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There is an internet phenomenon currently gathering half a million hits per day and media coverage all over the world  http://www.wwar1.blogspot.com/ is the letters from William Henry Bonser Lamin a soldier from World War 1. The “Blogger” is his grandson and with a stroke of true genius he is publishing the letters exactly 90 years to the day since they were written. It is a wonderful insight into the life of an ordinary soldier and his life in Word War 1 which has captured the imagination of millions all over the world.

I came across the Harry Lamin Blog when there was a story about it on Yahoo news. As I have recently posted some cards and telegrams from my Dad’s time as POW in Singapore on my blog I thought I would take a look.
I found a beautifully presented blog which is extremely evocative of it’s time. The photo’s and original documents draw you in to Harry’s world and the personal, intimate nature of the letters make you want to find out what happens next. As I’m sure you’ve seen from the comments many people are keen to share their stories of their relatives time during WW1 and WW2. As indeed I was when I discovered my Dad’s correspondence.
From my own point of view the 2 wars represent a time of honour, bravery and right among the ordinary people which is a complete opposite of the apathy of today. No claims for compensation, no claims for “Gulf War Syndrome” just an absolute belief in doing the right thing regardless of the cost. I truly believe the majority of people yearn for a return to traditional values but we are all swamped by the media rollercoaster that drives us further down the road to degredation, cruelty and apathy. Harry’s world and his letters give us a taste of another time, a time of war, poverty, death and illness but some of us believe (maybe a view through rose tinted glasses) that people were basically happier because they were not part of todays “want” culture and rampant consumerism. Having less choice left less chance for disappointment. A different version of the Buddhist 4 Noble Truths if you like.
There is also of course the basic intrigue of a great story. It’s like a soap opera and each letter is like the cliffhanger scene in any daytime soap that makes you desperate to find out what happens next and tune in to the next episode.
The internet will always throw up this kind of phenomenon and word of mouth and ready access to the internet makes The Harry Lamin Blog the perfect “Have you seen” for the workplace, the media and families. If I was a teacher I would certainly use this as a teaching aid,  far better than a boring text book.
I stated in my post on my dad’s time as a POW that that perod of time ask questions about todays society that could be saved for another day. Well this is that day.
It is inconceivable to believe that a time of world war could be perceived as a “better” time than 2008 but it depends on your perception of “better”.
Harry Lamin in WW1 and my dad Bill Ross in WW2 and millions like them fought for a cause they truly believed in with out question or hesitation. They were prepared to risk everything for what? I believe it was for their country, for their King, for their family, for God, for their identity and their Britishness. I know the racist police will claim that what I’m about to write is wrong but ask yourself a simple question. “Would you or your loved ones put their lives on the line today for their country, their queen, their family, their identity, their Britishness?” I would bet that some of you would agree with family, but the rest, I doubt it.
Harry and Bill were English in a time when being English meant something. They identified with their neighbours, they identified with every Englishman wherever they were in their country. They recognised the need to protect that identity, they were proud to be English and the German war machine was threat that was going to take that freedom away. They were prepared to give everything to keep what they knew for them, their famlies and future generations. How disappointed they would be to see being English in England something not to be celebrated but to be hidden away behind the threat of a racist accusation? The Cross of St George is banned in some cities as being inflammatory, St Georges day our national day is not celebrated for fear of upsetting non English and the only time it comes out is during the bi annual football tournaments (not this year obviously). We are being stripped of our identity without a fight or even a whimper. I understand immigration is a natural progression, evolution in action, we are a haven for any waif or stray from around the world, we have no need for a guilty conscience. We have done our bit and continue to do so regardless of the consequences.
In less than 100 years, the very thing that was fought for by so many over 2 wars has been eroded by government apathy and ineptitude. We are a country in decline, riddled by segregation not integration. The reason Harry’s blog is so popular is because it pricks peoples sub-conscious and reminds us of a time before the politically correct brigade convinced us all that identfying with your country, your history and your flag is wrong.
Long live Harry and Bill’s memory and long live everything they stood for and fought for.
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 Bill Ross Picture

My dad William “Bill” Ross was born on November 20th 1921 and died on November 4th 1992. He lead an unremarkable life, married for 40 years, 4 children, job with British Airways for 32 years and an all round decent man. I was lucky to have him as a father.

