Monday, 11 November 2013

Armistice Day

A reminder, in the week that saw the announcement that ship-building is to close in Portsmouth, that war is not only about soldiers, and not only about fighting.

Charles Pears
Transport by Sea: Maintaining Forces Overseas, 1917

This is another example from another one of the sets of prints made by War Artists for the Ministry of Information during WW1.  Complete sets are held by the Tate, and can be found on their rather fine website.

My grandfather, who had been an infantry sergeant in WW1, joined the Home Guard after he had moved to a new printing job in Southampton in 1939.  He was assigned to guard the docks during the Blitz, and then joined one of the still somewhat mysterious "auxiliary units" of the British Resistance Organisation.  The idea was that, in the event of a German invasion (something that seemed highly likely in 1940), these units would harass and sabotage the invading forces.

Luckily, and mainly thanks to Soviet Russia, none of this was necessary.  According to my uncle, after the War his father showed him a secret bunker under Southampton Common from where the unit would have operated.  As far as anyone knows, it's still there.


Martin Hodges said...

I visited the Tate's website, Mike. They've made great strides since I was last there.

Mike C. said...

It's one of the best of its kind -- you can really get stuck into browsing the collection by finding metadata links between items -- artist, subject matter, technique, etc., etc.