Conflict memories of those who were there

A screenshot from Wartorn Britain, showing members of the Northern World War Two Association, on Lytham Green
A screenshot from Wartorn Britain, showing members of the Northern World War Two Association, on Lytham Green
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A new film featuring memories of conflict from local veterans has been released this week, to mark Armed Forces Week.

The documentary, Wartorn Britain, is the work of Blackpool film-maker Michael Bluett and asks the question: “What do we remember when we remember war?”

Film-maker Michael Bluett

Film-maker Michael Bluett

Mr Bluett worked for a year to produce the piece, with Fylde coast war veterans, about their private memories of conflict and amid public commemorations.

He has worked in Europe, Asia and Africa on peace and solidarity campaigns with human rights workers and victims of war.

Wartorn Britain explores the contrasts between what is publicly remembered or commemorated about wars and what those who fought in them recollect.

Mr Bluett chose Blackpool to film, with it being his home town and the fact Blackpool has such a focus on commemoration – including an entire week of celebrations and events around Armed Forces Day. The resort plays host of military reunions from across the North West and Scotland.

He said: “After working overseas with victims of war, I was fascinated by how soldiers dealt with the effect of war on local people and on themselves.

“I was interested in trying to capture this in the British military experience, but there is little freedom being embedded in Afghanistan or Iraq and too often the terrible thrill of war and the military.

“So I made the film in Blackpool, as I grew up here – it was the perfect place for me to explore the personal and the public remembering and forgetting of the violence and suffering of war.”

One Fylde coast soldier involved in the project, said: “Working on the film made me open up in ways I didn’t realise.

“The finished result was very humbling to watch, and made me realise how far I have come with my rehabilitation.”

The film includes photographic and film archive material from Iraq and Lancashire and private photographs and film by local soldiers.

To view the film, visit http://cargocollective.com/MichaelBluett or search on Facebook for Wartorn Britain.