There is however a pasage of his life from 1942 to 1946 that was anything but unremarkable. It was his time in World War 2. A time he never spoke of, he was a prisoner of war in Singapore under the Japanese. It was a time I know very little about. My Dad chose, for his own reasons, to keep his own council about what went on. I remember him talking of “Pebbles” an Australian colleague so named because of his build, my Dad’s ability with engines that it appears got him through some of the more difficult times, a severe illness that nearly killed him and his de-mob suit and 200 cigarrettes he was given when he got home weighing 6 stone ( 84lbs). I don’t want to overglamourise something I know so little about there’s a danger that you can undermine the facts by guessing at fiction. I would love to put some of the pieces together and find out what really happened. Anyway my Mum showed me some documents I didn’t know existed and feel the need to share them, maybe someone will see them that can help me discover the facts.

I have often drawn strength from my Dad’s time as a POW. “If Dad could deal with that surely I can cope with……….” Recently I have succomed to self pity, apathy and a feeling that life doesn’t give out what I deserve. Well, these were surely thoughts that never crossed my Dad’s mind and are thoughts I need to put back where they belong. I hope this helps.

These documents require no narrative, I will fill in bits that require “local knowledge” and take you through a chronological history of 5 years that must have been constantly in my Dad’s thoughts but never, ever impacted on those he loved and who loved him.

 A copy of a will made when Bill signed up in 1942.

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Everything was to be left to his mum.

The First Cable Home 3rd February 1942 from the boat on the way to Singapore

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My grandparents lived in Bury, Lancashire and it was where my Dad was born and spent the first 21 years of his life.

The second cable home 27th March 1942 from Singapore

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It would appear that this was sent prior to the British surrender and capture of thousands of British troops.

First postcard home 12th July 1943. News that Bill was a prisoner of war

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Bill’s parents had moved to Ashford, Middlesex by now, obviously Bill wasn’t aware and this card was sent via Lancashire and Ashford, Kent before finally ending up with his parents.

Army recognition of Bills Predicament. Thanks!

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I don’t know who M L Gittings was, it appears he was an officer safely based in Bombay.

A local newspaper cutting tells the story

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A local Ashford, Middlesex paper carries the story.

Undated Postcard Home

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Postcard Home Christmas 1943

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Don’t know why this was typed and not handwritten. I do recognise the signature as my dad’s.

Postcard Home 7th August 1944. 1 Year a POW

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I can only guess at what my Dad was refering to.  Unfortunately none of the letters my dad recieved survived.

Postcard Home 21st March 1945.

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I cannot read this postcard without a huge swell of emotion. I just can’t imagine my Dad’s situation and feelings as he wrote “I’ll make it”

Postcard Sent From Home 1st July 1945. Returned Undelivered

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The normality of what is written is staggering. This kind of information, obviously so personal, must have kept Bill in touch with reality despite the unreality of his situation.

Cable home from Colombo after Bills release. 18th September 1945

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Cable home September 24th 1945

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Letter From The King September 1945

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Army Release Payment

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55 months as a Private serving his country earnt my Dad 65 pounds, 11 shillings and sixpence!

 In an age when we expect so much from life without putting much back, this collection of documents show how much  my Dad and millions like him gave without question or hesitation. He expected nothing in return and in fact only collected his medals a few years before his death. There was no claim for compensation given or expected.

This post is hugely personal but shows how things have changed through the whole of society. I hope anyone viewing this post takes a minute to re think their prioritys and how we all take our comfortable lifestyles for granted. Their are many political and social issues from this period in our history that bring the way we live our lives today into question but they can be saved for another day.

I am hugely proud of my Dad and will continue to draw strength from this period of his life and the way he continued to live his life despite the horrors he witnissed and suffered. I miss you Dad.

 

6 months ago I wrote a rant on the London 2012 Olympics, I have re-published today following a fantastic “Dispatches” on Channel 4 tonight. It exposes Lord Coe, Chairman of the British Olympic comittee and his involvement in a company currently contracted to build parts of the Olympic Village at huge cost. These costs are being funded by The Lottery and public funding and going straight to Lord Coe and his cronies at their Monaco (tax free) headquarters. As the costs spiral out of control, curreently £ 9 billion, never have I been so proud to be British. I hope Sebastian Coe as he was looks at the picture at the top of the page and feels a pang of guilt from what he was and what he represented to what he is now and represents. Bollocks!

