Laugh or Cry: The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918
20 Mar

Laugh or Cry: The British Soldier on the Western Front 1914-1918

Lively and supremely well informed, Peter Hart is a military historian specialising in the Great War. He was the Oral Historian at the Imperial War Museum from 1981 until his retirement and is the author of many Great War books. Here he is teamed up with his irrepressible collaborator, Gary Bain. They are perhaps best known to the wider world for "Pete & Gary's Military History", a highly successful and original series of talks available as podcasts on many streaming platforms.

About "Laugh or Cry":

Awakened by great shouted oaths below. Peeped over the side of the manger and saw a Belgian lass milking and addressing a cow with a comprehensive luridness that left no doubt in my mind that British soldiers had been billeted here before.' Private Norman Ellison, 1/6th King's Liverpool Regiment Humour helped the British soldier survive the terrible experiences they faced in the trenches of the Western Front during the Great War. Human beings are complicated, and there is no set pattern as to how they react to the outrageous stresses of war. But humour, often dark and representative of the horrors around them could and often did help. They may have been up to their knees in mud and blood, soaking wet and shot at from all sides, but many were still determined to see the funny side', rather than surrender to utter misery. Peter Hart and Gary Bain have delved deep into the archives to find examples of the soldier's wit. The results are at times hilarious but rooted in tragedy. You have to laugh or cry.


Royal Naval Association (Southend) , 73-79 East St, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6LQ
20 Mar 2023 20:00