curiouswombat: (Poppies)
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posted by [personal profile] curiouswombat at 10:31pm on 10/11/2013 under ,
Like so many others I have taken time to pause today, and remember those killed in all the conflicts of the last 100 years or so.

Both my family and S2C's were fortunate; his grandfathers both survived the 14-18 war - although one of his grandfathers fought at Gallipoli, and then lost a leg in the trenches in Europe, despite actually having enlisted in the navy, not the army.

My grandfathers also both survived that war; my maternal grandfather was called up whilst ill with Scarlet Fever, and had to go over to England despite this or be declared a deserter; he went, was so ill they thought he would die, and they discharged him as unfit within a couple of weeks. My paternal grandfather fought, as a bugler, in the Second Boer War but was in a reserved occupation in WW1 as a docker in Liverpool.

S2C's father is too young to have fought in the 39-45 war, and my father, and my uncle, both fought in it and survived, although my father was wounded and this contributed to his very early death at age 52.

However, we are still a fortunate family.

Last year, for the act of remembrance in church, I told the story of Walter. This year my sister read out the story of another young man whose name is on our church memorial.


365 week 36 Sunday

There is Walter - W.C. Cannell - he died before he reached his twentieth birthday.

In the lower group of names you can see G E Cain. We know George was baptised in our 'old' church; we know where he lived as a child and went to school; and we know he joined up, as an 18 year old, two weeks before the declaration of war in 1939. When he joined up he was 5'5" tall, had a 37" chest, and weighed 132lb. Not a big lad. But we also know he had twinkling blue eyes, a ready smile, and enjoyed a good laugh.

Like many young Manxmen who joined the British army at that time, he became part of the 15th (Isle of Man) Light Anti Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery. He found himself fighting in Crete - where his Battery was overrun by German forces in 1941 and Georgie (for that is what his family called him) was taken prisoner of war. He was sent to Stalag VIII in Silesia - this particular camp is often called 'The Infamous Stalag VIII' and life there was not good.

In fact Georgie became ill, and died in the camp in early 1942, still aged only 21.

He was no special hero - he was no different to many of the others - and that is why we should remember - for all those killed in war are someone's son, someone's brother. Just like Georgie - whose sister is one of the oldest members of our congregation.

And here is our 'field of poppies' made by some of our smallest congregation members -


Remembrance poppy field 2


Each poppy is made from two thumb prints and a little-finger print.

And some of the other poppy pictures made, by some slightly older ones, during our morning service -


Remembrance Sunday b

Mood:: 'thoughtful' thoughtful
There are 29 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
 
posted by [identity profile] slaymesoftly.livejournal.com at 10:41pm on 10/11/2013
Lovely tributes. We can only hope that we are past the point where we have wars so large and long-lasting that everyone has a family member or two who was a participant. Not that we don't still have wars, and young men (and women) are still dying, but I think WWII was that last time that there were easy to identify "bad guys" and and an internationsl effort to stop them.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 11:43pm on 10/11/2013
We did also remember those whose names are still being added to the War Memorials - and those who survive, though terribly injured, who would have died in earlier times. But, thank God, you are right about us being able to hope for no more vast, all-encompassing, wars.
 
posted by [identity profile] nutmeg3.livejournal.com at 10:47pm on 10/11/2013
What a lovely tribute. And your field of poppies is so delicate and lovely. "In Flanders fields..." always gives me goosebumps.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 11:45pm on 10/11/2013
I spoke about 'why poppies' - all to do with John McCrae's poem. Although I am not always sure about those last lines, exhorting others to come and be killed as well.

He died in one of his own field hospitals in the end. Pneumonia coupled with his life-long asthma.

 
posted by [identity profile] pondhopper.livejournal.com at 10:56pm on 10/11/2013
I love the poppy field the little ones made.
As I love how you make this day come alive for all the younger people in your church.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 11:48pm on 10/11/2013
The poppy field is really effective, isn't it? The smallest poppies were 'made' by a three year old.

We have found, since we began to have family services on Remembrance Sunday, that in making it come alive for the children it has also become more poignant and meaningful for the adults; an unexpected bonus!
 
posted by [identity profile] the-winterwitch.livejournal.com at 11:03pm on 10/11/2013
Thank you for sharing this. I wasn't aware of the day today, as it's not followed in my country. I've read about it in books, of course, but your much more personal remembrance made it real for the first time for me.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 11:51pm on 10/11/2013
I think the same day is used to commemorate the fallen in Australia and New Zealand - and possibly Canada and France too - I know they all use the symbol of the poppy.

