What got you interested?

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by Gage, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. Biggles115

    Biggles115 Member

    Hallo all

    I guess I got interested because I grew up in 'good years' to grow up in - the late '60s to mid 70s!

    It must be admitted, Action Man played a Major Role, as did 1/32nd scale meltable soldiers, war movies on the tv during school holidays and a feeling that you really were surrounded by Veterans. If I took more notice at the time I could tell you more about them all. But, back then, my time was taken up playing the game every boy loved: War.

    I wonder how those Veterans must have shaken their heads, or chuckled in their beer to themselves, "if only those boys knew"...

    But there we were, running over the rubble of 'bomb sites', a massive mob of average age ten year olds in monkey boots, wearing every assortment of beret's and sidecaps (baseball caps were nowhere!) you could imagine!

    Making the universal 'brrrrrrrrrrrrrr' noise of a German machine gun and lobbing invisible hand grenades from foxholes only a few yards away from each other. Where I grew up, there were still piles of rubble which were once houses and empty burnt out warehouses, believe it or not! Quite a few pillboxes to duck and dive around (although you'd never go there after dusk), making grenade attacks into block houses (this time with bricks) and storming the pillboxes with Sten's made of the correct shaped twigs. That twig may have been found hours ago, but knowing you'd most likely being playing 'war' later, you've kept it all day long, safe and secure! Or, joy of joys, you might find some old pipe of the correct scale and length, the perfect bazooka!

    "DurDurDurDurDurDurDur!" That's the sound of a twigSten. Of course, we learnt all this from the pages of Battle and Commando and War Picture etc,
    who made clear the differences between the sounds of weapons. Regularly swopped, the comic supply never ended and you leant your combat moves from the cover art!

    Can you imagine the fun of attacking your own real Docks Area, when you've just watched "The Gift Horse" on tv? Rummaging through the detritus of flattened warehouses before making your way down to the River to rummage on the shore, eyes keenly looking for shrapnel but not really knowing what shrapnel looked like.

    The docks were virtually empty back then, just unused, just sitting there to be a playground for kids playing War in their grandad's hat, throwing invisible grenades the way he showed you with an apple or orange when he got a bit jokey.

    The kind of stuff you wouldn't let your own kids do, the type of stuff kids aren't even encouraged to do. Play 'out', run around, be active, be fit, be free, be free to imagine, be free to nearly but not quite break your arm falling down a hole. And do it supervised only by your peers.

    Or else, we'd play out with our dolls, yes, little boys with dolls (who could imagine it these days!), using our imagination to recreate battlefields and there was always the one kid who seemed to get the best kit and vehicles before anyone else while you eagerly await the latest delivery at your own particular favourite toyshop. Using matches to burn small holes in the Afrika Korps jacket and always being disappointed with the plastic Afrika Korps feldmutze... The revolution of grippable hands and then, crikey, movable eyes (which never really made sense)

    Then sitting down after dinner (eaten at the table, with the family) you'd stick together plastic kits (or if you were really good, you'd paint them first), and know intimate aspects of most aircraft or tank from the period. You would be the general manager of a production line, waiting to face battle against 1/72nd scale commando's with oars in kayaks (which also floated in the bath). Laying out the newspaper, getting glue on your thumb that you could later peel off and study your fingerprints...


    Kids these days dont know what they're missing!

    Or maybe I'm getting old!

    Anyway, they can do it all on a portable hand held screen these days and their friends are people they've never met, living on the other side of the world.

    You've summed up my childhood, only thing is I was the last of 3 brothers so by the time I got my action man he was a war veteren and collecting a pension. I also had the Navy action man (the one with the beard) but by the time i got him handed down my brother had scraped off the hair and he looked like he'd got some serious facial burns....

    My bedroom also became known as the Airfix graveyard...
     
  2. -tmm-

    -tmm- Senior Member

    I suppose I got interested initially by a love for WW2 aircraft as a boy, and the discovery that I lived right next to an old airfield. I spent a lot of my time making models growing up and just loved anything to do with military aircraft.

    I live next to RAF Ridgewell, which was home to RAF 90 Squadron, USAAF 381st Bomb Group (my avatar) and RAF 94/95 Maintenance units (post war). I currently help run a small museum on the hospital site. Most of the airfield buildings have long gone. The control tower was knocked down in the 70s (now a pile of rubble) and both hangars pulled down in the 80s. About half of the perimiter track is used as public road, and there are a few nissen huts dotted around the place. Two of the hospital wards are still there (where the museum is) as well as the dance hall/gymnasium/cinema/chappel building.

