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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 18:44 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 14, 2011 18:36 pm
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Real Name: Paul Watson
Group: BBC War Reporting Unit
Louie wrote:
Paul, Jasons user name on here is Many Fronts, he and his wife certainly know there stuff



Thanks Louie - this started as an enquiry for an ID - for which I thank both you and Martin.

I a little worried that people feel that there is an element of a personal attack on this thread - a question was asked and I've tried to answer this based on wide research and period documents. I'm sorry if it's been perceived as such but is just a comment about practices which has actually spiralled from the original desire to talk to fellow enthusiasts and get people together for a show to do press corps - possibly of all nations, possibly Allied. As Martin Luther commented "I have a dream ...."

The discussion has developed into the carrying of weapons from a resonable enquiry from Allen. I will immediately hold my hand up and admit to being woefully ignorant about the other nations' WarCos - (Except the PK men as I read about them in a Signal article some years ago and knew they were soldiers first and pressmen afterwards ... almost went down that role but as I'd resemble the fat German at the start of The Longest Day, (I get enough Gert Frobe comments) it wasn't to be :)), I know nothing about the Russians apart from a couple of female photographer photos I have, but would expect them to be armed as well given their military's preoccupation with being constantly ready for action. I would also guess in the European Theatre that the US press corps were unarmed - although I've seen lots of re-enactment photos to the contrary - and there's always the example of law-unto-himself Ernest Hemmigway to fall back on :)

The Press regulations quoted by me are the actual BRITISH regulations for Accredited War Correspondents Accompanying a Field Force as notified in ACI's November 1942. This was the bible handed to all British accredited War Correspondents and adherance to these rules was a condition of the issuing and continued holding of their blue licence - (it still exists but is a much bigger document than the 28 pages it initially was) - without which they couldn't operate as members of the press at the Front.

Carl Giles is the only correspondent who I have photographic reference of a pistol being carried openly in the European theatre (He states in the book Giles at War that he knew he was doing wrong), I know that Alan Woods admited to surrepticiously carrying a luger whilst accompanying the breakout from Caen through to the closure of the Falaise pocket - it made him feel safer (he admits to this in The Falaise Road - Hurricane books (an imprint of W.H.Allen Ltd),November 1944).

In European Victory by John D'Arcy-Dawson (published by MacDonald 1945) the correspondent actually outlines what a precarious profession the Front-line war correspondent was; Dawson and several other memebrs of the press corps are sheltering in a ditch having been caught up in a lethal crossfire at the Escaut Bridge (note my italics for emphasis):

"I watched as the trees above our ditch were gradually stripped of their branches as well. Not for a moment was there silence. The enemy were doing their best to break out to the road, and from the noise and the stream of bullets flying overhead, the battle was intense. I was under no illusion what would happen to me if the Nazis did get across the road. I was unarmed, and I don’t suppose any German soldier engaged in a vital battle would walk up to me an, assuming he could read English, would study my shoulder badge and say: “Ah, a War Correspondent. You must have an interesting life.” No, that wouldn’t happen. No pleasant chit-chat on the merits of Nazism versus Russianism. "

So whilst there is no doubt it was done surreprticiously (but rarely) in the field, I have no evidence (bar Giles and Woods' comments, of course) after reading 60 plus books (on the British perspective) of British Correspondents carrying weapons- in contravention of published regulations/ACI notifications.

I would actually love to be proved wrong as I have a rather lovely Enfield revolver that has gathered dust since I took up the dedicated War Cos role - whoever said the pen was mightier than the sword was stretching the truth a little I feel :)

Anyway, back to my original intention - I'm going to PM Jason and see if we can get together at an event sometime in the next year ... with or without weaponry :)

Take care all, hope that's clarified where I was coming from and why I've made the statement I have and thanks for the help.

Paul

Edited for all the spelling mistakes - memo to self pouring tea into your keyboard doesn't make the keys work any better :)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:56 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 05, 2004 19:22 pm
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Paul, I didn't read your posts in that way.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 17:01 pm 
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Real Name: Paul Watson
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Botty, thank you, I think. It's the limitations of e-mail and often people see things in e-mails that aren't the original intention. This is the reason I've been SO careful with the above - the how, why, and what.

I've sent Jason an e-mail - not had a reply yet but glad you're on here as well, Botty. Quick question: What ARE the chances of trying to get a press corps going again at Victory 2013? Whatever happens, I'm going to be doing WarCos sitting in a trench on the edge of someone's display (was tempted to ask if I could 'Alan Wood' it at the Arnhem display this year but did a jock RSM instead and felt remarkably uncomfortable doing it - too old to carry a sniper rifle or a sten gun).

Would love to get this one going but don't want to be the lone voice in the wilderness who puts you to a lot of effort for little return.

Paul


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 17:04 pm 
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Paul, try and have a word with Landwaster on here as well, I know he has a healthy interest in the WarCos

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Louie just a delivery driver who got a day PASS
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 19:30 pm 
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Real Name: Paul Watson
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Thanks Louie, will do :)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 20:06 pm 
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Paul W wrote:
Thanks Louie, will do :)


No problem my man, I try to help out where I can and if its for the furthering of knowledge then even more so

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Louie just a delivery driver who got a day PASS
Dont forget your frying pan!


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