The First World War: The Great War
"My mother, born in
1905, lived in the giant shadow of that war. Her father and two
elder brothers, just young lads, died in the first year of that war
... my mother, then aged 10, and her two older sisters were put in
the workhouse here in Norwich. She remained there until she was 18.
It in reality was a prison system. My mother often related this
tragic episode in her life. Thankfully that workhouse system ended
in 1948. Many throughout the world at that time who never saw battle
in that war, were nonetheless victims of it"
[viewer's comment at
"When I was a child of
about 9 or 10 years old, I used to stay with a bedridden old man
while his wife travelled by bus to the nearest town to do her weekly
shopping trip. He was on death's door and mostly slept, while I sat
on a chair by his bed. What fascinated me though, were the clusters
of medals which hung from a nail on his bedroom wall. In one of his
lucid moments I asked him about them. He told me they were from his
times in The Great War, and in the Irish War for Independence. He
showed me a scarred hollow in the side of his neck, which he
received when a shell hit his trench in France. He died a little
after that ... His wife had a great big medal hanging from a nail on
the stair wall, and I also asked her about it. She cried as she told
me of how it was awarded posthumously to her 19 year old brother who
died at The Somme. The couple are all but forgotten now, and as I
write this, their little cottage is being bulldozed to make way for
progress" [viewer's comment at
"My grandfather just
recently passed away and what always hits me is how different the
British were back then. He hates what has become of England today
but I'm happy he got to vote leave; just wish he got to see England
free again. The work ethic, intelligence, manliness is the polar
opposite of Britain today. He was a gentleman and always honest ...
Britain is a really messed up place now ... British values and
culture has all but gone" [viewer's comment at
"My grandad, 83, knew
many family members who fought in World War One. One was captured by
the Germans, they were going to shoot his leading officer who was
wounded and he begged them not to, so they made him carry him on his
back for miles till they reached the place they were going to be
held prisoner till they could be moved elsewhere. He carried him for
miles, just to reach the end of the journey, place him down, and
find he was already dead" [viewer's comment at
"I remember as a boy my
great grandfather, still sharp of mind, standing next to him at our
little cenotaph on July 1st in our little town with the captured
German howitzers flanking it. I remember him laying down the wreath
as they called out the names of his brothers and cousins who never
came home after that fateful day; the Big July Drive. At Gallipoli,
he scaled its cliffs and was one of the last men to leave the
peninsula. At the Somme, he raced forward with his friends and
brothers beside him until he was thee last man still standing.
Auchonvillers, Langemarck, Monchy, Passchendaele, Arras... again and
again he faced death until he was one of a small handful of men to
come home to out small seaside town. His son would do the same when
his turn came. Dieppe, Caen, Verriers Ridge, Falaise, The Scheldt,
and the Hochwald Gap. Names and places etched in fire and blood in
the heart of our people. The magnitude of our loss is almost
incomprehensible to grasp. I hope Britain wakes up from its dreadful
slumber" [viewer's comment at
"My great great uncle
fought in both world wars and turned down promotion to stand and
fight with his fellow men. Something that has been lost amongst
these so-called men these days"
[viewer's comment at
"As we left the trenches, I noticed a
loud wailing sound like huge wet fingers being dragged across an
enormous glass pane. It rose and fell, interminable, unbearable, and
as we turned an angle of the trench I saw where it came from. All
along a muddy sunken roadway they lay, hundreds of sounded, brown
blanket shapes, some shouting, some moaning, some singing in
delirium ... The sound of their cries had a uniform level of muted
anguish and despair. During the night they'd become little boys
again and were crying in the heat for their mothers, for help, for
water, for death, for God, in a vast and terrible monotone, while an
elderly staff officer moved about them trying to tell them it was
worth it as we'd won" [John
Harris, Covenant With Death, quoted at
Film: They Shall Not Grow
"As [Brian Jackson] says
[the Great War] is personal to probably every family in Britain and
the Commonwealth. When I saw the change from black and white to
colour, I almost cried. And possibly somewhere in this documentary
will be a Great Uncle of mine that was killed in the support
trenches on his way to the front at the Somme, Pt Arthur Harry Drew.
We will re member them" [viewer's
"I'd love to see [this
film] ... seeing what my great uncle, Leland Stanford Westover, saw
during his time in the great war. He lied about his age only to be
K.I.A. at Vimy Ridge April 9, 1917. He was 18 when he died fighting
with the 38th Eastern Ontario Regiment of Canada"
[viewer's comment at
"Men fight for liberty
and win it with hard knocks.
Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools.
And their grandchildren are once more slaves."
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Canadian Army (1872-1918)
"[T]he foe of which John McCrae
wrote were not the people in the opposite trenches.
The foe were tyranny and dictatorship ... our soldiers knew this ...
Yes, we have indeed dropped the torch! Yes, we have indeed broken
faith with those who died and lie in Flanders Fields! ...
and yes, we will have to bear the
consequences in the years to come..."
thing there is a
season, and a time to
every purpose under the
A time to be born, and a
time to die; a time to
plant, and a time to
that which is
A time to kill, and a
time to heal; a time to
break down, and a time
to build up;
A time to weep, and a
time to laugh; a time to
mourn, and a time to
A time to cast away
stones, and a time to
gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a
time to refrain from
A time to get, and a
time to lose; a time to
keep, and a time to cast
A time to rend, and a
time to sew; a time to
keep silence, and a time
A time to love, and a
time to hate; a time of
war, and a time of
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