One hundred years on from the dawn of the Great War, we remember those who gave their lives to maintain the freedom that we are privileged to enjoy in 2014.

In memory of those who lay down their lives, below is John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields”, written following the death of Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, a young Canadian artillery officer who was killed on the 2nd May 1915 in the Second Battle of Ypres.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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The Last Post

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.

Comments 11

  1. A horrific event in the lives of British, Commonwealth, US and other allies as well as those foes who were conscripted to fight. Near to where I live is the infamous River Kwai bridge (it’s steel on concrete the movie version was the temporary wooden one made to carry supplies across the river for line work further north, in the equally infamous Hell Fire Pass). Around 180,000 Asian workers were forced to labour alongside 60,000 POWs most of whom were captured on the surrender of Singapore 13 days after I was born! 90,000 Asian civilian labourers died as well as 12,399 POWs – including 6,318 British, 2,815 Australians, 2,490 Dutch, about 365 Americans and 20 Commonwealth POWs.
    Of particular significance to me as an ex-Para is the 70th anniversary of the unsuccessful Operation Market Garden to capture the Rhine Bridges between Eidhoven and Nijmegen that resulted in severe loss of life.

  2. The pictures of nearly 900k porcelain poppies in London are absolutely amazing a fantastic way to commemorate the day I just hope future generations keep up the tradition of remembrance sunday sadly I feel as time goes on it will get forgotten and be consigned to the history books.

  3. Clive

    Yes, I visited Kanchanaburi in 2004. The cemeteries full of allied servicemen is a sobering sight. Also all the Asian civilians and servicemen who died. I got to see some of the caves a long the “Death Railway” where many a poor victim was left to waste away and die.

  4. l found out my dad was on the shipping convoys and thats how he was able to stay in this country after the war ,

    Prox my e-mail is jemmelectrical@yahoo.co.uk,
    on a job over northfield l went in to isolate the power as the person had done a runner , but l found some magazines which were IRA related and one was about KJ but l gave them to a mate who was irish as he was just interested in it but told me if the police ever found them you’d be nicked , l have mentioned him on here when commenting on jobs with Frem, “TC” l will ask if he still has them ,
    hope that film isnt the one where the americans claimed to have got the enigma box ..lol
    steamer will pick you up to go watch Jessie at about 6-30 , and do you know where the three tuns pub is mate ,
    runtins will have a go at the dropbox today mate ,cheers also my nephew has been signed up to BAMMA for 5 fights and his first fight will be at wolverhampton civic in february , one is bound to be down London so will keep you up to date mate ,

    all the best ALL

    Jenny xxx and did you brick the squirrel , me and steamer had a chat about it , and l can drop you my gun down , its used for stag hunting (not that ld ever shoot such a beautiful beast ) , mind we could go and practice on sww , you’d never miss that lump , xxxx

  5. The first thing you saw when you went into my Nan’s lounge was a large photo / picture of her eldest son , Ernest Anthony In his Air Force uniform hanging over the fireplace . It had a poppie attached to the top of it all year round . I thought this was strange as a child and anything to do with the war was so far removed to be of no interest.

    Ernie was killed aged 24 over Berlin . Tragically . he’d survived right up until the end of the war – but as rear gunner was the first to get the hit.
    Only two more months and he would have lived as the war would be over.

    I have the letter from the war office informing my nan and grandad that he was lost missing in action – with an explanation of what that meant . I also have letters from people in London , who were obviously in similar positions with their men folk lost , and were trying to get more information , never giving up hope that they may be found .

    But when the war ended my nan got a knock at the door and two of the other crew in his plane on that fateful night came to tell her that he was killed out right but didn’t suffer. They also told her that the pilot refused to bail out – he went down with his plane and Ernie.

    Remembrance Day was an important date in the year for my Nan. She used to put a notice in the Evening Mail every year . And then when I was eleven , my nan , my mom and I travelled by boat to Holland then across Eastern Germany to get to Berlin – so that nan could see Ernie’s grave .

    What a sobering visit that was , seeing miles and miles of gravestones of young men , all like Ernie , cut off in their prime .

    My nan was in her seventies at the time and had never been abroad before – and was never to again . It was a strange trip and I didn’t really understand it .

    .It is only with age that I understand why my nan had to make this journey. I remember her saying that she had fulfilled her life’s ambition, to see her son’s grave.

    I have inherited the letters that Ernie wrote to man and grandad , preserved all this time , and will be passed onto my girls. Letters he wrote whilst he was stationed at various bases . It is only through reading this young man’s uncomplaining , incredibly resolute and brave responses to a terrifying ordeal , that I have come to appreciate what those poor young men went through .

    Being in a c**k pit so small you couldn’t move , always in pitch black dark not knowing whether you would come back alive – and most of the time not knowing when your next run would take place . It is impossible to understand how on earth they got through this / night after night .

    That is my family war experience – and I’m sure there are similar heroes in every family – regardless of the political or moral rationale behind war : they endured what no man should have to endure . I hope their sacrifice is never forgotten .

  6. Steamer 75 –
    🙂 thanks fur the offer of the gun – I’ve been firing apples out the window – and running out with my banshee scream. No squirrels seen round the bird feeders today – but lots of green finches this morning .
    Hope you enjoyed UB40 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  7. jenny
    my gran had a stroke while delivering my uncle jack , and lost her speech , my mom told me that they went to the pictures and during the Pathe News showing the war around the world , they were showing the troops abroad and she saw her son Reuben and stood up and shouted his name out pointing , my mom kept telling her to say it again but she couldnt ,she never regained her speech , my uncle never spoke of the war like a lot of the people who fought ,

    ub40 , ha! they sang about 6 ub40 (4 old reggae remakes) then specials , selecter, the beat ect , had a good laff with the lads though , and my legs ache , l really shouldnt have showed these 2 young girls my northern soul moves , xxxx

  8. all very touching still cannot believe the bottle of all these guys to walk straight at a machine gun knowing you are going to kop it still we where commanded by fools who when you weigh it all up could not run a p*ss up in a brewery . i my self went to the Somme to se the graves of my late nan,s two brothers who where killed on the first day her other brother had already been killed at Yyreps and is one of the names on the mennin gate where the last post is still played every night at 6 i have the three of there sets of medals it was so moving to see where there lay

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