31/08/2011 - President's Report - Summer 2011
By Greg Bayne
Nirvana, Utopia and Heaven. Not just the feeling I had over the Oxford weekend but the joy of finding "the Memoirs of John Pope" on the shelves of Paul Meekins' stand. Bliss. Seriously a very good weekend that was enjoyed by all members present. Good speakers, good company and some good food. I gave my thanks on the day, but I would like to formally thank our speakers, Peter Lockwood for his administration and Derek Young for keeping things moving along. Roll on 2012.
We have had a good year so far. The last lecture from Gary McKay on James Bulloch gave everyone food for thought. Gary had a unique approach to his research - he had spent a considerable amount of time tracking Bulloch down to where he was almost daily during the Civil war and in doing so, he was able to prove or disprove some of the myths and legends surrounding Bulloch. If other researchers, myself included, adopted this approach then history might give us different conclusions. Still no amount of research will ever convince Tony Daly that Union General Osterhaus was a Prussian.
I have tried to keep one eye on the 150th anniversaries in the US. Am I wrong in thinking that things are fairly low key? Am I wrong in expecting more? On reflection, what was I really expecting? After all, we let our UK anniversaries come and go, and I dare say that the 100th WW1 will not meet my expectations. History needs to be studied, reviewed, analysed and debated. Future generations need to understand the mistakes of the past, if they still argue then tell them to a visit a war cemetery should put it all in perspective. Preferably Tyne Cot on a cold July Sunday afternoon as I recently did. My daughter asked me about the names on the wall. "The missing", I said. "But there are so many" she replied. Keep telling the history. One day they will understand.