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The Crimson Field - BBC drama series


NigelS
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The ignorance of The Crimson Field fans beggars belief sometimes - no interest in history, no wish to find out more, and a desperate need to grab the attention of the actors/celebrities. My favourite comment on a critical review site was:

'It had so much potential. But refusing to go the full distance and have Suranne Jones character shot for her crimes was just a let down. It was a reality and it happened, so why chicken out and have her saved at the last minute?'

Sue :w00t:

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Sure as God made little green apples, Suranne Jones wasn't the one who should have been shot for her crimes.

The fact that the writer can some up with the appalling phrase "I'm gutted" says it all, really.

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  • 2 weeks later...

.

-Field Card/”Blighty ticket”: Men deemed needing long recovery were sent back to England. Each wounded soldier was issued a field card which gave information about him (name, rank, etc). Every man wanted a 'Blighty ticket' meaning he was going not just to another medical facility overseas but back to England. (However, I believe all Field Medical Cards were torn out of a big book. The card was torn out and attached to a button on the soldier's uniform, and his info/where he was being sent was recorded in the big book. )

I wanted to make a correction for the record: In re-reading some notes this morning, I realized that a Field Card and Blighty Ticket are not the same thing. Field cards were torn out of a big book and detailed a soldier's ID info and nature of illness/wound. Apparently the Blighty Ticket was just that--a ticket to 'approve' him to go to England. So those going to Blighty had both a Field Card & a Blighty Ticket. And it seems they are just like they were as shown in The Crimson Field as mentioned in an account in The Roses of No Man's Land:

97"...Before the morning ward round the tension mounted until one could almost feel it hanging in the air. ...Sister met the MO at the entrance to the ward, or as he ducked through the flap of the marquee; here was low voiced consultation; then the round started—Sister, the MO, the Staff Nurse and often a VAD, trailing behind. It was slow progress from bed to bed. Wounds to be looked at, treatment discussed, decisions made. The seriously wounded were often too ill to care, but the others hoped against hope, at best for a ticket to 'Blighty' or at least a few more days in hospital before being marked out for convalescent camp and the inevitable posting back up the line. The MO gave the verdict. Sister carried the labels and they were written out there and then. One tied to the end of the bed; the other round a pyjama button. BL -'Boat lying,' for serious cases. BS- 'Boat sitting', for the fitter men who ...would require long convalescence; and red labels for the cases which required careful watching on the journey and which should have immediate attention on arrival.”

~Ginger

Edited by catfishmo
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  • 3 months later...

First episode just shown on Foxtel in Australia. Not too bad for a drama, not a documentary.

Cheers Andy.

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They should rename this series "Not much mud, not much blood, but a load of poppycock".

Is there any historical evidence for the 'ears' scene ?

I found this account earlier in the week while looking for something else:

Pinkerton, Robert Douglas. “Ladies from hell,".” New York : The Century co., 1918. iBooks.

'...After the incident of the cordite-eater another load of wounded was brought in, and a Goorkha was put down at my left. Hardly had he arrived when my nostrils quivered under the most haunt-ingly familiar, yet unfamiliar, odor. What was it? Where was it? I could answer neither question. As the minutes dragged along, it became unbearable. I turned my head and scrutinized the Indian. Certainly he was dirty enough to crea-te a stench, but not such a stench as this. At last I could stand it no longer.

"What smells so?" I asked the Goorkha.

His teeth gleamed, and in reply he shot out a mixture of English and native jargon. About all I could understand was a word that sounded strangely like "souvenirs." For half an hour I pondered. Souvenirs? Odor? I could see no connection between the two.

In a fit of anger, I at length called the orderly. He agreed with me that no odor like that belonged in a hospital, and, like myself, he suspected the Indian. But in reply to his questions, only an excited medley of impossible English was forthcoming. At last, in sheer desperation, I said, "Look in his pack."

The orderly opened it, and recoiled in horror. The Goorkha sat up, reached over, and pulled out a string of six or eight human ears, purloined from dead Germans.

"Souvenirs," he cackled delightedly. "Souvenirs I"

I presume that his family back home would require some physical proof of his prowess, and he, poor savage, inspired perhaps by his peep into the ways of enlightened kultur, thought that his string of awful "souvenirs" would be his best and most modern answer to them...'

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  • 9 months later...

The Crimson Field has just concluded its run in the U.S., and the final episode aired last evening. So, I thought I would take the "opportunity" to revive this thread with my humble opinion on the series.

In this last episode Sister Livesay and her German boyfriend have been taken away; Lt. Col. Brett has been informed that his son has been killed; and news of Edith Cavell's execution has been sophomorically interjected into the drama.

Given all the comments in this thread from last year, I watched this series with trepidation waiting for the next mistake to become evident. These were certainly not difficult to spot especially the uniforms. I would also agree with the view of many on this forum that the drama itself was less than masterful. Nonetheless, I found it well worth watching because it provided something new that has been substantially under reported about The Great War: The crucial role of the RAMC in general and the specific contributions of the nursing services. It might be said that they deserved better than The Crimson Field. However, with the meager prior mention given to the medical services in The Great War they could have done a lot worse than The Crimson Field. The series has certainly prompted me into further reading about the medical services.

