“Tell them the one about the time you fell asleep while marching Reg,” my Nan would roar with laughter at the mere thought of it. My Grandad, assigned night watch over a tank-storage marched up and down past them, until the point fatigue got the better of him and he dozed while continuing to march. He wandered unwillingly to a similar storage facility which held no tanks. When he awoke he turned around to see the empty hold, he panicked, believing the tanks had been stolen and he was in serious dire straits!
It’s one of many stories told to us kids, the most amusing part was that while my Nan requested the story, as usual, before he completed the first paragraph of the tale in all its finer detail, which was his way, my Nan would interrupt him and blather out the story her way.
After my Nan passed, he’d have a free run of storytelling without interruptions, and if you prompted him he’d tell this one, and many others. Stories I will pass down, but will never be quite the same, coming direct from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. It’s a wonder to imagine if the tales I tell them now will filter down to their children, being of a Great Grandad they vaguely recall themselves.
It’s a concern these, often amusing, but always light-hearted tales of war will be lost in time, that people will forget what these young men done, and all the tribulations of surviving the era on the home front too. Despite the slogan, “least we forget,” time wears these events thinner, as the population able to tell them first-hand sadly do too.
However, check this here photo montage of great images of Remembrance Services and tributes locally happening Sunday, I think it’s wonderful to see how popular it still is.
Thank you all, for allowing me to share them here, Alan Carter of Devizes Heritage, Amanda Attwood (Devizes Issue) Melksham FC, Marlborough Town Council, Southbroom School, Moonraker Bears, Devizes Scooter Club, and Gail Foster the beautiful poem below.
If you’ve some you like me to add to this, let me know!
Lest we Forget
THEY NEVER WENT TO WAR
They never went to war; they stayed at home
The young, the old, the unwell and the dead
The women who were not allowed to roam
The men who tilled the fields and baked the bread
Those sat in darkness waiting for the rap
Of letterbox, and soft white feather fall
The silence broken by a dripping tap
Dark shadows cast by street lamps on the wall
The little lads who ran behind the train
That took their fathers off to certain death
Who waved until their arms ached in the rain
Who ran until their lungs ran out of breath
Old men who yearned for youth; just one more chance
To feel the blood flow, hear the battle cry
To wear the uniform and take a stance
To stand with other men, to fight and die
The crippled and the mad, the deaf, the blind
Escaped the fate of many thousand men
Some angry that they had been left behind
Some thankful that they’d never fight again
Women, who with their sleeves rolled ploughed the land
Lit candles, raised the children, hid their tears
Made ammunitions with a careful hand
Kept watch and saved the night time for their fears
So many stayed at home, and stayed alive
And suffered pain and loss, regret and guilt
That they were left, that they were to survive
Within the house such sacrifice had built
Their many names are not inscribed on stone
Those sorrowed souls, so haunted by war’s ghost
Were left to stand and mourn the dead alone
Listening to the trumpet sound the post