WWI: The Soldier’s Life – free illustrated talk

SATURDAY 26TH JULY 2014 AT 4pm.  Venue open from 10am.


A fascinating new perspective on World War One is to be offered at the Eastbourne Under Ground Theatre – by an amateur historian who has been studying the Great War for a remarkable sixty years. Bob Payne, a retired consultant engineer, will be addressing the realities of “The Soldier’s Life” on Saturday 26th July, as a month of UGT events marking the centenary of WW1 continues into a crowded final weekend.

The talk, concentrating on events on the Western front, will start at 4pm and entry is free.

You’ll be hearing how soldiers lived their day-to-day existence, from enlistment to the end of the war: exactly what they did, what they ate, what they went through.  Certainly, there’ll be something on the horrors of the trenches. But, as Bob Payne will seek to demonstrate, that is only part of the picture – and, in truth, only a small part.

He will remind us of the huge numbers of men and women who supported the military operations, and made them possible: doctors, nurses, drivers, vets, and many, many more. He will talk about their day-to-day lives, too.

Hence, he will argue that history has been distorted by post-war attitudes, and that the persistent media perspective of “lions led by donkeys” fails to reflect the reality experienced by many.  You will perhaps begin to understand why Rupert Brooke, British officer and poet, was able to write: “It’s all a terrible tragedy.  And yet, in its details, it’s great fun.”

In addition to photographs and diagrams, Bob Payne will have a few exhibits on hand to bring his anecdotes to life.  Coffee and tea and cakes will be available throughout the afternoon.