Lest We Forget

Posted at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, one hundred years on.

Words are largely superfluous. Here, with minimal captioning, are some relics and memorials of the ‘war to end all wars’, encountered during my travels over the years.

The naval cemetery, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney
The spark: the bloodstained uniform of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, on display in Vienna’s military museum.
The grave of Idwal Humphreys at Box Cemetery in my home town of Llanelli. Only son of a crowned bard of Wales, he died a few hours after repatriation from being a prisoner of war in Germany; a reminder that for many families, the tragedies did not end on 11 November 1918. 
In a corner of the churchyard of the ruined Catholic church of Killycarvan, County Donegal, lie three seamen from HMS Magic, who all perished in April 1918; one from Yorkshire, one from Plymouth, one from County Cork.
Thorington church, Suffolk: the original wooden grave marker of Second Lieutenant Alfred Bence-Trower, Scots Guards. His brother Edward, ten years younger but the senior officer (a major), was killed on the following day. 
The lonely, but splendidly sited, grave of an unknown sailor of the First World War: Aberdaron, Llyn peninsula, north Wales
Lyness naval cemetery: a Zoroastrian and a Muslim seaman buried side by side
The vast military cemetery at Saint-Sever, Rouen, with my wreath at the grave of my great-uncle David Jones
They also served: women of the Llanelli shell factory, with my grandmother last but one in ascending order of height
Although this year, the focus of remembrance is, naturally, even more on the First World War than usual, it’s important not to forget all those who perished in other conflicts, including earlier ones. An evocative memorial in Mylor churchyard, Cornwall.
Finally, a reminder that war has two sides, and tragedy has no borders: the war memorial in Trnava, Slovakia, to those from the town who were killed fighting for the Austro-Hungarian empire. Poignantly in the light of later history, many of the names on it are Jewish.

2 Comments

  1. Aurora Raby says:

    A very salutary tribute to those’ordinary’ men and women

    Like

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