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We will remember them

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:09 pm
by Willy
Yesterday. One hundred years ago. John Parr, son of a milkman, died near Mons (Belgium). He was the first British soldier who was killed in the Great War. He found his last resting place among many German soldiers. But George Ellison, member of the 5th Royal Irish Lancers, was also buried in this graveyard. He was the last British casualty.

Gravestones in a circle. The "enemies" Reinhold and Kenneth are now "neighbours" in eternity.

There are thousands of stories about things that happened in the First World War. Maybe you remember my documentaries "Will Ye Go to Flanders?" and "On the Road to Passchendale". One of the judges at BIAFF said something like : "You show too many gravestones in your film. It's boring." I was very disappointed. Every image was functional. For instance: a Jewish gravestone next to a Christian one... But an other judge asked me: "Why didn't you show any Welsh gravestones?" This was a contradiction to what the first judge had said. Not only English, Scottish, Belgian and French young men were killed, but also South African, Chinese, Indian soldiers...

The first judge was a young Belgian. I forgave him. I wonder if young people realize enough the absurdity of a war like in Ukraine, Gaza, etc...? That's why I made the movie about my great grand uncles Frans and Victor Van der Linden who perished in Flanders Fields. A very positive thing: my film (5 stars) was shown at the winners' show at BIAFF. So after all the judging panel seemed to appreciate my story I was very happy with it.

If you ever visit Belgium, please do not forget Tyne Cot Cemetery near Ypres (12,000 gravestones). It is British territory in Belgium, but it is not the only one!

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 1:23 pm
by Willy
Sorry, I forgot to tell you this: I also forgave the other judge. Maybe he was a Welshman. Maybe he is proud to be a Welshman. I understand him. You can't imagine how many Welsh young soldiers were killed in this "War of Madness" in Flanders' Fields. You must see it. We must also remember the Welsh! 500,000 people lost their lives in this small part of Belgium.

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:35 pm
by John Roberts
Willy - do you have a link to your documentary "On the Road to Passchendale" at all? My grandfather was in Ypres and fought at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 and I would find this fascinating to add to his account of the horrors of the battle.

Many thanks - John Roberts

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 9:32 pm
by Willy
I will send you a copy of my film if you wish. I will do this with pleasure. For this documentary I had the permission to follow your Queen when she was at Tyne Cot Cemetery in 2007. My brother carried my tripod. It was quite an adventure. I am sure that the IAC secretary will give me your address. She also has my email address. In Passchendaele there is a museum which is as fasinating as the famous Flanders Fields Museum in Ypres. It collects photographs and information about the soldiers who died in Passchendaele in 1917.

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 11:43 am
by col lamb
It is a time for recollection and thanks.

My Wife and I have been undertaking family research and so far we each have three family members who are recorded on the Somme memorial and therefore their actual graves are close to where they fell.

I would not be here if it was not for WW1 and my Grandfather was in the Canadian army, was injured in France and transported to England where he met the lady who was to become his Wife, after their marriage they went to live in Canada. Unfortunately Grandfather died in 1932 and the Canadian government acknowledged that his early death was due to the injury and he was buried in a Canadian war grave in Saskatoon. RIP Grandad.

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:28 pm
by Frank Maxwell
There is so much history on the First War and it makes wonderful video material. No doubt every town or village would have a story to tell.
Here would be a opportunity for video clubs and individual to make something.
I'm doing something similar but tackling the 2nd World War and next year a local project which is in the pipeline.
Looking at professional films on the 1st War what get under my collar is the clean image portraited.
Even the film "WAR HORSE" had a bad piece of a horse running through the trenches. But in one aspect a good film to watch.

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Thu Aug 07, 2014 5:55 pm
by ned c
A very fine film (certainly my favorite) about WW1 is "Oh What a Lovely War", Richard Attenborough's directorial debut. We saw the original stage play at Stratford East and the film in my opinion is even better.

ned c

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:36 am
by John Roberts
Willy: you have a PM :)

All the best - John

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:12 am
by Willy
The last few days I was in England. In Kent and in London. I met Ron Prosser at the "Star and Eagle", a cosy pub in Goudhurst in the Garden of England. He told me about BIAFF 2015 at Sittingbourne. The following day I saw my English friend and folksinger Brian Higbee at the "Dirty Habit" in Hollingbourne. Brian lives in Bridestowe near Okehampton (Devon). He said that my films "Will Ye Go to Flanders" and "On the Road to Passchendale" had been screened in his village. He himself had to sing songs about the First World War. One man had tears in his eyes when he was watching my documentary "Will Ye Go to Flanders". That's what Brian said. It is strange to tell you this: I am happy to know this. It means that my film is moving and that I created the right atmosphere to commemorate the fact that 500,000 young men died in Flanders Fields. And what for ? It is good to make films for competition like BIAFF, but it is even better to make films only to inform the audience and to entertain them. The day before yesterday I was in London. I visited the Tower. Have you already seen the red carpet of poppies over there? Very impressive. But you must know that every poppy represents a young soldier who has given his life for us.
Robert, I have sent copies of my films to you. I have done it with pleasure.

