Family Letters

My grandfather was one of 6 brothers all involved in different theatres of the First World War: one was in the navy at Jutland, another in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) and the rest were scattered around France and India. They all wrote home to their mother who unsurprisingly kept their letters. In the course of time my mother inherited them. In the 1970s my mother persuaded the Imperial War Museum to copy and transcribe the letters, and she then edited selections from the transcriptions and turned […]

Remembering The Real WW1

2014 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. In line with Bristol’s long radical traditions we want to ensure that there are events locally remembering the reality of this war. The British government plans to spend £55 million on it’s own commemoration plans. Comments from David Cameron calling for a ‘truly national commemoration’ stressing our ‘national spirit’ suggest what he has in mind. He has even compared the government’s plans with last year’s Diamond Jubilee […]

Mythical Battle Over WW1

A few days ago Dan Snow wrote a piece entitled Lions and donkeys: 10 big myths about World War One debunked on the BBC website. The tone of the article was strange, in that it seemed to be implying that World War 1 was not as bad as everybody thinks and that and that a lot of working class soldiers quite enjoyed it while upper class officers were martyred. The 10 myths were: It was the bloodiest war in history to that point. No, it was our civil war in the mid 17th century Most soldiers died. […]

Remembering the Real WWI: Public meeting #3

This is the third meeting in Bristol to discuss opposition to David Cameron's 'truly national commemoration' of WW1 stressing our 'national spirit'. Nationally there are plans to ensure that attention is given to the real causes and effects of the war, rather than an opportunity for our government to re-habilitate this war in particular or war in general. Bristol has long radical traditions and we know there are groups and individuals across the city who will want to ensure that there are events […]

Remembering the Real WWI: Public meeting #2

This is the second meeting in Bristol to discuss opposition to David Cameron's 'truly national commemoration' of WW1 stressing our 'national spirit'. Nationally there are plans to ensure that attention is given to the real causes and effects of the war, rather than an opportunity for our government to re-habilitate this war in particular or war in general. Bristol has long radical traditions and we know there are groups and individuals across the city who will want to ensure that there are […]

Remembering the Real WWI: Public meeting

Next year is the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War. The British government plans to spend £55 million marking this occasion (and the centenary of other stages of the war). Comments from David Cameron calling for a 'truly national commemoration' stressing our 'national spirit' suggest what he has in mind. He has even compared the government's plans with last year's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. For the majority of people in Europe, whether directly involved or not, the war was […]

Why Blackadder Goes Forth could have been a lot funnier

Black Adder Goes Fourth
Tommy Atkins' hidden tactics to avoid combat on the Western Front in WW1 or why ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’ could have been a lot funnier (and more subversive)… A young Army, but the finest we have ever marshalled; improvised at the sound of the cannonade, every man a volunteer, inspired not only by love of country but by a widespread conviction that human freedom was challenged by military and Imperial tyranny, they grudged no sacrifice however unfruitful and shrank from no ordeal however […]

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