Age limit - or weight limit?

Age limit - or weight limit?

Joined: April 13th, 2005, 10:25 pm

April 14th, 2005, 9:13 pm #1

I'm not too serious a re-enactor, I have to admit, but as I have the gear I sometimes do a bit of 'extra' work on re-enactments in the Summer months, helping out a friend.

This year, on enquiring about the schedule, my friend at first prevaricated and then came out and told me that the unit would not be requiring my services this year as some considered that I was 'too old to make a convincing impression'. This rather took me by surprise - it wasn't something I have thought about. I'm coming up to 60, but I keep myself fit and all my gear is authentic WW2 (I'm a 38" chest). Some of the guys who apparently objected to my presence are, putting it nicely, fat. They have to wear repro stuff because you can't easily get real war-time uniforms in XXL! At a moderate distance, with a helmet, you can't tell I'm 60, but you can tell thay're fat a mile off! Definitely not authentic, I would say...

I don't mind really (there are other things I can do with my weekends) but I was just wondering, do any other units operate an age limit policy? Or for that matter a weight limit?

Alan
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Joined: February 16th, 2005, 11:34 pm

April 14th, 2005, 9:53 pm #2

Hi. Well I think that's a bit mean of them, can't you "promote" yourself to a staff officer to look a bit more convicing! Seriously though, the age thing can be a bit of a bugbear. I hoping to muck in with a living history group this year and at the age of 46 I have wondered whether or not I can pull it off. Anyway I thought the point of re-enacting was to-er-have a bit of fun or am I wrong?
Cheers, Carl.
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Joined: October 23rd, 2003, 11:27 pm

April 14th, 2005, 11:41 pm #3

I'm not too serious a re-enactor, I have to admit, but as I have the gear I sometimes do a bit of 'extra' work on re-enactments in the Summer months, helping out a friend.

This year, on enquiring about the schedule, my friend at first prevaricated and then came out and told me that the unit would not be requiring my services this year as some considered that I was 'too old to make a convincing impression'. This rather took me by surprise - it wasn't something I have thought about. I'm coming up to 60, but I keep myself fit and all my gear is authentic WW2 (I'm a 38" chest). Some of the guys who apparently objected to my presence are, putting it nicely, fat. They have to wear repro stuff because you can't easily get real war-time uniforms in XXL! At a moderate distance, with a helmet, you can't tell I'm 60, but you can tell thay're fat a mile off! Definitely not authentic, I would say...

I don't mind really (there are other things I can do with my weekends) but I was just wondering, do any other units operate an age limit policy? Or for that matter a weight limit?

Alan
Alan,

I'm not sure where you are, but here in Canada that type of talk just wouldn't fly (pardon the intentional pun).

Quite frankly, it's a human rights issue here and you cannot exclude someone from working OR volunteering if they are capable of doing the job (and as long as there are no other concerns regarding legalities such as criminal convictions).

I am the Volunteer Coordinator at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site here in Victoria, Canada and as long as my reenactors are portraying the history with integrity and respect, I have no problems with older reenactors, females portraying men and people of different ethnic backgrounds celebrating our history. Again, the word here is integrity. It is not "how cool you look", it is "wow, that's a great bit of history you've just related to me" that I want to hear from the public.

Sorry guys and gals, the uniforms and bits of kit we all collect and show off is just a method of conveying history and provoking others to feel passionate about it.

I have excluded people from firearms demonstrations due to age (we're talking a shaky 89 here!) and I am prepared to exclude a volunteer for not respecting the history of the site, but volunteers do such a valuable service, I'd be crazy to not work with someone who is passionate and respectful of that history.

Just my two Canadian cents (about 1.7 cents US and .4 pence)
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Joined: September 20th, 2003, 11:15 pm

April 15th, 2005, 2:43 am #4

Hi. Well I think that's a bit mean of them, can't you "promote" yourself to a staff officer to look a bit more convicing! Seriously though, the age thing can be a bit of a bugbear. I hoping to muck in with a living history group this year and at the age of 46 I have wondered whether or not I can pull it off. Anyway I thought the point of re-enacting was to-er-have a bit of fun or am I wrong?
Cheers, Carl.
Well... Has that unit ever seen a picture of Omar Bradley?
I belive he was in his 50's during WWII. And not a "young and fresh" 50 either!And many other Generals fit that bill as well. That Living History unit needs to get a grip. A grip on their useless and offending attitude. I say show up to their next gathering, with 2 or 3 stars on your Officers Tunic, and don't forget the scrambled eggs!

Let them eat cake! The damn babies...

