I wear a Poppy To Remember….
my Father: a signalman; who was captured in North Africa during World War 2
my Grandfather, a rifleman, who was wounded in Delville Wood
my Uncle: an air mechanic, who died in Egypt during World War 2, and who is the reason for my war grave photography
I remember the soldiers that I served with and who never completed their national service in South Africa.
Lionel Van Rooyen, Johann Potgieter, Peter Hall, Hennie Van Der Colf
I remember those men of the South African Native Labour Corps who lost their lives in the sinking of the Mendi
I remember all of those other African and South African soldiers who have been largely unrecognised for their service
I remember the dedicated nurses, VAD’s and other women who served in medical disciplines during and after the wars, many never returned and were victims of the conflict.
I remember the merchant seamen who faced not only a determined enemy, but the sea in all its fury, often in coffin ships that were only one screw turn away from the breakers yard.
I remember those who have no grave, and who are just names on a memorial
I remember the soldiers, sailors, airmen, civilians, children and animals who lost their lives in the folly we call total war
I remember the 6 million Jews who were exterminated
And the millions of other casualties who were caught up in the madness
I remember those who were left behind
and those who will die tomorrow, or next week, or next year, defending their country, their comrades, and their families; often for a cause they do not understand.
I remember them all because it is important to never forget them and to never drag the world down into the horror of total war, and I curse those who sit in positions of power and who create the conflagration but who never die in it, for they are a curse upon mankind. May they have to answer for the monsters that they unleash and may their punishment be eternal.
When you go home
Tell them of us and say
For your tomorrow
We gave our today
Words do not adequately describe the feelings that I have around about this time of the year, I served as a national serviceman in 1980/81, and when I first went in I did not think that at the end of 1981 I would have 4 names in my memory that would be with me until I die. My grandfather was a soldier, my father was a soldier, as was my brother, and so was I, my father and grandfather were volunteers, my brother and I were conscripts.
It is difficult to quantify all of those who I have omitted, I could probably fill reams of paper with groups of people who were affected by warfare, and of course who continue to be affected by warfare. The images on this page are my own with the exception of the image of the grave of my late uncle Robert Turner who is really the reason I photograph war graves. I never knew him, but my mother did, and she still mourns him to this day.