Great War Survivors - Talk by Keith Collman, 20 July 2011

Thank you very much for your talk at Mill Green Museum last night - it was splendid!

We returned to the theme of war for our July meeting, this time learning of survivors of World War I, In 1984 Keith Collman joined twenty Great War veterans on a nostalgic trip round Belgium, interviewing and photographing many of them. On the death of Harry Patch, the last surviving Britsh infantry veteran of that war, in 2009, he realized what a valuable archive he had acquired, and planned to gather them all into a book. He visited many in their homes, taking more photographs and interviews, and produced his volume, Great War portraits, giving for each of his subjects an account of the part they played in the war, and their subsequent life.
Keith showed us slides of some of these veterans, and played audio clips of them speaking. It was poignant to see these old men - octogenarians to centenarians -- with their wives, their gardens, their bungalows, contrasting so terribly with what we were learning of their experience; in one picture, battle maps lay on the table alongside tea and scones. And most
harrowing to reflect that the same long afterlife of these few individuals might have been enjoyed by all of those who fell in the horrific statistics of the Great War: four thousand casualties each day for six weeks in the battle of Arras alone.
Newsletter Editor Hazel Bell - Mill Green Museum, Hatfield, Herts.


1 comment

Wojtek wrote 11 years 46 weeks ago

Well done Keith!

For those of you who are interested, I have posted an interview with Keith on Visiosophia:


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