Thursday, 1 May 2014
What did you do for the Great War anniversary, Daddy?
It seems impossible to turn on the TV without Michael Gove or Max Hastings popping up to tell you how beastly the Hun are, and while common sense might insist that it will all be over by Christmas it is hard not to get swept along to the wargames recruiting office by the cheering crowds.
It is not that I am indifferent to the war, far from It like most of my age it was Grandfathers war and seemed at once very real and impossibly far away. One Grandfather served in the pre war Yeomanry as a trumpeter and survived unscathed till the last day of the war when a sniper blew his jaw away, the other lost both legs to a mine in Palestine and worked for the rest of his life squatting on the table as a tailor. Uncle Jack was a Sergeant who lost an eye when a disgruntled soldier paid off a grudge by using an inspection of rifle barrels to thrust the muzzle into his eye. These were people I knew and talked to.
My main childhood recollection though is of the hordes of little black coated old ladies all spinsters who my mother invariably whispered had lost their sweetheart in the Great War. Yet none of this seemed to have much to do with the Charlie Chaplin like figures who jerked and jumped about to comical effect on the Great War TV series.
For many years the view was that the War was just too horrible to be turned into a game. But times change and just as people who experienced the siege of Jerusalem or the sack of Magdeburg could be forgiven for overlooking the gaming potential involved so with the passage of time we too are now shaking off the old prejudices.
Now I yield to no man in my admiration of the Olympian disdain of the National Army Museum who finding this and next years Waterloo celebrations simply too vulgar to cope with are shutting down for two years. Yet I do not think I have the style to carry it off, protestations that I am really much more interested in Montmirail will only result in a regular receipt of white feathers.
So what to do, well it has to be 1914 and it has to be plastic, after all it is only two more years to the 50th anniversary of the release of the Airfix WW1 set. And here all the hifaluting ideas come crashing to the ground. We currently have a nation wide shortage of plastic figures for the Great War, or at least Hat's versions.
Well you would wouldn't you? If you were a major manufacturer and WW1 was one of your flagship lines you would think now was the obvious time to remove them from production and leave your retailers with no idea of when they may be re issued. After scouring the net I have bought what may be the last three boxes of WW1 French in the UK. If all goes well I shall return with more of he next of the project (assuming I can find some Germans to oppose them).
In the meantime I want to say a personal thank you to every one of my 22 followers who turn in each year for my annual post.