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Seadog
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I tend to think there is too much 'colourisation' of attitudes to 'shell shock' ... I have loads of references to ss in old newspapers of the period. There is no tinge of 'cowardice', 'malingering' or 'weakness' ... the accounts read exactly the same as for some guy who was physically wounded. That's my impression.

Des

I agree. Surely as the war progressed and the numbers of shellshock cases rocketed it would seem both innappropriate, if not downright dangerous to the morale of the British Army, for there to be carried an official stigma in regard to shellshock being the result of cowardice or weakness of mind. Apart from being medically and morally incorrect.

I thought it, too, unlikely that the chap would have been so 'fatalistic' as to have not ducked; the man had five children and was, according to one source and I forget which, desperate to get back. Maybe it is wrong of me to think that given as Fiona rightly pointed out he had fought through two of the most, if not the most, hideous protracted battles of the war.

I thought the shrink, however, was probably right about Crouch wanting to go back (for his mates) but then again he may have projected the ideal on to the individual because it's what we would all want to think that an officer would do or would want to do.

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I seem to recall reading (and there is doubtless a thread or two on this) that on returning from leave a man's instinct regarding danger and natural reactions to it were blunted. This made them more vulnerable than those who had been out for a while and survived. On seeing the programme I rather thought that might be the cause of his death.

Never look at the credits on a programme, but was the forum mentioned? Would be nice given the help many of you gave freely.

Edwin

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>><<I thought the shrink, however, was probably right about Crouch wanting to go back (for his mates) but then again he may have projected the ideal on to the individual because it's what we would all want to think that an officer would do or would want to do.

Possibly, but might he also have found (as some modern day soldiers are reported to find) that the civilian world is alien, full of people "who don't understand" (how could they/we?) and therefore the desire to go back is partly a desire to be with people who understand, and to a world that is familiar?

David

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Possibly, but might he also have found (as some modern day soldiers are reported to find) that the civilian world is alien, full of people "who don't understand" (how could they/we?) and therefore the desire to go back is partly a desire to be with people who understand, and to a world that is familiar?

David

Absolutely. And I do think that a great many officers did go back to their mates and probably, as you imply, for different reasons other than a paternal responsibility towards 'their' men.

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I found it more interesting on the second viewing;concentrating on what was being said to Fiona rather than on her responses...

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I couldn't be bothered to watch it a second time. Without knowing exactly what was shown to FB and filmed and then disgarded, it is hard to say why certain things where left out. Having taken an interest in the original thread made by the reseacher I was surprised that they didn't make more use of his records. To go to Firepower and show two pieces of paper seemed a complete waste of time. The original telegram to his wife would, I think, been a greater shock. Or the official letter to her. I cannot remember who they said sent the letter held by the school, but would imagine it was someone from his battery. I sincerely wish that FB was shown everything that had been unearthed, otherwise it was a complete waste of time for her. There were just too many inconsistancies.

Kevin

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I suspect as it was made as TV for assimilation by the general viewing public,not to be scrutinised by enthusiasts on sites such as this,it was dumbed down to be digestible by the masses rather than an in depth research project with every avenue uncovered

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I suspect as it was made as TV for assimilation by the general viewing public,not to be scrutinised by enthusiasts on sites such as this,it was dumbed down to be digestible by the masses rather than an in depth research project with every avenue uncovered

Who exactly are the “masses” are they you and I? The problem as I see it is that such “howlers” as promulgated in this programme will, to the uninitiated become accepted as fact and this will colour their perception of this period of history to the detriment of the truth. Such is the power of the media.

Norman

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Bet you it was a popular entertainments programme. It wouldn't cut the mustard as an Open University history programme! I agree with Norman regarding historical accuracy - it's a basic necessity whichever department's responsible for it (apart for comedy). Think of propoganda films made which deliberately bends the truth a little to achieve a non-objective aim (such as ratings).

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I suspect as it was made as TV for assimilation by the general viewing public,not to be scrutinised by enthusiasts on sites such as this,it was dumbed down to be digestible by the masses rather than an in depth research project with every avenue uncovered

I concur. I see myself as one of the masses and find it interesting that the enthusiasts find so much to dissect nay digest.

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I've been reading the Dorling Kindersley children's book World War 1 and they describe shellshock as the collective name used to describe concussion, emotional shock, nervous exhaustion and other similar ailments..........

EDIT: This next bit isn't relevant to this thread. Sorry.

(The paragraph ends by saying that the condition caused great controversy. In 1922 the British War Office Committee announced that shellshock didn't exist . It was a collection of already known illnesses.)

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There's no doubt that WDYTYA has helped increase the number of people working on their family history but I don't think that last couple of series have been a patch on the previous ones, with a couple of exceptions. They seem to want to give the impression that it's all very easy and all the information is readily available, which is just plain wrong in the great majority of cases. I suspect the apparent lack of emotion shown by Fiona Bruce is down to her being given a load of info and asked to react to it and they don't seem to be worried by continuity errors. In one scene she received the death certificate of her GG grandfather but

  1. when she opened the envelope the flap was already torn and
  2. there was only the certificate itself inside and that's never true.

I think that lack of care is becoming symptomatic of the programme lately and it's beginning to irritate me.

