12 November 2018
By Tim Koch
Those of us who went to school in the days when the subject of history was taught properly will remember the pre-exam advice to always swot up on ‘the causes of the First World War’. Today, such knowledge may be less widespread. Certainly, what was once called ‘The Great War’ has now passed from living memory. We who were not there tend to think of old men with shiny boots and ridiculous moustaches staring blankly at maps, or of cheery marching soldiers giving crooked tooth grins and silent thumb-ups to static cameras. Further, the First World War has none of the clarity of the later fight against the Nazis and their obscene philosophy. It is difficult not to see the two sides in 1914 as both being motivated by much the same things: industrialisation and imperialism. Thus, 1914 – 1918 could easily be thought of as another piece of history that had little obvious meaning to the modern age. However, at 11 am on Sunday, 11 November, the disproportionately young British rowing community demonstrated that a war that ended 100 years ago was still relevant to them. Many hundreds responded to the initiative that came from the Thames Regional Rowing Council (TRRC):
Virtually every rowing club that was in existence during one of the world wars or subsequently has lost a member or members in the line of duty somewhere in the world. The TTRC felt an appropriate way to commemorate this loss to our clubs and our community was to mark it with not just a moment of silence, but also a visual representation of this loss. We would like to invite clubs to participate in Blades of Remembrance: At 11 am on 11 November 2018, we ask club members to stand in front of their clubs and layout/display a club blade to commemorate each member that they have lost to war.
Below are just some of the pictures that were posted on Twitter after the two-minute silence on 11 November with the hashtag bladesofremembrance.