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Old 07-22-2017, 11:34 PM
 
Location: England
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Originally Posted by Jaggy001 View Post
My father lost a cousin, captured at Singapore, in a Japanese POW camp. They were very close. He never forgave the Japanese for what they did.

I was born in 1955. My parents and grandparents lived through WW2. They had cousins, uncles, friends, boyfriends (in the case of my mother) who fought and some didn't come home at the end. I had teachers who had fought and they would tell us the stories. My mother was 'bombed out' at one point and my father's house was hit by incendiaries (both in south Manchester). As kids we played Brits against the Germans.

For people of my age and older, WW2 is not history and is not a Hollywood story. It is quite real. That is why it is important that movies depicting WW2 are 'real' and not some romanticised version of reality.
I'm the same as you Jaggy, born about the same time. When I was a kid, the war was a recent event. Guys who served were everywhere. They drove buses, and they emptied the trash bins once a week. I even knew a few old people from the First World War!!

The war wasn't history in my childhood. Men in those days weren't expected to wear their hearts on their sleeves. They tended to talk about the war only among close family, and old comrades who gathered once a year.

A lot of movies made in the 40s and 50s especially, showed the war in a very sanitized version. Audiences of that time would have been horrified if shown the reality. My wife's father tried telling me what fighting in a war is like, from his point of view out in the deserts of Africa. "Dirty......... noisy......... and very frightening. Avoiding close friendships. Burying the dead.

My wife Judy's mother told me her husband cried many times with her, talking about what he saw. He never did so in front of his daughter. These mostly dead men need films which show their bravery, and their love of country. They were willing to lay down their lives for it. Young people today have, in the main, little knowledge of the war, and the reasons it was fought. Films like 'Dunkirk' are a good thing, and a reminder of how lucky those of us who have never had to fight a war truly are.
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Old 07-23-2017, 11:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by English Dave View Post
I'm the same as you Jaggy, born about the same time. When I was a kid, the war was a recent event. Guys who served were everywhere. They drove buses, and they emptied the trash bins once a week. I even knew a few old people from the First World War!!

The war wasn't history in my childhood. Men in those days weren't expected to wear their hearts on their sleeves. They tended to talk about the war only among close family, and old comrades who gathered once a year.

A lot of movies made in the 40s and 50s especially, showed the war in a very sanitized version. Audiences of that time would have been horrified if shown the reality. My wife's father tried telling me what fighting in a war is like, from his point of view out in the deserts of Africa. "Dirty......... noisy......... and very frightening. Avoiding close friendships. Burying the dead.

My wife Judy's mother told me her husband cried many times with her, talking about what he saw. He never did so in front of his daughter. These mostly dead men need films which show their bravery, and their love of country. They were willing to lay down their lives for it. Young people today have, in the main, little knowledge of the war, and the reasons it was fought. Films like 'Dunkirk' are a good thing, and a reminder of how lucky those of us who have never had to fight a war truly are.
WWII was not included in our school history books like it is now because it was too recent. It wasn't "history" since there were so many parents and grandparents who lived through it. We played soldier, trying to kill the "Krauts" and the "Nips."

Another reason to make movies like these, especially by "Hollywood," is because most Americans of my generation and later and even earlier, are/were unaware of how much British civilians suffered. Not just from the bombings and parents being separated from their children, but how the U.K. nearly starved during the war. Americans had rations, but not nearly on the same level as Britain. As I understand it, the remnants of bomb sites, empty lots created by the war, half-standing buildings were still visible throughout England during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. For the baby boomer generation in the U.K., WWII was much more real. I wonder, Dave, if any of these places were ever playgrounds for you and your mates when you were a child, as portrayed in English cinema, including A Hard Day's Night. I had read that Willy Wyler later felt shock and guilt when he used that large beautiful house as a setting for the so-called middle-class family in Mrs. Miniver. He had no idea until he filmed that movie that average, everyday Englishmen lived much more modestly than what was portrayed in the film. Hollywood did indeed sanitize the war for Americans on every level. We Americans thought that all British officers were like the dashing David Niven. It took the Vietnam War to jolt Americans into the reality of the horrors that war can bring and changed the depiction of war in film and TV forever.