I am really glad that the way of remembering one or two 'real' people works for you too.
 
posted by [identity profile] meaghann.livejournal.com at 01:52am on 11/11/2013
technically the official day is Nov 11 where most Commonwealth and other countries mark a minute of silence and lay wreath tributes and remember the war dead, starting with World War 1 usually. Canada has November 11th as a public holiday and we always celebrate on that exact day.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 10:10am on 11/11/2013
We also remember on Armistice Day itself - at 11am there is a two minutes silence and everything stops. Cars stop if they can, shops switch the tills off, and so on. Government employees are told that if they are on the phone at one minute to eleven they are to tell the caller that they will maintain the silence and the other person may do so with them, or have them put the phone down and ring them back.

It is very powerful.

But the official Day of Remembrance in the UK is 'The nearest Sunday to 11/11', not Armistice Day as it is in some other Commonwealth countries and European ones.

So the 92 year old Duke of Edinburgh was laying a wreath at the official Act of Remembrance in London yesterday, and at the official Act of Remembrance in Belgium today as he has flown to Ypres first thing this morning. They are tough, these elderly veterans!

I think the idea of Remembrance Day always being a Sunday is that the British Government believed that a public holiday might lead to people regarding it as a day like any other public holiday - one on which to enjoy yourself. Whereas we never speak of 'celebrating' the day, only 'keeping' it.
 
posted by [identity profile] the-winterwitch.livejournal.com at 10:59am on 11/11/2013
... and I haven't been clear with my comment above, sorry: of course we do have a Remembrance day, but not observed in a similar way. The date has been pushed to a Sunday in mid November, at the end of the Church year.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 03:42pm on 11/11/2013
That makes it quite a similarly idea to ours, but a couple of weeks later - as it will be 5 Sundays before Christmas I guess?

And, bearing in mind you other comment about 11/11 having been 'hi-jacked' by the nazi regime, it seems a good way to continue to remember all the war dead, without any particular overtones.

 
posted by [identity profile] the-winterwitch.livejournal.com at 06:02pm on 12/11/2013
Not six Sundays? *scratches head* I'm awfully bad at counting the church year, I must confess, some parts of it I can never remember in proper order.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 06:33pm on 12/11/2013
I was thinking of the four Sundays of Advent, so thinking it would be the one before.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 10:12am on 11/11/2013
I was just answering Meaghann's comment about the 'official' day - this is what I've just written explaining that, in the UK, yesterday was the official day;

We also remember on Armistice Day itself - at 11am there is a two minutes silence and everything stops. Cars stop if they can, shops switch the tills off, and so on. Government employees are told that if they are on the phone at one minute to eleven they are to tell the caller that they will maintain the silence and the other person may do so with them, or have them put the phone down and ring them back.

It is very powerful.

But the official Day of Remembrance in the UK is 'The nearest Sunday to 11/11', not Armistice Day as it is in some other Commonwealth countries and European ones.

So the 92 year old Duke of Edinburgh was laying a wreath at the official Act of Remembrance in London yesterday, and at the official Act of Remembrance in Belgium today as he has flown to Ypres first thing this morning. They are tough, these elderly veterans!

I think the idea of Remembrance Day always being a Sunday is that the British Government believed that a public holiday might lead to people regarding it as a day like any other public holiday - one on which to enjoy yourself. Whereas we never speak of 'celebrating' the day, only 'keeping' it.
 
posted by [identity profile] the-winterwitch.livejournal.com at 10:56am on 11/11/2013
Very sound reasoning about keeping it to Sunday in my opinion. What goes for Remembrance Day in Germany is also always placed on a Sunday, somewhere mid-November - next Sunday this year. But it isn't observed except for a special type of service for the church goers, and, of course, in the government with a central memorial hour and some speeches. Otherwise, it doesn't feature very prominently which has, to my knowledge, to do with the bad misuse during the Third Reich as a Hero Remembrance Day, but also with Germany losing both wars.
Having lost these wars does have a huge influence on the observation of rituals and traditions in Germany in some ways, but also on what is "allowed" to us to say and feel from other countries.

