, and smells, but this was a sight that it hurt to see,
For I fancied he clutched it in mute appeal ... and he seemed to be holding it out to me.
And little and all as I liked the job, ere I started to cover him o'er with sand,
I dropped me shovel and pick, and stooped and took the thing from his grisly hand.

Oh! piteous thing in the sight of death - 'twas the face of a beautiful dark-eyed boy:
A kiddie of six years old or so, who hugged to his bosom some childish toy.
And his teeth peeped out in a roguish smile, and round the forehead the dark curls clung –
As pretty a picture as e'er was seen of cherubic innocence sweet and young.

Some wonderful writing in big, wide text was scrawled on the back of the photograph.
And I said, "Old fellow" - to him who lay -"would you ask for a lovelier epitaph?"
'Twas Turkish of course, and I could but guess but in good British I'll swear 'twas this:
"With love to daddy, and please come home". . . and marked with a crescent to mean a kiss.

There's little of sentiment one can feel when it's each for himself in the firing line
But I couldn't but mutter a useless prayer that he hadn't gone under to shot of mine.
And I pictured the woman who sits at home and waits with a longing supine and dumb
For the `daddy' who lay in the darksome gorge - for the steps of a husband that ne'er will come.

The shades of evening were drawing nigh ... and a soldier has always work to do,
But I laid the picture upon his chest ere ever a shovel of dirt I threw,
And I fashioned his mansion as best I could and I patted it even and smooth and fair.
And I stood to attention and raised my hand in a last salute as I left him there.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 02:41 AM

One of the most moving experiences I ever remember was on the first occasion I ever went out to record somebody with a tape recorder in 1969.
A friend from Liverpool contacted me and asked me if I would help him interview his Grandfather, who he said was getting old and had done a lot of interesting things in his life.
A group of us drove down from London one Friday and met at my friends house and we sat down with the old man, Tommy Kenny and chatted for while,then Tommy asked what we wanted to talk about - we were far more nervous than he was.
We started with a couple of formal, rather naíve questions, but after a few minutes he simply forgot we where there, and for two days and three nights he began to relive his experiences   
He began with his lying about his age and enlisting in W.W.1; first the excitement, then the realisation of what he had got himself into, the anger, the fear, the grief at what he saw.
He seemed to have leapt back over half a century.
One of the most moving moments was when he told us about the deserters.
He described their not walking on dry ground for weeks on end - constant mud.
He described the permanent, deafening noise of gunfire and how young men, little more than boys, would turn around and walk away from the front, not in an attempt to desert, just to get way from the sound.   
The Redcoats would be sent out in trucks to pick them up and they would be brought back to base, where they would be tried and routinely sentenced to be shot by a drum-head court martial.
If another push came, they would be taken from the place they were held and put in the front line to fight.
If they survived, they would be returned to prison and later their sentence would be carried out.
Tommy described how you would be talking strangers, young men, about their homes and families, swapping cigarettes, and later would read a notice pinned up on the canteen wall that they had been executed for cowardice.
On two occasions he burst into tears, shook himself, called himself a "silly old bugger" then start up all over again.
We went on for three nights and two days recording him - the War, hauling his concertina across war-torn Europe, his returning as an angry young man, starting work as a docker and becoming an active Trades Unionist, the Depression and mass unemployment, work on the docks again.....
I've always believed it was cathartic for him to talk to someone about his life at length like that; for us it was life-changing - real history you never get a chance to read in books.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Teribus
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 07:53 AM

Such recordings accepted and believed at face value are the birthplace of myths.

"One of the most moving moments was when he told us about the deserters.
He described their not walking on dry ground for weeks on end - constant mud.
He described the permanent, deafening noise of gunfire and how young men, little more than boys, would turn around and walk away from the front, not in an attempt to desert, just to get way from the sound.   
The Redcoats would be sent out in trucks to pick them up and they would be brought back to base, where they would be tried and routinely sentenced to be shot by a drum-head court martial.
If another push came, they would be taken from the place they were held and put in the front line to fight.
If they survived, they would be returned to prison and later their sentence would be carried out.
Tommy described how you would be talking strangers, young men, about their homes and families, swapping cigarettes, and later would read a notice pinned up on the canteen wall that they had been executed for cowardice."


The "Redcoats"??? Surely he meant "Redcaps" (Royal Military Police) Christmas.

