WWi anniversary winds down
the last 100 days of the 100th anniversary of WWi are slowly winding down. every day, 100 years ago, the allies pushed back the enemy and everyday more died on both sides of lines not only soldiers and military personnel but the people whose countries were destroyed by this atrocious war.
one would like to think that if the people over the last 100 years knew just how terrible this war really was it might have been ‘the war to end all wars.’ but the people who really knew, the men and women who were over there, couldn’t talk about it. there was no way to describe what they had seen for there had never been a war like this before. those at home on both sides had no television or radio. they hadn’t watched movies, television or computer games where people were slaughtered, albeit more neatly than on the battlefield. How do you comprehend the death of 16 million people and 37 million civilian and military casualties? How could then comprehend those numbers 100 years ago.
books were published, with lots of photos, but that doesn’t work like youtube today. For decades the average person knew little to nothing about that war.
WWii was a different story, you could at least see propaganda newsreels at the movie house. this war was terrible too but the world had learned a lot and technology boomed after the first world war, it was not the same in how it was fought. they literally and metaphorically had come out of the trenches by then.
i personally think that more information has become available on WWi in the last five years than the combination of everything for all the previous years between.
i should qualify this from a Canadian knowledge stand point, for our farms were not battlefields. every time our farmers plow their fields they don’t have to clear out WW1, live ordnance and call the bomb disposal to come and remove it from the racks on the road where it is stacked for easy pick up. they don’t find the bones.
our construction workers while preparing sites for new buildings or even sewers don’t find artifacts and bones. While researching one of my WW1 presentations i note that in 2015 while digging in a gas line, construction workers found 19 sets of remains: 14 were Canadian, 2 german, 2 british and underneath a grave dating to the roman empire. each year around 60 bodies of First World War soldiers of all nationalities are found in the old battlefields.
thank goodness there are people like andrew robertshaw, a world famous british military Historian in the united Kingdom, who has spearheaded numerous archaeological investigations along the Western Front. He is one of many who have now seen the results of that war up close and personal. thank goodness he has shared his knowledge with the world in books, presentations and consultations. most war movies are not grounded in the facts however his expertise was used by steven spielberg in “War Horse” where he was a military advisory and used from the beginning when the script was being written to the last day of shooting the movie.
mr. robertshaw, is also a regular consultant and on-screen expert for a host of tV and radio shows, including time team, the trench detectives and Who do you think you are?
oh, if only robin barker-James were still here to meet this man. mr. robertshaw is building a WW1 trench replica so school children can better understand the horrors of this war. perhaps he got the idea from robin?
Well, guess who is coming to tillsonburg? the man himself! mr robertshaw will be visiting tillsonburg on Wednesday, october 17, at 6:00 p.m., to do a presentation at our Varnavair legion on World War 1 battlefield archeology, and it will include a dinner. this event is being spearheaded by the tillsonburg military History Club with the assistance of branch 153 royal Canadian legion and the Historical society. a limited number of tickets will be available at the museum. please contact the museum at 519-842-2294 to get your name on the ticket list. Cost is $25. tickets are already going fast which is why i am writing about this so early.
tillsonburg is part of a Canadian tour from Calgary to st John’s, newfoundland that he is doing from oct 13-27th. What a wonderful way to honour those how fought for us during that last few days of the 100th anniversary.