Wednesday, 5 August 2015

WWI Drop-in sessions at Southwater library

Pop along to Southwater library every Thursday 10.30-12.30 starting 13th August to find out about your families WWI history.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Shropshire Regimental Museum

We visited Shropshire Regimental Museum yesterday to discuss plans for the Pop up Museum at Southwater library Saturday 7th November 10am-2pm. It was a great experience to have a look around the museum and see all of the great collections they have on display. The museum staff are all very knowledgeable and friendly and will make your experience more enjoyable.

The museum has a large section of WWI artifacts including an original video display of footage from the Western Front and this WWI uniform.

There are displays about each of the Shropshire based regiments that fought during WWI including the 1st Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry who were involved throughout the war and famously fought at the Somme. They lost 988 men during the conflict. You can also discover the story of the 4th Battalion KSLI who were involved in a brave counter attack at Bligny Hill that led to them being awarded the Croix de Guerre.

Of course there is lots more to see in addition to the World War I display including a really great display about the battle of Waterloo (which was 200 years ago this year) and a very informative display about the Boer War.
To top it all off the museum is located within the wonderful Shrewsbury Castle which is full of history dating back to the 11th century. The museum makes the most of the setting and contains some displays relating to the history of the Castle itself.
Overall, I can't recommend a trip to the Shropshire Regimental Museum highly enough. It makes for a really interesting day out in the historic town of Shrewsbury and will inspire you to find out more about what's on our doorstep.
You can visit their website here 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Join the Navy, the service for fighting men

In the second of what will hopefully be a series of posts about propaganda we are going to look at some American propaganda. This time the propaganda in question was produced in 1917 so right at the start of US involvement in the conflict. It was created by artist Richard Fayerweather Babcock to encourage people to join the US Navy.

This is a very striking poster lacking in any kind of subtlety whatsoever. It depicts a member of the US Navy riding a torpedo and seemingly having an absolutely brilliant time while doing so! This is conveying a fairly obvious message that to sign up for the war effort is a good thing and if you do you'll have a great time while at war. It is fairly typical of wartime propaganda to ignore the reality and horrors of war in favour of a very positive and rose-tinted version in order to encourage participation.
The pose of the soldier on the torpedo also evokes comparisons with so many images of those great American heroes cowboys which I'm sure was a deliberate ploy to encourage young American males to sign up and become their generations heroes.
The text is also very brash in its message suggesting that if you want to join the war effort then the only sensible option would be to join the Navy as that is the "service for fighting men". This suggests that anyone joining the regular army was not a fighting man and is trying to play on the male ego in order to gain more recruits specifically for the Navy.
Overall, this is a really interesting piece of propaganda and while it seems fairly amusing to look back at it may very well have been successful in evoking patriotism in young American males in 1917. I am also struck by it's remarkable similarity to this famous scene from the wonderful film Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.


Friday, 3 July 2015

L'entente Cordiale

Propaganda is used by all countries in the world and has been in some form or other for most of history. It can be very interesting to look back at examples of propaganda and try to analyse what was intended. This is the first of series of posts looking at very aspects of WWI propaganda that I hope you will find interesting.
The above is a piece of propaganda almost certainly created in Germany that will have been sent into France during 1915. It depicts the British Empire as a spider dominating Europe and was almost certainly designed to try and convince the French people that their pact with Britain or "L'entente Cordiale" as it was called was only benefiting the British Empire and they should look instead to the Germans (the proud eagle in the above image). German U-boats are also attacking the web in the image while the Spider itself appears to be eating a Frenchman this contrast is again designed to create doubt as to whether the French should be allied with Britain or if they should cut themselves loose from such an oppressive force. This particular piece of propaganda failed as France and Britain remained allies throughout WWI but it still is a very powerful and interesting image that I feel will have resonated with many French people who were uncomfortable being allies with a country that was their traditional enemy.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

War Memorial Jackfield

I spotted this lovely little War Memorial opposite the Boat Inn Jackfield while out walking this past weekend and thought I would share it with you all. I think it is a great example of the fact that memorials do not have to be massive in order to be moving and effective.

Friday, 26 June 2015

First World War Poetry Digital Archive

This is a great website created and maintained by the University of Oxford that includes digital collections of famous war poets such as Robert Graves and Shropshire's own Wilfred Owen. There are also some great teaching and education resources included on the site and it is well worth a visit whether you are just interested in WWI poetry or need some tips on how to teach pupils about it.