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Society conference

Printed From: Cross & Cockade
Category: Society Notices
Forum Name: Forthcoming Events
Forum Discription: What's on when and where
URL: http://www.crossandcockade.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=424
Printed Date: 13 Aug 2020 at 09:17
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 10.03 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Society conference
Posted By: Paul R Hare
Subject: Society conference
Date Posted: 15 May 2011 at 15:04

it is about 15 years since the society last held a conference and I would love there to be another.
I am willing to help in any way that I can. So come on guys, how about it?

Paul

 




Replies:
Posted By: MikeMeech
Date Posted: 17 May 2011 at 14:13
Paul
The Society probably should hold a conference maybe in 2014, for the obvious reasons.  As these things can take some time to organize anyhow (getting speakers and venue booked etc) it probably could not be down much before then. Also I should think that other organizations should be involved (RAF Museum?) for this important anniversary.  It will also take a fair bit of work and there would have to be some discussion on the details, probably at an AGM I should think.  But I think the idea is a good one.
Mike


Posted By: AndyK
Date Posted: 17 May 2011 at 16:38
Paul & Mike
What's that old saying - "a volunteer is worth 10 pressed men" Smile
Would you two care to team up, to check out possible venues, formats etc - and report back to the committee?
Feel free to ring or email me to discuss ...
Cheers!
AndyK


Posted By: Paul R Hare
Date Posted: 18 May 2011 at 15:52
2014 is a great date to acknowledge but I think we can work quicker than that.
I am aiming for next year, 2012,
If that works we can do another in 2014, and so on.
How's that for a plan?
paul.


Posted By: AndyK
Date Posted: 18 May 2011 at 17:10
Sounds like a good plan to me Smile
 
What we need now is for a show of hands from potential attendees.
 
Anyone interesteed???


Posted By: John-G
Date Posted: 18 May 2011 at 20:03
As things stand you could count me in.
 
huckjk


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www.66squadron.co.uk


Posted By: Paul R Hare
Date Posted: 18 May 2011 at 20:22

That's you and me then!

Anybody else?
 
Paul.


Posted By: Jonathan Saunders
Date Posted: 19 May 2011 at 11:14

Depending on date and location I would like to attend.

Regards,
 
Jonathan S


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Remembering the McCudden family of Gillingham.


Posted By: paulbardell
Date Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 16:21
As per Jonathan S
 
I would be interested depending of the date and location of the conference.
 
Good luck with this
 
Paul B.Thumbs Up


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paul


Posted By: Paul R Hare
Date Posted: 11 Jun 2011 at 17:16
I have to put my proposals to the committee on 18th July for them to make the decision as to IF, and then WHERE and WHEN.
But we are looking, tentatively at June 1912, possibly in Manchester.
Or not, as the case may be.
 
 


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Paul


Posted By: Ian Burns
Date Posted: 19 Jun 2011 at 15:54
Well I was planning a visit back to the UK in 2012.  So, depending on the date, count me in.
I think the 2014 date makes more sense, but we could look on 2012 as a trial run...
 
Ian


Posted By: Gary Scanlan
Date Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 06:11
I have only recently joined the Society, and this year's AGM was my first event. The lecture of Professor Sheffield was stimulating and the friendliness of the members very reassuring. However, perhaps the scholarship of so many of the more senior members was the impression which stayed with me.
I think that a seminar where such individuals could possibly hold small or even a couple of plenary sessions would be most welcome to me. I would particularly like to hear from Paul Hare, whose work on the Royal Aircraft Factory published by Putnam is a book which I like to dip into on a regular basis.
Topics are legion, I was recently re-reading both Cecil Lewis Sagittarius Rising and Duncan Grinnell-Milne, Wind in the Wires, not having read them since i was a boy. The contrasts in attitudes to the war while they were involved and afterwards made me consider to what degree Lewis's attitude to the war when he wrote his book was shaped by the anti-war writers such as Sigfreid Sassoon, and the looming threat of Nazi Germany. The biography of Bill Bishop by his son is to be contrasted with the attempt to discredit Bishop by  certain Canadian writers and broadcasters is another example which could possibly form the subject matter of a seminar group.
    