Tails Up!
ShnghaiJack
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Joined: April 13th, 2005, 10:25 pm

April 15th, 2005, 7:00 am #5

Alan,

I'm not sure where you are, but here in Canada that type of talk just wouldn't fly (pardon the intentional pun).

Quite frankly, it's a human rights issue here and you cannot exclude someone from working OR volunteering if they are capable of doing the job (and as long as there are no other concerns regarding legalities such as criminal convictions).

I am the Volunteer Coordinator at Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site here in Victoria, Canada and as long as my reenactors are portraying the history with integrity and respect, I have no problems with older reenactors, females portraying men and people of different ethnic backgrounds celebrating our history. Again, the word here is integrity. It is not "how cool you look", it is "wow, that's a great bit of history you've just related to me" that I want to hear from the public.

Sorry guys and gals, the uniforms and bits of kit we all collect and show off is just a method of conveying history and provoking others to feel passionate about it.

I have excluded people from firearms demonstrations due to age (we're talking a shaky 89 here!) and I am prepared to exclude a volunteer for not respecting the history of the site, but volunteers do such a valuable service, I'd be crazy to not work with someone who is passionate and respectful of that history.

Just my two Canadian cents (about 1.7 cents US and .4 pence)
Thank for your 'two pennorth' (or cents or whatever) about Canada. I think things are very different in the UK, and I'm not sad about that. I'd hate to see 'political correctness' become as important in re-enactment as it is in, say, my day job at a university. I think we tend to say what we feel, and that's good. If people are upset, that's their problem.

I agree with you about the history thing, though. I'm a historian by profession and a collector of WW2 equipment of about 30 years standing. I would claim to know a thing or two about WW2 and be able to communicate reasonably well in a 'living history' scenario.

However, I don't think that's what 'living history' is about in the UK...

End of subject AFAIAC.
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Joined: January 28th, 2004, 10:21 am

April 15th, 2005, 8:50 am #6

I'm not too serious a re-enactor, I have to admit, but as I have the gear I sometimes do a bit of 'extra' work on re-enactments in the Summer months, helping out a friend.

This year, on enquiring about the schedule, my friend at first prevaricated and then came out and told me that the unit would not be requiring my services this year as some considered that I was 'too old to make a convincing impression'. This rather took me by surprise - it wasn't something I have thought about. I'm coming up to 60, but I keep myself fit and all my gear is authentic WW2 (I'm a 38" chest). Some of the guys who apparently objected to my presence are, putting it nicely, fat. They have to wear repro stuff because you can't easily get real war-time uniforms in XXL! At a moderate distance, with a helmet, you can't tell I'm 60, but you can tell thay're fat a mile off! Definitely not authentic, I would say...

I don't mind really (there are other things I can do with my weekends) but I was just wondering, do any other units operate an age limit policy? Or for that matter a weight limit?

Alan
Hi Alan

In my group we try to be as authentic as possible by making sure that the ages 'roughly' fit the rank that is portrayed - the same with the size prob.

What this means is that we have a Wing Co who is in his mid 50's portraying a 'WW1 re-tread' bought back into the RAF for the duration! He acts as a 'Wing Co fresh from the Ministry' giving a 'pep talk' to the chaps!

Our Station Warrant Officer is rather a big chap and he portrays a long serving WO. Joined the RAF in 1920, served in Afganastain where he was shot at, and wounded, by the natives whilst flying his Hawker Hind. This grounded his 'character', who was then 'promoted' to the rank of SWO. Therefore, by 1939, he is the correct age, size, and rank for his character - he is also one very loud chap as a SWO (as they actually were)...

As well as this I have plenty of B/W pics and documentary evidence of early war Groundcrews being quite elderly - some in there 60's.

Of course the only 'downside' to this would be the Aircrew side - most aircrew were in there 20's, with some in their 30's (mainly bomber crew - although Victor Beamish C.O. at North Weald was 39!) and a small minority in their 40's (Harry Broadhurst was actually 40 - ended the war at the age of 45, I think!).

This proves that there are ways of fitting into re-enactment groups whatever your age etc.

Hope this helps.

Nigel Carver
O/C RAF at War
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Joined: October 23rd, 2003, 11:27 pm

April 15th, 2005, 1:49 pm #7

Thank for your 'two pennorth' (or cents or whatever) about Canada. I think things are very different in the UK, and I'm not sad about that. I'd hate to see 'political correctness' become as important in re-enactment as it is in, say, my day job at a university. I think we tend to say what we feel, and that's good. If people are upset, that's their problem.

I agree with you about the history thing, though. I'm a historian by profession and a collector of WW2 equipment of about 30 years standing. I would claim to know a thing or two about WW2 and be able to communicate reasonably well in a 'living history' scenario.