Soldiers getting separated from their units during an attack was a common enough occurrence and yes it fell to the RMP to man reception points and gathering stations. Soldiers who found themselves at such gathering points were not automatically charged with deserting, they were simply directed to where they could locate their units, and in another thread it was established that, "Redcaps" were not lined up behind attacking troops with orders to shoot anyone who turned back - Another myth. By the way Christmas did you not think to ask him how those "Redcap" carrying trucks coped in all that "constant" mud?

Old Tommy's experiences must indeed be pretty unique considering all those deserters of his acquaintance who were executed for desertion, seeing as how out of an Army that numbered about 5.5 million, although some 3,080 were sentenced to death, for a whole raft of offences - not simply desertion, only 346 men were in fact executed. Of that number 266 were shot for desertion in just over 4 years - so roughly nine out of every ten men sentenced to death had their sentences commuted.

Some other interesting facts about desertion during the First World War:

1: " Only 7,361 of the 38,630 desertions were in the field. Most were away from the front line - many deserters had never served in the front line at all."

2: "Desertion normally meant an absence of 21 days or other evidence to indicate intent of not returning, e.g. wearing civilian clothes or failing to report for a key deployment. Those executed were normally not boys – the average age was in the mid-twenties and 40 per cent had been in serious trouble before. Thirty per cent were regulars or reservists, 40 per cent were Kitchener volunteers, 19 per cent were Irish, Canadian or New Zealand volunteers, but only nine per cent were conscripts, suggesting indulgence to the conscripts – many of them under 21 – who made up the bulk of the army by late in the war."

In addition to the above - "Australians made up seven per cent of the BEF but 25 per cent of deserters, while an Australian was nine times more likely to be imprisoned than a British soldier.".

On Courts Martial:
1: "Men who committed serious offences were tried by Field General Court Martial, sometimes resulting in execution. Despite "assertions" that these were "kangaroo courts" (e.g. in the book "Shot At Dawn" which says that men "did not receive even the rudiments of a just hearing") the release of records in 1990-4 showed this to be untrue. They in fact had strict rules of procedure and a duty to uncover the facts. Unlike a General Court Martial in peacetime, there was no legally qualified Judge-Advocate to advise the court, but from the start of 1916 a "Court Martial Officer" – usually an officer with legal experience in civilian life — was often present to do so."

2: "A death sentence had to be passed unanimously, and confirmed in writing by various officers as the verdict passed up the chain of command. A man's battalion and brigade commander tended to comment on his own record, but senior generals tended to be more concerned with the type of offence and the state of discipline in that unit. The Judge Advocate General at GHQ also checked the records for irregularities, before final confirmation (or otherwise) by the Commander-in-Chief of the relevant theatre."

The following contention is also utterly impossible under British Military Regulations:

"If another push came, they would be taken from the place they were held and put in the front line to fight."

Men under punishment, or men under arrest cannot bear arms ( A very sensible precaution I would have thought for pretty obvious reasons - That fact actually saved my Grandfather's life on the Somme in 1916.

"real history you never get a chance to read in books." - Nope, such stories taken simply at face value without critical examination and verification do not resemble anything like real history.

You seem keen about telling stories about those shot by the British Army during the First World War - You'll be telling us all about those 16 Richmond Conscientious Objectors who you claimed had been sent to France and executed apart from the fact it was shown that not only were they never shot they all survived the War.

- "Raised on songs and stories" - No way to learn History.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 08:00 AM

Take it outside please lads :-)

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 08:56 AM

Sorry Dave - I really didn't start this - this feller is working out his bile from another thread
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 09:30 AM

As they say, Jim, it doesn't matter who starts it. It is who ends it :-)

Cheers

Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 10:28 AM

If more good people made the news they wouldn't be such a rarity.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 11:52 AM

with the 99th anniversary of ANZAC Day coming up, I've been tracking down songs written or sung at the time... with varying degrees of success. In the course of things, I stumbled across the Roweths & am sorry it took so long to learn of them... half a world away is the excuse I'll use for now...

I sent them query as to whether they knew of a recording of The ANZAC.. the bravest thing God ever made - poem by Ogilvie and music by Summerbelle. Hope to hear back.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: GUEST,sciencegeek
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 12:28 PM

here is as fine an example of your lesson learned as I can think...

Kemal, the first president after Turkey became a republic & later named Ataturk, returned to Gallipoli in 1915 as commander of the 19th Division, the main reserve of the Turkish Fifth Army, and was thus on hand to oppose the ANZAC landing in April.

