Monday, 15 October 2012


The Great War of 1914-18 has very much been in the news recently. With the 100th anniversary of the start of that calamitous event rapidly approaching, the nation has finally started to wonder how to mark this unique date.

Rather surprisingly, the Government announced last week that huge sums of money are being made available to provide funds for events up and down the country. This is to be applauded. As long as those in charge keep the historical context of how and why this country entered the war and what happened there after.

Too many times, the modern eye casts a disapproving eye over historical events to criticise and belittle those involved, often ignoring the mood of the times and the context of what happened. They must be careful not to insult the memory of those who fought by comparing them with today's events and attitudes.

The Great War has huge significance for me personally and I'm fascinated how every single facet of life in this country was affected and changed in some way. From art and poetry to huge social upheavals that changed Britain forever.
The more people aware of this the better. I travelled all around the Somme battlefield sites in France with my Dad 15 years ago and we barely saw anyone all day. We do owe these people the dignity of our respect and understanding of what they went through. Those lonely cemeteries and forgotten fields where thousands died are an incredible experience. The weight of history is all around you.

Just recently I completed a first draft of a collage as a tribute to the Great War. Very much in the spirit of my DAZZLING DECADES series, but this time including items not solely from these years. I thought it important to include objects from the post war years of the 1920s, as I not only possess many items but highlights the impact the war still had.

Some of the things on show are the 'Pip, Squeak and Wilfrid' medals, rare dog-tags, postcards, 'Ole Bill cartoon character (including a theatre programme from 1917), a photograph taken at the Battle of Jutland, Queen Mary Christmas 1914 tin and a 1929 copy of All Quiet on the Western Front book.

Lest we forget

Pip, Squeak and Wilfrid. Officially the 1914 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Rare soldier's dog-tags. 
Sadly, they were made of cardboard, which made identification of dead soldiers often impossible as they deteriorated quicker or were destroyed more easily than metal ones.

On War Service badge from 1916, worn by women munitions workers.

Postcard dated 1915 from someone of Active Service. 
Notice the Censor stamp, approving the card as ok to send.

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