Tuesday, 11 November 2008


Ninety years ago today at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month the guns were silenced after four cruel years.
Today at the Cenotaph in London, three old men in wheel chairs sat and watched the tribute to the fallen of all wars since 1918.
They were three of the four remaining survivors from the Great War, the war to end all wars.
The eldest Henry Allingham is 112 years old and he tried to stand to salute his fallen comrades. He was one of the first men in the RAF. The other two gentleman there, youngest being 108 years old, and I'm ashamed to say I don't know their names represented the Royal Navy, in that the one gentleman had fought in both wars in the navy. And the final member of this trio is the only man alive left who fought in trench warfare in Northern France. All of them were wearing their medals. And each of them had a representative of the forces who had returned from Iraq or Afghanistan to represent them to place their wreaths.
So it goes on, will those three serving personnel be at the Cenotaph in 90 years remembering their lost comrades from today's wars?
Just outside Ypres, is Tyne Cot, the biggest Commonwealth Cemetery in the world. In the memorial building there is a continuous loop of film that shows a picture with his name and age being said of every single man that fell in the conflicts that took place over the four years around Ypres.
Today on Lost Here and Beyond, Walker's site he has put up such a list of the Canadian fallen, it is a shocking testament of the futility of war that is happening right now in our world.
When will we realise we only have one world and that all the dead our someone's son, brother, husband, uncle and that it is a waste, whatever nationality or creed they are.


Lori ann said...

This makes me so sad but Its a necessary reminder and you did a good job telling it fb, pray for peace.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

What a touching, disturbing and wonderful post, Fire Byrd. To think that there are those still with us, who fought all those years ago, and to think the world does them the disservice of making the same mistakes over and over and over again. We should learn from history, but it seems we never do.
Thank you for this post.

Julie (VV) said...

Appreciated. We're in between TV's at the moment so didn't catch any of this live this year. Brings it home focussing on the three survivors.

Did you visit Tyne Cot - we've been to Ypres and the Somme. Staggering that the farmers are still reaping the 'Iron Harvest' from the fields after all these years.

Fire Byrd said...

Thanks Lori, and I do pray for it.

AVit troubles me so much that we don't seem to learn, and I don't know how we ever will.

Julie, been to both. In fact in Arras this year I found my great uncles name, almost next door to my friend who I was with. We have been friends for 15 years. She from Manchester and me from Staffordshire and those two regiments are either side of the main entrance. It was a very poignant moment for both of us.

Rae!xx said...

Thanks for a lovely and poignant post Byrd..xx

justme said...

I was in tears this evening watching the news......as I was when I visited some of the battlefields in france. I will not forget.
Could anyone with children forget?

CAMILLA said...

Thank you for sharing this very touching poignant post with us.

It is incredible to think that these three survivors of the War are still here today. I did go to Church on Sunday as a mark of respect to those men and women who died for our country so that we may live on. I also prayed that we may have Peace one day.


Walker said...

I spent years working as a cleaner in many government buildings in my life and have had the pleasure of sitting down and speaking to many of the commissionairs working security after hours.
Many were WWII and Korean Vets with a couple of Vietnam vets.
I heard many stories that saddened me but when you looked into their eyes as they talked about their fallen comrades so see the love they had for those men.
Sharing life and death together in that way bonded them together as if they had been born from the same womb.
Great post and always have time tio sit and listen to a Vet for they will help you remember the cost of our freedom

Walker said...

My finger is fast on the trigger.
Thank you fior mentioning my post and helping remeber our fallen in Afganastan

Mel said...

Thank you.....what a sad, loving tribute....

Sorrow said...

was remembering your stories from last year...
was thinking about all those whom you help that have been through the war, or wars.
Thank you for being there for them too.
and thanks to them who do what they do...

Fire Byrd said...

raexx thanks hon.

justme, makes me cry too.

camilla, peace would definately be good

walker, it is good to take the time out to listen,and so easy to dismiss the vets as just annoying.

mel,I am to please, m'am

sorrow, I only get to do the stuff I do cause I have friends like you behind me.

Angela said...

These very old veterans from the big first world war were on the front page of our newspapers in Germany too! After so many years one wonders what all this fighting was for - so many young hopeful men dying for what? We were on different sides (if we had lived then), Fire Byrd, and we can be friends now! Does that not give us hope?! (The word for verification says eletata, doesn`t that sound just right?)

The Dotterel said...

Harry Patch is the name of the veteran of the Western Front. And what a character!

Fire Byrd said...

Angela, that is without doubt the best comment on this post. To be able to acknowledge that once we would have been enemies and can now be friends, yes it does give us all hope. And I gladly accept and am thankful for your friendship.

tim, thanks for that, just need to find he name of the the third gentleman now and it will be sorted.