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Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Paddington and Vimy Ridge

Saturday - a visit to Cityscreen in York - it was B's turn to choose the film - she chose "Paddington". Not my choice but I have to hold up my hand and admit I laughed, a lot. It is a very funny film. This was followed by an Italian lunch at Carluccio's.

The highlight of last week's domestic viewing was a feature length history documentary "The Battle of Vimy Ridge", made by a Canadian company so the emphasis was very much on the 1917 Canadian Corps attack. The film is a mix of film and photographs from the Great War, re-enactors filmed in black and white and actors reading soldiers' letters and reminiscences, all linked together by a spoken commentary from Canadian actor Paul Gross. The timed length of the programme was 96 minutes which allowed plenty of time to go through the planning stage, how the Canadian Corps Commander Lt Gen Byng and his staff and Divisional Commanders, particularly Arthur Currie, developed new tactics and training methods, including talking to the French Army about their experiences at Verdun in 1916, creating new combat teams and initiatives like using sand boxes and giving maps to all soldiers. As my area of interest is French military history, I found this DVD to be very informative and well produced.

I have booked my battlefield tour for 2015. I am switching from Holts Tours to Leger Holidays for their June trip to the Maginot Line and I am very excited about this. The trip is four nights in Longwy, itself a Vauban walled town on the UN list, a day in Belgium to see Eben Emael, a day at Ouvrages Fermont and Villy le Ferte and the last day at Ouvrages Immerhof and Hackenberg (the daddy of them all). I can't wait, already I am very excited.


  1. I'm already looking forward to the photos from that trip. Not that I'm jealous... :-)

  2. The New York Times gave Paddington a very kind review, so I think I may see it. I didn't realize the author was still alive, now in his 80s, and has a cameo in the film.
    Thanks for the Vimy Ridge review. Paul Gross is a Canadian actor who had developed quite an interest in the Great War and was behind the him Passchendaele from a few years back. I must look for this.
    Your tour sounds amazing.