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Remembered Today:

Great War I was there


tharkin56
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I have acquired a full set of the above and wonder if you could give me your opinion on them.

If they were reprinted to you think they would be of interest

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If they were reprinted to you think they would be of interest

Probably.

Although, of course, the articles were written some time after the event and, no doubt, show the writer in the best light. I've read two or three relating to a particular unit and have noted sufficient factual errors to suggest that much might be taken with a pinch of salt.

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The magazines were also issued in three bound volumes in 1938 (I think). I purchased my copies about 20 years ago.

They can be sometimes be obtained - in fact I see there are three bound volumes showing on ABE costing betweeen £120 and £240.

Ivor

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Probably.

Although, of course, the articles were written some time after the event and, no doubt, show the writer in the best light. I've read two or three relating to a particular unit and have noted sufficient factual errors to suggest that much might be taken with a pinch of salt.

John is correct about the way the event's are recorded, but the photos are great, I have Vol one, so if anybody comes across the other two for sale , then please let me know.

Peter

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Probably.

Although, of course, the articles were written some time after the event and, no doubt, show the writer in the best light. I've read two or three relating to a particular unit and have noted sufficient factual errors to suggest that much might be taken with a pinch of salt.

When I have made this comment about books written much much later I have been criticised

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I've noticed that in the 1920's many books and magazines were printed about the Great War and these were often reprinted in the late 1930's as a warning about war with the rise of the Nazis. Many of these are not helpful to the historian. One magazine, called 'The Great War 'was published in about 60 parts and each magazine is a hotch potch of material. Any edition at random may have articles about Cambrai, Jutland, Gallippoli, Mons, the Armistice etc as though there was a huge heap of articles and photos and they were picked at random for each edition. I have about 50 copies of this magazine and some pages are useful, especially where captions and locations are added to photos, where, subsequently the location was lost over time.

You have to use your own judgement as to how good this stuff is and I'd say generally it is of lesser use than works by more modern historians.

John

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When I have made this comment about books written much much later I have been criticised

Not by me, mate.

I'm not suggesting that books or articles written later have no value. Far form it. But I do suggest that when a man writes his account in the 1930s it is a natural tendency to put oneself in the best light. When the modern enthusiast reads that account and weighs up the infornation now generally known - whether about who died and when or whether about a way a battalion worked - one can form one's own conclusions.

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My feelings exactly.

I have even read accounts of an incident where I was present and I don't recall the individual being even being there let alone their participation.

Mick

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My copy of is unbound in the wrappers, quite interesting as these include letters from participents disputing facts and the photo locations etc included in these magazines

regards John

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I'm getting the feeling there is some merit in having the series republished, and there may be people who want too buy in volumes or like me there was certain articles in certain issues.

I could see some researchers wanting certain issues, shipped as pdf say £3 or volumes as a printed set.

Over 2300 pages bit of scanning.

Appreciate your thoughts, £3 reasonable for a pdf.

I seem to remember an article on the lancers which stated they could not attack due to a high barbed wire fence and were mown down by machine gun fire, but didn't find reference to this anywhere else.

But they seem to still provide valuable insight. any further thoughts appreciated

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Before you start selling scans or reprints I would check the copyright status of these magazines. To my knowledge, they are not out of copyright.

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I have tracked down the owner but fear the cost of doing something with them may be prohibitive. Trying to test the water so to speak.

I may be on a different planet but think there is some value in the concept

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Ok, but the only thing I would say is that I have seen original issues go for 99p on eBay. It's hard to compete with that.

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I think the question of how reliable the content of 'I was There' can be regarded is a very thought provoking one, and I read with interest what has already been written. I purchased several individual copies some time ago and then had the very good fortune to come across a four volume version on eBay, (the content is exactly the same as the more common three volume issue). I can lose myself in the articles for hours and regard the publication as a must to anyone with an interest in this period. I've asked myself many times if what you read can be accepted as accurate, and don't particularly disagree with what's already been written.

One thing that does keep coming back to me is the fact that all of the submitted material was presented to the editor (Hammerton) in the hope that it might actualy get published and in the knowledge that if it did a good many surviving former servicemen would get to read it. Surely this meant a very real possibility that you as writer stood to be completed discredited if it was completely wide of the mark? I think the point has already been made that this did happen from time to time, in the letters which get published inside the outer covers, but I don't think this was overly common. You also get the other aspect of being a witness to an incident in which one person’s interpretation is strikingly different from another who witnessed/experienced exactly the same events (30yrs policework showed me how often this can happen).

Hammerton was prolific in his work as a publisher, and I get the feeling he took it very seriously. I get a sense that he would be unlikely to publish anything without first being reasonably happy about the accuracy of what was being claimed? In one of the first issues you get to read how he personally went to see the chap accredited with firing the first British shots of the war, because he wanted to hear the story 'from the horse’s mouth' as it were. He reports how through diligent checking he was able to satisfy himself that this particular soldier could in fact be accepted as the soldier concerned.

Many of the accounts are very well written and you can almost feel the misery, exhaustion and sheer horror that some of the witnesses try their best to describe.

For what it's worth,

Dave Upton

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I seem to remember that with the outbreak of war Hammerton stated he was unable to publish the large quantity of material he still had available, I wonder where it went, and is it still available? If it is then surely it would not be subject to copyright as it has yet be published.

G

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I think you're quite right on this one. I've got it from somewhere that at one point he was sat on the largest collection of photographs taken during the war, and that these ultimately ended up in the IWM?

DU

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