Thursday, 12 February 2009

Shell Shock & Combat Stress

I got the above book 'Shell Shock The Psychological Impact of War' by Wendy Holden published by Channel 4 Books in 1998 two weeks ago from the excellent Oxfam bookshop near where I work. I have only just started it but 'it charts society's attempts to distinguish between madness and cowardice, in conflicts from the First World War to Bosnia'to quote the dustcover. It plots the changing labels for an eternal condition - shell shock, battle fatigue, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)in a changing moral landscape, it details the revolution in military attitudes to the fragility of men & the birth of modern psychiatry.

The best quote is on page 159 by Simon Weston who suffered terrible burns on the Sir Galahad in the Falklands War and lost close friends in that burning ship;

'We did not take part in a holocaust. It was not a war that will be remembered for ever. It was just another conflict, and now is just another already half-forgotten story, a more and more distant memory of Union Jacks and cheers of glory. But for many the price is still being paid; their war is still going on.'

Now the wargaming/modelling fraternity are doing their bit as I found out on Steve the Wargamers Brilliant Blog which links to Soapy's Blog. Soapy is the sculptor benind the Woodbine 'branch' of the Gripping Beast empire & doing a lot of work on WW1 figures (I have some of the Naval Division cap head varient chaps to paint up soon)and has been asked to produce a figure to raise money for the ex services mental welfare charity 'Combat Stress' which you can link too on the Button Bar. Other figures apparently will be produced by other sculptors and I will get them all but I like this one it reminds me of the Great War monuments you see in towns up and down the country.

Direct donations to the charity can be made via the battlegames appeal .


legatus hedlius said...

Thanks for this: didn't know about these figures. My Uncle was in the Airborne Division at Arnhem and spent over a year in hospital with "shell shock" afterwards. He died only a couple of years ago and lived in Seaford on the south coast. He never drove again after WW2, never visited London; in fact wouldn't travel further than Battle. 60 years later his confidence in the world outside his house was still shattered. I'll definietly pick up the figures and link from my blog too.

Fraxinus said...

Not surprised about the effects that Arnhem had on your uncle my mother went there 2 years after the war as part of a European peace exchange and they went to a service in the middle of the devasted town graves still by the roadside etc etc she remembers it was very atmospheric all who served at Arnhem were heroes no book or film can do it justice

littlejohn said...

Beautifully moving figure and I hope to get one soon.