The Last Post: British Press Representations of Veterans of the Great War

Webber, Nick and Long, Paul (2014) The Last Post: British Press Representations of Veterans of the Great War. Media, War and Conflict, 7 (3). pp. 273-290. ISSN 1750-6352

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Harry Patch (1898–2009) was the last surviving soldier to have fought in the trenches of the Western Front, entering the media spotlight in 1998 when he was approached to contribute to the BBC documentary Veterans. Media coverage of Patch and the cultivation of his totemic status were particularly prodigious in anticipating and marking his death, producing a range of reflections on its historical, social and cultural significance. Focusing on the British popular press, this article examines media coverage of the last decade of Patch’s life. It considers the way in which the Great War is memorialised in the space of public history of the media in terms of the personalisation and sentimentalisation of Patch, exploring how he serves as a synecdoche for the millions of others who fought, how he embodies ideas of generational and social change, and how the iconography of the Great War’s contemporaneous representation works in the space of its memorialisation.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
5 November 2014Published Online
22 September 2014Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: Harry Patch, memory, public history, veterans, World War I
Subjects: CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH20 - historical, philosophical and religious studies > CAH20-01 - history and archaeology > CAH20-01-01 - history
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Media
Depositing User: Nick Webber
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2020 10:49
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2023 16:17

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