Finally,I would like to thank everyone for a wonderful day last April at Hendon.
Best wishes to all
Gary Scanlan.Smile
     


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Gary Scanlan


Posted By: Paul R Hare
Date Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 08:40
Hello Gary,
Glad you like my book!.
If the conference goes ahead ( will confirm asap after the 18th) I promise that I will be one of the speakers and that there will plenty of time for discussions both in and out of the seminar room.
Your consideration of the degree to which attitudes were changed by war, and by writers such as Sassoon, is just the kind of thing we need more of.
So keep next June free and we look forward to seeing you there.
Paul


Posted By: NickForder
Date Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 08:50
Re 'histography' and WW1 I would recommend:
The Great War & Modern Memory - Paul Fussell
The Myth of the Great War - John Mosier
The Paladins - John James
as 'thought provoking' works. Don't get sidelined by the fact that Fussell's knowledge of the make up of the British Army is dodgy and Mosier has a clear agenda (the Americans won WW1 for us and the French). Although James' book is essentially about the interwar RAF, it has a useful intro overview of the years before and the chapter discussing sources is particularly interesting.
Nick  


Posted By: Paul R Hare
Date Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 16:37
I have always previously mistrusted "The Great war & modern memory" simpy because Fussell's knowledge of the British Army is dodgy but I endorse your recommendation of "The Paladins" in which I think Sykes get proper credit for his work in the formation of the RFC.
All of which might make a good topic for a presentation at thye proposed Conference; any offers?


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Paul


Posted By: NickForder
Date Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 17:30
Paul,
I think it is worth trying to get past Fussell's achilles heel (worth reading his Boy's Crusade about NW Europe in WW2 also) and look at the wider scope of his argument. I do feel that his lack of technical knowledge has been used too often to discredit and disregard what he has to say.
 
There is a lot of merit in the notion that 'history is written by the winning side' and, perhaps more so, by people with agendas. (Hence James' point that biographers regard their subjects as either heroes or villains, not people to take an objective view of).
 
This is clear in the WW1 German aviators' biographies produced in the late 1930s, but maybe the bias in British works is not quite so obvious to us ?
 
I recall revisionist views of Churchill's 'The World Crisis' (and the accuracy of the statement "Winston has written a book about himself and called it 'The World Crisis') and, more importantly, of 'The War in the Air' (as a reasoned argument to retain an independent RAF) : perhaps we could identify and invite the person/people behind this ?
Nick


Posted By: Gary Scanlan
Date Posted: 06 Jul 2011 at 20:30
Dear Paul and Nick
I think this is developing into an interesting issue that could be examined at the seminar.
There may be several strands to consider. One such strand is set out below.
First, the biographies of the participants in the air war. Books such as Flying Fury or the Red Air Fighter are clearly propaganda written with clear agenda's, their comparsion proves interesting, written by careful shrewd fighter pilots and leaders who understand war.
The post war autobiographies come next. Two autobiographies I used in my first post can be used as examples.Wind In The Wires was written according to the preface in the late 20's. I think at that time before the great depression there was optimism that Germany's Weimar Republic under Stresemann would become a truly democratic state. On that basis the war, though tragic was seen not to have been in vain. By 1936 when Lewis writes his biography, the collapse of democracy in Germany , the realisation that german militarism had not been curbed  by the war, renders the concept of the Great War with its suffering as simply a tragedy without a redeeming feature. Fussell has I think some use here, the war as a futile act conducted by fools, the lions led by donkeys is reinforced by the literature of the time from Sassoon to Harris's Covenant With Death.   From this develops an exception, the chivalry of the war in the air, and books such as those of Gibbons carry this myth for decades. Without being flippant the Biggles books also help to continue this tradition together with the view that the RFC consisted of scout squadrons, the real air war of the army co-operation squadrons simply do not exist in this world.
The final stage is the promotion  and debunking of heroes. Bishop is set up only to be attaced by Ira Jones, in favour of his hero Mannock, if Bishop has 72 victories Mannock must have 73. Perhaps Bishop was not a capable leader and was ambiitous, but the attempt to paint him as fraud and coward is unwarranted,something even Jones would not have accepted. Richthofen is by stages knight, then unsporting,  (Gwillym- Lewis) and now a capable leader, but nevertheless a leader following a strategy that must eventually bring defeat.      
This is of course but one strand of literature written within the context of changing mores and perceptions which give form and shape to our conceptions of the first air war.
Gary
    


