THE CHRONICLES OF A TIME IN COVENTRY (WITH SHORT FILM)
THE CHRONICLES OF A TIME IN COVENTRY (WITH SHORT FILM)
Not long ago, our video production company in Charlotte, North Carolina was commissioned to produce a series of machine demonstration videos for a company located in Coventry, England in the West Midlands of the United Kingdom.
(Writer’s Note: Upon taking the time to read this article, please view Reconciliation, A Short Film By The Video Stewards that follows afterward. Viewing link at bottom of page.)
Looking back at that time, much of the trip seemed to come and go so fast, filled with long days of filming at various locations in and around the city of Coventry.
Luckily before leaving, we did have just enough free time for a short stint in London and when weather permitted, a few other memorable sites.
During my 2 week stay, We only stopped between shoots to eat, rest and if time allowed….grab my camera and film the aura, culture and what I’ll call the dull, grey and mysterious beauty of England. A country beyond the homeland that I’ve never visited before… and now, I was there with my video camera in hand.
Now, with any trip that I prepare for, or place I visit initially… I enthusiastically research all areas of special interest, history and any other notable aspects about the area worth investigating.
Unfortunately for me, this trip and everything that had to be done in order to make it possible leading up to departure, didn’t warrant me ample time to do my reconnaissance of the foreign lands that I would soon be exploring.
I mean, this trip was ultimately about working. Another job that requires my attention and devotion to assist in making a company, product or service stand out in its best light via a professional and polished corporate video.
Yes, that’s always the mission, however, this trip would offer up more than just another piece for my company portfolio.
I was given an opportunity to walk the roads, ride the rails, take in the countryside and delve into a history I wasn’t completely aware of upon arriving. Anxiously, back at the hotel room, I would launch a late night google search in hopes of gathering as much information about this unfamiliar territory as I could muster before bed time. (That is when the internet connection wanted to be reliable….and oh yeah, all while fighting a cold too.) No matter though, there was plenty I just didn’t know during my short time in England but suddenly there was history all around me.
While I could spend more time mentioning the various places I indeed was lucky enough to visit during my trip: Like, the train ride to London, walking to Buckingham Palace, taking in the sights and sounds at Piccadilly Circus, riding the London Eye, a tour of the impressive wonders of The Coventry Transport Museum, my first dining experience in England (Pizza Hut of all place.), the unfamiliar road signs and sight of people driving on the wrong side of the road with their steering wheels on the wrong side of the cars. Very strange I thought….very strange.
Through all England’s mystery, splendor…. and lack of sunlight, (The sun set around 4:30pm during the winter months.)
I was lucky enough to film at one location that especially stood out to me….a place I wish I’d had more time to learn about before visiting.
My interest in World War II and the thought process of Hitler and the Nazis during such a horrid time had always been of interest to me….more so now in my later years than back in my school days. Back then, I don’t even know if I cared much for anything related to history, nowadays, I’m a sponge for historical information and find I’m always researching to learn more.
Now, In England, little did I know I was about to embark upon a landmark in Coventry that Adolph Hitler and the unforgiving and brutal Nazis regime would attack and utterly annihilate during a massive bombing campaign on the night of November 14th, 1940.
Hitler targeted Coventry, England because it was a leading munition centers in the UK and manufactured about 25% of British aircraft during the war. Coventry, with all its engineering and manufacturing capacity, had become the obvious area for mass production of many war-related products making it a viable target for Hitler’s attempt to crush Britain.
“Now, here I suddenly was…..on the outskirts of one of the most notable ruins of Coventry still standing today. Barely surviving the Battle of Britain or better known as, “The Blitz”……an air raid led by the German Luftwaffe that occurred between August and October 1940 in which over 198 tons of bombs had fallen.”
Of all the many air raids during this time, even more so than the barrage of bombings on the city of London… this vicious encroachment stood out because it was one of the most inhumane and life altering blows the city of Coventry had ever been dealt since its existence. Operation Moonlight Sonata as it was called, The German air-raid and evil act that was unleashed on the city had rung the attention of the entire world at that time.
Now, there I wandered. Camera and tripod in hand, filming the remains of rubble from inside one of the architectural wonders of the world from over the past 1000 years. First named in the 12th century, The Priory Church of St Mary, then The Medieval Parish Church Cathedral of St Michael and now, the modern, Coventry Cathedral.
Upon returning home and educating myself on the brutality of that night and the details of the air bombardment….I carefully reviewed the footage I had filmed and couldn’t help but reflect on the hours of relentless bombing that had taken place right there where I stood. The loss of lives, the devastation of the city of Coventry and the sacredness of the original Cathedral all but destroyed by their despicable acts.
My time in England seemed to come and go by fast….
….but for a few moments I was able to capture one particular part of history that was destroyed by the evil of man but rebuilt and restored by a ministry of reconciliation and forgiveness. A symbol and reminder to all of us to not allow the poison of unforgiveness to fill our lives but to reconcile with those who have hurt us in order to rise above and move forward from any difficult circumstance in our life.
With portions of the original Cathedral walls surrounding me and the steeple towering above me….I focused my camera lens on the remaining wreckage still standing from that cold, dark night back on Thursday, November 14th, 1940 and began recording.
Here’s what I saw… (Watch Video)