Monday, October 26, 2009

Soldiers' Stories

"This year is the 40th anniversary of the British Army’s arrival in Northern Ireland. They were deployed on 14 August 1969, by the Wilson government, as law and order had broken down and the population was in grave danger. Between then and 2007 some 300,000 British troops served in Northern Ireland. Occasionally they were welcomed; more often, they were spat at, pelted with missiles or shot.

So how did it feel to be a British soldier in Northern Ireland? These are their stories, terrible stories of bombings, killings and heartache over three decades, told for the first time from their own perspective."
On the History Channel, tonight (26th October) at 9pm UK time, there will be the premier of "Soldiers' Stories". It will, as the title suggests, give the perspective of the British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 2007- a video preview can be watched here.


tony said...

Watched it last night and am afraid to say I was mightily dissapointed. The one sided history was massively guilty of commision by omission on virtually everything.

I remember watching a docu with Brendan hughes and various British intelligence operatives. It was interesting, factual and both sides were complimentry about each other even. It gave us a useful insight into the machinations of the conflict.

This documentry last night however almost at times veered into boys own stuff. Poor British chaps in the middle of warring Paddies. Reasons for upsurges in violence were at best wantonly glossed over, and it was never ever the fault of said chaps or the powers that sent them there. Good God we even at one point have one guy believe that fixing a wee fellas bike would perhaps stop him listening to his evil parents.

Don't get me started about Wullie Frazers imput. I know the guy has suffered but you would not seek his imput unless the docu makers were not concerned about balance. and to me this was evident long, long before wee Wullie entered the fray.

I'd bet a documentry about former IRA volunteers would produce a lot more clarity as to the dynamics and wherefore's which were criminally absent about this programme. I think it only once touched on the motives or feelings about the soldiers themselves wanting to be there. And sadly that was because one guy feared for him and his family once deployed there.

O'Neill said...

My only small criticism is that it didn't really follow a timeline so it was a bit hard to follow the events and the various soldiers' roles in them sometimes.

Watched it last night and am afraid to say I was mightily dissapointed. The one sided history was massively guilty of commision by omission on virtually everything

If I decide to listen to Gerry demanding "Truth and justice" or watch any number of pro-IRA films or documentary I know exactly what I'm letting myself in for, they're not in the business of delivering balance (or genuine truth and justice but that's another argument for another day).

Point being that "Truth" and "balance" will vary depending on who's telling the story and who's watching/reading/listening.

It was called Soldiers' Stories and that's exactly what you got, the opinions of those soldiers who served in NI. You may not like those opinions, but in the absence of any semblance of an honest and full history of the Trouble ever emerging, material like this will help form part of a bigger jigsaw that future generations will use to make up their own mind. But in a democracy its crucial that all voices, and that includes Willie Fraser, will be part of that jigsaw.

tony said...

>>My only small criticism...<<

That was enough for me!

You really are following the wrong road.