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100 Years since the start of World War I


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So.. It's been 100 years since GB's involvement in World War 1.

 

Unfortunately, it's gotten to the time where we have none of the survivors to tell us how horrific this war was, we only speak of ancestors.

 

May everyone who fought bravely, on all sides, rest in peace.

 

They did us proud.

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The thing to remember for me is that those men left the trenches KNOWING they would be walking into a hail of machine gun fire and certin death - and they did it anyway.  

 

Bravery the like of which we will never see again. Such enormous courage in the face of such obvious tactical stupidity.

 

 

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I guess it's easy to command from an office with miniature versions of battlefield and a few wooden markers to push around.

 

I think the point still stands though that those people who were stuck in trenches, mud up to their waists, are still heroes for going over the trenches into what was almost certain death.

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They weren't heroes. They were (by and large) normal young men who were led into slaughter by heartless empires. A good number put considerable effort into making that point known and we would do well to remember it.

Dont get the point your trying to make here, makes no sense...make what point known??

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They weren't heroes. They were (by and large) normal young men who were led into slaughter by heartless empires. A good number put considerable effort into making that point known and we would do well to remember it.

Dont get the point your trying to make here, makes no sense...make what point known??

 

That point. This wasn't a glorious battle of fearless heroes, this was forced self sacrifice of innocent people.

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It's the innocent guys who went and did it that are the heroes..

 

You'd don't have to respect the people who made the choices, but the people who gave their lives fighting for a cause.  Millions of people gave their lives, all braver and more heroic then I'll ever be. 

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Saw my great uncle Clarence's discharge papers on Ancestry.co.uk recently.  He was serving in France with the South Staffs regiment, and was shot going over the top.  The bullet passed through his shoulder and came out through his chest, nicking an artery.  Amazingly he survived, but wasn't fit enough to continue active service.  Just seeing the records on a computer screen like that is amazing.  Puts our "first world" problems in perspective.

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Saw my great uncle Clarence's discharge papers on Ancestry.co.uk recently.  He was serving in France with the South Staffs regiment, and was shot going over the top.  The bullet passed through his shoulder and came out through his chest, nicking an artery.  Amazingly he survived, but wasn't fit enough to continue active service.  Just seeing the records on a computer screen like that is amazing.  Puts our "first world" problems in perspective.

 

Yea.  I went round to my mom and dads a while ago.  My grandad was there too and they gave me a folder with around 20 pages to it.

 

It was my great uncles squad leaders letters and reports about what was happening on the field.. There were maps pin pointing where they were, what they were doing and text about why they were doing it.  It was fascinating. 

 

In short, my "uncle" was in a trench of the West side of a field.  The French were on the East side.  The plan was to dig a trench around an enemy strong hold and get in through the back of them. 

 

It turns out the French trench was 400m in front of the English trench and the French troops were going over the top regardless of where the English trench was so the Commanding Officer said "we're going over now".  So basically, they went over the top in front of the Germans after some mortaring of the German defenses.. Needless to say, no damage was done to their trenches, and my uncles squad went and got killed.  12 of a 45 man squad survived.

 

The mission was classed as a success, the German trenches were taken and we gained 400m of land.. quite a lot apparently..

 

They never found his body, it's assumed he suffered a direct hit with a mortar, or, more likely, his body trampled deep into the mud (which was thigh high due to the heavy shelling) and couldn't be recovered.

 

February 16th 1916 (I'm pretty sure) at around 11:20am.

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They weren't heroes. They were (by and large) normal young men who were led into slaughter by heartless empires. A good number put considerable effort into making that point known and we would do well to remember it.

Dont get the point your trying to make here, makes no sense...make what point known??

 

That point. This wasn't a glorious battle of fearless heroes, this was forced self sacrifice of innocent people.

 

 

Too right. Millions of ordinary men killed and wounded at the urging of the political and aristocratic elites who saw the lower classes as nothing more then grist to the mill.