In 1934 Atatürk wrote a tribute to the ANZACs killed at Gallipoli:

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Pete Jennings
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 01:00 PM

I'm an old softie as well, Dave. Brought a tear to my eyes.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: GUEST,pete from seven stars link
Date: 07 Apr 14 - 03:06 PM

some interesting and sober reading, thanks.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 08 Apr 14 - 01:04 AM

G'day,

Just an Australian WW I oddity ... a poem Henry Lawson ... admittedly not one from the wealthy / pro "English" side of the fence ... wrote in his notebook in 1916 ... This is straight from Colin Roderick's 3rd volume of Henry's verse ... but it never saw light in 1916!

LEST DOGS DEFILE!

"It's O to be a slave,
Along with the barbarous turk,
Where woman has never had a soul to save
If this be christian work."
                        — Tom HOOD

BEYOND the iron Dardenells there's little left to save;
yet he must fight lest grinning dogs defile his father's grave.
On burning sands or freezing heights, amongst the bones picked clean,
He fights in hunger and in rage, and keeps his rifle clean—
Lest dogs defile.

He fights and loses all the time. If you ask why or how,
He simply says "We always fought and we are fighting now."
He eats his salt at Islam's board for but a little while
But he must fight and he must slave, and die-lest dogs defile.

He fought and froze at Plevna once for all that he held true
And only dropped his rifle when the Sultan told him to.
But we may find, when Abdul's gone, that half the bloody work
Was Christian hands on Christian throats! and not done by the Turk.—
Lest dogs defile.

His simple soldiers keep unspoiled the graves of our brave dead,
While thousands live to shame their names by farm and shearing shed;
And while they fight and while they die, with never sign of fear,
The sullen, bestial spirit spreads round racing stables here.

He'd played the game had Abdul – the bravest of the brave;
He'd nothing in the future, and little left to save,
But fought and died lest dogs defile his father's father's grave!)

[1916?1

M.S., M.L., 184/7

HENRY LAWSON, COLLECTED VERSE, volume Three: 1910-1922.
Edited By COLIN RODERICK.
Page 368, Unpublished Verse
No notes, manuscript in Mitchell Library.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Mo the caller
Date: 08 Apr 14 - 07:18 AM

Maybe the army encouraged you to think that if you deserted you would be shot for sure. Which might change an old man's memory of what happened to 1 person.
I imagine that rumours were rife.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Musket
Date: 08 Apr 14 - 08:27 AM

It isn't the rumour at the time that is disturbing, it is the attempts at revision, as shown on these threads by dubious posts in the names of Teribus and Keith A Hole of Hertford that I find so unfortunate.

The lessons we still need to learn from the war to end all wars are apparent. That poignant reminders of atrocity and calamity within living memory needs defending against such people is wrong.

We don't need fanciful revision, we don't need politicians asking us to celebrate war, we don't need apologists for butchers in general's pips...

We need these human stories. We need these poignant artefacts. We need to know that we shouldn't let incompetent warmongers loose on our sons and grandsons.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 08 Apr 14 - 09:13 AM

DtG - a fine opening post. The programme had precisely the same effect on my wife and I. For all the reasons you illustrated in your post, it was a masterpiece.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Teribus
Date: 08 Apr 14 - 09:50 AM

Of course Musket you are perfectly correct:

"We don't need fanciful revision" - the facts are clearly recorded that out of an army some 5.5 million strong only 266 men were shot for desertion.

"we don't need politicians asking us to celebrate war" - the facts as recorded in Hansard show that to-date no politician has made any mention about celebrating war.

"we don't need apologists for butchers in general's pips..." True and neither do we need smart-arses defaming good men who did their duty under exceptionally difficult circumstances, came up with the answers and solutions to extremely difficult problems and prevailed against the mightiest army on the continent.

As for dubious posts, none more so than your own. If you wish to refresh the WWI thread and continue this discussion I will be more than prepared to oblige you as I wish to respect DtG's wishes on this one.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Musket
Date: 08 Apr 14 - 09:57 AM

You should have respected them instead of gaining credits in Keith's programmed learning course for his apprentices.

You're not in the same league mate...


I watched it late last night by the way Dave. You summed it up perfectly.


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Apr 14 - 10:02 AM

As I said before. Never mind who started it. Whoever ends it is most sensible! :-)

Cheers

DtG


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Subject: RE: BS: A very strange lesson learned.
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Apr 14 - 08:41 PM

Thank you for your OP, Dave. It was interesting and true.


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