11 November fell on a Sunday today, and 11 November is when we remember those who paid the supreme sacrifice in aid of what?
World War1, touted to be “The War To End All Wars” was really a practice round for the carnage to come. It was also an exercise in how to throw lives away. In my record card research I often see the effects of that carnage so many years ago. Men who were severely wounded, or who would suffer from the effects of gas, or “shell shock”. Men who would survive the war, only to die in the flu epidemic of 1918, or from the effects of their service overseas.
My record cards do not mention how this service affected their families, apart from a notation about a pension denied, or a grant given, campaign medals issued, or maybe just the name of the next of kin. In quite a few cases I have found the record cards of the soldier whose grave I photographed, and sometimes I have to remind myself that these were really real people, and not just a card with a name and abbreviated military history.
If my war grave photography has taught me one thing; then it has taught me that the military is an extremely efficient killing machine.
So today I will display my poppy with pride because I am remembering all those who never came home, and those who are no longer with us. I remember my grandfather who survived the slaughter of Delville Wood, and I remember my Uncle who is buried far away, and my late father who wore the poppy with pride and who was captured at Sidi Rezegh. I remember those who have no known grave, and those who came home broken. And, I will continue to do so as long as I am able, because it is important, and because we must never let this happen again.
In Memory of Herbert Turner, Robert Owen Turner and David Walker. Lest we Forget.
© DRW. 2012-2018. Images recreated 26/03/2016