Lest We Forget

So in light of the Armistice this weekend I took a trip to the Imperial War Museum near Elephant and Castle to pay homage for the service men and women who contributed with their lives for the rest of us today.

It was a great afternoon, very awe inspiring and deeply heart felt. There were so many people attending it was difficult at times to take pictures and then I felt a bit disrespectful taking them because everyone was reading plaques and information boards etc. Something I have always found challenging, taking pictures when I think it may come across disrespectful but you are doing it for the right reasons.

Interesting enough there were loads of wartime images at the museum and it really made me think about being a photographer and that it is about documentating things and reporting it back and can mean you are on the front line of things which in this case is life and death!  It really put value into my work and wanting to do more than simply take pictures for the sake of it. I am afterall still learning my way around photography. 

I had a similiar experience reading this young artist’s account, as I had previously been an artist (although not quite portraits and landscapes) and again was prompted to think about how vast war is and that absolutely everyone who could be involved, was.

This was at the weapons part of the museum. You see in films how resourceful you have to be but seeing it in the flesh…remarkable.

There were a few navy servicemen dotted around the museum who were very friendly and allowed me to get a quick snap! (Thanks fellas) They all looked so young, to think they could be called away to war… 

This was also a very interesting fact about the Poppy Appeal and how and why it started. And to see one from back then was amazing.

The plaque says that a kid named Patrick Blunstone witnessed a SL11 aircraft crash outside his house in Cuffley and he was telling his dad all about it. At the end he says, “Please dont be alarmed, all is well.” 

Again I found this quitr fascinating to read the notes of a nurse who was tending to her patients during WW1. To think this is where it was going to end up after all this time makes you think about what you’re doing in life.

This was an interesting piece depicting the effects of modern warfare. The video playing on the sculptures were men running into battle but then facing heavy fire from machine guns and falling down dead. It was very moving.

This segment was quite sentimental to me as I have Japanese heritage (although I don’t know it very well) but still brings a feeling of identity and a sense of belonging. The samurai swords, when given from a Japanese officer to the enemy officer, was a sign that the war or battle was over. However the sword below was given willingly as a gesture of goodwill.  It was by far the prettiest one.

These flags were sold in London Armistice Day 11th November 1918. There are records stating that on this day there was much rejoicing in London, and diarist Ethel Bilborough stated that the city, “went quite mad.”

All in all it was quite a sad and tender time at the museum but also one of much amazement. I am deeply grateful to the men and women who have participated in any war, it means I have been fortunate enough to be here today.  It’s quite sad that wars are really disagreements between men who hide behind the legions.