Archive for the ‘war’ Category

Berlin 70

May 13, 2019

Sunday 12 May, seventy years ago marked the end of the Berlin Airlift.

At the end of the war, Germany was occupied and divided by the Allies, British Sector, American Sector, French Sector and Russian Sector.

Berlin was similarly divided.

Soviet Union declared their sector as East Germany, Berlin was cut off within East German.

Berlin was then physically cut off, the Berlin Blockade.

The Allies airlifted food and fuel to Berlin, one plane landing every three minutes for nearly a year. The largest airlift in history.

The first Soviet Cold War confrontation with the West which led to the formation of NATO.

As part of the celebrations Taxi Charity took RAF Veterans to Berlin and ferried them around in London taxis.

Berlin 1933-1945 Between Propaganda and Terror

May 11, 2019

An exhibition in the shadow of the Berlin Wall documenting Nazi rise to power and subsequent fall during the Second World War and the immediate aftermath.

— to be continued —

Berlin Wall

May 11, 2019

The Berlin Wall divided East from West Berlin.

Those who attempted to cross the Wall, to escape from East Berlin to West Berlin, were shot.

Checkpoint Charlie

May 11, 2019

The only crossover between East and West Berlin through the Berlin Wall, where spy exchanges took place.

A chilling location, but sadly now a tacky tourist hot spot replete with KFC, McDonald’s and Starbucks.

What a pity the area could not have been left as it was.

A divided city, no longer divided.

The only divided city left in the world is Nicosia, a divided city on a divided island. The north of Cyprus illegally occupied by Turkey.

IBCC one year on

April 12, 2019

Last year IBCC held an opening ceremony in freezing fog, so cold survival blankets had to be handed out.

Today, freezing cold but not as cold.

A small gathering to mark one year on, a couple of WWII Bomber Command veterans, ‘Vera’ (Lorrie Brown), The D-Day Darlings and from the media Lincs FM, Radio Lincolnshire and Look North.

The Lincolnite and Lincolnshire Echo were invited but failed to show.

Lancaster Skies colour edition

February 22, 2019

Last year saw a pre-release screening of Lancaster Skies for WWII veterans of Bomber Command at International Bomber Command Centre.

That was the black and white version.

This was the version the director wished to go on general release but the distributor begged to differ, they wished for colour for general release.

Thursday saw a showing of the the colour edition for a  BBC film crew from The One Show, who earlier had been filming around Lincolnshire. Also present two WWII veterans of Bomber Command.

What was their view? This to be revealed on The One Show.

The film looks at a dysfunctional Lancaster crew. They had lost their skipper, killed on the return from a bomber raid by German night fighters.

There are two stories, the main story, how the crew handle a new skipper. There is also an underlying interrelated story which few who watch will be aware of.

The film is of a genre of a series of working class films that were released in the 1960s, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Taste of Honey all from the same film studio, Woodfall Films.

For those expecting an action packed video game shoot them up they will be disappointed.

Colour?

The colours are muted, film grainy, to give it a feel of WWII.

Lancaster Skies will be featured on The One Show, evening Tuesday or Wednesday 26 or 27 February 2019.

Lancaster Skies will then go on general release.

Théodule Charles Cornu

November 11, 2018

EN FRANÇAIS voir plus bas

My grand-father went to war in 1916 when he was 18. Yes, my own grand-father.

His name was Théodule Charles Cornu. He was handsome, member of Lyon Bourgeoisie.

The day he had to go to war, his father brought him to the train station.

When they left the house, his father checked the mailbox.

There was a letter in it. His father took the letter, without showing it to his son. Then they walked together to the station. My great grand father put his son inside the train and said goodbye. Without saying anything about the letter. The envelope had a black bandstripe. It was the death certificate of his other son, the eldest.

Théodule was injured in 1917 and had to go back to war after a stay at the hospital.

My grandfather came back from war in 1919, traumatized, injured, decorated #croixdeguerre

He was over 45 when he met my grand-mother.

All his letters start with « I am well ». He never complains.

————-

Mon grand-père est parti à la guerre en 1916 à l’âge de 18 ans. Oui mon propre grand-père.

