Reader in Labour History
School of History, Classics and Archaeology, Newcastle University
University of Newcastle
Matt Perry has taught broadly across Twentieth Century European History. He has research interests in British and French labour and social history. He has published widely in the area of the protests and experience of the unemployed in the interwar years in France and Britain. He has also published on questions of general historiography and in particular the Marxist school of history.
Vive La France! Death at Sea, French Navy and the Great War
An Austrian submarine torpedoed the cruiser-battleship Léon Gambetta on 27 April 1915. With 681 deaths, this constituted the French navy’s greatest loss of life during the Great War. The project examines this event and what it might add to discussions about death, trauma and war. First, the cultural realm of the signification of the events is scrutinized. The press treated this as a moment of heroic sacrifice as their account and that of the navy converged. Second, the survivor testimony and the psychological-physiological aspects of the death at sea are considered. This is based upon the depositions of 132 survivors noted down by naval investigators as the survivors a few weeks after the event. It considers the traumatic nature of the sinking and how this is negotiated in the testimonies of the survivors. Finally, the official manipulation of the traumatic event and its implications will be discussed.