 

Just reading through some of the reports from British papers at the time, it's amazing how the journalists and editors could fall, hook line and sinker, for the vile propaganda spewed by the war mongers.

 

One would like to think times have changed, but then there was the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

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They weren't heroes. They were (by and large) normal young men who were led into slaughter by heartless empires. A good number put considerable effort into making that point known and we would do well to remember it.

Dont get the point your trying to make here, makes no sense...make what point known??
That point. This wasn't a glorious battle of fearless heroes, this was forced self sacrifice of innocent people.
I get that but for him to say they weren't heroes is pretty poor
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he wasn't denigrating the efforts, just the representation of them as heroes. I've only read limited personal stories from there, and other accounts from well researched fictional accounts, and I rather get the impression many of the soldiers themselves didn't consider themselves heroes much either.  The poetry of Sassoon et al for example tends to suggest this too in my opinion anyway. Maybe they did fight 'heroically' ( whatever that means ) I'm not sure, but I rather get the impression there were rather more Blackadder's and Darlings than there were George's and Flashhearts. 

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he wasn't denigrating the efforts, just the representation of them as heroes. I've only read limited personal stories from there, and other accounts from well researched fictional accounts, and I rather get the impression many of the soldiers themselves didn't consider themselves heroes much either.  The poetry of Sassoon et al for example tends to suggest this too in my opinion anyway. Maybe they did fight 'heroically' ( whatever that means ) I'm not sure, but I rather get the impression there were rather more Blackadder's and Darlings than there were George's and Flashhearts. 

 

And they still went over the top.

 

What they did was nothing short of heroic.  They climbed out of the confides of their trenches, knowing that 100 yards away was a number of machine gun nests waiting for them.  Even if you don't want to call them heroes, they're still brave!

 

What's the debate here?

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What's the debate here?

 

I think the debate is whether or not the vast majority of them gave their lives walking down machine guns willingly or whether they were terrified but forced to do it by inhumane commanding officers because the only other option was desertion (and a court martial and death sentence and tarnished legacy).

 

There were undoubtedly many, many of them who were able to display commendable courage in the face of such a disgraceful situation though.

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he wasn't denigrating the efforts, just the representation of them as heroes. I've only read limited personal stories from there, and other accounts from well researched fictional accounts, and I rather get the impression many of the soldiers themselves didn't consider themselves heroes much either.  The poetry of Sassoon et al for example tends to suggest this too in my opinion anyway. Maybe they did fight 'heroically' ( whatever that means ) I'm not sure, but I rather get the impression there were rather more Blackadder's and Darlings than there were George's and Flashhearts. 

 

And they still went over the top.

 

What they did was nothing short of heroic.  They climbed out of the confides of their trenches, knowing that 100 yards away was a number of machine gun nests waiting for them.  Even if you don't want to call them heroes, they're still brave!

 

What's the debate here?

 

at the risk of a pointless debate because  don't mistake me I have no quibble with commemorating the huge sacrifices made, one could say that given the punishment for desertion was to be shot, that there was generally little choice in the matter. 

 

edit: arte got there first with the desertion thing. I am sure there were plenty of brave deeds going on obviously.

Edited by Rodders
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Really disappointed with the tv coverage of all this, not sure if they put many WW1 films on over the weekend but there has been a really poor amount of documentaries and program's on IMO

Even tonight, the history channel has a couple of hours of pawn stars uk on... BBC2 has a memorial on and discovery history has a couple of program's on but other than that nothing really

Compare that to 9/11 or WW2 anniversaries, or WW2 pretty much every other day on the documentary channels, can appreciate the amount of available football impacting it but still can't help think it's poor

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"The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time."

 

Found out that one of my relations Joined the British army (an Irish man) and never returned from France I could only imagine what it was like knowing you faced certain death but still went over the top 

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Really disappointed with the tv coverage of all this...

I'm rather disappointed at the tone of some of the coverage. It's verging on the celebratory from what I've seen. I feel like I've been taken back to school remembrance services.
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