Il s’appelait Théodule Cornu. C’était un jeune homme intelligent et beau, issu d’une famille bourgeoise lyonnaise.

Le jour de son départ, son père l’a accompagné à la gare.
En partant à la gare, son père a regardé la boite aux lettres et y a vu une lettre. Il l’a prise et mise dans sa poche sans la montrer à son fils.

Puis ils ont fait le trajet ensemble jusqu’à la gare, mon arrière grand père a installé mon grand-père dans le train et lui a dit au revoir. Sans rien dire de cette lettre.

Elle avait une bande noire. C’était l’avis de décès de son fils aîné.

——

Sur toutes ses lettres à ses parents il commence par « je vais bien ». Il ne se plaint jamais.

Revenu de la guerre en 1919, blessé, décoré #croixdeguerre, traumatisé.

A plus de 45 ans, il a rencontré ma grand-mere.

Alice Audouin

St Mark’s Church Armistice Day Vigil

November 10, 2018

I had looked in St Mark’s Church earlier on in the day for a World War One window which had been restored.

I could not find.

Passing by a few hours later, now dark, a light on, the church still open.

St Mark’s Church open, a vigil to mark Armistice Day.

I quietly walked around the church. I still could not find the window.

I remained a little while in silent contemplation. I thought of the horror of those souls who died in the trenches.

I wished to walk back down the side aisle to light a candle, but reluctant to disturb those in the church.

The First World War did not end at eleven o’clock on 11 November 1918 one hundred years ago. That was when an Armistice was agreed, a ceasefire, the day the guns fell silent.

Peace was not agreed until the following year.

Exacting reparations were imposed on Germany. Keynes warned against but he was ignored. This led to the Second World War.

What we see today in Europe, in the Middle East, is unfinished business from WWI.

No lessons have been learnt.

Greece dared challenge the EU. A vassal state for daring to challenge the EU is being destroyed to serve as a warning to other vassal states.

WWI was the first democratised war, no family was left untouched, unlike the Boer War. It was the first industrialised war. Cavalry charges of little use against machines guns and barbed wire, the first use of tanks.

How it affected communities was brought home to me this summer in a church in Arundel. In the pews, silhouettes of the fallen.

New injuries. In the Boer war, wounds did not become infected. In the mud of the trenches, wounds became infected

Not all who died died in action. Many were unfairly executed for cowardice.

There are no survivors left from WWI. Soon their children will also be lost to us.

Memories fade.

BBC, in a ground breaking work, collected the living memories of those who lived through WWI for a series marking 50 years since WWI.

My grandfather served in the trenches in France but he never talked about it, other than to complain it destroyed his health.

Did the veterans not talk about their experience because of the horrors it brought back, or because no one wished to listen?

Uncle Albert of the Trotter family in Only Fools and Horses told to shut up each time he tried to recount his wartime experience.

International Bomber Command Centre, in a race against time, has recorded and archived memories of veterans of WWII Bomber Command.

British are obsessed with the two world wars. Eighty per cent of the books on the two world wars are in English.

When veterans of Bomber Command turn up at an event people wish to talk to them, ask for their books to be signed, even though they are not the authors.

£45 million is raised by Poppy Day Appeal. To what end?

Those homeless on the street with serious mental problems are too often ex-service men who can no longer cope with modern life. Do we commemorate the dead and ignore the living? This was raised by Aaron Bastani, who was then condemned for doing so.

The First World War was called The Great War, the war to end all wars. By the 1930s this was being questioned, as the nation prepared for yet another war. 

In 1939 there was no commemoration of Armistice Day.

UK is built on a war economy. Weapons are supplied to the world’s most repressive regimes.

UK arms and provides military support to Saudi Arabia. A corrupt Islamic regime no different to ISIS, that is carrying out genocide in Yemen, that degrades women, that beheads its critics, that killed and cut up a journalist who walked into a Saudi Embassy in Turkey.

Tommies fought in the mud of the trenches. Donald Trump could not be bothered to attend a ceremony at an American War Graves Cemetery because of a little drizzle.

Did the fallen die for nothing?

