Thursday, 21 August 2014

A Unique Poppy

100 years later.

888,246 poppies.

888,246 lives.

1914-2014.

Most of you will have seen the photographs of the Tower of London and the sea of poppies that surround it. Each poppy handmade, each poppy unique, each poppy representing a British military fatality.

One of those poppies that has been hand made and planted in the moat of the Tower of London represents the life of my Great Grand Uncle.
William Edward Bennett.


He died in 1917.

I studied World War One in English. Not knowing at the time that an ancestor died in France.
We visited France and Belgium.
I walked through the clay-like mud.
It clumped round my boots, weighing down each foot.
My wellies are still stained with mud from fields near the Somme Memorial.
Mud where men lay.
Where poems were composed.
Letters written.
Explosions unrelenting.
Boys that didn't come home.
Where wives became widows.
No body to bury.
No grave to mourn by.

When my Grandfather got called up to the Second World War his mother (William's Sister) couldn't face the idea of losing a brother and a son to war. She wrote to the war office informing them of my Grandfather's medical knowledge. They changed my Grandfather's area of service and he spent the majority of the war in the Bahamas.
He didn't have it easy as many people think. It wasn't all a holiday. He released the Prisoners of War, those in concentration camps. Another of my ancestors was in one of these camps. He was 6 stone when he was released.
It's difficult to imagine the things they saw.
The way it impacted their lives.
The things they saw that went unsaid.
The survivors guilt.

(Back row, second on left is my Grandad)

Did you know you can buy a poppy? 
As one of those poppies represents one of my ancestors we have purchased one. When the display is taken down in November, one of those poppies will be on it's way to us. 
A continual reminder.

2 comments:

  1. Lovely post. I always try and remember the people that fought, and died, for us to all live in the world we live in today, for our freedom. Off to buy a poppy x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. I don't think we fully appreciate how lucky we are.

      Delete