Popular WWI historian to give talk at Redoubt

Armoury at Redoubt Fortress SUS-150828-095418001
Armoury at Redoubt Fortress SUS-150828-095418001

The Military History Series at Eastbourne’s Redoubt Fortress continues with a look into the daily life of World War One soldiers through information gathered by popular historian, Richard van Emden.

On Saturday September 12, attendees of the event will gain a better understanding of what life was like for the ordinary solider, what mattered to him and how he survived, both physically and mentally, told through the words and images of soldiers on the ground.

Distinguished historian, Richard van Emden, brings this interesting military history lecture to Eastbourne after releasing his thoroughly researched book Tommy’s War: The Western Front in Soldiers Words and Photographs, last year.

Van Emden has created a fresh insight into the history of the Great War, giving visitors to the event at the Redoubt a glimpse of ‘Tommy Atkins’ as never seen before.

Van Emden has gathered some of the best first-hand material written about the First World War, much of which has never been published before.

During the two-hour event, visitors will learn about the importance of soldiers needing a frequently dark ‘Tommy humour’ as a vital survival tool for their mental health, to get them through times of great stress during their combat.

Eastbourne Borough Council Lead Cabinet Member for Culture, Tourism and Enterprise, Cllr Margaret Bannister, said, “Richard van Emden is just one of the numerous notable historians in the UK who has wished to visit the Redoubt Fortress and share their expert knowledge of the many captivating facets of The Great War.

“We’re delighted to have van Emden be a part of the current successful Military History Series and are sure that the stories he uncovers will be of huge interest to the large number of history enthusiasts who visit the Redoubt daily.”

The event will be visually informative as well as, when van Emden uses soldiers’ own photographs to illustrate these eyewitness accounts of life on the front line. Taken on tiny Vest Pocket Kodaks, these images could be described as the equivalent evidence of instant camera footage of today’s smartphone society.

A historian with a profound passion for discovering the stories of everyday wartime heroes, Van Emden has interviewed 270 veterans of the First World War and edited many more memoirs of several of them in his previous publications. Among his books are bestsellers, Britain’s Boy Soldiers and Tommy’s Ark: Soldiers and their Animals in the Great War.

Tickets for Military History Series: Tommy’s War are £12 or £10 for concessionary rates. Taking place from 2-4pm on September 12, the event is split into two halves, and tickets include tea or coffee in the Outpost café during the interval, as well as entry to the museum and re-entry on one return visit before November 15 2015.

For more information visit www.EastbourneMuseums.co.uk or call the Redoubt on 01323 410300.

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