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Gary Scanlan


Posted By: Errol Martyn
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2011 at 02:16
"Perhaps Bishop was not a capable leader and was ambiitous, but the attempt to paint him as fraud and coward is unwarranted."
 
Perhaps not a coward but certainly a fraud or at least delusional in respect of his victory claims.
 
Errol


Posted By: NickForder
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2011 at 14:08
Gary,
I would hesitate to put McCudden's 'Five Years in the RFC' in the same category as 'The Red Air Fighter', though I do agree with your view of the latter.
 
I would regard Bishop's book as being more on par with 'The Red Air Fighter'.
 
I find Bishop's 'call to glory' (irrspective of the extent to which it may have been self propelled) to be very convenient in boosting recruiting in Canada at a time when the Canadians were beginning to question the cost of the war in terms of casualties.
Nick


Posted By: Gary Scanlan
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2011 at 15:21
Dear Nick
On reflection I take your point entirely re McCudden and Richthofen. Perhaps it is not simply a case of British understatement in contrast to teutonic hyperbole. You have also raised yet another facet to this debate. The literature on Bishop as a means of boosting recruitment and maintaining morale is something to which Bishop would no doubt have been delighted, but for which he was not solely responsible, a willing tool of the propaganda machine.
Errol has also raised a point re Bishop's claims, where does delusion end and sheer confusion in battle begin. Many of the aces' claims do not appear to stand examination, does this matter ? I will post something on this next week.
Meanwhile I think that it is clear that we have more than enough material and differing views to have a seminar group at any future meeting. Time will enable us to refine and prune the agenda for the seminar.Let us hope a few more join the debate over the coming weeks.
Best wishes
Have a good weekend.
Gary
 
       


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Gary Scanlan


Posted By: NickForder
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2011 at 16:58
I rather think ' Bishop : Fact or Fraud ?' is big enough subject to take up an entire conference, and still not resolve anything...


Posted By: Paul R Hare
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2011 at 19:01
I think Nick is correct here, Bishop is a topic big enough to debate worldwide and never reach a conclusion.
But a paper/ discussion on historiography  during the conference (If approval is given) still seems like a good idea if someone is willing to take it on.
I am open to offers.
 


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Paul


Posted By: Errol Martyn
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2011 at 23:38
"Errol has also raised a point re Bishop's claims, where does delusion end and sheer confusion in battle begin"
 
Accepting a VC for a non-existent raid on a non-existent enemy airfield (no witnesses produced and absolutely not so much as a hint found in any German record of such an event ever having taken place on said date) could be the point where his delusion began. It certainly didn't end there.
 