Keith

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Is anyone going to volunteer to write to, say, Points of View and raise the issues pointed out above?

At the very least it would draw someone's (some of the public - perhaps, maybe even the producer him/herself) attention to the programme's failings - especially this particular episode (although I did enjoy it myself).

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I can't say that I didn't enjoy it, Kim, but I can say that I'm enjoying each series less than the one before. Tolkien wrote about a successful book having to "invoke a willing suspension of disbelief" so that the reader became absorbed by the story and was not jolted out of the plot by elements in the story that did not fit smoothly. I think I feel something of the same with the programme and it isn't just me. My wife, who's nothing like as interested in family research as I am, blurted out "They're making it look far too easy!" as we watched the FB one.

Were you volunteering, btw?

Keith

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Points of View is not mentioned on the BBC website so it appears to have been dropped. Feedback is only for radio programmes so it seems there is no focal point for comments on TV programmes any more. There is a programme website for WDYTYA with an area for comment but I don't see that being a useful forum to express our criticisms.

Keith

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Jeremy Vine has just taken over from Terry Wogan on it - it may not be on air at the moment, but I' m sure it's still going.

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I have just done a quick google and there is a Points of View website where you can, quote:

'Welcome to Points of View, where you can share your thoughts and pose your questions on any aspect of the BBC via our message board.

Please note: if you would like to register a comment or complaint with the BBC, you can do so via our Info site.'

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You would think that there would be somewhere to post your comments, though, so that they'd have something to talk about on the first programme. Oh, well! <sigh>

Edit Crossing posts! I wonder why you can find it on Google but not via the BBC's own search engine?

Keith

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I am not so sure about his degree of shellshock and I found it hard to imagine that a 2/Lieut “…was asked to form and train his own unit in preparation for the front”.

Like Kevin, I was slightly disillusioned with the unanswered questions to the

original threads re Frederick Crouch that I probed a bit further after the first post. Not as easy as you might think as it was pre the Medal Index cards and service records etc became available on Ancestry; another forum member supplied the MICs.

His files which were accessed long before Ms Bruce, contained the telegram notification of his death previously mentioned, and a copy of his birth cert from 1915 that clearly showed the occupation of his father, but no doubt discovering it from his descendant made for better TV. The pages shown on the programme at Firepower were copies of those in the file, you can tell as when the camera zoomed out there is an equal white border around all the pages on the table.

The lady said “he had been home on leave and just back at Ypres for three weeks”, which ties in with him being promoted A/Mjr and paid accordingly for that rank from the 17-10-1917 and assuming command of 113 HB date unknown.(DoW 2-11-17)

Substantiated by the other letter, Crouch “ was invalided home suffering from shell shock & was in hospital nine months, was sent out again Oct 1917 & took over command of 113 HB…”

Working back from Oct this places him Dec/Jan as having been sent home, but there is no evidence of this from the diary which has a section missing, or unfortunately in the corresponding HAG diary despite numerous other Officers movements being recorded. However, documented evidence was found of him not in hospital, but still serving for 6 of those months and joining 4 Reserve HB 3-5-17, and from there to 3 Res HB 22-7-17, leaving on the 11-9-17 back to 4 Res HB. Therefore the family folklore is slightly flawed, or perhaps the shellshock not as serious as presented, or the nine months was working back from Apr/May 1917 which would then be approx Sept 1916 at the Somme. Who knows, as again the relevant diaries unfortunately do not record that elusive missing piece of information for any suitable incident (other than him being mentioned in Feb 1916 as going to Egypt) that might tie in all the pieces.

So all in all for me the programme was rather disappointing and I feel they missed the real story of a very brave and capable gunner, who rose through the ranks to join the Officer class as a ‘wart’, suffered terribly I would presume at the Somme, yet still ended up in command of his own battery. I was however amazed at the wealth of old volumes still out there just waiting to be transcribed.

Rgds Paul

PS In answer to the other thread opened on this topic, no the forum did not receive a credit, and yes 113 HB did go out with 4.7’s, but of course Crouch served originally with 130 HB.

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The biggest annoyance for me was the woman she visited to examine the Register records of her ancestor who died in poverty in Buckie Poorshouse. Buckie is in the Parish of Rathven. Locals to the North East pronounce it as Raffan. The local Registrar, who appeared not to be a native of the area, insisted upon pronouncing it as in Rath ven.

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I have to confess some sympathy for 'la Bruce'. She was being presented with information about which she knew nothing previously and as with many aspects of the Great War the figures and sheer enormity of things is too much to comprehend.

Many GWF veterans have spent years, decades even, devoted to the study of their own area of interest and because of that we are better able to deal with huge casualty figures and the barbarity of war. Ms Bruce, to be fair to her, has not immersed herself in the Great War and was ignorant of her family's contribution to it. Her reactions to this new information, rehearsed or not, were those of someone completely out of her depth without the first idea of what it was that her ancestor had done during his service.

I enjoyed the programme, although I was more than a little surprised that the 'local historians' and 'experts' spoke with the tongue of the 'uitlander'.

I saw Rick Stein's programm too and although there was little connection to the Great War, I found the whole story of his father's illness and subsequent death terribly sad.

Cheers,

Nigel

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