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Thread: 'The People's Spitfire Pilot' Engaging with history, or ghastly PC tokenism ?

  1. #1
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    'The People's Spitfire Pilot' Engaging with history, or ghastly PC tokenism ?

    ''To mark the occasion (RAF centenary) , the RAF Museum will open a landmark RAF Centenary Exhibition in 2018 – and the organisation wants your input on exactly what should go in. In the poll below, you can help to decide which of the many heroic Spitfire Mk V pilots the exhibition will highlight.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/think...pitfire-pilot/


    The Spitfire was an efficient killing machine, with the supremely important task of repelling an invading army/airforce by shooting them out of the sky. but in voting for the Peoples Pilot '' instead of judging on how many enemy aircraft were destroyed by each pilot, the museum wants you to base your selection on which individual story captivates you the most. ''

    For example, included in the list is Flight Sergeant Collins Joseph from Trinidad, who is not credited with any victories '' but endured hardship and racism in order to do what was right. Prejudice did not weary him. He chose to fight and die for his convictions''. Or Wing Commander Ian Gleed. ''Privately, Gleed was gay, but at a time when same-sex relationships were a criminal offence he had to be discreet about his sexuality or risk court martial ''.

    I am certain that the RAF museum wish to honour them and their sacrifices, and the others on the short-list but this muddled survey, seemingly driven by PC tokenism and and a will to make history somehow 'inclusive', seems a clunky way to do it. The modern mania for getting people to vote for everything and nothing, be it singing, dancing or baking is a specious exercise, and will prove no more than the local fete voting on 'Which dog has the waggiest tale ? '.

    You might have thought that the fate of a free western civilisation hanging on the efforts of a few exhausted fighter pilots was a story compelling enough, without the need to concoct a way of making it a bit more engaging.

    Keep it simple. Just honour them all.
    Last edited by Propstrike; 14th September 2017 at 00:07.

  2. #2
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    As I was reading the above, I too thought 'clunky'. No need to mention anyone's race or sexuality: all were heroes and should be honoured.

    Sadly these days you can't retell history without there being an 'angle' - and you've only got three days to do it in!

  3. #3
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    It's the premise that we are voting for one story to be told over all others which I find odd. Who am I to decide whose story is more deserving of recognition.

  4. #4
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    Everyone had a unique story to tell.

    Unless someone was, for example, rich, well connected and a natural born pilot to whom everything came easy, I would think everyone had issues to overcome.
    It could have been any number of things: air or homesickness, dyslexia, or perhaps just a bad home life.
    If nothing else, all were fighting for their lives and preventing their country from being invaded. No pressure there.

    I'm not sure we, 75 years after the fact, are in any position to rank them.

    It's a pity that people are asked to judge them, with the added element of recognizing/acknowledging current pc topics (not that I'm minimizing those).
    By all means tell compelling stories but remember to look beyond current hot topic subjects.

    It's history, not Panorama.

    I'll get my helmet and wait for incoming rounds...
    Last edited by J Boyle; 14th September 2017 at 07:07.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

  5. #5
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    I suppose it fits with today's obsession with ranking and finding the "best of". Just look at the weekly TV output.

    Utterly irrelevant in this case and in fact quite tasteless.

  6. #6
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    As a poster over on Pprune said 'Perhaps a vote for a new RAF Museum curator would be more use'...
    mmitch.

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    I like to think in those days we applied racism in a more even handed manner, they were all "bl00dy foreigners" unless born in England, and that included the jocks the taffs and the paddys; it will probably be an ATA pilot, with previously unknown lesbian tendencies, and an African parentage recently discovered through my ancestory . bolok .......
    Why be your own worse critic, that's what the forum is for.

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    What ever happened between just good guys and bad guys..?
    "If the C.O. ask's you to be Tail End Charlie...just shoot him!!!....A Piece of Cake.
    http://spitfirea58-27.blogspot.com.au/

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    What a pointless and insidious exercise.
    Martin

  10. #10
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    Marvellous...just bloody marvellous.

    Perhaps next the IWM could run a poll to decide the best infantryman of WW1 based on best design of surviving examples of undershirt?