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Tony Blairs Legacy: Volume 1 “The Olympics”

March 24th, 2007

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Imagine if you will the following scenario. You’ve secured your next job but theres still a chance of nailing that big order, the one all your colleagues have been chasing. You know that when you you announce that you’re leaving that slimey Scot who slags you off behind your back will ooze his way into your chair. So lets leave a time bomb ticking, you know that order will bring in half a million quid, you also know it will end up costing 5 million quid, but you’ll be long gone, secure in the knowledge that you got the glory but left a mess. A great big steaming pile of shit for your slimey Scottish freind to clear up.

Welcome to the 2012 Olympics, perhaps the biggest pile of shit ever left for a colleague to clear up. (Ok I accept that maybe Chamberlain left Churchill a bigger steaming German turd to sort out but you get my point). You know that Tony Blair has only ever thought of Tony Blair but on this occasion I genuinely believe that he had Gordon uppermost in his thinking. “Right everything is fucked up, things haven’t only got better, but Gordon deserves something special. I know get Lord Seb on the phone I’ve got a plan” And so the Olympic bid swung into action, by some creative accounting, a suitable slum that needed “regenerating”, a few sporting icons blinded by Balir bullshit and the Spanish Olympic commitee chairman mistaking London for Paris and the bid was won.

We all sucked air through our teeth at £ 4 billion but it was the Olympics, the good old East End would have a fresh start, it was a chance for British kids to succeed and we beat the fucking French. (Sound of squealing breaks at this point)……………..

Cost: We now stand at £ 15 billion and rising, how can a two week sports event cost £ 15 billion. Where is the money coming from? Lottery, congestion charging, taxes, prostitution, the NHS, defence? 15 fucking billion pounds, have that Gordon ! You’d best start shovelling boy because it will end up nearer £ 30 billion, remember you heard it here first. The contractors will smell the panic as 2012 approaches and costs will spiral out of control. Gordon had better find an enormous khasi to flush this titanic sized floater away.

The East End: Yes it needed redevelopment but did it need the Olympics? No it did not, what happens when the party leaves town. It will be he biggest hangover of all time. Just look at Atlanta, Athens, Seoul, Moscow, Los Angeles they all took years to recover if they ever have. The only Olympic City to get away with it was Barcelona. Walthamstow is not Barcelona, there will not be endless tourists to visit when the last gold medal is handed out. There’s no Gaudi Cathedral in Leyton to bring in the punters, no Los Ramblers for the stag / hen weekenders and no Mediterranean Olympic harbour to attract the real money. Sorry Gordon there’s a great big skidmark that will not wash off however hard you scrub.

Give the kids a chance: What chance? What kids? Not kids that are educated in Blairs comprehensives, no competitive sport, playing fields sold off for immigrant housing, no after school activities, the nanny state, coaches scared of coaching because of paedophile paranoia. You wanker Blair you spend 10 years crucifying sport in this country then win the fucking Olympics AAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!

The Medal table: China 150 gold, USA 100 gold, Germany 50 gold, UK 1 gold won by a Somalian on a dodgy passport in the fucking 5 kilometre walk.

Two weeksof sport, 30 billion pounds, years of recovery, years of debt, a fucking olympic village in Walford. The most imaginative Eastenders writer couldn’t make it up. Surely Tony you could have just resigned and had dump in your office before you left for Gordon to find. This is almost criminal in it’s disregard of the consequences. Failing that you could have just sacked the Scottish Nationalist prick and saved us all the hassle.

Yours in sport you arsehole.

So it appears that Kate and Gerry McCann may be involved in the death / disappearance of their 4 year old daughter Madeleine. My thoughts since the day it was announced that Madeleine was missing were simply for a 4 year old girl lost and on her own in a foreign country. As a father of 4 boys it broke my heart that any child could be scared, alone or being harmed by some desperate paedophile, it would almost be a releif if she were dead. Dear God I hoped she wasn’t suffering. Yes it was negligent to leave a young family alone in a foreign country while enjoying an evening meal, but that could be dealt with later.

Then something changed, her parents appeared on tv for the first time and I immediately said to my wife “there’s something not right about him”. Gerry McCanns whole demeanour was wrong for a father in that situation. Any parent will tell you that if you didn’t know where your child was , suspected of being abducted you COULD NOT appear as calm and unaffected as Gerry McCann, Kate McCann was obviously distraught and showed all the expected signs of a mother in that situation.

