Editor’s Blog

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Festival of Remembrance Application Deadline

Please remember the deadline, for ticket applications to attend the Festival of Remembrance, is fast approaching. For full details of the application process please use this link. Festival of Remembrance Editor  

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Passchendaele alive for generations

Virtual reality technology means the First World War could be the first conflict to be kept fresh in the public consciousness, the historian Dan Snow has suggested, as the Royal British Legion launched a high-tech immersive view of Passchendaele. Advances in technology could revolutionise military history and keep alive the immediacy of the trenches and Western Front for generations to come. Over the Top The television presenter and historian spoke as the legion unveiled six virtual reality experiences taking the viewer back to Passchendaele to mark the centenary of one of the most notorious battles of the war. The six films aimed at a younger generation unlikely to read military history, show the battle, trenches and participants in full 360 degree view and can be downloaded onto standard video game headsets. Historians have used archive photographs, film and testimony to recreate the battle that caused 325,000 Allied and 260,000 German casualties. The films even allow the viewer an indication of what it was like to go over the top. Something Different Mr Snow, who helped create the content, said: “We have got a big experiment on our hands here. Every other war that we have fought as humans has drifted into obscurity as eye witnesses have passed away. “With the First World War, we have got the chance of doing something different. We can keep it fresh. “It will be interesting to see whether my kids find the First World War as distant as I find the Battle of Agincourt, or will the immediacy of it be maintained because we have got this technology.“It’s about taking the images and giving it the full treatment of 2017, which is immersive which is a whole step above sitting on your bottom watching television.” “These sets have primarily been used by gamers so far, but I think history has the most to gain from these.” Crucial Tool Bill Hunt, a Chelsea Pensioner who spent 25 years in the Royal Horse Guards, on Tuesday became one of the first members of the public to try out the new films. The 83-year-old told the Telegraph :“It was a little bit misty and a little bit out of focus, but I could see the hedgerows and the star shells.” “I could have been there, lying in a field.” Mr Hunt, who reached the rank of warrant officer and served in Cyprus, Germany and Hong Kong, said it was crucial to teach the younger generation about the horrors of the First World War. He said: “They know so little about history these days, let alone the First and Second World Wars.” The legion also has 1,000 cardboard headsets on offer that can be fitted with mobile phones to create makeshift virtual reality sets. The virtual reality displays can be downloaded from the legion’s website.  

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Service Leavers and Veterans Mentoring Service Launched

Mentoring Programme The Royal British Legion’s online mentoring programme offers a new and easy way for service leavers and veterans to connect with mentors in the property and construction industry for career planning support, regardless of location. Due to the nature of life in the Armed Forces, ex-service personnel may face the barrier of having no or only limited contacts in CivvyStreet. Being able to network with and be supported by someone who understands the sector and knows how to communicate with employers can make all the difference. Online mentoring uses a web based platform to match mentors and mentees. As a mentee, you select your mentor from those best matched to your profile and requirements. You are then encouraged to plan the information you want to gather and make regular contact with your mentor over an agreed period using email, phone, Skype, social media or face-to-face communications to ask and answer questions and share career advice. For the next twelve months, this programme is focussing on the property and construction and the transport and logistics industries, which recognise the value and skills that ex-service men and women bring to the workplace. Being able to develop and use contacts is important not only in your job search but in all areas of life. Whether you are in career transition or wanting to move to a next job, mentoring will help you explore how your capabilities align with the realities of the job market. It enables you to showcase your skills and demonstrate to prospective employers that you care about their industry and that you have the competencies and experience to be successful. To get started Join the programme by emailing us at mentoring@britishlegion.org.uk. We will then send you a passcode and a simple step-by-step guide to getting started. Registration for the programme needs to be completed on a personal computer, laptop or tablet. Once registered, you’ll also have the option to use our mobile friendly app that enables mentors and mentees to make contact while on the move. Throughout your mentoring experience, help is on hand at all times through our mentoring support desk at: mentoring@britishlegion.org.uk  

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