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Blenheim - Battle for Europe Documentary

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  • Blenheim - Battle for Europe Documentary

    Cracking documentary on youtube, narrated by none other than Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer who is a descendant of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough.

    I've just finished watching and have to say it's well worth a watch and he does an excellent job of the narration.

    It's feature length at 90 minutes - but worth your time if you are interested in this era of history.



    "COOMMAAAAAAANNNNDOOOO!!!!!"
    - Mad Jack Churchill.

  • #2
    Dang.

    Went to watch this and got told it was not available in the US. Sigh.

    I suspect some sort of retaliation for us (Massachusetts) calling them lobsterbacks way back when.

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    • #3
      What goeth around...

      Comment


      • #4
        Shame you can't see it, it's excellent.
        "COOMMAAAAAAANNNNDOOOO!!!!!"
        - Mad Jack Churchill.

        Comment


        • #5
          I read his book on the subject.
          "The blade itself incites to deeds of violence".

          Homer


          BoRG

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Captain General View Post
            I read his book on the subject.
            Falkner's tomes on the subject are superb.

            I remember watching the documentary first time round and indeed, It is a good un'

            Thanks Jennie! It was good to watch again.

            Paul
            ‘Tis said his form is tiny, yet
            All human ills he can subdue,
            Or with a bauble or medal
            Can win mans heart for you;
            And many a blessing know to stew
            To make a megloamaniac bright;
            Give honour to the dainty Corse,
            The Pixie is a little shite.

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            • #7
              A good clear account- if a touch dated now.

              Curious that the National Army Museum contributor didn't know how to pronounce 'Marlborough' - and seemed to suggest that Fontenoy was a British victory over the French.

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              • #8
                https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe...s/detail/45178
                Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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                • #9
                  "They say it was a shocking sight
                  After the field was won;
                  For many thousand bodies here
                  Lay rotting in the sun;"

                  It was August...

                  The Earl refers to the dead of 'Blenheim' lying in the fields by the Danube. I wonder if this was one of the battlefields culled in the C19th for bones which were then taken to Yorkshire to be ground into meal for fertiliser. Or perhaps too much time had elapsed.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jf42 View Post
                    "They say it was a shocking sight
                    After the field was won;
                    For many thousand bodies here
                    Lay rotting in the sun;"

                    It was August...

                    The Earl refers to the dead of 'Blenheim' lying in the fields by the Danube. I wonder if this was one of the battlefields culled in the C19th for bones which were then taken to Yorkshire to be ground into meal for fertiliser. Or perhaps too much time had elapsed.
                    Stories began to appear in various papers and magazines in the 1820s of bones recovered from Napoleonic battlefields. Leipzig, Austerlitz, Borodino and Waterloo are all mentioned, the stories are remarkably similar but contain no information that would allow them to be verified. The destinations are variously referred to as Hull, Leith and other places on the East coast.

                    Similar stories emerge in the USA in the 1870s only the battlefields were then ACW ones and again in the 20th century it was alleged that Verdun was pillaged for bones. This appears to have been discredited.

                    It would seem therefore to be an often repeated story but whether there is any truth in it or it is one of those oft recurring urban myths is difficult to say
                    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MarkV View Post
                      Stories began to appear in various papers and magazines in the 1820s of bones recovered from Napoleonic battlefields. Leipzig, Austerlitz, Borodino and Waterloo are all mentioned, the stories are remarkably similar but contain no information that would allow them to be verified. The destinations are variously referred to as Hull, Leith and other places on the East coast.

                      Similar stories emerge in the USA in the 1870s only the battlefields were then ACW ones and again in the 20th century it was alleged that Verdun was pillaged for bones. This appears to have been discredited.

                      It would seem therefore to be an often repeated story but whether there is any truth in it or it is one of those oft recurring urban myths is difficult to say
                      Abattoirs would seem to be a much more convenient source for bones to be ground for fertlizer. Might have to pay for them, but that may be cheaper and faster than paying diggers and gatherers for older bones.