There is another poignant scene in another W. Wyler movie that is often overlooked. In The Best Years of Our Lives, Al brings back a Japanese sword, a "souvenir" and gives it to his son. The son doesn't really want it and doesn't see much significance for that sword.

The best part of Dunkirk, the movie, is that it is opening up dialogs like we are doing right here.
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Old 07-23-2017, 12:57 PM
 
14,217 posts, read 14,401,244 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coney View Post
WWII was not included in our school history books like it is now because it was too recent. It wasn't "history" since there were so many parents and grandparents who lived through it. We played soldier, trying to kill the "Krauts" and the "Nips."

Another reason to make movies like these, especially by "Hollywood," is because most Americans of my generation and later and even earlier, are/were unaware of how much British civilians suffered. Not just from the bombings and parents being separated from their children, but how the U.K. nearly starved during the war. Americans had rations, but not nearly on the same level as Britain. As I understand it, the remnants of bomb sites, empty lots created by the war, half-standing buildings were still visible throughout England during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. For the baby boomer generation in the U.K., WWII was much more real. I wonder, Dave, if any of these places were ever playgrounds for you and your mates when you were a child, as portrayed in English cinema, including A Hard Day's Night. I had read that Willy Wyler later felt shock and guilt when he used that large beautiful house as a setting for the so-called middle-class family in Mrs. Miniver. He had no idea until he filmed that movie that average, everyday Englishmen lived much more modestly than what was portrayed in the film. Hollywood did indeed sanitize the war for Americans on every level. We Americans thought that all British officers were like the dashing David Niven. It took the Vietnam War to jolt Americans into the reality of the horrors that war can bring and changed the depiction of war in film and TV forever.

There is another poignant scene in another W. Wyler movie that is often overlooked. In The Best Years of Our Lives, Al brings back a Japanese sword, a "souvenir" and gives it to his son. The son doesn't really want it and doesn't see much significance for that sword.

The best part of Dunkirk, the movie, is that it is opening up dialogs like we are doing right here.
We had two bomb sites near where I grew up in Glasgow. We called them 'Bomb-B 1' and 'Bomb-B 2' and we did play on them. In the early sixties, they built on Bomb-B 1 and the construction site also became our playground.
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Old 07-23-2017, 01:04 PM
 
Location: England
20,818 posts, read 5,100,910 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coney View Post
WWII was not included in our school history books like it is now because it was too recent. It wasn't "history" since there were so many parents and grandparents who lived through it. We played soldier, trying to kill the "Krauts" and the "Nips."

Another reason to make movies like these, especially by "Hollywood," is because most Americans of my generation and later and even earlier, are/were unaware of how much British civilians suffered. Not just from the bombings and parents being separated from their children, but how the U.K. nearly starved during the war. Americans had rations, but not nearly on the same level as Britain. As I understand it, the remnants of bomb sites, empty lots created by the war, half-standing buildings were still visible throughout England during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. For the baby boomer generation in the U.K., WWII was much more real. I wonder, Dave, if any of these places were ever playgrounds for you and your mates when you were a child, as portrayed in English cinema, including A Hard Day's Night. I had read that Willy Wyler later felt shock and guilt when he used that large beautiful house as a setting for the so-called middle-class family in Mrs. Miniver. He had no idea until he filmed that movie that average, everyday Englishmen lived much more modestly than what was portrayed in the film. Hollywood did indeed sanitize the war for Americans on every level. We Americans thought that all British officers were like the dashing David Niven. It took the Vietnam War to jolt Americans into the reality of the horrors that war can bring and changed the depiction of war in film and TV forever.

The best part of Dunkirk, the movie, is that it is opening up dialogs like we are doing right here.
There was a lot of demolition of old properties here in England during the 50s and 60s. I lived with my grandmother in such a row house for eighteen months in the late 60s. She described what life was like during the war. At the top of her street was an old four or five stories cotton mill called the Glen Mill. It was used as a prisoner of war camp during the war. The prisoners were guarded by, among others, American soldiers for some reason.

