Temple At War

Having attended the fourth Temple at War show I’m convinced that the name should change from simply “Temple at war” to “Temple at War – the Friendly Show”.  In saying this I’m not suggesting that any of the other  living history shows are not friendly, but I honestly think that the bunch of re-enactors that gathered for Temple At War this year were the most engaging, knowledgeable and keen to discuss the their particular period that I can remember meeting. Children visitors were also fully engaged, especially by the 10th Battalion, Essex Regiment being put through their paces in rifle and bayonet drill and we all know how children just love to shout and scream!

I can also say that I learned more about people in war than I can recall learning for sometime while. For example, from the ladies representing the Russian Civil War I learned that Imperial Russia created a formation of female soldiers in an attempt to shame the men in continuing the fight against Germany. From a gentleman representing a WW1 Hanoverian soldier, I learned that his regiment carried the battle honour ‘Gibraltar’ having fought along the British defending Gibraltar in the Great Siege (1779). From a gentleman representing the American press corps in WW2 I learned about how their equipment was made and modified, sometimes in the field, to facilitate filming.

I learned most from a gentleman representing a British WW1 chaplain. He explained just how wide their responsibilities were which included:

  • Censoring of the soldier’s letters.
  • Reading letters and writing letters for soldiers who were not literate (remember this was 1914-18).
  • Administering to the sick and wounded (some mortally).
  • Attending the soldiers in the front-line before they went over the top into an attack.

Most interestingly this gentleman explained how both sides treated the front line hospitals and casualty clearing stations with great respect and how if the front line moved leaving a hospital stranded behind enemy lines, that hospital was allowed to continue to work unhindered treating wounded soldiers from all sides. A small touch of humanity in what was the most dreadful and inhumane war….

As for my pictures, this year I’ve tried to give them a theme of  ‘people at war’ and have included a greater number of photographs of soldiers over military vehicles. I hope you like them.

Camps & Soldiers

The Battle
Rather like my photo essay the theme of this year’s battle was angled toward the experience of the individual soldier.

TatWarBattleSummary

Let’s see what happened next..

And finally…..
And so ended another splendid Temple at War, an event which I thoroughly enjoyed and which taught me a good deal. My thanks go to the organisers but most of all to all the living history folk who really are the show.

I shall leave the final words to Bert and Fred…

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Bert: Well Fred it’s the end of another stonking Temple at War.

Fred: Yup that’s right Bert, and no mistake there, it’s bin’ great!

Bert: Ow’ you getting home then Fred?

Fred: Well the organisers have asked us to take this ‘ere American Duce an a Half truck back with us, missing a driver y’see.

Bert: Ow’ you gonna do that Fred, you ever ‘ad any driving lessons?

Fred: No ‘fraid not Bert.

Bert: Then ‘ow you gonna do it Fred?

Fred: I’ll just wing it Bert!

Bert & Fred: See ya all next year folks!

Temple At War – Keeping History Alive 11th & 12th May 2019