Browse reviews

Ludlow Fringe Festival 2019

Conflict of Interest

Richard Pulsford

Genre: Historical

Venue: The Sitting Room at the Blue Boar, Ludlow


Low Down

Richard Pulsford delves into his family history to bring us a fascinating tale of some of his Great Uncles and Grandfathers fighting on both sides of the conflict in World War One.


Following the centenary of the Armistice in November of 2018, our collective minds still turn to the events and stories leading up to and during those turbulent years. Richard Pulsford leaves his stand-up comedy routines to bring us a forensically detailed account of both his Grandfathers and Great Uncles’ engagement in that conflict. He began his research to uncover why it was, when he was twelve-years old watching the ceremony at the Cenotaph on TV with his Grandmother, that her face was full of tears. One of his grandfathers was Austrian and fought on the Eastern Front against Polish and Russian forces while his English side of the family joined the Merchant Navy and served on Trawlers, accompanying the convoys which heroically supported the import off much needed foodstuffs. Incredibly brave pursuits were examined, culminating in a Military Cross and Richard also showed us another prized heirloom, a ring given to his Grandmother engraved with the biblical legend ‘Mizpah’ meaning “The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent from one another”.

Hugely detailed and fascinating, Richard’s family story echoes so many stories that each family has; of their forebears with their individual acts of bravery in the war which should have ended all wars. His stories bring the small details of life on the home front and in particular the story of Scarborough which in December 1914 suffered a bombardment from a German warship which had infiltrated the harbour defences, firing shells into the town. This incident prompted the very earliest recruitment campaigns to “Remember Scarborough! Enlist Now!”.

Low-key in presentation with Richard reading from his own notes, attention was maintained by his own carefully constructed charts and family trees, guiding us through the web of intricacy that is family history. His passing round  the ring (that he began and ended his talk with) gave us in the audience a physical reminder of the poignant keepsakes that keep history alive.