Memories of War

For two years now I have been working on documenting my Grandad's stories from World War II. The idea came about when he wrote a book about his experiences. There were three main parts in the story which stood out the most for me and so I decided I wanted to make three short episodes about each one.  

The first two were recorded in the summer of 2012 when I went back to the UK to visit my friends and family. I only went back for two weeks so organising a time to see my Grandad was hard as I had so much to do in such a small amount of time. So when I did manage to see him there was only enough time to record the first two stories. 

The first story was about his capture by the Germans while fighting in Africa. And the second is about being put up in Hospital in Italy where he learnt how to speak Italian and recover from his horrible sicknesses. These two stories are the beginning and middle of his adventure and are a fantastic buildup to the final and most incredible story.

The third and final story of my Grandad's World War Two experience is about his escape. I shot this story this summer as it was the only time I managed to get back to the UK after the last time. This story begins where the last one left off, in hospital trying to find a way out.

While in hospital he saw a noticeboard with a message saying "Wanted: British POWs to work in the neighbourhood", so he took the chance and ended up in a farm with two of his friends from hospital. From here it was a matter of finding a way to escape the farm and make his way to Switzerland. Along the way he and his two friends encountered more than a few problems and the tale of his escape is one that leaves a lot of emotion and hardship behind. This is my favourite part of the story, and one I won't ever forget.

My aim with these videos was to take the very surreal stories of my Grandfather and mix them together with footage of his life to day and how he remembers the past through old pictures and memories. It's quite incredible what he went through and hard to imagine as life today seems far easier.

Each story could have lasted half an hour or more as he remembers so much, even the smallest details. So as a film maker is was a challenge to condense these stories into much shorter timeframes where a wider audience could appreciate them and I think that I managed to achieve what I set out to achieve. 

I hope you enjoy his stories as much as I do and feel free to share his stories with whoever may be interested.