Friday, September 18, 2009

Carry On Killing

I come from a WWII family. Though my upbringing was situated in rural Australia during the 1970s, inside our home it was strictly wartime 1940s. The music was listened to, the films we watched, the family politics, they were all very much of the day.

I've been raised with the Stiff Upper Lip attitude that so typified the British back then - my mother and grandmother are both English, and Dad was a bit of an Anglophile. But Dad was also a war buff, and so the whole lot came together in that wholesome wartime warmth we see in BBC sitcoms.

My grandmothers were military material- during the war one made aeroplane engines and the other was an ambulance driver for St.John's and a warden in the ARP. Granddad was captain of the tank brigade who also worked for MI5.

I've had a mixed attitude to war over the years. It's a useless and terrible thing of course, rarely justifiable (certainly not in the case of the one we're in now, though that's more an invasion than a war but I digress...). My Dad served in Vietnam and as a result was stricken with severe shell shock resulting (primarily) in migranes, nightmares and life-long depression. He was also exposed to alot of Agent Orange and this is the main cause (we believe) of my own medical problems, namely the epilepsy and depression (I was conceived immediately on Dad's return from service). Seeing my Dad go through this gave me a hatred for war since early youth.

On the other hand, I do quite like militaria- all the shiny badges and nifty uniforms. The industrial simplicity of alot of 'war issue' stuff is great too, I remember as a kid always going over my Dad and Grandmother's war stuff, admiring the simple colours and austere design. I think it's influenced me much in terms of aesthetics and design.

I remember when I was very young one of the first things I wanted to be when I grew up was a pilot of bomber aircraft. Then I was cruelly informed that 'we don't fly Spitfires any more' and I gave it up for archaeology. Even back then I was at the mercy of the visual!

All images taken from eBay shops. Don't make me spend all my money Mr.eBay!


Re:form said...

loving this,
I've been blogging some interviews i've done with some wise old gals, I find the wartime stuff so enthralling.
It's great to hear about your family.

Jeannine said...

this is enthralling stuff to read about. and the pictures you paired with all of it are perfect!

ArtSnark said...

Fascinating post. I'm a fan of propaganda posters - great designs