                      It's possible that locals were gathering bones for their own use as fertilizer and when questioned they "admitted" they were gathering them for a fertilizer company.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by NoPref View Post
                        Abattoirs would seem to be a much more convenient source for bones to be ground for fertlizer. Might have to pay for them, but that may be cheaper and faster than paying diggers and gatherers for older bones.
                        And indeed were the usual source for bone meal both in the UK and the USA, this is documented in many places. Blood was also used dried as a fertilizer and to make plastic like composites in for example the button trade. There was a scare over bone meal quite recently in connection with CJD and a fear that the sterilization procedures might not be adequate

                        There is a thread of many different stories about human remains being used industrially. There were even items written about bones being collected from ancient Egyptian tombs and shipped back to Britain (which would have been hopelessly uneconomic). The use of human corpses to produce tallow keeps surfacing. Prof Badesy at Wolverhampton has done some interesting work on the story of the WW1 German Corpse factory (which never existed). In the 1920s this tale was said to have been an example fof the terrible propaganda put about by the British Government and used to discredit accounts of German atrocities in Belgium as coming from the same tainted source. In fact Badsey has traced to origins of the WW1 story as coming from certain journalists and having no connection with the British propaganda machine. I have found stories of corpse factories dating back to the Austro Hungarian empire in the 19th century when they were used to slander certain minorities including Jews and Roma. Sadly the Nazis made the myth reality in WW2 when Jews and Roma were the victims.

                        My main point is that fake news is not a modern phenomena and bones from battlefields could well be an early example.
                        Last edited by MarkV; 19 Jan 17, 04:53.
                        Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                        Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is an interesting consideration of the evidence

                          https://medium.com/study-of-history/...4a3#.1ze7amcky

                          One factor to consider is that, however useful bonemeal might be as a fertiliser, deposits of bones in the quantities that we might expect on the great battlefields, or in districts that saw repeated fighting, might have been a noxious encumbrance to use of the land.

                          Whether remains were obstructing agriculture, or development of roads and settlements, to get rid of the contents of numerous, large gravepits in one go and pocket some cash might have been a welcome proposition for farmers and landowners.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jf42 View Post
                            This is an interesting consideration of the evidence

                            https://medium.com/study-of-history/...4a3#.1ze7amcky

                            One factor to consider is that, however useful bonemeal might be as a fertiliser, deposits of bones in the quantities that we might expect on the great battlefields, or in districts that saw repeated fighting, might have been a noxious encumbrance to use of the land.

                            Whether remains were obstructing agriculture, or development of roads and settlements, to get rid of the contents of numerous, large gravepits in one go and pocket some cash might have been a welcome proposition for farmers and landowners.
                            In fact at Waterloo at least the dead were not left to rot but were buried in pits each six foot deep and up to 20 foot square and containing up to 40 bodies. The work was carried out by local peasants who were impressed for the work and paid a pittance. By the 23rd of June any bodies still unburied were collected into multi layered pyres and burnt. All work was completed by 23rd July. The ash was later collected and used locally as fertilizer. To get at the bones of those buried in any quantity would require considerable excavation of a wide area and there is no evidence that this was ever carried out. I believe that this was SOP for major European battlefields at the time.

                            based on an article by Steve Sullivan, January 2017 - The missing Waterloo Dead
                            Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
                            Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Who ordered/organised the clear up of the Waterloo battlefield, I wonder- was it local civil authority? Presumably the allied forces, having done what they could for their dead and wounded, had moved on.

                              We wouldn't be having this discussion if there was a general understanding of what steps were taken, in general, to clear up after major battles, or in districts regularly fought over. We know about some but a question mark seems to hangs over others. Can talk of an 'SOP' be more than speculation?

                              Clearly resumption of normal life would have been impossible in the vicinity of a major battle until the dead were disposed of.

                              We can understand how local communities, local landowners and local authorities (sometimes the same thing) might come together to organise the clear up of battlefields, and yet there are numerous accounts of battlefields where hastily buried dead from recent battles lie exposed by the elements and scavenging animals.

                              The article quoted cites newspaper references from the 1820s onwards to the trade in battlefield bone resources (as well as in bones from abattoirs and cemeteries) so while there might be journalistic exaggeration it seems less likely that that the accounts can all be dismissed entirely as myth.
                              Last edited by jf42; 19 Jan 17, 13:18.

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