    The following photo taken in 1943 shows how close I live to the airfield. My house is on the row of houses on the right hand side, towards the bottom.

    Those of you with good eyes will notice both RAF Stirling bombers and USAAF B-17s on the hardstandings. The photo was taken during the handover from the RAF to USAAF.

    [​IMG]

    Combined with my interest of planes and the local airfield, I decided I wanted to visit as many old airfields as I possibly could. Fortunately my parents shared my new interest and took me all over East Anglia and Lincolnshire visiting disused airfields and museums.

    Also, my dad was friends with a guy who used to be the chief pilot of Sally B (the B-17 stationed at Duxford) and he gave me a guided tour, including the cockpit and nose section. One of the highlights of my life so far. Next step is to fly in one...and my father, as curator of the 381st museum has the promise of a free flight in Texas Raiders, a B-17 that lives in the States and painted in 381st BG colours...one day, one day.

    [​IMG]


    Both of my grandfathers served in the RAF (ground crew) and I have their service papers and photographs, and have enjoyed piecing together what they did and where they went. My great uncle also was in the RAF, and flew 44 missions as a flight engineer on Lancasters before being shot down and taken POW.

    As I got older I ended up in the re-enactment scene, and although it's broadened my interest in WW2 in general, my first love will always be warbirds, the bases they flew from, and them men who flew and maintained them.

    And with that, the impressive memorial at Ridgewell:
    [​IMG]
     
    von Poop likes this.
  3. Rob Dickers

    Rob Dickers 10th MEDIUM REGT RA

    Reading these Regimental magazines printed by my dad in Holland + Germany 44-45 and taking me to the IWM to see [His Gun] + the too few photos he left.
    Rob D
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Pike

    Pike Senior Member

    I read...Hitler..by Alan Bullock.

    It left so many questions,i'm more interested in people than events and decided to try and track down books on as many people involved in the book as possible,iv'e never looked back.
     
  5. James Daly

    James Daly Senior Member

    I read...Hitler..by Alan Bullock.

    It left so many questions,i'm more interested in people than events and decided to try and track down books on as many people involved in the book as possible,iv'e never looked back.

    very good book that one. I think the hallmark of a good history book isnt that it tries to answer everything, but encourages you to think more yourself
     
  6. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I reckon AHD, just about hit the nail on the head memories of Action man:D I had all the usual suspects but pride of place was my Para who was always getting in trouble with my MP! and they really dont make them like they used to, playing war in the parks and woods and paper caps now that brought back fond recollections and where did that revolver I had that I occasionaly got the plastic ring caps for go:unsure: toy soldiers I had all sorts Paras british and german, commandos, Gurkhas Italians Russians oh im going to get all misty in a min.............oh to be young again and back in the 70's waiting every week for my Brother to come back from his paper round with my Warlord comic which along with stories my Dad told me got me into WW2 and then came the books now thats when it became less about playing at war and realising what my Dad and all the other Vets had been through thats why I keep reading and learning but now and again the likes of AHD remind me of those care free days, thanks At Home Dad:)
     
  7. urqh

    urqh Senior Member

    And none of you stayed dead when I shot you. But I had to count to 500 when I got shot and no one around when turned to look. Ok I had an Indian war bonnet on me ead but that shouldnt have mattered.. The soldiers should have beeb h/00 others were too big. But yes .surrounded by vetrans..pill boxes..and toy guns..And you actually saw soldiers in uniform on leave..I saw two RMP when they knocked on door looking for uncle Terry the communist who went awol from nat service...mum your such a liar..he was there in the larder..i saw him with a bottle of Mackerson in his hand.
     
  8. Swiper

    Swiper Resident Sospan

    I guess it started with Airfix models, then I started reading more, and at age 10 moaning about why 'those tanks don't look right' in Battle of the Bulge. From there, it went through more model making, and then (as my mum didn't believe in letting me play with toy guns as a kid...) into the CCF at school, reading and watching Discovery et al more and more, until I go to uni... stop reading up on WW2, become somewhat of a modernist, and chance encounters at War and Peace - and then taking a mid-course gap year meeting many veterans etc, I am now in my final year studying warfare doing my dissertation on 53rd Welsh Division...

    Cracking really.
     
