"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Friday 11 November 2011

My Remembrance

Last year I wrote a blog for Remembrance Day which was picked up by another, far better blog than mine and caused a bit of discussion. As usual, whenever I state that I am a pacifist, a lot of the comments were very aggressive and some commentators almost seemed to want to wilfully misunderstand my reasonings. Fair enough, their privilege.

So this year I thought I would celebrate publically all those whom I personally remember each Armistice Day as well as all the other days throughout the year.

My Welsh Grandfather, who was so badly injured in the First World War, during the campaign in the Dardanelles, that he was invalided out of the army. This was after being posted as missing for many months and my Grandmother believed he was dead. He was awarded the Silver War Badge at the time, which given those honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness. This was to be worn on 'civvies'only, so that those wearing them would not be presented with a white feather [I daren't comment on the practice of presenting white feathers, you will understand why, I hope...] Also remembering all Granfa's brothers, friends and military comrades.

My English Grandfather, who served in the First World War at Ypres ['Wipers'] as well as other platforms of war. he became a member of the Fleet Air Arm and finished the war as a member of fledgling RAF. He came home physically unscathed but emotionally scarred, like so many. Also remembering all Granfer's brothers, brothers-in-law, friends and military comrades.

My English Grandmother, who worked in a munitions factor during the First World War whilst her husband served in France, whose wages plus his pay were not enough to keep her and her son and led a strike for better pay for munitions workers - and won. And all her sisters and friends who did similar, ill paid war work but were not celebrated. And were so debilitated at the end of the war that many died of Spanish 'flu.

Other Half's Grandfather who wanted desperately to become a regular soldier and tried to enlist as soon as WW1 started but was turned down on ‘Health Grounds’. In 1916, when the heavy losses were beginning to decimate the pool from which the military could recruit, standards in physical fitness, health and height were relaxed and Grandfather-in-law was allowed to join up. He stayed in the army after the end of the war, was in the Guards and eventually qualified to become a Chelsea Pensioner.

All those family friends who were members of the International Brigade in Spain in 1936. Often forgotten. And all the displaced persons, many of them children who were refugees and lived with so many East End families.

My Uncle who was a Chindet in Burma in the Second World War and suffered recurring bouts of malaria all his life.

My Uncle [happily still with us] with a few physical scars but whose nerves were shattered by his experiences at the Battle of Arnhem in the Second World War. All those young men who were in the cementary in Arnhem when we visited in an attempt to find my Uncle's lieutenant.

All my Uncles and their cousins and comrades who served in the Second World War and their wives who kept the homes and families going.

My mother and father who were Conscientious Objectors in the Second World War but worked for others and helped where ever they could.

My father-in-law and all his brothers who could never talk about their service in the Second World War as their emotions ran too deep to express.

Other Half's Uncle who died in Belgium in the Second World War, and his brother-in-law and his brother who died the same week.

My friend's father who was in the Luftwaffe and shot down over England in the Second World War. Aged nineteen, he never wanted to fight and loved England.

All the nationalities of all the young and older men and women who have ever died in the name of whatever 'justice' is the current 'ideal'.

All those 'innocent' civilians affected by all conflicts.

My twin sister has put a poem by Siegfried Sassoon on her blog today:

photograph courtesy of www.peacemuseum.org.uk

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