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Remembrance Day


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Talking to my youngest granddaughter Annie on the way home from school tonight she was telling me about a poem they read out during a Remembrance assembly today, she could recite the first few lines and said it was a lovely but sad  poem,  I recited my favourite war poem, The Life That I Have,   this is now her other favourite poem. 

At my grandsons school the vast majority of pupils were wearing poppies on their blazers. Anyone in a cadet unit could wear their uniforms for the day. I saw a good number of Air force, Army, Navy and Royal Marine uniforms, all being proudly worn.

How good to know the next generation are being shown the importance of Remembrance. 


In Flanders Fields


In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

    That mark our place; and in the sky

    The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

    Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

        In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

    The torch; be yours to hold it high.

    If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

        In Flanders fields.

By John McCrae




The Life That I Have


The life that I have

Is all that I have

And the life that I have

Is yours


The love that I have

Of the life that I have

Is yours and yours and yours.


A sleep I shall have

A rest I shall have

Yet death will be but a pause

For the peace of my years

In the long green grass

Will be yours and yours and yours.


by Leo Marks


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I think the last few lines of this poem by Bill Mitton are particularly sad.


The Crosses

I stood there before the crosses 

glowing white in row on row

Everyone a young life cut short

as the names upon them show.


The dates they died below the names

tell of wars now past and gone

Passchendaele, the Somme, and Mons

of battles fought, and lost or won.


History remembers, as it should

these men who fought and died 

Whilst for their families left behind

a dull sorrow tinged with pride.


The faces of boys held now in Sepia

who died in days long gone

yet living on in memories 

and hearts, still holding on.


Yet despite the hurt and grief here 

what with horror makes me fill

Is that when I look behind me

there are more new crosses growing still.

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6 hours ago, ExSurveyor said:

I think the last few lines of this poem by Bill Mitton are particularly sad.

This describes how I felt when I was truck driving in France and drove every week through the battlefields of the Somme and Flanders.  The countryside there has fields of wheat, fields of sugar beet ; and fields of graves.  Until you have driven right through it, you cannot understand the enormity of it all.

The first battle of the Somme, on 1st July 1916, took place over a 28 mile front.

I often stopped at the cemeteries and read the history in the books of remembrance.  One of the most poignant, for me, is the "Trench Cemetery", on the Somme.  This is where a company of the Devonshire Regiment advanced over no man's land and took a German trench position, which they then had to hold until the next wave arrived.  By the time the relief arrived, they found them all dead.  They were buried in the trench that they had defended, as a mass grave.  This has now become a War Grave cemetery and the inscription on the main memorial reads :

The Devonshires held this trench : The Devonshires hold it still.

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Oh gosh Vaughan that's me gone ,   it is all so sad.      My grandfather is buried at Outtersteene Communal Cemetery at Bailleul which is near the Belgium border.      When we lived in Kent we used to go over using the Eurotunnel quite regularly to visit but too far these days.    The cemetery is kept so beautifully and all of the local people have respect for it.  Unlike unfortunately over here in some areas.     I can see the box of tissues coming out today.






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I did not know that.   My grandfather's grave is one of the first as you go up the lovely steps into the cemetery , he was only 19 and died before my father was born.    He was in the Royal Air Force and flew a tiny plane which looked as if it had been tied up with string.      This was a sketch he did after his first flight.            image.png.be8a9e4a01847625498f966779f1cf83.png

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What a wonderful but sad thread this is

I know it's not much but I always donate and wear a poppy as do my boys. It's important they know the true story and the sacrifices made by so many. The younger generation have every single one of those who fought and sacrificed everything for our freedom to thank for theirs. It must never be forgotten

Thank you x

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This could apply to thousands, just change the place names:

"Like a lot of boys he joined up too early and was thrown out.

He joined again when he was old enough and was a private in the 7th Middlesex Regiment. He ended the war as a Corporal.

He fought at a few places but Fleurs and the Somme were among them.

He was a very good shot with a rifle and was a sniper at times. He told us he used to aim “four inches below the spike”. This refers to some of the German helmets which had a spike on top! On the other hand he was also involved in hand to hand fighting which he didn't like to talk about.

In the trenches, when a German hand grenade landed in the trench the person nearest to it was expected to pick it up and chuck it back! We think of it as heroic now but back then it was seen as looking after your mates; you were all in it together. Grandad had scars on the back of his right hand where a grenade went off as he was throwing it back. But then think: how far can you throw a grenade? Well if one lands in your trench then the bloke who threw it is not far away is he? By the time you've bent down to pick it up he could be at the top of your trench and about to jump in!

One night they were out in No-man's Land on patrol, captain at the front and Grandad as corporal at the back. A shell landed in the middle of them and Grandad woke up in an American field hospital some time later. For years he believed he was the only survivor but he found out the captain had also survived. Unfortunately, all the others perished. They would have been his friends and neighbours.

I think that is the reason they never talked about their experiences in public, as someone who lost a relative may be able to hear. Also, it could be seen as gloating that you survived.

During WW2 he served in the local Home Guard around Tottenham."

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29 minutes ago, floydraser said:

This could apply to thousands, just change the place names:

It's remarkably close to my paternal grandfather, who joined Middlesex Regiment at the same time as all his cousins, several of whom didn't make it back. One was involved in the first wave of the Somme and fatally injured, but at least made it home to his parents before passing away at the age of 26.

The most poignant one is my maternal great uncle though, who was injured on the Western Front and passed away on the 13th of November 1918 aged 22. I can't even begin to comprehend how hard that must have been for his parents, coming 2 days after Armistice Day.

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