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617 Sqn Grave Vandalised!

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617 Sqn Grave Vandalised!

Old 16th Jul 2020, 12:43
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617 Sqn Grave Vandalised!


As an ex Officer i/c the 'Black Labrador' grave I'm not sure how destroying a gravestone and replacing it with a 'sanitised' version can be justified. Just how many people are 'offended' by history?
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 13:14
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Slightly misleading and inflammatory thread title here in the PPRuNe mil history forum....

It wasn't vandalised, as obviously it was approved, it's been altered.

Frankly IMO, I've got bigger fish to fry. The dogs name is irrelevant.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 13:33
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It wasn't irrelevant to the dog, Guy Gibson, the other members of 617, or the operation that made it famous.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 13:43
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We shall have to agree to disagree. It doesn't alter the history at all having the name of the dog removed from a gravestone.

I'd wager a hefty chunk of people these days (I'd say 90%) couldn't tell you the name of the dog. But a larger chunk could tell you of guy Gibson, Six Hundred and Seventeen Sqn, and the Dambusters Raid. I know which one I think is more important and relevant.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 13:51
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The dog's name was used as the codeword for "Breach of the Mohne Dam".
Is Paul Brickhill's book being withdrawn from libraries to be reprinted....????




The grave is not in the public domain, and all who do have access understand totally its relevence to the history books!

Last edited by unclenelli; 16th Jul 2020 at 14:00. Reason: Pic dated 13 Dec 2005
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 14:52
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Historic fact is never irrelevant, It was not irrelevant to Gibson and the boys on 617 at the time and nor should it be now.
Changing history to suit current social-political climate is a slippery slope.

To be clear, I have no particular like of that name, but it was what it was and as such should remain as it was.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 14:58
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Grrr

Originally Posted by Crash alot View Post
Historic fact is never irrelevant, It was not irrelevant to Gibson and the boys on 617 at the time and nor should it be now.
Changing history to suit current social-political climate is a slippery slope.

To be clear, I have no particular like of that name, but it was what it was and as such should remain as it was.
Correct!
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:00
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What’s in a name?

What if the dogs name was C*nt (rhymes with hunt)?! Would we still use the name in 2020?

I fully understand history but the ‘N’ word is the one word I just cannot bring myself to ever say out loud (to be fair P*ki is another one) even if it is in reference to a dog.

Regardless of the latest BLM movement I, for one, think the black dog’s name is one thing we can consign to the history books.

I realise that, in this forum, I may well be in the minority and I am certainly not a bleeding hearts Liberal but I think it is actually appropriate to replace the headstone.

I also don’t believe it is in any way disrespectful to the proud history of 617 Sqn and the memory of those that served. Or the dog!

BV
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:01
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Since embarking upon this book, again and again I have been asked a nervous question: ‘’what are you going to say about the dog ?’. The British people are obsessed with Guy Gibson’s Labrador, which he loved more than any other living creature. A historian’s answer must be that Nigger’s name is as much a fact as were our ancestors’ customs of hanging sheep-stealers, shooting military deserters and imprisoning homosexuals. They said and did things differently then.
Max Hastings.

His name is a fact and it is wrong to erase it from history.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:20
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
What if the dogs name was C*nt (rhymes with hunt)?! Would we still use the name in 2020?

I fully understand history but the ‘N’ word is the one word I just cannot bring myself to ever say out loud (to be fair P*ki is another one) even if it is in reference to a dog.

Regardless of the latest BLM movement I, for one, think the black dog’s name is one thing we can consign to the history books.

I realise that, in this forum, I may well be in the minority and I am certainly not a bleeding hearts Liberal but I think it is actually appropriate to replace the headstone.

I also don’t believe it is in any way disrespectful to the proud history of 617 Sqn and the memory of those that served. Or the dog!

BV
Well said.

But it won't sit well with the narrative on this mil history forum.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:28
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The world is undergoing a phase of self-flagellation with regard to anything controversial, whether it be names, actions, events, people and places.

Think Zimbabwe, colloquially and locally, citizens remember the lives and the culture that was Rhodesia, whether that was for the better or the worse. Changing the name was an isolated event in 400 years of history.

This will turn out to be the same, the people who know, and remember, will not be instantly "reconstructed" because of a change in names. Perhaps in a few hundred years these memories will also have slipped into obscurity

IG

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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:29
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“Who controls the past controls the future.
Who controls the present controls the past.“

.....it may be being done with good intentions, but it is still a slippery slope?
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:39
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Mikemmb

With all due respect, I believe you’re wrong.

