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'The Village' WW1 experience

Discussion in 'Military records' started by Carla, May 7, 2013.

  1. Carla

    Carla LostCousins Member

    Did anyone watch the series which has just finished called 'The Village'? I ask because the last few episodes dealt with the effect WW1 had on the villagers and it prompted my interest, especially with the anniversary next year. I found it hard to see the effect the war had on two of the young men......one who suffered shell shock but was considered a coward, and shot for desertion, when he was ill and did not go back to his regiment on time, and the other who was a conscientious objector, and how he was treated after the war.
    While researching my husbands ancestral line on his paternal line i found records of his great grandfather Mark Thomas Allen's death in France in 1917, and his burial in the Etaples Military Cemetery. I also checked out Mark's brothers as three of them were of an age to serve during that war. Although i could find the service records for two of them i have been unable to find anything for the youngest. I do realise that not all records have survived but it has been mentioned that Bertie could have been a conscientious objector, but i can't find any proof of this. There are hardly any records around for those who decided they could not serve in the war, for whatever reason.
    As for the 'deserters'? I know that there is more of an understanding now that many of the men that supposedly deserted were in fact suffering from shell shock, for example, and there has been a call for those men 'shot at dawn' to be posthumously pardoned, which has prompted a lot of discussions and a comprehensive report.
    A list of the cemeteries containing the bodies of those men executed, and their details, are also available.
     
  2. Alexander Bisset

    Alexander Bisset Administrator Staff Member

    I watched the whole series it was very interesting and well done. Quite thought provoking, it really made me think of how rural/village life was in that era. I also think its likely that next year we will see a lot of re-enactment parades.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Britjan

    Britjan LostCousins Star

    Lives of the First World War now has a copy of the Pearce Register of over 17,000 Conscientious Objectors
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 4, 2016
  4. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    My father was a First World War veteran, spending most of the war in a prisoner-of-war camp. He came from a small farming village in Suffolk and two brothers also joined the army, one not surviving. I cannot imagine the effect of having three sons fighting the enemy and not knowing where they were had on my grandmother. It is obvious to me now that he suffered some type of PTSD though, of course, it was never mentioned that he wasn't well.
     
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  5. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    The effect of the war on a village is brought home here in Finland by a visit to any cemetery. One part of all cemeteries is always set aside for the war dead, who, where at all possible, were always repatriated for final burial. (Remember, here, the enemy was just over the border.) When the war started, the men in a village would all be sent to the same unit so that they would at least have the company of each other. It wasn't long before the tragedy of this policy was realised,when almost the entire male population of a village might be wiped out. The men were later separated into different units.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. AdrienneQ

    AdrienneQ Moderator Staff Member

    We had the same thing with the Pals Regiments over here
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Britjan

    Britjan LostCousins Star

    What is the current position of the official veteran affairs department in Finland Gillian? In Canada the Department of National Defence takes the maintenance of CWGC graves at home and abroad very seriously. They have started , presumably when notified, to replace worn out grave markers.

    Yesterday as the forecast was for an above 0 deg celsius afternoon I took a long walk to look at a cemetery within the city limits with just one WWI veteran. The paths were not cleared after our last major snow fall and one of the entrances had snow piled against it so I could not go in and although the cemetery is not closed it was obvious there had been no interments over the past few months.
     
  8. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    It is the responsibility of the parish to maintain the graves of the war dead. The carry out this task admirably as a visit to any Finnish cemetery will prove. This is a fairly typical war veterans' plot in a small village. Here's a nice article about the custom of putting candles on graves at Christmas. The graves of war veterans, that is, men who have died in peacetime, are not distinguished from other graves, though I understand their families can get financial assistance with burial costs and many will have a veteran's symbol on the gravestone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1
  9. Britjan

    Britjan LostCousins Star

    Gillian the tag line in the "This is Finland" website with the Christmas article intrigues me . It says "things you should and shouldn't know". It doesn't go on to say what what you "shouldn't know" so I expect this is a mis-translation. My expectation was that I'd be guided to something dangerous or a cultural faux-pas I should be aware of before I set foot in your lovely country. The French translation was no help .... "des choses à (ne pas) savoir."
     
  10. Gillian

    Gillian LostCousins Star

    Hmm, interesting! The German like the French was no help either, and since I suspect it was written in English to start with (the author has what looks like an English name), there's not even any Finnish to help. I suspect the author meant something like "things you need and don't need to know". Just a guess. I hope you'll be brave enough to visit anyhow, Britjan.
     

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