On Armistice Day our thoughts turn to those who died in two world wars to liberate Europe from tyranny.

A decade ago, 60% of countries across the world were democracies. That figure is down to 40%.

Two weeks ago Greeks marked Oxi Day, the day at the start of WWII when they said no to Fascism. They paid a very heavy price. Two years ago they voted Oxi in a referendum, to then be be betrayed by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

We have a Europe in chains, vassal states of the EU.

Across Europe we have a rise of Fascism as a direct response to the EU.

Armistice Day should never be about poppies, red or white, or even solemn reflection on those who died, and in the wars and conflicts of today, those who die are not only soldiers, combatants, they are civilians, innocent civilians who are not even party to the conflict.

We must question the wars, even more important question who is profiteering from the wars.

It is sickening that British Legion partners with war profiteers British Aerospace.

Bastion of the Air

September 4, 2018

The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit in our lifetime. — Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, 3 August 1914

An exhibition at The Collection, an arts cum museum complex, looking at Lincoln in World War One.

England was vulnerable, airships launched by the German Navy, dropping bombs on England, were untouchable, at too high an altitude to be reached by the existing British warplanes.

The next generation of planes could fly at higher altitude, and used incendiary bullets.

British aircraft were operated by the Army and the Navy. These were amalgamated to create the Royal Air Force.

Lincoln had three manufacturing plants, these were crucial to the war effort, and Lincoln became one of the centres of not only aircraft manufacture, but also of the engines and the bombs.

Lincoln was where at Fosters, the WWI tank was developed and built.

These engineering factories have long gone, in their place sheds on the inner-bypass selling worthless consumer junk, tacky chain coffee shops. Where once there was highly skilled well paid jobs, now temporary, part time, zero hours work.

Within the exhibition clothes, black and white film of the period, paintings (though no date or information on the artists), medals (including the Victoria Cross and German Iron Cross).

The first VC to be awarded was to a pilot William Leef Robinson for shooting down a Zeppelin airship.

Surprising no mention of the airship disaster at Washingborough. An airship was spotted, passengers rushed to one side of the Washingborough Ferry crossing the River Witham causing it to collapse.

The night before, a Zeppelin bombed Washingborough, mistaking for Lincoln. The Zeppelin was following a train, and may have thought it was Lincoln when the train stopped.

St John’s Church in Washingborough has unique Zeppelin Memorial Window put in by the Rector William Burland.

Note: No pictures thanks to copyright mafia.

If visiting the exhibition, visit the Tourist Information Centre in Castle Hill at the top of Steep Hill and pick up a 20% off voucher.

Also worth a visit, International Bomber Command Centre and the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.

Coffee at Stokes at The Collection is not recommended. There are better coffee shops nearby, Base Camp on Steep Hill, Madame Waffle in the High Street and Coffee Aroma in Guildhall (through The Stonebow), all within a few minutes walk.

Lancaster Skies

August 25, 2018

A private showing of Lancaster Skies to veterans of Bomber Command and their guests at International Bomber Command Centre overlooking Lincoln Cathedral.

IBCC officially opened earlier this year, a centre, a digital archive, exhibitions and the Memorial Spire.

An appropriate setting for a private screening of Lancaster Skies.

A brief introduction by the producer, the film follows the lives of a Lancaster crew after they lost their skipper, a homagae to war films of the 1940s and 1950,

The film starts with a Lancaster being attacked by German night fighters, on landing they discover their skipper has been fatally wounded.

The crew are dysfunctional, can barely cope, they then have to cope with a new capatin, a rather aloof former fighter pilot.

The new capatin is keen to be in the air, take the fight to the Germans, the crew on the other hand are happy to remain grounded and send their time down the pub.

They are given a mission, in the same aircraft they last flew in now patched up. On their return they are again attacked.

The film is in black and white, the focus is on the crew.

The genre is less of the war films, more that of a series of working class films that were released in the 1960s, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, A Taste of Honey all from the same film studio, Woodfall Films.

Whilst the film was being shown, a runner ran from IBCC to RAF Scampton and back.

Lancaster Skies will be shown in selected cinemas. Please lobby local cinemas if wish to see.