Saturday, 1 July 2017
One of the many standard media fillers these days is sentimental pictures of troops from the great war. The DM of course knows its readership and each week, often each day, a similar second world war tale is shown. This encourages some to remember the days when they 'stood alone' and others to fulfil their 'Waffen SS' fantasies. The UKIP and Right wingers love these pictures.
The style is always simple, as it appears from the spelling mistakes, unchecked facts, and constant wrong information so are the 'work for free' employees who have been fooled into thinking they are learning journalism. (This one was stolen from yesterdays 'Daily Express' apparently) The simple style calls all 'our boys,' 'our boys,' always 'Brave' and certainly 'heroes.' There then follows in the comments columns the usual drivel from the same UKIP/right wing nutjobs. Half the comments claim "What would they say if they saw our country now?" The rest, "They fought Germany and Germany rules Europe." Many with little tact indicate foreigners are living here of the fat of the land that 'our heroes' won.
I get annoyed at this.
Now I know a little about two world wars and I know that many what we see in these comments in the tabloids is the result of half truths and lies spewed out by said papers, all to benefit the owners and the Conservative Party. By blaming immigrants for twenty years a generation, mostly over fifty, have come to believe their nation has been stolen from them, they are indeed right but not in how they see it. With their eyes on immigrants and an unhistorical view of history the deluded have been and are being robbed daily.
Many immigrants came here after serving in our forces, fighting our wars, and suffering for the DM reader. They deserve a place in this nation. Anyway what right had we to go into their land and steal it?
It is certainly true that many who served in the Great War were heroes, many courageous acts occurred, often from people least likely to do them before they left. Many also committed horrendous acts of needless aggression and enjoyed the opportunity to kill, maybe the DM reader would appreciate them of course. He would be less likely to enjoy him living next door. In the first war over two and a half million men volunteered, a fact that annoys those who claim the war was a 'rich man's war fought by the working classes.' These like to blame royalty infighting causing war but royalty while making mistakes had nothing to do with making war, nearly all were impotent. On the ther hand Asquith the somewhat double minded Prime Minister (still better than what we possess today) lost a son in the war, Churchill himself played at soldiers in the trenches for a while, and the general also lost children fighting. The Great War involved everyone not just the 'lower orders.'
Were the dead of the Great War a futile dead? No, had they not served, the French would have ost and that Germany, just as cruel as the later one, would have dominated the world. Should so many have died? Sadly it takes two to fight and unless one side steps down the other remains. Politicians are responsible for wars, and there were none able to stop it and many willing to continue it.
The second war was easier to defend, it could have been avoided by better politicians at home and abroad but in the end it had to be won. Were these men better heroes? No these were no different from the earlier generation, it is just that the later war appears less messy, it wasn't.
Were these men brave? Brave enough to go 'over the top' or be shot for cowardice? The bravest were those who for decent reasons refused to fight and insisted on a better world, they suffered for their beliefs, they were the brave ones. It is easy to follow the crowd it is difficult to stand out and be abused.
I often ask the commentators who suggest todays generation are not like the previous ones 'what regiment did you serve in?' and et no reply. They have never served, didn't want to serve, and would be no better than today's or any other generation of forced into war. The bulk of the men were often brave, more often afraid and very glad the war is over. They did miss the comradeship, missing at home, the excitement, foreign travel, pay, fun and laughter and a few tears also. They came back changed and indeed still do whether from Northern Ireland, Iraq or any war we know little about. I am never keen on calling servicemen 'heroes' but they deserve our respect, especially today when they are all volunteers and still face death if called into action. We ought to thank them and avoid the nonsense in the daily press.
I WENT into a public 'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, " We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away " ;
But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.
I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide.
Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap.
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.
We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.
You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! "
But it's " Saviour of 'is country " when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!