The Great War
Many of us had people caught up in the First World War
This was well known as the War to end all wars
My Grandfather was in the Durham Light Infantry, and had left home to fight for his country
A few years ago my wife and I went on a coach tour, and we were able to visit Ypres and Passchendale where my Grandfather fought alongside his friends etc.
This in many ways explained some of what had happened, but it was so very hard to understand the horrors of this war.
I read my Grandfathers diaries before they were lost in a flood, and they brought tears to my eyes.
He had left school and got an offer of work in the local coal mine where his family lived, but decided to sign up to join the army, to fight for his country, because like others, he felt it to be his duty
A lot of his friends also signed up, because they had been told that they would see the world, and they were also told that the war would be over before Christmas ?
When I think of this, I wonder just how many young men would do this these days.
He had been injured by shrapnel and was brought home to recuperate before going back again.
When he went back, he heard that many friends had died in the gas attacks, and this left him distressed because he felt he should been there.
On his return he got the offer of work in the local mine again, but this never lasted along because of his injuries
He had changed from the happy young man, to someone who would spend hours just walking in the countryside, or sitting deep in thought.
I wonder just how many coped with the horrors they had seen in thoughs few short years.
I guess as a child I knew someone who had hidden nightmares of this horrible war, but he would never ever talk about it.
He was a man who always seemed deep in thought, but he would never talk about this, to either myself or my mother.
He would often take me to local cricket matches in our town, or we would spend hours walking across the countryside.
Looking back , I wonder if these long walks, were places where he could listen to wild life and think of the horrors that he had escaped from.
Perhaps it was a way of proving, that he could walk without being shot at.
I suppose the long walks and listening to wildlife was a way of reassuring himself that the war was truly over even though his nightmares were still with him
He would often explain what bird made certain noises etc.
But this hid the real man who was still struggling to cope with life, and I guess that wildlife was a life line, and kept him going.
From his diaries I often wondered if he had felt guilty about coming home injured but alive, when he had lost so many friends from his village.
To me he was a giant of man, and so gentle, but I can never imagine what was going on in his mind.
I miss him a lot.
My wife's Grandfather was also in this war, but we never heard anything about him after signing up, and nothing was ever said
God bless all of those who live with the memories of this horror, and those who lost loved ones.