  9. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    oh all of them

    airfix kits and soldiers
    war films
    Zulu ( aim/fire/re load/relax)
    ruins to play in
    digging up old anderson shelters
    using your arm as a sten gun ( you know what i mean)
    pulling the grenade firing pin out with your teeth (pretending)
    half bricks as grenades ( my old mate Ginger taking one to the back of the head)
    cap bombs
    more caps, hitting them in a roll with a hammer
    sekiden guns firing gold coloured clay balls at each other in some long forgotten battle
    cap firing luger
    strafing runs at ME109's ( always let the ME262 survive) on the lawn with a .177 webley airpistol



    The film "went the day well"

    snippets from my dad, but never enough

    then realising it was all real after watching "all our yesterdays" and "the world at war"
     
  10. Oldman

    Oldman Very Senior Member

    Me
    I was a "gofor" for 4 grumpy old men who had all served in WW11 the tales
    and baiting stuck with me then I started researching my dads war record and it
    has grown.

    Oldman
     
  11. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    My father was artillery Captain in the Army and house was always full of his military magazines and books. I grew up listening stories and watching movies about the Partisans. And not just movies about them, other great ww2 movies were also very popular, like "A Bridge To Far", "The Longest Day", "The Bridge at Remagen" and many others.
     
  12. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    At around age 8-10 my chums and I stumbled across buried treasure at a local scrap yard. It turns out that when they closed the nearby BOMARC missle base the military cleaned out the armoury and deactivated the weapons. There was a huge pile of equipment just there for the taking. So, every kid in my neighbourhood ended up with a real Sten gun, clips, British style helmets and other assorted kit. We had bragging rights over the other kids with their cheap imitation plastic weapons!! I still have that Sten gun to this day. Manufactured in 1943, here in Ontario at Long Branch. Aside from a few small welding torch cuts, it looks good.
     
  13. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    At around age 8-10 my chums and I stumbled across buried treasure at a local scrap yard. It turns out that when they closed the nearby BOMARC missle base the military cleaned out the armoury and deactivated the weapons. There was a huge pile of equipment just there for the taking. So, every kid in my neighbourhood ended up with a real Sten gun, clips, British style helmets and other assorted kit. We had bragging rights over the other kids with their cheap imitation plastic weapons!! I still have that Sten gun to this day. Manufactured in 1943, here in Ontario at Long Branch. Aside from a few small welding torch cuts, it looks good.

    Pictures please Canuck.
    Ever so slightly green with envy here.

    ~A
     
  14. Za Rodinu

    Za Rodinu Hot air manufacturer

    Life sure is unfair :)
     
  15. coastwatcher42

    coastwatcher42 Junior Member

    I was a army brat growing up and cannot remember not having an interest in all things military. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, I read an abridged copy of Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis and became mesmorised by the Pacific war. A trip to Pearl Harbor when I was 11 only intensified my interest.
     
  16. Gage

    Gage The Battle of Barking Creek MOD

    I was a army brat growing up and cannot remember not having an interest in all things military. When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, I read an abridged copy of Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis and became mesmorised by the Pacific war. A trip to Pearl Harbor when I was 11 only intensified my interest.

    Welcome CW.
     
  17. JDG

    JDG Junior Member

    I was wondering what started your interest in WWII.
    A friend of mine many years ago gave me a book of a Belgium Pilot called Jean Offenburg, who flew during the Battle of Britain. Ever since then my interest has grown into many different directions and aspects of WWII.

    I inherited a peice of embroidery that my Grandfather did whilst serving in Africa, along with his pay book and medals. I am incrediably proud of his achievements and wanted to understand where he was during the War years and what he did.
     
  18. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Pictures please Canuck.
    Ever so slightly green with envy here.

    ~A

    Adam,
    Sorry for the delay but here are two pics of the Sten, as requested. Had to first find it in the basement and then endure the wife's comments which ran something like, "What the hell is that" and "all this time we've had a machine gun in the house!!!"
    Anyway, to those more appreciative of things military, it has been a great conversation piece. I am struggling to remember what possessed me to paint it black. Must have been my Darth Vader phase..........

    sten1.jpg

    sten2.jpg
     
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  19. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery Patron

    thanks Canuck

    excellent photos
     
  20. von Poop

    von Poop Adaministrator Admin

    Adam,
    Sorry for the delay but here are two pics of the Sten, as requested. Had to first find it in the basement and then endure the wife's comments which ran something like, "What the hell is that" and "all this time we've had a machine gun in the house!!!"
    Anyway, to those more appreciative of things military, it has been a great conversation piece. I am struggling to remember what possessed me to paint it black. Must have been my Darth Vader phase..........

    View attachment 22956

    View attachment 22957

    Cheers Canuck.
    I remember a real army belt, the odd map case, or webbing pouch, was considered pretty damned cool when I was a kid. A genuine Sten Gun would just have been too fine.

    I think this man best sums up my feelings.

    (BTW, old spec de-ac Stens go for surprising money for what's essentially a tube and a spring - tell the missus it's a genuine Military antique...)
     

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