Today is of course the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War. When I was a child, this conflict was still very much part of living memory and both my grandfathers fought in the trenches. I never knew my father’s father – though I know he was wounded and always walked with a limp as part of his foot had been shot off.
I adored my mother’s father – my Granddad. He was captured in 1916 and held as a prisoner of war, though my grandmother didn’t know he was alive until the war ended and he came home again, as he was simply posted as “missing.” I can only begin to imagine the joy she must have felt on his return. He gave her a tiny silver heart that he’d kept all through that time which she wore on a bracelet for many years – and this year I stitched it into the inside of Rosie’s wedding dress to bring her and Dan good luck.
So in honour of my grandparents whose lives were affected by this terrible conflict, and all the others of their generation, I’m posting this well-known poem by John McCrae today and will be switching off my lights at 11 pm tonight.