Thursday, 11 November 2010


As befitting on Armistice Day, this blog is dedicated to my grandfather who fought at Ypres in the 1914-1918 Great War. At the age of 17, he was sent to the front lines and was bombarded by shells and shrapnel. During one particularly bad shelling attack, he was badly injured and lost his leg. All of his friends and comrades were killed that day. I never knew my grandfather but have heard many stories about him and his life during the war and his not-so-honourable treatment on his return. Each November, I'm immensely proud to wear a poppy to remember the terrible sacrifice the millions made during the First World War and the subsequent wars and conflicts thereafter.    

If I should die, think only this of me: 
That there's some corner of a foreign field 
That is for ever England. There shall be 
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed; 
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware, 
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam, 
A body of England's, breathing English air, 
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home. 

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less 
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given; 
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day; 
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, 
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke (1887-1915) The Soldier 


  1. Was he treated badly by society because he was in the war? Did your country not believe they should have participated?

  2. Hi MM and thanks for your comments.
    He wasn't treated badly because he was in the war and the expectation at the time was that everyone of eligible age should sign up. The treatment for those who didn't was far worse. The problem for those who were lucky to survive and return home (albeit in most most cases very badly injured, was that it was many years before the UK had set up the welfare system and the NHS. Many were left in poverty as they couldn't work and far more were left untreated with their injuries. My grandfather spent several years in a mental asylum with probably what we know today as PTSD. I suppose history teaches us lessons and we treat our soldiers today with hopefully far better treatment and in the esteem they deserve (although it's not always perfect). As for me, I suppose my grandfather's experience inspired me to do the job I do now so one positive there!

  3. Thanks for the glimpse into your grandfather's life! Our soldiers, when society deems a war "bad", are treated with little dignity. I hear this war we are in now is going to be the worst for PTSD. I suppose because they now have a label for it now. I do know they haven't done the statistics yet on the homeless that have mental problems from the war.