MoD considered down playing repatriation ceremonies to make war more palatable

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by SJRM_RN, Sep 29, 2013.

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  1. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    Interesting debate. Comparisons with the Somme, D-Day, times when we were engaged in an overt global war. Some would say we're in a war thag is no less of a struggle but thanks to CNN/Sky et al we're more sensitive to losses and the servicemen themselves are more aware of families worries. Even welfare email/calls present a challenge to morale.

    Maybe as a society we're no longer prepared for all out conflict. If that's the case best we inform the politicians.
  2. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    The difference is that only a tiny proportion of the population are 'at war'. In WW1 pretty much everyone was either in uniform or closely related to someone who was. In WW2 were ALL at war in or out of uniform thanks to the Luftwaffe. Also until after Falklands we didn't do repatriation for obvious reasons, indeed in WW1 the King blocked it as those who could pay would, and T Atkins generally would be left behind.

    I think 'playing down the repatriation*' is, in terms of what the rest of us are asking our paid military servants to do far away, is crass not to say obscene. *One wonders which vile person started this hare and first used those words.
  3. Seems to work this side of the pond. They play down the repatriation keeping the mindless masses in the dark.
    This 'war' really only affects a small minority over here. The rest are happy as long as the trough is not pulled away from their snouts.
  4. I thought it was quite a good read actually. I found the scenes at Wooton Basset quite distasteful to be honest.
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  5. Makes a mockery of the word 'Remembrance'.........tell you what.... why don't we just scrap Remebrance Sunday and poppies....don't want to offend anyone.
    casualty averse ... my arse !
  6. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    It's a delicate subject, but we were beginning to see overtures of the "mass grief" shown over the "Peoples Princess" debacle, with people travelling the length of the country to "pay their respects". There comes a point when dignity becomes undignified.
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  7. Its a hard one to call.Iv been involved in military funerals, and even when young,couldn't quite put my finger on it, but found them faintly vulgar.But it seems to be appreciated by some of the bereaved, so if it helps a family in any way let it be I suppose.
  8. I realise it's very different from the current situation, Wooton Bassett etc. but I've never really been a fan of military funerals either.

    My Great Uncle was one of the Merville Paras in WWII. When he carked it we contacted the Parachute Association in case any of his oppos wanted to attend. About 20 plus middle aged blokes turned up with flags and various regalia, none of whom had ever even met him or even been alive when my great uncle served.

    If I'm honest they turned what was supposed to be a low key funeral for family and friends into a bit of a circus. I'm sure their intentions were sound, but I found it all a bit weird. I wouldn't rock up for the funeral of a matelot who I'd never met and who had served prior to my birth.

    My Great Uncle served in the military from 1938 until 1947 - 9 years out of nearly 90. He never cherished his service, it was just some shit him and everyone else his age had to crack on with for a relatively small part of his life.
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  9. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    It's a bit of an odd one isn't it?

    I remember not so long ago there was this story, which on the face of it was a noble deed and doubtless made some feel overly sentimental at the time, but then again was it a bit too much? To this day I'm not entirely convinced the old boy was actually in the service as it was never verified and no-one at all appears to remember serving with him on the Royal Marines website: Hundreds turn out for funeral of Royal Marine after Facebook plea - ITV News
  10. I see the RBL riders branch were in attendance.

    What a surprise.

    "Let's honour the dead by making **** loads of noise and turning the funeral into a motorbike rally."
  11. Ah, the principle of unintended consequences. I'm not by any means an authority on the brown mindset or traditions but wasn't that the "regimental family" turning too? It's what they do to show comradeship and respect to a former member of the Regiment on crossing the bar. In that vein, Military Funerals are the traditional means of showing respect and recognition to dead comrades. It's when it escapes to involve the wider couldn't/wouldn't-be Military-for-as-long-as-it-has-a-hole-in-its-bum Public that it tends to become all rather regrettable.

    Ninja_Stoker makes a very good point regarding the recent cult of "mass grief". The Wooton Bassett events did start to degenerate into a spectator participation show. At the time ('82), I thought chartering the MV St Brandan to repatriate the dead from Op CORPORATE was setting an unfortunate precedent. What's done's done, though; the Genie can't easily be put back in the bottle. As a side note, it opened the gates for Coroners, not known for their military knowledge of inclinations, to beat the MoD and the Government. Some of this has discovered weaknesses that may not have necessarily come to light from a Board of Inquiry but, on balance, I don't think it's enhanced the Nation's warfighting ability.
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  12. I definitely understand your point but they weren't even invited, the family just asked them to pass on the details of his funeral to anyone who might have known him, not show up with flags, a bugler and form an honour guard.

    He wasn't even a member of the Association. We just thought it'd be the easiest way of informing any of his old comrades who might've still been kicking about.

    It's nice to see people turning up and giving a f*ck but I still find it a bit odd turning up for the funeral of a bloke you'd never even heard of until he'd died.
  13. Purple_twiglet

    Purple_twiglet War Hero Moderator

    Hard but understandable - Wooten Basset became a public grief fest the moment the cameras came in, and people could show their sadness for a 'fallen solja innit.'
    Far better to be done in private as before rather than let lots of very vocal and frankly sometimes 'special' people intrude on some families private grief.

    Also worth remembering DCDC is designed to think difficult thoughts, not to be policy but to expose what doing something different may involve. Long may it be able to do so!
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