Thomas Captures Wartime Memories
Thomas Ozel (Geography, 2014, Cartmel) recounts the tale of how he converted his wartime interest into a filmed history.
"On 1st November 2011, I attended a meeting for Lancaster University Film Society where members could submit proposals about what films they wanted to make. I have always been fascinated by the Second World War, and came up with the idea of making a documentary about interviewing veterans who lived near the University about their wartime experiences. The Film Society gave it their support and despite initially having no idea about how to locate the veterans, and very little interview experience, I eventually recorded the testimonies from 13 people, whose wartime memories included the Dunkirk Evacuation, the Blitz, the D-Day Invasion, etc. As the interviews progressed, I realised that I had far too much material for a single documentary, and decided to make it into a series of half-hour films, with each one covering a different aspect of the war. When I showed some of the episodes to the Film Society, Lancaster Military Heritage Group, and the veterans themselves, I was surprised by how well received they were, and decided that I would make the series available to the public. However, after re-watching the films, I felt unhappy with the narration and editing, and resolved to rework the entire series. As such, it was not until January 2016 that I uploaded the first episode to YouTube, with the final part going online on 28th June 2017. Sadly, many of those interviewed have since passed away, but after viewing the episode that featured his D-Day experiences, Lance Rooke (1926 – 2016) emailed me to comment: “It is very nice to know that when we have gone there is a record of our exploits in the forces for those who follow us to see.”
Here's a link to the episode that covers the D-Day invasion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1WVaDB6Xko&t=419s