Side by Side

The Gates at the Old Naval College, Greenwich

(Scene – March 2011 – With tea and buttered scones the couple sits at a table and thinks about the day.)

All things considered this has been a fine day. It has been great wandering about and now sitting in The Old Brewery it is all rather relaxing and even more so when one realizes this brew house has been around since 1831.

It is almost time to start again and I rise up from the table. I move into the Discover Greenwich Visitor’s Centre and move about the exhibits with a watchful eye, casting my gaze all around, as I watch the visitors milling about. My other interests surface as I walk about the room. How has this display been put together? What have they chosen to assemble? How have things been grouped together? How has the text been created? And so it goes on. We have learned much today, and I am pleased with the results.

(Scene – The Gift Shop – Filled with curios representative of a visit to Greenwich.)

Together we move into the gift shop, and though I know there is always a shop around the corner in these centres, I like them. You never know what interesting things may be on offer, especially at a site such as this. We find a few things to bring home as gifts and perhaps an item or two for ourselves. Once at the till, we talk to a member of staff and have a fine chat. I was very pleased to learn about the number of films that have chosen this site for their films. Some of these films will be familiar to you and include, The Duchess, Sherlock Holmes, The Golden Compass, Patriot Games, The Wolfman, Young Victoria, Tomb Raider, Four Weddings and a Funeral and of course The Four Feathers. Thanks Abel – and to everyone who makes this site a splendid focus for Greenwich heritage.

(Scene – The couple walks towards the gate’s exit and take some last snapshots.)

Now I think back to A.E.W. Mason’s characters Jack Durrance, Edward Castleton, Tom Willoughby, William Trench and Harry Fevershem. As Rosemary and I walk through the gates and turn to look one last time at the old college (for this visit) I recall Harry and his father, General Fevershem, together again and wonder what the future might bring to Harry and Ethne.

(Scene – May 2011 – The blogger sits at his chair thinking that on this fine day – maybe Mr. Mason’s characters should be seen and heard again?)

Now that time has brought us to this point I cannot help but think about Jack Durrance and his voice courtesy of Michael Schiffer’s screenplay. It seems to capture the essence… it reminds me of all those veterans I have spoken with over many years, and of all those who passed through the gates at Greenwich.

“You may be lost, but you are not forgotten. For those who have traveled far, to fight in foreign lands, know that the soldier’s greatest comfort is to have his friends close at hand. In the heat of battle it ceases to be an idea for which we fight. Or a flag. Rather we fight for the man on our left, and we fight for the man on our right. And when armies are scattered and the empires fall away, all that remains is the memory of those precious moments that we spent side by side.”


About The Author

pferguson
Paul has worked with the Paradigm Motion Picture Company since 2009 as producer, historian and research specialist. Paul first met Casey and Ian WIlliams of Paradigm in April 2007 at Ieper (Ypres), Belgium when ceremonies were being held for the re-dedication of the Vimy Memorial, France. Paul's sensitivity to film was developed at an early age seeing his first films at RCAF Zweibrucken, Germany and in Sardinia. Paul returned to Canada in 1967 and was further amazed by David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Bridge on the River Kwai". Film captivated Paul and with time he became increasingly interested in storytelling, content development, character, direction, cinematography and soundtracks. At the University of Victoria, Paul studied and compared Japanese and Australian film and became interested in Australian film maker Peter Weir and his film "Gallipoli" (1981). Paul was entranced when he learned Weir had visited the beaches, ridges and ravines of the peninsula. The film "Gallipoli" alone led Paul on many journeys to sites of conflict in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Malta, Hawaii and Gallipoli. It was, however, when Paul watched documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, "The Civil War", that Paul understood how his own experience and insight could be effective and perhaps influential in film-making. Combining his knowledge of Museums and Archives, exhibitions and idea strategies with his film interests would be a natural progression. Paul thinks like a film-maker. His passion for history and storytelling brings to Paradigm an eye (and ear) to the keen and sensitive interests of; content development, the understanding of successful and relational use of collections, imagery and voice. Like Paul's favorite actor, Peter O'Toole, he believes in the adage “To deepen not broaden.” While on this path Paul always remembers his grandmother whose father did not return from the Great War and how his loss shaped her life and how her experience continues to guide him.

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