Market network Twine is helping a World War Two veteran revist the French town he helped free from Nazi occupation over 70 years ago by recreating it in virtual reality so that today’s residents could thank him for his service.
Manchester-based Twine, a market network connecting companies with creative freelancers, enlisted a team of creatives from around the world to return 91 year-old WW2 veteran, Frank Mouqué, to the town of Armentières, which he helped liberate from Nazi forces in the weeks following D-Day.
Using its platform, which allows creative freelancers in different geographical locations to work simultaneously on projects, Twine enlisted VR cameramen, technicians, producers, musicians, and interviewers to work on the VR project.
With the help of VR production company Mutiny Media, Twine created a VR experience which transported Mouqué back to the town square that he marched on 72 years ago.
The video includes children from the local school thanking him in song, a message from two siblings who discuss their memories of the Allied soldiers entering the town and the mayor of Armentières, Bernard Haesebroeck, who presents Frank with the town’s highest honour: the ‘Medal of Armentières’.
“It’s ingenious! It’s like you’re really there, standing in front of them!” said Mouqué. “On behalf of all the people who were [serving] with me, thank you.”
Stuart Logan, Twine’s chief executive and founder, said the aim was to look beyond the thrills and entertainment of VR and create “something truly profound”.
He added: “My late grandfather took part in the liberation of Europe, so I was drawn to the idea of helping a member of this extraordinary generation see the town today that he helped free so many decades earlier.
“It was wonderful to let Frank experience the gratitude of the people of Armentières and see first-hand the enduring legacy of both his service and the sacrifices of so many friends. I am proud that we were able to mobilise so many members of the Twine community of creative freelancers, from across the world, to help make this special film for Frank.”
The VR project has been released to coincide with Remembrance Sunday and as a tribute to the work of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, the nursing home where Mouqué now lives.
After the War, Frank acted as a military translator in Germany and a mine-defusal expert in northern France, before returning to the UK, where he married and had a family.