They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
These haunting words from Lawrence Binyon's poem "For the Fallen" have focussed my thoughts on each occasion I've heard them. Previous generations of my family, on both Mum and Dad's side, have strong links with the military and the two "Great Wars". In these modern times I have many friends and colleagues who were once themselves in the armed services, The Falkland's, or now have loved ones (usually children) actively involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would seem that, as a species, we've learnt nothing from these individual sacrifices?
I am the proud keeper of my Great Uncle Joe Lawrence's WW1 medals. Affectionately known as "Pip, Squeak & Wilfred" they have no monetary value but, instead, are priceless family links with our past. I have recently started to research Joe's service history, not particularly successful as yet. My sister-in-law Yve has joined in and is using the British Legion as a resource (she's a member of some web group?)
Joe served as part of The Royal Field Artillery - 137th Battery (according to his "Active Service" book). I have one photo of him, with his fellow soldiers, at Kilworth Camp in 1917. I don't know which of the guys is him, or where, indeed, Kilworth Camp is (SW Ireland - County Cork according to Google!). As best I can decipher - the inscription along the base of the image reads "C sub, 3rd sec, 65th DAC, Kilworth Camp 1917"
|The reverse side of Joe's medals. Even with his service number and regiment, I haven't been |
able to discover much about his military career.