So, is the BBC's decision to not commission a second series final? Or, has there been a reconsideration?

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So, is the BBC's decision to not commission a second series final?

We can but hope.

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It is coming to a Television near me soon. To watch or not to watch?? I saw the first episode only, last year while I was in Scotland. Was it really THAT bad? Maybe I should watch it for the same reason as you Michael. In fact, my comment at the time it started, (to another Forum member who was visiting at the time) was that it was a part of the war that was rarely mentioned.

But then I didn't like "Downton Abbey" which most people raved about.

H.

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Just watched episode 5 on PBS and have episode 6 recorded. It had such potential but quickly degenerated into a soap opera. Implausible plots and far too much drama. I will watch the last episode and then erase it all. It could have been so much more!

All the best,

Gary

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Was it really THAT bad?

H.

Hmmm ... let me think ...

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It is coming to a Television near me soon. To watch or not to watch?? I saw the first episode only, last year while I was in Scotland. Was it really THAT bad? Maybe I should watch it for the same reason as you Michael. In fact, my comment at the time it started, (to another Forum member who was visiting at the time) was that it was a part of the war that was rarely mentioned.

But then I didn't like "Downton Abbey" which most people raved about.

H.

No humans or animals have been harmed (that we know of) in the experiment of watching The Crimson Field, Hazel.

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No humans or animals have been harmed (that we know of) in the experiment of watching The Crimson Field, Hazel.

I don't know, the trailers were very bad for my blood-pressure ;) (did not watch it)

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No humans or animals have been harmed (that we know of) in the experiment of watching The Crimson Field, Hazel.

I don't know, the trailers were very bad for my blood-pressure ;) (did not watch it)

I agree S.J. I can't watch animal stuff.

However, Michael, life has been kinda muddley around here lately, and guess what? I think I might've missed it. I thought it was on PBS but as I only really check weekend stuff other than the BBC News, which I usually watch daily, I think it may have been and gone!

Hazel

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I agree S.J. I can't watch animal stuff.

However, Michael, life has been kinda muddley around here lately, and guess what? I think I might've missed it. I thought it was on PBS but as I only really check weekend stuff other than the BBC News, which I usually watch daily, I think it may have been and gone!

Hazel

It was on PBS, Hazel. On my local PBS station the last episode aired last Sunday evening.

Maybe, it was better for your blood pressure to have missed it.

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I found it rather odd that almost all soldiers apart from RAMC were totally deviod of any shoulder titles or cap badges or anything else which could have identfied them to a particular unit. The 'Pals' episode was a case in point where they seemed to go to extraordinary lengths not to give any clue as the where they may have come from.

Alan.

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It was on PBS, Hazel. On my local PBS station the last episode aired last Sunday evening.

Maybe, it was better for your blood pressure to have missed it.

I found it rather odd that almost all soldiers apart from RAMC were totally deviod of any shoulder titles or cap badges or anything else which could have identfied them to a particular unit. The 'Pals' episode was a case in point where they seemed to go to extraordinary lengths not to give any clue as the where they may have come from.

Alan.

But it is only a movie Alan and 99.5% of the people watching wouldn't have a clue.

H.

Aw shucks!

H

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I found it rather odd that almost all soldiers apart from RAMC were totally deviod of any shoulder titles or cap badges or anything else which could have identfied them to a particular unit. The 'Pals' episode was a case in point where they seemed to go to extraordinary lengths not to give any clue as the where they may have come from.

Alan.

I saw one man with shoulder title 1SP. This is a title that I certainly don't recognize.

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I agree S.J. I can't watch animal stuff.

However, Michael, life has been kinda muddley around here lately, and guess what? I think I might've missed it. I thought it was on PBS but as I only really check weekend stuff other than the BBC News, which I usually watch daily, I think it may have been and gone!

Hazel

Its available on Youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6Yhd0pv7zc

Mick.

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Thank you Mick. I will bear that in mind.

H.

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I saw one man with shoulder title 1SP. This is a title that I certainly don't recognize.

1st Sportsmen Battalion otherwise known as 23rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers. Only problem with that is that this was supposed to be around June 1915, they had just announced that Edith Cavell had been shot for reference. The 33rd Division, including 23 RF did not arrive in France until November 1915.

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1st Sportsmen Battalion otherwise known as 23rd Battalion Royal Fusiliers. Only problem with that is that this was supposed to be around June 1915, they had just announced that Edith Cavell had been shot for reference. The 33rd Division, including 23 RF did not arrive in France until November 1915.

Well spotted! Thanks for the clarification. It was actually October 1915, but your point about the calendar contradiction is still valid.

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Thanks for the clarifying date about Edith Cavell. Just shows when you reply on the hoof without checking the details first!.

Also not proof reading before posting!

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