Sunday, 9 November 2008

Remembrance day

Today being Remembrance Sunday we honour the millions who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2. This morning I was reading an article about Clara Woodroffe, the mother who lost three of her sons on the battlefields of World War One. Only one of Clara's four sons survived because he was too old to fight. Her youngest son Sidney sent this letter to his mother from the trenches.
"Dearest Mother. Here we are in the jolly old trenches !. Thank goodness we are getting out of them tomorrow night . That will make nine jolly days of it, thanks very much. For one thing I shan't mind getting my boots off and changing my socks!.
"Hooray too for a wash all over in ( possibly!) warm water. I should like to go to a nice farm well away from the sound of guns and racket and miles away from this ghastly gas ".
Sidney never made it home he was 19 .
Clara's second youngest Kenneth 22 sent this letter dated Boxing Day 1914.
" I am in a billet which is the only room left in a completely shattered village about 900 yards behind the trenches. Really mother, you people in England should just see what all this means. The church is in ruins, graves are blown up, the school is blown down and you can see the desks
and books standing all ready for lessons. I had my first wash this morning since last Sunday. Everything is plastered in mud, I wonder if you would recognise me if I came home now, I doubt it".
Kenneth was killed during the Battle of Aubers Ridge.
Poignant letters that must have been extremely hard and upsetting for their mum to read.

Conditions in the trenches were said to be that bad that during floods the soldiers were shoulder deep in water
These two boys graves were never found along with 359,150 others whose battlefield graves were lost in further fighting. A total of 658,700 British serviceman lost their lives in World War One alone.
Clara's other son Leslie lies in a grave in France. All the boys received honours. Sidney the Victoria Cross, Leslie the Military Cross and Kenneth was Mentioned in Dispatches.
Clara lived till she was 89, a tough lady who suffered terrible grief but who it was said took some comfort from the medals of her boys.

On Tuesday we have Remembrance Day again for those who are honoured in both the 'Great War' and the 'Total War'.

OK I know Life has to go and until Tuesday I will stop talking about War.
In Tomorrow's blog I will talk about the 'standard' Sunday and car boot madness but for now it's
Roast Beef, Yorkshire Puds, Roasties, mash, a few veggies and lots of gravy. Followed by sticky Toffee Pudding. Then it's Bond, James Bond, about £15 worth of plastic pick & mix, and a few litres of flat coke. If anyone throws popcorn I am liable to snap!.


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