Friday, 6 November 2009

Corner of a Foreign Field


A German military ambulance in Unmitigated England? Mein Gott! But it was at this year's English Heritage Festival of History. And I liked the photograph of it against a very English summer sky. OK, that's enough excuses. I leave it to my engineering-inclined commentators to discuss the various merits of the Opel Blitz as opposed to the Opel Blitzkreig, but I think what appeals is that it's over here at all. In a parade ground full of Roman legionaries, American troop carriers and ATS girls, this beautifully restored vehicle really stood out. It's driver was fully kitted-out in a feldgrau ambulance driver's uniform and The Boys used the back as a high vantage point to watch fighter planes helping out at a Normandy beach head. Who knows what terrible scenes this vehicle attended, but it's very presence in an English field says so much about how far we've come in our acceptance of the background details of history. The mists of over sixty years perhaps hide some of the horrors of war, but let us never forget the sacrifices that were made on both sides by air raid wardens, nurses, field cooks and, of course,ambulance drivers.

6 comments:

CMS said...

Marvellous!! Acceptance and understanding is the way forward!

accountant said...

This must be a record it took 7 hours for someone to respond. But seriously reconciliation is the way forward.
Much as I like history I do sometimes think the British seem a bit obsessed with WWII and the constant cycle of anniversarys of key dates. I suppose next year will be the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. I would welcome a bit more optimism about creating a better future hard as that is to imagine under present circumstances.

Peter Ashley said...

I know what you mean about incessant anniversaries. But anyone who took part in WW11, or like me was born not that long afterwards, ain't going to forget either the conflict or the postwar repercussions in a hurry.

CMS said...

Accountant - I think you're right about the obsession with WW2. It would be good if it was discussed in some kind of context with current events. As the daughter of an Indian man who served 26 years in the Royal Air Force I'm only too aware of the narrow way in which these events are often viewed (present company excepted). To go back to my original comment, I love the essential essence of history.

CMS said...

The above is not a criticism of Unmitigated England, by the way!!, but a general comment on the way, for example, the tabloid press would approach anyhting German. Phew! Excellent post, as usual.

Sue said...

Love the photo, Peter, especially given the mess that Opel is in at present as part of GM unfortunately. And I'm right with you, CMS - a couple of years ago my young son was called a Nazi by some other kids because of his German accent - and his Grandpa had trained as an RAF pilot and got his wings at the end of the war!