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In the context of the 25th Anniversary...

of the breaking down of the Berlin wall...

and your belief, 
Michael, that we will get to a place that honors both

men and women in this century, I am reminded how I felt about flying into

Dresden Airport during 1992. Canon Europe had arranged a visit for me to

evaluate the possibility of establishing a Networked Colour, Exemplar

Demonstrator, Copy Shop in a disused factory, which when I first arrived,

was surrounded by brand-new park benches on which very friendly,

under-employed workers sat talking and smoking. My colleague from

Canon, who was assigned to arrange the trip and subsequently became a

friend, was a self-declared Ossi, which literally means 'easty' in the context

of the fact that he had been born in East Germany and had been taken as a

baby to the West, such that he had no knowledge of who his parents and

family were. It was he who explained to me that the reason why the workers

were not working was because in former East Germany there was so little

supply of components to the factories, that usually by the end of the morning

shift they had nothing else to do but sit and wait for the next delivery. 

When at first the money started flowing into East Germany, the authorities

had so much and so little to spend it on, that they replaced and expanded

massively the number of old 'park-benches' to facilitate the situation. On

arrival at the airport, on that first occasion, internally painted wooden tunnels

had been erected for the passengers to walk through, from the aircraft to

the terminal building, and on exit I was met by a sea of Trabant taxis and

their drivers vying for my trade. That first journey, what with the state of

the unmaintained roads and the interminable wait at the multitude of traffic

light controlled junctions, took 25 minutes or more. The last visit, taking

the same route in a Mercedes Benz, took less than 10, despite all the

roadworks engaged in the installation of fibre-optic network cables

throughout the city.     

On that first trip there 
was supposedly

no suitable hotel accommodation

available and I was provided with first

class food and accommodation in a

Rhine Cruise ship which had been

brought down the Elbe and moored

directly opposite the very forlorn City

Hall, which has now been restored to

its former glory. 

What a contrast to the situation today where it appears that Dresden

risen from the ashes and Dortmund has become the old Dresden !!!???

The entirety of this experience, was particularly heartfelt and poignantly

significant, because my mother had been adjutant to the RAF Officer, who

had been directed by the Air Ministry, in accordance with Churchill's

encouragement, to give the order to execute the bombing raid on Dresden

in February 1945. Only 6 months later, after my dad returned to England

from Italy, was when my mother spoke of me being conceived. She and I

cried together back in 1992, when I told her of my own story, but nothing

was mentioned in the presence of my dad, whose own experiences had

been, and continued to be, enough to bear. Even after my dad had died,

and when mum was still lucid, she and I had another emotional discussion

about all of this, on the morning of the Polish aircraft disaster.

But at least I was able to do my own bit towards the reparation process, as a

result of helping to establish Dresden as [IT] IS today.


Views: 171

Comment by Michael Grove on January 5, 2019 at 11:42

I well remember my meeting with David Hockney at the V&A,

when Canon invited him to demonstrate his artistic skills,

utilising our DiceNET Colour Server System driving the recently

launched CLC500 Colour Photocopier & Image Processing Unit,

whose colour photocopying engine had been designed by Louise

Detremont and her team.

Comment by Michael Grove on February 26, 2019 at 6:57

   Dresden was a civilian town without military significance.

   It had no material role of any sort to play in the closing months

   of the war. So, what strategic purpose did burning its men,

   women, old people, and children serve? Churchill himself later

   wrote that “the destruction of Dresden remains a serious query

   against the conduct of Allied bombing”.

   Seventy years on, fewer people ask precisely which military

   objective justified the hell unleashed on Dresden. If there was

   no good strategic reason for it, then not even the passage of

   time can make it right, and the questions it poses remain as

   difficult as ever in a world in which civilians have continued to

   suffer unspeakably in the wars of their autocratic leaders.

Comment by Michael Grove on February 26, 2019 at 10:34

      I wasn't new to murder and bloodletting. I had enlisted two  

      years prior to the outbreak of the second world war and by the

      time I was 21 I had taken part in one major battle and various

      smaller ones. I had been in fights where the ground in front of

      me was littered with the remains of young men who had once

      been full of the joy of living, laughing and joking with their 

      mates. As each year of the war went by, the fighting got more

      ferocious, new weapons were introduced and fresh young men

      became the targets. How I remained a sane person through all

      this I don't know.

Comment by Michael Grove on March 5, 2019 at 22:57

     Aerial Surveillance of potential military and industrial sites for

     bombing, required the use of various modus operandi to collect 

     and collate the photographic data amassed on such missions

     and at the end of the Second World War, the Allied Central

     Interpretation Unit at RAF Medmenham reverted to its original

     title, the Central Interpretation Unit. In 1953 it became the

      Joint Air Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (JARIC). 


     Based at RAF Brampton, Cambridgeshire, from 1957 to 2013,

     JARIC was the UK's national strategic imagery intelligence

     provider. In the immediate postwar years one of its major tasks 

     was the plotting and analysis of captured German Air Force

     reconnaissance photography. What had not been destroyed, or

     captured by the Soviets, was discovered in several locations by

     the Allies and shipped back to the UK. The joint UK/US work on

     this imagery provided unique intelligence on the Soviet Union

     and Eastern Europe during the early Cold War years before the

     advent of satellite imagery.

Comment by Michael Grove on April 11, 2022 at 16:59

Gideon Rachman's details • in his The Age of the Strongman classic • of Putin's rise to power and his time spent in Dresden, have most certainly filled in the gaps for me so to speak, as to how and why Canon got the inside track to the potential opportunity of utilising my Interactive Multimedia Bureau System, in Eastern Germany after 'the wall' came down, so to speak. I say 'the wall' having experienced same in a visit to Coburg some decades before, to realise that in most places it was only a fence and not a wall.

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