She would see the young soldiers passing by, and would invite them into her home for a cup of tea. She would listen to their tales of America, and their lives before being drafted. She told them of her son, a prisoner, caught at Dunkirk. My dad loved seeing the soldiers, and had a steady business with some of the German prisoners. He would exchange single cigarettes for Hitler notes....... He was only 10 years old or so, and didn't connect these men with his brother a prisoner in Germany. My aunt told me my dad would throw the cigarette over the wire in a tin, and the Germans put their money in it, and threw it back!

My grandmother wondered 25 years later, how many of those young American boys made it back home. She never forgot them. She got her boy back at the end of 1945.

While living with her, I would go into Glen Mill to look around. I believe many items belonging to prisoners were found after the war. I didn't find anything in 1968. But, it was an eerie building for sure, full of ghosts and memories.

I remember walking along a road in my home town. There were long rows of old homes, with a group of much newer homes in the middle. I asked my dad why that was. He told me a V1 bomb landed there on Christmas Eve 1944, killing 27 people in their homes. I don't know of much else concerning bomb damage to my home town Oldham. I know nearby Manchester, and Liverpool got much more attention from the Luftwaffe.

The rationing carried on here until the early 1950s. My dad spent the war dreaming of getting a banana to eat........ When they arrived after the war, he didn't like them.

Survivor of war bombing horror that claimed 27 lives unveils plaque to mark 70th anniversary of tragedy - Manchester Evening News

Glen Mill Prisoner of War camp, Oldham, Lancashire - aircrashsites.co.uk
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Old 07-23-2017, 03:15 PM
 
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Thank you for the stories Dave and Jaggy. Very interesting. I have big box of correspondence from sailors and soldiers, both in Europe and the Pacific. I never read through all of them because there's so much. I don't want to throw them away, but have no room for them. Someday, soon, I'll need to find a place to donate them, if someone will take them.
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Old 07-23-2017, 06:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Coney View Post
Thank you for the stories Dave and Jaggy. Very interesting. I have big box of correspondence from sailors and soldiers, both in Europe and the Pacific. I never read through all of them because there's so much. I don't want to throw them away, but have no room for them. Someday, soon, I'll need to find a place to donate them, if someone will take them.
A few years before she passed away, I talked to my mother about the war. In 1939, when war broke out, she was 13 and living on Northenden, South Manchester. This is my summary of what she told me:

Evacuation:

My mother was evacuated in September 1939 and came back home at Easter 1940 although a lot of the kids came back after just one term. They came home because nothing had happened and most kids just drifted back. The evacuation was very quick and very well organized. It went very smoothly and all the kids wore medal things round their necks with names on it. My mother was evacuated to a farm near Uttoxeter owned by the Statham family. She loved it.

[Years later she took me to see the Stathams and was greeted as if she were their sister.]

The Fall of France

They didn't not know much about what was going on and had no idea how unprepared Britain was. They never worried about being bombed as it was all in France just as in WW1. After France fell, they wondered how we were going to win. But, we were British and had an empire - we always won [her words].

The Bombing

They didn't think much about bombing until it actually happened and it didn't happen until after the Battle of Britain. Everyone had Anderson shelters but they were horrible - did not use it once. There was a communal shelter in a field with bunk beds and that was used by all the neighbours. There was heavy bombing in December 1940 for 2 days - the sky bright red in Manchester (about 5 miles to the north) from incendiaries and the whistle of bombs was quite loud. Even so, it was difficult to get the kids out of bed to go to the shelter.

[Mum quite often talked about the whistle of the bombs and how she and her brother hid under the kitchen table. My Aunt Ada - great aunt actually - worked at Metro Cammel in Trafford Park and for sometime worked without a roof which had been destroyed by bombs. Until the day she died, she hated the Germans on the grounds that they tried to kill her]

A German land mine landed in the Forum (cinema) car park which was near to their house. It did not explode but broke all their windows when it landed. They were "bombed out". Bombed out people were housed in local halls and church halls and slept on mattresses. They had to wait until the unexploded bomb was defused. That took two weeks. Her school was in Withington about 3 miles closer in to Manchester. The school staff took turns to fire watch and put out quite a lot of fires.
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Old 07-23-2017, 08:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by English Dave View Post
Thanks Jaggy. I admired how Nolan didn't try to play with the audience's emotions. That would be easy to do with subject matter like this. The film moved me, and reminded me of the debt we owe those brave men and women of that time.