    In Memory of:
    Flt Lt Tony Hill who successfully photographed a small "Würzburg radar" at Bruneval. 5th Dec 1941

  11. #11
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    All part of the post modernistic trivialization of history to support other agendas.

    Everybody roll up to the funfair!

    I just hate to even wonder at what must has been going on behind the scenes at the RAFM over the last couple of decades. The "Tower of Babel" with its plastic kits,thankfully at least seems to have died a death.

    (Did anybody ever get the final sums sunk into that particular folly, or is it still not decently buried?)

  12. #12
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    Hi All,
    While certain pilots had a flare for whatever in all aircraft all pilots should be recognised no matter what Ethnicity/Colour/Gender/Religion they where,
    the best spitfire pilot award should be based on a non descript statue dedicated to all Spitfire pilots both civil and military simple! If not a statue then
    a plaque not a poll pandering to the PC culture we are having foisted upon us.

    All pilots who flew should get a well deserved pat on the back whether they flew one mission or flew many in whatever theatre of the war. Both the
    military and Civil rose up to the challenges of the war that faced the UK and the world. Something today not many would do across a wide portion of
    the young populous because it would be against whatever principals.

    It's just another PC culture agenda to push the mainstream view of whatever (In this case Aviation history) back to what suits them. This type of
    thing does nothing to improve things IMPO it only leads to more problems and stirs up trouble in various groups not associated with the mainstream
    idea of whatever it splits apart rather than unites all people. By forcing their ideas on to and in to whatever they are pandering to those who would
    make personal gain from continual pointing out whatever involving inadequacies of Ethnicity/Colour/Gender/Religion.

    In short we should just recognise a collective of young people for the most that came together and did amazing feats during the war no matter what
    their individual Ethnicity/Colour/Gender/Religion they all fought on the same side and won together simple!

    Geoff.

  13. #13
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    Well said Geoff.

    Given that Ian Gleed choose to keep his private life private, if he were alive today he might be greatly dismayed to have his personal details pasted across the media by the RAF Museum. He might think his memory was tainted, and the attention a most unwelcome distraction from the actions for which he might choose to be remembered.

    Certainly, the National Trust and Stephen Fry caused huge upset in the family of Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, who had bequeathed to the trust a large estate and house, when they 'outed' him as a closet gay. They called it a despicable act of publicity.

    It is a paradox that those 'enlightened' individuals so enchanted with a new orthodoxy of 'correct thinking', are unswerving in their belief that they are righting wrongs, whilst actually stirring up whole new injustices of their own making.

  14. #14
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    This has all the hallmark of an attack that contradicts the widely held view that all must have prizes ! Singling individuals for special attention because of their colour, religion or sexual preferences is prejudice on a fairly epic scale.

    What on Earth has possessed the organisers ? They should withdraw this ugly and ill thought out scheme.

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    I detect a certain lack of imagination on the part of the RAF Museum. Ian Gleed was, oddly enough, achieving a sort of quiet equality of his own. Rather than his sexuality being his defining factor, he was just another Spitfire pilot. I'm sure the pilots of the Bf110Cs he shot down didn't consider his sexuality to be a defining factor. To then try and spin him into some sort of unwitting, long-dead gay icon is perhaps a bit odd? Sort of like saying Douglas Bader was a champion for the differently abled. That would diminish his other accomplishments, no?

    Pride is a big deal at the moment, but I sometimes feel like it is a gold rush for corporations (etc) to try and naively tap into an otherwise unexplored corner of the market by painting rainbow flags on their products. They could have done this twenty years ago, but it wouldn't have been as lucrative. And, to shoehorn in a cliché of my own, I recently spoke to an out-and-out Lesbian who wanted nothing to do with pride, and viewed it as a corporate stitch up that has helped her little.

    Any chance of a rainbow livery on one of Hendon's Spitfires if Gleed wins this weird popularity contest?

  16. #16
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    It is not an ill-judged poll in isolation, have a look at https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/centenary-programme.aspx and cringe. It is as though the RAFM has not achieved anything of value up until this new big idea.

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    Sounds like a story line from W1A....
    Under my gruff exterior lies an even gruffer interior...

    行雲流水

    Warbirdskies Blog

  18. #18
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    ''showcasing the RAF experience in its first century and discussing the opportunities and challenges for its future, the project will break down physical and cultural barriers ensuring Access for All – intellectual, social, physical, aesthetic and emotional. ''

    Blimey.