Nobody is calling Guy Gibson a racist for naming his dog as he did. Nobody is saying 617 Sqn were racist or that the RAF are racist for allowing the name to endure.

Some people, me included, just think that the name is no longer appropriate. Just as other words have fallen out of useage.

It is not erasing history. It is merely glossing over the name of a dog.

If you would honestly feel comfortable standing in front of a crowd of people and proudly stating aloud the name of the dog without feeling just a hint of embarrassment then well done you. I certainly couldn’t.

I know the black dog’s name is something of a cause celebre on here but I think there are far better things to gnash your teeth about than this.

BV
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:40
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Originally Posted by mikemmb View Post
“Who controls the past controls the future.
Who controls the present controls the past.“

.....it may be being done with good intentions, but it is still a slippery slope?
See in this instance I don't think so. The grave is still there and anyone so taken can easily find out more about it.

If the grave were removed entirely, that would IMHO be different.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 15:47
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
With all due respect, I believe you’re wrong.

Nobody is calling Guy Gibson a racist for naming his dog as he did. Nobody is saying 617 Sqn were racist or that the RAF are racist for allowing the name to endure.

Some people, me included, just think that the name is no longer appropriate. Just as other words have fallen out of useage.

It is not erasing history. It is merely glossing over the name of a dog.

If you would honestly feel comfortable standing in front of a crowd of people and proudly stating aloud the name of the dog without feeling just a hint of embarrassment then well done you. I certainly couldn’t.

I know the black dog’s name is something of a cause celebre on here but I think there are far better things to gnash your teeth about than this.

BV

While we're at it, lets review names on all grave stones and remove those that cause offence, but offence to who?

Hat, coat etc.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 16:21
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GBJ

Not all graves attract quite so much attention. And not many have quite such a controversial moniker.

BV
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 16:21
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Originally Posted by Crash alot View Post
Historic fact is never irrelevant, It was not irrelevant to Gibson and the boys on 617 at the time and nor should it be now.
Changing history to suit current social-political climate is a slippery slope.

To be clear, I have no particular like of that name, but it was what it was and as such should remain as it was.
Nobody is changing history. It's a physical artefact and therefore archaeology. In this case an object, the history of which is pretty well known.

My opinion on this is that all the people I know personally who get hot under the collar about this issue seem to embrace complaining so as not to lose their sole opportunity to use the word.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 16:27
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Originally Posted by Bob Viking View Post
With all due respect, I believe you’re wrong.

Nobody is calling Guy Gibson a racist for naming his dog as he did. Nobody is saying 617 Sqn were racist or that the RAF are racist for allowing the name to endure.

Some people, me included, just think that the name is no longer appropriate. Just as other words have fallen out of useage.

It is not erasing history. It is merely glossing over the name of a dog.

If you would honestly feel comfortable standing in front of a crowd of people and proudly stating aloud the name of the dog without feeling just a hint of embarrassment then well done you. I certainly couldn’t.

I know the black dog’s name is something of a cause celebre on here but I think there are far better things to gnash your teeth about than this.

BV
So you would gloss over the name Heinrich Himmler or Rheinhardt Heydrich then? Both of them a part fo history?
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 16:30
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Originally Posted by unclenelli View Post
The dog's name was used as the codeword for "Breach of the Mohne Dam".
Is Paul Brickhill's book being withdrawn from libraries to be reprinted....????




The grave is not in the public domain, and all who do have access understand totally its relevence to the history books!
I agree, its not just the name of a dog, as it has a direct connection to the raid because of its use for successful breach of the Mohne.

As said, its a slippery slope, and this is obviously done in preparation for when the RAF vacate the site, and the grave will be then no longer be off limits to 'joe public'?

I hope that the original stone has not be destroyed, as that really would be a disgraceful.

I can remember as a child going with my Scottish Grandmother into a hardware shop in the days before big DIY stores opened up, when she asked for a tin of ***** Brown paint.
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Old 16th Jul 2020, 16:32
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Originally Posted by GeeRam View Post

I can remember as a child going with my Scottish Grandmother into a hardware shop in the days before big DIY stores opened up, when she asked for a tin of ***** Brown paint.
And they probably had it on a colour card/chart too.

Would the original memorial not be included in 617's history trove?

CG
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