That generation is almost all gone now. People like my Uncle who was there in Dunkirk, my wife Judy's dad who fought the Germans in Africa, until badly injured, spending two years in hospital. Her Uncle a prisoner of the Japanese for three long years.

This film is a timely reminder of the price paid for the freedom we take for granted today.

I salute your uncle and father-in-law............and all those others who defended our freedoms. On a side note. my grandfather fought in France in ww1,the woman who became his wife{my grandmother} was from England. She lost three brothers in France during WW1.
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Old 07-23-2017, 11:32 PM
 
Location: England
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Originally Posted by jeffdoorgunner View Post
I salute your uncle and father-in-law............and all those others who defended our freedoms. On a side note. my grandfather fought in France in ww1,the woman who became his wife{my grandmother} was from England. She lost three brothers in France during WW1.
Thanks Jeff. They were brave men who did their duty. They came back after the war, and got on with their lives.

I have a great memory of when I was a young guy in the army in the early seventies. Myself, and some other lads from my Squadron were in London for Remembrance Sunday. We were there just to help visitors with directions, and whatnot.

The service went ahead, and I watched as all the old soldiers marched past the Queen, their chests full of medals, glinting in the autumn sunshine. It was a very emotional sight. Afterwards, lots of those then, middle aged guys gathered in local pubs, and I joined them.

I had never been among so many veterans, and boy it was interesting seeing them relaxed, among old friends. I talked with them, and as I was a young soldier, they opened up with the stories of their individual wars.

I had never experienced this, because the old soldiers I knew didn't talk about the war, beyond basic details. In this situation it was very different. They talked of what they had done, where they had fought, and the horrors they had seen. Much talk of old friends who didn't make it home.

These men were everywhere when I was young, and suddenly, they were almost all gone. Witnesses of that war are few now. I personally will never forget the bravery, and fortitude of that generation. That never say die spirit.

I asked my wife Judy's father once if he ever thought back then that the Germans would win. They had taken much of Europe, and even two years after the war started, looked almost invincible. He told me of escorting a German prisoner in a truck out in Africa in 1941. The German went on about how they were going to win the war. Judy's dad listened with interest. He eventually said, "you'll never win. We'll fight you to the end. We will never give up. Never."
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Old 07-24-2017, 01:33 AM
 
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I took my son to see this film over the weekend, and while I appreciated learning more about what these servicemen went thru as well as all the people who risked their lives to save them ------ the movie was sorta all over the place. It tried to tell too many stories all at once which made it confusing. It would have been better to tell a cohesive story instead. Mr. Dawson's character played by Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy's character did an excellent job.
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Old 07-24-2017, 01:42 AM
 
Location: England
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Originally Posted by Wintergirl80 View Post
I took my son to see this film over the weekend, and while I appreciated learning more about what these servicemen went thru as well as all the people who risked their lives to save them ------ the movie was sorta all over the place. It tried to tell too many stories all at once which made it confusing. It would have been better to tell a cohesive story instead. Mr. Dawson's character played by Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy's character did an excellent job.
Yes, it was confusing in parts. Sometimes, the same event was shown from different angles, as a ship sinking, then later on, the same event seen from the air.

But for me, the overall effect of the movie was fantastic. Nothing seem faked, or staged. It all looked so real. Nolan's determination to use CGI as little as possible, was expensive obviously, but for me, added to the sheer realism of what we saw.

There were no so called heroes. Just people trying to survive, and others trying to help them do so, even at great risk to their own lives. The film's sheer power overcomes it's faults. It is an emotional roller coaster.

Last edited by English Dave; 07-24-2017 at 01:56 AM..
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