    I just wanted to look at some aeroplanes.......................

  19. #19
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    Total bollox. As the OP says "Keep it simple. Just honour them all."

    Andy

  20. #20
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    Personally... I know we have the likes of bader, Brothers etc......... But to me the real heroes are not the ones that survived, but those that didn't, they gave far more than the likes of the self loving bader ever did.

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    In line with the last time the public were asked to vote on a popular name, I'm going to vote for:-

    Squadron Leader Spitty McSpitface.

    In all seriousness, in my humble opinion, this just illustrates that RAFM has totally lost the plot - reducing the RAFM, and those whose service and sacrifice it is supposed to remember, to the level of those second rate reality T.V. shows that we are subjected to constantly.

    I'm ashamed.

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    What PC prat dreamt that crap up. Should be quietly taken outside....and shot.
    Man is not lost. Only temporarily uncertain of his position.

  23. #23
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    I'm sorry, I'm going to sound like a right reactionary twonk but "showcasing the RAF experience" :sick:
    Can we just have a 'head of shed' that has actually served in the Mob and therefore has an intrinsic understanding of the subject?
    Last edited by Maple 01; 14th September 2017 at 16:15.
    Królewska Moc Powietrza nie jest lot cyrku.....

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    Highlighting just the aircrew is sadly predujice in itself. Many who flew knew it was a team effort,keeping enough airworthy was in the early stages touch and go. The conditions endured by ground crew and support staff of all kinds was at times painful and those on bombed locations sometimes lost their lives. Spread the praise and respect around. Celebrate the humour in uniform as well, without the laughs morale would be zero.

  25. #25
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    This is sickeningly distasteful. What on earth has happened to the RAFM? Those who fought were 'the people's' because that is who they were risking their lives for. It wasn't a TV talent show. The people behind it have to know, but they don't read this forum. I suggesst we all write to them? I will start.
    Last edited by Beermat; 14th September 2017 at 20:46.

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    This really is complete round objects, isn't it.

    For a list of 'unsung' pilots, they've selected quite a lot of well-known ones (Bader, Beurling, Malan, Gleed) for the masses to choose from, haven't they!

    And as for Gleed's orientation ... WHO CARES! What difference did that make to his ability to fly and shoot down enemy a/c???

    Ghastly PC tokenism indeed. No wonder the RAFM seems to be going down the pan.

  27. #27
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    Well I've vo... No, hang on, that's simply crass and embarrassing. I think everything's been said.
    RAFM, please don't do this.

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    RAFM seem to be reading the comments being left on the article - doubt they will take any notice...
    Under my gruff exterior lies an even gruffer interior...

    行雲流水

    Warbirdskies Blog

  29. #29
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    What PC prat dreamt that crap up. Should be quietly taken outside....and shot.
    I disagree.



    It shouldn't be done quietly, but with much fanfare to highlight the complete absurdity of this

    I'm not in the least bit surprised by this having stuck my nose into the RAFM 'sales tent' at Goodwood Revival last weekend.........I walked out shaking my head thinking what the hell has happened to the RAFM.
    I was with it all the way until letting the brakes off..........

  30. #30
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    The posters on this forum are probably seen by the London 'progressives' who came up with this cr@p as being a bunch of old fuddy duddies too set in our 'old-fashioned' ways. Well, we're bloody well not! We're decent straight-forward people who recognise the latest extension of political correctness and dumbing down - which exploits the actions of men and women for the sake of 'inclusiveness'. I don't give a damn about the sexuality or race of any of them. If they didn't have their skin colour of sexual orientation as an obstacle it would have been something else....an abusive Father, a single parent family, a working class background, the list goes on and on. They ALL fought against adversity and got on with it during those dreadful years. And they don't need all this modern clap-trap to produce a 'winner'.

    I used to think that the RAFM, with its quiet halls full of old aeroplanes, medals and uniforms was a little lacking. With the way things are going, I'm starting to think that such a contemplative atmosphere where one could really THINK about the sacrifices made, is preferable.
    Last edited by Seafuryfan; 15th September 2017 at 07:51.

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