Monday, 31 July 2017

Remembering The Battle Of Passchendaele And Flanders Fields.

Remembering The Fallen.
All I can do is take some time in reflection, to remember those I never knew.
This week the commemorations for Passchendaele and the Third Battle of Ypres are being held with full dignity and solemnity by the BBC.

I have visited many of Flanders war Cemetery's on my visits to France and Belgium.
One trip saw rain of biblical proportions. It gave me an insight to the misery. But I could book into a hotel unlike those soldiers of a hundred years past, who had to endure the misery.
I always sit there and cry like a baby when I reflect on the beautifully kept war graves, that hide the misery that befell so many, so I could write in free spirit.
My last visit I stopped at Poziers Memorial.
It was beautifully kept and the amazing geometry of the glistening headstones against the green of the land and the blue of the sky was a sharp contrast to my mind.

The Pozières Memorial is a World War I memorial, located near the commune of Pozières, in the Somme department of France, and unveiled in August 1930. Wikipedia

My Grandfather was there in the trenches.
Although I have not studied his actual service, something I have wanted to do for some time now, I grew up with the legacy he left his sons.
The large family would have listened to the stories that this gregarious character I hardly knew, had told them.

I think he looted the whole German army his house was full of souvenirs that he had brought back from the grim escapades in Flanders.

Grenades, a Luger pistol and all the bits and pieces that he may have felt belonged to him.
I hardly knew him but was banned from certain rooms in his house, one where his war booty was kept was full of copper and silver coins.
He had a paper stall facing St Mathews Church on Queens Drive. 
I would say hello to him as he served his customers shouting “Echo, Get Your Echo”.
He was a well known character in the area. 
The budgie cage in the parlour was covered when I or my siblings visited.
 He had taught little Joey how to swear and when his wife, my Grandmother, a lovely kind lady who had thirteen children entered the room, the little creature shouted “You silly old cow.”
He was alright, probably scarred, how could any person not be having gone through the First World War, and his sons of which there were many grew up hearing about the brutality.
And they told me about those who shot their toes off to escape the horrors.
How could such a war have have happened?

I don't wish to explore that here just to pay a little respect to those, who gave their lives so we could be free. 
And to my Grandfather that I hardly knew. 
He came back.
We must not forget them.

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