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 9:39 am
by John Roberts
Hi Willy, I have received your package with many thanks and I shall endeavour to view the films when I have some free time to devote all my attention to them - at the moment I am in the middle of editing quite a complex music video and I know I won't be able to give your art justice.

I hope you enjoyed your time in England and maybe we will meet up one day at BIAFF :)

All the best - John

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:23 am
by Willy
Yesterday and the day before yesterday I watched the direct BBC-broadcast of the ceremonies in London to commemorate the thousands of young men that fell in the The Great War, but also in the Second World War, in Irak, Afghanistan etc... It was very moving. Very impressive. In particular the ceremony at the Cenotaph. Amazing ... your Queen (89). She has a certain magic ! Of course that's my feeling. I also admire Prince Philip (93) and ... the other members of the Royal Family. The British military ceremonies are unique in the world. You cannot see them anywhere else.

Of course it all reminded me of the day when I had the permission to follow Her Majesty the Queen with my camera when she visited Tyne Cot Cemetery here in Flanders' Fields. Every film is an adventure.

On the 23rd November I will be back in London to see the Horse Guards, 10 Downing Street, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square etc... I will be there to prepare a film with a distinctive character. At least that's what I hope. Preparing a film (reportage, documentary) is essential. It takes some time, but I also enjoy that part of filmmaking. Research can improve your knowledge.

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:46 am
by Dave Watterson
Some handy hints, Willy, for your trip to London:

Ignore all left and right signs, they are merely political slogans

On entering a railway carriage be sure to shake hands with all those present

Have you tried the famous echo in the reading room of the British Museum?

Every London brothel displays a blue lamp

When travelling by train it is considered inpolite not to help anyone who is doing The Times crossword

Comments from the public are always welcome in Courts of Law. When you start speaking, an usher will call "Silence in Court", this is so others may hear your comments

In London, you are encouraged to try a piece of fruit, free of charge from any open air stall

Women are not allowed upstairs on buses; if you see a woman there ask her to descend

It is customary to introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you on a London Underground train

London Barbers are delighted to shave customers armpits

If you are in a rush, it is considered appropriate to make your way to the front of any queue directly.

London street newspaper vendors are a really useful source of tourist information

The Circle line only runs in both directions in rush hour, outside these times you must travel clockwise.

As it is considered a polite greeting, be sure to ask anyone you see in Britain, "Is your hovercraft full of eels?"

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 12:07 pm
by Michael Slowe
Willy, you must remember that Dave is a mere Scotsman, they only want to cause confusion and alarm down here in England. Do not take everything he sais as gospel.

More generally, and further to the advice to Willy on making a film about London, I have recently been involved with the restoration and re conforming of a film I made in 1964 on the newsvendors of London. Shot on 8mm film on a Bolex camera, I observed a number of these vendors, many of them familiar to me as our business took me to locations adjoining London underground stations where the vendors sold evening papers. There were three evening papers then and it is nostalgic for us older fellows to hear talk of pounds, shillings and pence. If anyone is interested I could send them a DVD when the restoration is complete - the film runs for about 16 minutes. There are still street vendors for Willy to film but alas they not as colourful and entertaining as these old newspaper sellers.

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 11:42 pm
by Willy
Many thanks for the information, advice and warnings, Dave. Many thanks for your suggestions, Michael. London is unique in the world. I am sure you can even run naked through the streets of London without being noticed, Dave. Mind: if you ever see an old naked man with a camera and bowler hat in the City it is not me. Though it would be a good idea to make a funny film about it. A streaker in London! It is good to make special films. Not cliché films. Not mere registration.

Yes, I know that Dave is a real Scotsman. He once gave me a haggis when I had a pit stop in Bath.

All joking apart: I love London. Samuel Johnson was right when he said "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life". In prehistoric times I organized 25 schooltrips to London and some other trips for adults. They were not ordinary trips. We even attended football matches (Tottenham, West Ham, and yes, also Arsenal, Michael). We saw fantastic shows like "Evita", "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Cats"... Also the play "The Mousetrap", etc... etc... A dinner at China Town, a visit to Harrods, to the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, ...

Actually it is a bit strange that not so many films about London have been shown at BIAFF in all those years. I only remember the interesting documentaries made by John Astin. The one about the tunnel under the River Thames for instance, or the one about a ceremony at "All Hallows by the Tower of London". The films that you never forget are the best ones.

Re: We will remember them

Posted: Thu Nov 27, 2014 5:12 pm
by Willy
I already told you about my wonderful trip to London on the other thread (equipment, etc... 4K cameras). But I forgot to tell you that the day before yesterday (on Tuesday morning) I went to the Tower of London to see the red carpet of 800,000 and more poppies. At first I wondered :"Where have all the flowers gone?", but near the Traitors' Gate there were still a few thousand. Men and women were loading carboard boxes. I asked someone if I could buy such a poppy. They were all sold for charity! Charity! ... Britain serves as an example to other countries! I took a photo of those hard working men and women. A unique souvenir.