No day in British history can be as dreadul as the first day of the Somme. I cannot imagine the fear and the horror of it. Last night’s service at Westminster Abbey was memorable for the words of Jocylyn Buxton, a 20 year old, with more poetry and truthfulness in his words, than I could ever aspire to. Jocylyn Buxton
My husband’s grandfather was there, also a 2nd lieutenant, and so was his brother. Bruce died 8 years later from the effect of gas poisoning. Grandpa Stanley, was luckier, shot in the head, he somehow survived, living into his late 80s. A brave man, although a stranger to his children, he disappeared in 1939, reappearing in the mid 1950s. Just before his death, we learnt he had been a member of American Intelligence, working behind Japanese lines, as a coast watcher in Indonesia. We did not believe him until he showed us his CIA membership card.
Let’s celebrate the life of these men who saw the very worst of times in Gallipoli and the Western Front.