“But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;”
Henry V, Act 4, Scene III
( My father at Arborfield, England in 1949. See the badge on his cap? I have it and wear it all the time on a black felt newsboy cap. It’s a bit tarnished, but I love it!)
This photo was taken at Arborfield in England in 1949 (my father was 22 years old at the time). He’s the one third from the left in the back row with his arms crossed and his chin set rather intently, I think.
I have just been on the Arborfield Old Boys Association website where I’ve sent an e-mail to them to offer a copy of this above photo. Perhaps they will be able to fill in some blanks for me and other families of men in the photograph.
As regular readers will know, my dad was a sergeant in the British Army for 11 years, but never saw active duty—never fought in a battle, never killed a man. Perhaps this may account for his fascination all his life with things military and biographies about men like Churchill, Hitler and many books about battles. This goes a long way to explain our family trip to Europe in 1977 which took in as many battle sites as possible. (Some fun for a 16 year old girl, let me tell you!)
My dad was also the greatest fan of any film that dealt with war and he passed that keen interest on to me at a very early age. One of the first films I ever saw in a theatre was, “The Battle of Britain” for heaven’s sake! I was eight years old.
It’s no surprise then that I have— if you can call it— a soft spot for war movies and have seen many of the best.
In my collection of dvds right now you will find:
Apocalypse Now (dir. by Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
The Battle of Britain (dir. by Guy Hamilton, 1969)
Black Hawk Down (dir. by Ridley Scott, 2001) ( I also just recently finished reading the book by Mark Bowden)
A Bridge Too Far (dir. by Richard Attenborough, 1977)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (dir. by David Lean, 1957)
The Great Escape (dir. John Sturges, 1963)
The Guns of Navarone (dir. J. Lee Thompson & Alexander MacKendrick , 1961)
No Man’s Land (dir. by Danis Tanovic, 2001 – Winner of Best Foreign Film Oscar)
Paths of Glory (dir. Stanley Kubrick, 1957)
Saving Private Ryan (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1998)
The Thin Red Line (dir. Terrence Malick, 1998)
Three Kings (dir. David O. Russell, 1999)
U-571 (dir. Jonathan Mostow, 2000)
The Gathering Storm ( a BBC production about Churchill) (dir. Richard Loncraine, 2002)
Band of Brothers DVD set (2001, various directors; created by Spielberg, Tom Hanks and Erik Jendresen)
If that isn’t a legacy, I don’t know what is!
Also, on my personal video recorder for the television at the moment are “The Longest Day” and “From Here to Eternity”.
Some War Films on my hit list:
Platoon (dir. by Oliver Stone, 1986)
Full Metal Jacket (dir. by Stanley Kubrick, 1987)
The Civil War series (by director, Ken Burns, 1990)
Downfall (Der Untergang, dir. Oliver Hirschbiegel, 2004)
Joyeux Noel (dir. Christian Carion, 2005)
The Deer Hunter (dir. by Michael Cimino, 1978)
and many more!
(Some day I’ll share my inherited passion for westerns and mobster movies.)
For more fantastic family photographs and stories, visit “Sepia Saturday” where you will find links, present and past. Consider signing up next week to share your own.