Keep Calm and Candid On
Oliver N.5 Printype, accessed via Wikipedia. National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci, Milan.
This week I‚Äôd like to bring you some good news. Well, as ‚Äėgood‚Äô as news could get for the British Army in Italy during the spring/summer of 1944. While working on the Service Newspapers of World War II: Module 1 collection I had access to a variety of high-profile publications like ‚ÄúUnion Jack‚ÄĚ, ‚ÄúStars and Stripes‚ÄĚ, and ‚ÄúBlighty‚ÄĚ; each a heady mix of pin-ups, atrocities, and shoe polish advertisements. Important publications that shone a light on political developments and the progress of the war - things the armed forces needed to know. But may not have been what they wanted to read.
Enter: the gem known as ‚ÄúOrdpot‚ÄĚ. The humble little gazette didn‚Äôt look like much but once I started to read it, I fell under the charms of its writers. Published on the cheap with as little ink as they could get hold of, the publication focused on the day-to-day lives of the British Army stationed in Italy from 26 April ‚Äď 7 August 1944. It gave the soldiers a rare chance to express themselves in an otherwise stringent environment of drills and orders. Within the pages of the "Ordpot", they could make fun of their superiors, cheer on their friends, express their longing for home, and ultimately relieve the strain put on their mental health.
I‚Äôve thus compiled a list of the Top 6 Reasons To Love "Ordpot":
1. ALL the shade
2. The unwavering patriotism
3. The level of sportsmanship
4. Their Day-To-Day Washing Saga
5. The use of poetry as therapy
6. Showing that it was OK to hate your job in this classic tale of Man vs Machine
The Service Newspapers of World War II collection comprises c.130,000 and c.15,000 documents from The British Library, Imperial War Museum, and the US Army War College among other archives. Service Newspapers of World War II: Module 1 is published in Spring 2018.