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Google Tour Builder telling John Wilson MMs WWI story from DLI, to MGC to RFC and the RAF

https://tourbuilder.withgoogle.com/tour/ahJzfmd3ZWItdG91cmJ1aWxkZXJyEQsSBFRvdXIYgIDgoIyIngsM

Hoping you can view this. I kind of interactive slideshow pinned to a map. In this case I roughly trace my grandather's war years, from growing up in County Durham (Shotley Bridge) to enlisting with the Durham Light Infantry, transfer to the Machine Gun Corps, then experience on the Western Front, surviging Neuve Chappelle, the Somme and Third Ypres. 

On 27th December 1917 his transfer papers came through and he joined the Royal Flying Corps (his kid brother had joined as mechanic the summer before and had then gained a commission as a bomber pilot). 

He then moved around from Hastings, to Bristol, and Uxbridge ending up with flight training out of RAF Crail, Fife from September 1918 to November 1918. He remaiend in Crail during the demob until May 1919.

Sadly his brother was killed that summer flying mail over Belgium to Germany. 

Only in 1992 did Jack return to Ypres, retracing his steps with the author Lyn Macdonald and paying his respects to his friends who had died at the Menin Gate and Tyne Cot Cemetery. 

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Bereavement

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Monday, 9 Dec 2013, 08:10

It's as good a reason as any to stop for a while. But of course it doesn't. In fact I'd say the revelations of the last week have been extraordinary and impossinle without the required - stop.

It came walking the dog in 'Bluebell Woods' (that's Spring). Today we we have acres of larch shedding their leaves .... just an intermittent breeze and a shoer of leaves rattle down through the arching branches above.

I took photos. I even hung around 'til I could video it.

I was reminded immediatly of the Menin Gate, Ypres and the thousands of petals that are thrown from above.

I had an idea for the leaves ... and an even greater one for them falling from above. 

Tag 'em all.

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How can the gallery or museum visit be personalised and augmented to make first impressions last?

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 May 2014, 14:25

Fig.1. Miro - Barcelona

A lifelong love in art galleries yet I still feel unmoved (most of the time) by galleries and museums, possibly because I expect the gentle, guiding voice of my late mother at my shoulder (artist, art historian, Mum).

What could be a more personalised visit than to have someone who knows you so well point things out, guide you to things that will interest or irritate, then offer an insight - invariably linked to 'what do you do next?' i.e. look, learn then apply.

I take heart from the exceptions, only two visits I can think of though:

'In Flanders Fields' - you need a day to yourself to take this in. The most shocking moment entering a funnel like fixture, looking around then twisting your head up to see sets of photographs of mutilated combatants. It put your physically in a demanding postion to view them. Then the multi-media displays, not just actors giving accounts, but the ultimate before and after shots of places using satelitte images and old aerial photos.

'Alcatraz' - on many levels the visit irritated me, partly the Disneyfication and advance booking, then the many layers of the islands as bird sanctuary, prison and Native American conquest. What impressed though was the brilliant audio guide - BBC at its very best might be the way to describe it. Very carefully and sensitively juxtapositioning of interviews with former inmates, guards, and family members of guards/governor which between them created a sense or atmosphere of the place like some kind of hideous monastic retreat.

So how do we 'recreate' battlefields" We have the 750th of the Battle of Lewes here in East Sussex next year, as well as us all having five or more years of the run up to, the war and aftermath of 1914-1918.

The opportunity exists to use smart devices to give visitors and pilgrims an enhanced, personalised and lasting memory of these places - but how?

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4 days in Ypres

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Friday, 2 Aug 2013, 07:26
The obsessive in me required that I filled the OU gap so I have been walking in and out of Ypres looking for spots where my grandfather 'worked' in 1917. I use the term 'work' as he considered it a job. Some job sitting behind a Vicker's Machine Gun. It killed most of them. 96 years after he was here and 21 since he died I finally walked the routes and adjusted once again the images I had in my head of the Ypres Salient. And then I found Egypt House up by Houthulst Forrest where he took some scrapnel fragments and he burried two mates. When he was over for the 75th anniversary of the Third Battle of Ypres (known as Passchendale) he marked the spot with a wreath and broke down in tears. I've felt close to the same looking at registers of names in war cemeteries - especially where I know the names from the hours I spent listening to and then recording my grandfather's memoirs - there was ample opportunity for this as he lived into his 97th year, unlike George Wannop, Dick Piper, Harry Gartenfeld and the many, many others typically aged 19-23 who met a horrible death out here. My late grandfather spared no detail. It is fascinating what impressions I constructed as boy and how these adjusted as I became more informed. To my minds eye as a boy this all took place in the landscape of Northumberland somewhere north east of Alnwick with little war damage to farmhouses or pill boxes. IWM photos gave me a black and white, scared, broken and flat though claustrophobic landscape. Being here opens it out again - the Ypres Canal is as wide as the Tyne, not some British slither and finally this 'salient' can be seen as a vast arena ... 20km across? with the escarpment a series of pimples, while on foot the flatness turns out to be crumpled, like sheets on a bed with streams which made it such a mudbath crossing every halfmile or so. With the 100th anniversary of 1914-18 nearly upon us the museums are getting their act together. 'In Flanders Fields' in the Old Cloth Hall, Ypres is the most stunning exhibition I have visited anywhere on WW1 and very much a 21st interactive and multimedia affair. Www.machineguncorps.com is where I'm pulling together photos, maps and links and where in due course I'll put intervies with Corporal Jack Wilson, M.M. MGC.
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