PowerPoint c. 1918

image Anyone who has given (or been on the receiving end of) a PowerPoint presentation will appreciate the following anecdote, which could come straight from a Monty Python skit, quoted in Aces Falling: War Above the Trenches, 1918 by Peter Hart.

Hart’s description of the early days of photo intrepretation includes an excerpt from the diary of Lieutenant Thomas Hughes:

I started my course of ‘Interpretation of Aeroplane Photographs’ this morning. There were eight infantry officers–I rather think they were battalion intelligence officers–assembled round the table in the conference room at the Corps…where I arrived with the component parts of a magic lantern. After a bit of business getting the light to work, I got under way with my celebrated lantern exhibition and was getting along quite nicely when the door behind the screen opened and the Corps Commander and the B.G.G.S. shuffled in, tripped over the electric light wire, put out the light and fused the arc lamp. The Corps Commander then fell over a chair and I felt it was time to pull up a blind, which I did. He then told me to carry on as if he wasn’t there!"

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