However, I don't think that's what 'living history' is about in the UK...

End of subject AFAIAC.
Hi Alan,

I don't think it's 'political correctness' that we're worried about at our site- although I do work for the federal government. It is a issue of respect and integrety.

As a victim of 'ageism' yourself, I'd hope any group would accept you despite that factor.

By the way, I have some considerable experience with 'living history' in the UK. Working at a site that was built by the Royal Marine Artillery in the 1890s, I have ample opportunity to work with living history people from the UK on both sides of the Atlantic. I consider the Die Hards a fine living history group and they would fit into any of our events. I have attended living history events in the UK and my experience is that they (like here in North America) can vary drastically depending on the group/event.

Let's not fool ourselves that we are doing real first person at our events. It doesn't happen with real actors in film and it doesn't happen with reenactors. Other than some seriously 'committed' folks in the US Civil War scene (who try to lose 1/3 their body weight and who try to acquire disentary) none of us live the true experience. We try our best, but the mod cons sneak in somewhere.
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Joined: November 19th, 2004, 7:24 am

April 15th, 2005, 3:36 pm #8

Hi Alan

In my group we try to be as authentic as possible by making sure that the ages 'roughly' fit the rank that is portrayed - the same with the size prob.

What this means is that we have a Wing Co who is in his mid 50's portraying a 'WW1 re-tread' bought back into the RAF for the duration! He acts as a 'Wing Co fresh from the Ministry' giving a 'pep talk' to the chaps!

Our Station Warrant Officer is rather a big chap and he portrays a long serving WO. Joined the RAF in 1920, served in Afganastain where he was shot at, and wounded, by the natives whilst flying his Hawker Hind. This grounded his 'character', who was then 'promoted' to the rank of SWO. Therefore, by 1939, he is the correct age, size, and rank for his character - he is also one very loud chap as a SWO (as they actually were)...

As well as this I have plenty of B/W pics and documentary evidence of early war Groundcrews being quite elderly - some in there 60's.

Of course the only 'downside' to this would be the Aircrew side - most aircrew were in there 20's, with some in their 30's (mainly bomber crew - although Victor Beamish C.O. at North Weald was 39!) and a small minority in their 40's (Harry Broadhurst was actually 40 - ended the war at the age of 45, I think!).

This proves that there are ways of fitting into re-enactment groups whatever your age etc.

Hope this helps.

Nigel Carver
O/C RAF at War
In a book that I have labeled "Eagles of the RAF" by Philip Caine, there were two Eagle Squadron guys who were "elderly". Harold Strickland was 37, Aubrey Stanhope was 42. In another book "American Eagles: American Volunteers in the RAF 1937-1943" there's a picture that shows Strickland as a Pilot Officer. While those two individuals were far from the norm, it's not to much of a stretch for those of us who are older to portray flight crew members. In my case, I'm 43 and look mid thirties. I think a big part of the impression would be the ability to talk flying and have, at least a rudimentary, knowledge of the airplanes we "would be" flying had we served back then.
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Joined: October 23rd, 2003, 7:08 pm

April 15th, 2005, 4:47 pm #9

I'm not too serious a re-enactor, I have to admit, but as I have the gear I sometimes do a bit of 'extra' work on re-enactments in the Summer months, helping out a friend.

This year, on enquiring about the schedule, my friend at first prevaricated and then came out and told me that the unit would not be requiring my services this year as some considered that I was 'too old to make a convincing impression'. This rather took me by surprise - it wasn't something I have thought about. I'm coming up to 60, but I keep myself fit and all my gear is authentic WW2 (I'm a 38" chest). Some of the guys who apparently objected to my presence are, putting it nicely, fat. They have to wear repro stuff because you can't easily get real war-time uniforms in XXL! At a moderate distance, with a helmet, you can't tell I'm 60, but you can tell thay're fat a mile off! Definitely not authentic, I would say...

I don't mind really (there are other things I can do with my weekends) but I was just wondering, do any other units operate an age limit policy? Or for that matter a weight limit?

Alan
I myself are over the 50 mark and still reenacting! The cut-off point well that's up to you!
As long as you enjoy it keep on doing it! Who gives a flying-F#@%* what other reenactors think! If old unit doesn't want you move on! It's there lose! I'd rather have a more mature unit that can afford the gear, then a bunch of 18-20 year old unreliable and pennyless pretty boys any day.
You have an open invitation to join my group!!
Enclosed is WW2 picture taken in North Africa not all are Spring Chickens!

Glenn
40SAAF
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Joined: October 23rd, 2003, 7:08 pm

April 15th, 2005, 5:13 pm #10

SAAF officers in N. Africa
Glenn
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