Errol


Posted By: Gary Scanlan
Date Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 03:26
Dear Nick and Paul
I think since I started this to some degree, it is only fair that I at least put a draft paper together which can be distributed among those interested. I had to retire two years ago because of heart failure, and am due for a couple of sessions of surgery in July and August. I thought therefore that since the first seminar will, if it goes ahead take place in the summer of 2012, that I could put something together for everyone to read and comment upon by say October (part of my convalescence). By then we may have some idea of the numbers interested in this topic. If people then contribute, add to, criticise the draft we could put forward, say by the spring a seminar paper which could give direction to the discussions at the meeting.
I thought first to look at contrasts with war time memoirs, I think contrasting McCudden and Richthofen would be a reasonable start. Nick's comments in this regard have convinced me some useful points can be made.
Consideration could then move to the post war literature using two books written before the trauma of the Great Depression and the rise of Nazi Germany. I thought Scott's 60 Squadron and the Wind in the Wires would be useful.
Finally, two examples of works written at the beginning and middle of the thirties when the change in attitudes to the war was apparent could be examined. I thought to use here Sagittarius Rising and Warbirds by Vigilant. In doing so I will to some degree be keeping within the narrow bounds set out in my first post. I will try and keep it short, say 2000-2500 words so as to make incorporation of  new ideas easier. At least this is an excuse to buy new copies of Vigilant and Richthofen from the CCI shop.
In conclusion I thougt to raise the Bishop issue only as an example of the fairly recent example of debunking heroes and to examine the reasons for this aspect of historical literature. All of us are aware of the Paul Cowan controversy in Canada and the subsequent Standing Senate Committee enquiry, which was highly criticial of the Cowan docu-drama. 
However, the phenomena of debunking is very much a child of the late sixties and was the subject of a famous libel case which went to the House of Lords. Please forgive me if you are aware of this case.
The facts are interesting. A young David Irving in conjunction with Cassell Ltd published a work which claimed that Jack Broome, the officer commanding the naval escort  to the ill fated PQ17 convoy was both incompetent and a coward. Irving and the publishers know there was no foundation in this, furthermore the research of Irving and his conclusions were shoddy and sleazy in the extreme, but both parties cynically concluded that if Broome sued for libel (which he did), the damages awarded would be more than balanced by the sales revenue, the book would also bring Irving to the notice of the public. The House of Lords however, endorsing the lower courts awarded Broome punitive or exemplary damages which wiped out by a large margin any profits made by the book. I will be signing off for now but will be back in a couple of weeks. 
Best wishes      
Gary
      


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Gary Scanlan


Posted By: Paul R Hare
Date Posted: 08 Jul 2011 at 08:10
It looks to me as though, subject to approval (The day will come soon when i can stop saying that!!) you have talked yourself into a job.
If you want to discuss this further with me, outside of this forum, my e-mail is mailto:paulhare@talktalk.net - paulhare@talktalk.net


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Paul


Posted By: Errol Martyn
Date Posted: 09 Jul 2011 at 04:44
"In conclusion I thougt to raise the Bishop issue only as an example of the fairly recent example of debunking heroes and to examine the reasons for this aspect of historical literature. All of us are aware of the Paul Cowan controversy in Canada and the subsequent Standing Senate Committee enquiry, which was highly criticial of the Cowan docu-drama."
 
I've not followed the Canadian bun-fight, but for those interested in learning the facts regarding Bishop's claimed aerodrome raid for which he was awarded the VC I can do no better than recommend Philip Markham's deeply researched article that appeared in Over the Front, Vol 10, No 3, Fall 1995, pp240-262 - 'The Early Morning of 2 June 1917 - Summary of an Unseccessful Research Project'.
 
The project was 'unsuccessful' in the sense the Markham, using British and German documents, set out in the hope that he might find confirmation of Bishop's claims of 2 June 1917 only to be forced to conclude that 'I have been unable to discover any supporting evidence; in fact it has been quite the reverse.'
 
Needless to say, no one else has since been able to discover any supporting evidence either!
 
Errol


Posted By: Paul R Hare
Date Posted: 19 Jul 2011 at 20:36
back to the Conference.
We now have committee approval o the planning starts in earest.
If any one has ideas for speakers, or anything else, either post them here or e-mail me at mailto:paulhare@talktalk.net - paulhare@talktalk.net .


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Paul


Posted By: Paul R Hare
Date Posted: 08 Sep 2011 at 14:14
Due to unforseen cicumstances (related to my wife health) I have had to hand planing the conference over to Paul Leaman.
please give him your support.


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Paul


Posted By: John-G
Date Posted: 08 Sep 2011 at 14:48
Paul,
Sorry to hear the news , I hope she gets better soon.


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www.66squadron.co.uk


Posted By: paulbardell
Date Posted: 08 Sep 2011 at 17:25


Paul

Hope she is feeling better soon.

Regards

Paul B




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paul



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