The media circus that then erupted was suddenly all about Kate and Gerry. Kate and Gerry walk to the beach, Kate and Gerry being interviewed again, Kate and Gerry start to campaign, Kate and Gerry go on a media tour, Kate and Gerry meet the pope, Kate and Gerry raise 1.5 million pounds. Excuse me for spoiling the fun but what about Madeleine.  As parents you COULD NOT organise a campaign like that knowing your 4 year old daughter was missing. Good god he was also captured kissing a child on the head on some public walkabout. Who does he think he is?

Where were the McCanns twins during this whirlwind? With childminders, family, freinds? They had lost there big sister and now their mum and dad were never there. As parents of a missing child you COULD NOT leave your other childrens side for a second in these circumstances.

The British press jumped on the bandwagon, ridiculing the Portuguese Police as half wits unable to deal with a case of this magnitude. Well it looks like they were  dealling with it just fine. I guess they knew from very early on in the investigation but evidence was the key. These are professional men as competent as our own wonderful force (remember Jean Charles  de Menezes). British misplaced Empire arrogance again , Johnny Foreigner just isn’t as good as us.

Apologies to Arthur Conan Doyle but Sherlock Holmes would say something like “when every possibility has been disproved whatever is left however unlikely must be true”. Therein lies the horrid truth that middle class, professional, educated, Brits could harm there own child. I hope and pray that justice for Madeleine however unpalatable is found. My own opinion matches that currently being promoted by the Portuguese press that all 3 children were sedated by the McCanns before their night on the town and that Madeleine was inadvertantly overdosed and was killed accidently by her parents. What has happened since is a disgusting attempt I feel driven by Gerry McCann to cover their tracks, a giant media driven smokescreen that blinded everyone except the dilligent Portuguese police who kept their eyes peeled while the smoke cleared.

The devastsing loss of a young child and the impact it has had on the world will hopefully refocus some parents on the importance of being parents, none of us are perfect but we owe it to our children to be there for them ALWAYS. Our children must come first, we chose to have children and as parents we must accept the absolute responsibility it brings.

No I don’t feel sorry for Kate and Gerry McCann I feel sorry for a little girl deserted by her parents for a night out, a little girl whose life is almost certainly lost. Madeleine will always be in our thoughts, her parents deserve nothing but the contempt coming their way. I just hope that the suspicious Gerry McCann doesn’t pass the whole blame onto the truly devastated and vulnerable Kate. There was even a smug look to camera as he walked into the police station for his interview today, he’s just not right.

God bless Madeleine.

Go to fullsize image 

I have learnt many things in my first 5 months blogging. There are some decent people out there, some nasty people out there, some opinionated people out there and some complete lunatics out there. But we all have the need to be heard in common. Differences can be seen in many aspects of what we all do and one in particular got me thinking about my favourite word BOLLOCKS!

I used the word in a comment on a particular blog, a very talented American talking about many different subjects didn’t know what it meant. So I sent him an explanation and he has assured me it will become part of his vocabulary. Global learning, evolution of language via the internet, love it.

So, why is bollocks my favourite word? I think it stems from the fact that most of the four letter swear words are now so common place in the media,  even the “C” word no longer shocks the way it did. So I need a word that covers all, that has impact and still gets a reaction but you have to say it right. When said correctly and in the right context there really is nothing else to be said.

This is the explanation I sent my American blogger.

“Bollocks” is an English slang term for testicles! Can be used as an exclamation i.e. “My team just lost, bollocks!” Can be used derisively i.e. “That environmentalist talks a load of bollocks” It is a word for all seasons and the more you emphasise the “boll” the more offensive it sounds. “All that fuss about David Beckham is a load of “BOLLocks”. Typically for us limeys there is an English term “The dogs bollocks” which is used as a complimentary term i.e. “Your blog is the dogs bollocks.” Seriously that is a compliment and I’m not talking bollocks

So there you have it my favourite word “BOLLOCKS”, what’s yours? Please let me know and maybe I’ll learn something new too.

 

My first ever post was on E-bay and was a rant against their take over of the concert ticket market. Well poacher has turned gamekeeper and I am starting to sell my collected crap that takes over every inch of my house on E-bay. It is amazing what married life, 4 children and 20 years can accumulate. If you are interested view my stuff at http://search.ebay.co.uk/_W0QQsassZretroeighties I doubt any of it will interest you unless you support Juventus or Charlton, have an interest in the war, or want to learn Japanese. Oh, or an interest in English or US comic books.

I Can Has Cheezburger?

August 4, 2007

 NO YOU CAN’T, NOW FUCK OFF!!!!