11/11 is a very important day for completely different reasons. For some, mostly in the Western part, it's the beginning of the Carnival season (something completely foreign to me), and for most with children, it's St. Martin's day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Martin%27s_Day), and the Lantern Walk organised by the kindergarten/primary school is one of the highlights of the season and even year for kids under the age of 12.
I'll be going tonight with my nieces, and entertain them with the fact that I have seen St. Martin's tomb this year on our trip to France.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 03:51pm on 11/11/2013
Having lost these wars does have a huge influence on the observation of rituals and traditions in Germany in some ways, but also on what is "allowed" to us to say and feel from other countries.

Yes - I can quite understand that. I think, at least in the past twenty years or more, that church Remembrances at least have no sense of winning or losing, but that all the dead should be remembered.

But St Martin's Day sounds like a lovely festival for the children - much more fun than candles and poppies!
 
posted by [identity profile] the-winterwitch.livejournal.com at 06:03pm on 12/11/2013
St. Martin's Day was indeed much fun, though rather chaotic. I'll try to write about it a bit, though my pics came out as crap. I forgot my camera, and taking pictures with the phone at night without flash simply didn#t work out.
 
posted by [identity profile] zanthinegirl.livejournal.com at 06:01am on 11/11/2013
I think we need to keep the memories of those young soldier alive; they seem so much more real when you know that they had blue eyes and a 37-inch chest, you know? And maybe then one day we won't have to keep carving more names on those memorials.

My dad never talked about Viet Nam, and he didn't often mention the brother who died there. I'm thinking about both of them tonight.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 10:19am on 11/11/2013
Those personal details really were bring it home, don't they?

So many young men to remember - not only those like your uncle, but also those like your dad, my day, and so on.
 
posted by [identity profile] ellynn-ithilwen.livejournal.com at 07:54am on 11/11/2013
I wish there were no wars.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 10:21am on 11/11/2013
We hope that the Remembrance helps us to be aware of the realities, to do our best to avoid it again.
 
posted by [identity profile] debris4spike.livejournal.com at 07:57am on 11/11/2013
I really love how you are remembering these men - not just as names but as people.

My mum's dad fought 1914 - 1918 in the trenches and the only reason he didn't lose both legs is that they were too busy to amputate when he came in, and a week later he had a tiny bit more feeling than where the amputation line was marked to ... so he had his reprieve, and lived to be 82.

My dad was in the Home Guard during the war, as he was ina reserved occupation in London
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 10:25am on 11/11/2013
What a fortunate man your grandfather was - clearly there had been much prayer there.

The Home Guard was most certainly no easy option, was it? To work all day and then be involved with the blitz, the doodlebugs, and so on when you were not at work.
 
posted by [identity profile] debris4spike.livejournal.com at 07:39pm on 12/11/2013
Dad loves watching Dad's Army ... but as he points out, in East London, they had Regular Army officers to do their drill etc. Where he worked he also had to do 2 nights a week fire-watching. So how much sleep he actually got during the war is questionable ... maybe that's why in his late 80's he's so tired now!
 
posted by [identity profile] engarian.livejournal.com at 02:06pm on 11/11/2013
How lovely. It is always important to remember that each soldier who serves has people behind who will mourn him/her if death comes, yet these soldiers do not hesitate to put themselves in harm's way to better our world to the best of their ability. You always give such a wonderful tribute to your slain soldiers.

- Erulisse (one L)
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 03:57pm on 11/11/2013
You always give such a wonderful tribute to your slain soldiers.

Thank you. Personalising it helps the younger ones relate - although the very young ones just like helping to paint poppies, of course. But in personalising it to help the 7-15 year olds get to grips with Remembrance, it has made it so much more real for the adults as well, we find.

I cannot remember, in the past, anyone saying to the minister "What a wonderful service, it brought a lump to my throat," when it was a solemn series of readings and hymns and a sermon. But each of the past 4 years, since we began to make it a family service, the adults make a point of saying how moved they were, or just how much it meant to them.
 
posted by [identity profile] chaotic-binky.livejournal.com at 01:27am on 12/11/2013
I love the field of poppies.
 
posted by [identity profile] curiouswombat.livejournal.com at 10:50am on 12/11/2013
It is so effective, isn't it? I found myself thinking it would look excellent as wallpaper - and then thinking that wasn't quite in the spirit of the thing!

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