11th November

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2 Responses to “11th November”

  1. havingmycake says:

    I cant help but be reminded of the day I went to the BBC to see Blackadder Goes Forth being filmed. It was one of the earlier episodes in the series and included Rik Mayall along with all the regular cast so there was lots of laughter about the way they were dealing with life in the trenches and the feats of derring-do. It was comedy against the backdrop of War, a bit like Dad’s Army. Where we laughed in a safe place, removed from the nastiness.

    Some months later we sat down at home to watch the final episode where the reality all suddenly came to the fore. The characters that we had come to love over the preceding six or eight episodes were about to go over the top for the final push. They were talking about their chances of survival and the statistics. They were afraid but trying not to show it. The famous British stiff upper lip. Desperate to remain brave until the end as it grew dark around them and the minutes ticked away. Then the whistles started and, knowing that the odds were stacked against him, every last man threw himself up and out, disappearing into no man’s land whilst the viewer was left in the trenches, assailed by the sound of shells exploding and shrapnel thudding all around.

    Only to cut away to a picture of a field of poppies swaying gently in the sunshine and the sound of birds singing. As a young person, it was the first time that I totally understood the significance of those little red paper symbols that my father bought each November.

    It was the most poignant and shockingly unexpected ending. And the most graphic reminder of the reality of war for those of us who have the good fortune never to have had to face it. It should be compulsory viewing for all teenagers to ensure that we really do not forget.

  2. JH says:

    I have to agree with the comment above. I watched that last episode having laughed out loud at the line “the great war 1914 to 1917” and was moved to tears, true genius that series.

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