at Walthamstow Cricket Tennis & Squash Club, 48a Greenway Ave, London. E17 3QN
Mark Connelly will be giving a talk on ‘Notes and Swearies: The Use of Blasphemy and Swearing in the BEF 1914-1918’.
Soldiers were renowned for their use of obscenities, and to a lesser extent, blasphemies, during the First World War. As well as peppering their spoken language, it also played a crucial role in many songs which were then adopted by the home front after careful pruning. As well as exploring examples of obscenity, this talk explores the reasons behind the huge upsurge in bad language and asks whether it answered a deeper psychological need, making the horrors of war bearable and alleviating the stress of frontline service.
Mark Connelly is Professor of Modern History at the University of Kent and a Director of the Gateways’ Project. The author of several books including The Great War: Memory and Ritual a study of East London War Memorials, he is an expert on cinema and the Great War. He is currently researching the rebuilding of Ypres and the impact of a British Community on the city, leading a national project and his latest research involves Prince Maurice of Battenberg, a member of the British Royal family, killed at Ypres in 1914, on the topic of which he gave us a fascinating talk in June 2018.