For Remembrance Day - November 11th 2016

My Grandfather ( my PopPop) fought, as a foot soldier in the British Army, in World War 1........As a child I used to ask him "PopPop, what was it like to have to kill someone?".....


His answer still touches me to this day, and it was this... 
"Well, Trish....when the enemy was a mile away it was easy...they were only soldiers from the other side....figures trained to attack us and it was easy.  
However, when the combat was hand to hand and we could see that they were men, husbands, fathers, sons, the same as us....it became more difficult.....more real".  

Then PopPop would become quiet and thoughtful while we sat together.  He remembering, with regret. Myself, the child, trying to picture this gentle man having to kill another human being so that my generation could be free.  It wasn't easy and I don't think my childish mind could fully understand. 

As an adult, though, I will be eternally grateful to all the men and women who died so that the world would be a better place. 

Lest We Forget   
 
"The Big War", 'The Great War""The War To End All Wars"  it was called.  We only wish that it had been just that. 

However, with greed, envy and domination still being a strong trait of humankind, we suffer, daily, news of wars large and small around the globe.
 

Every battle appears to have a reason, religion , politics or gain...and  most times all three.Yet always it is the innocent who die, and not the 'leaders' who whip their followers into a frenzy.
 

If our 'elders are watching' they must indeed be saddened at the continuing brutality and cruelty witnessed daily all over our world. 

Why did they bother to fight for freedoms?  To give  their descendants a kinder and safer world.  One would think their sacrifices would be appreciated...but, in fact, it seems they are almost forgotten. 
I wish, with all my heart, that our young people would be taught to respect our War Vets for the sacrifices they made.
I wish, with all my heart, that our young people would be taught that our freedoms are not to be taken lightly.
I wish, with all my heart, that one day the peace our War Vets fought for (in any war) comes to this world and the deaths of thousands was not in vain.
Wouldn't that be lovely?
Here is a poem written by Harry W. Hollier (my Grandfather) about a particular event, which he experienced, in the big war.  
REMEMBRANCE DAY by Harry W. Hollier

Remembrance day? 
Just what can we remember?  
That time in 1914, 
August and September 
At Mons; 
The order to retreat, 
The endless feet. 
The marching 
Through the day, 
To night, 
Then a halt, 
But not to rest, 
But fight: 
To drive the Huns away, 
Or give them best. 
Day follows night, 
As moon follows sun, 
but, outnumbered 
Ten to one, 
We had to run, 
Or be encircled. 
Bullents whining. 
Shells exploding. 
The swish 
Of endless feet on grit. 
Sleepless, 
Foodless, 
Impossible to spit, 
No singing........ 
Order of the day.... 
No band 
To help us on our way: 
Signposts, 
Metres, 
Towns, 
But no rest there, 
Or bells to greet us...... 
Only poisoned wells! 
The "Greys"? 
We saw some.... 
Looking more like hacks. 
Bespattered, 
Limping, 
With wounded men across their backs. 
They'd saved us 
Once again, 
From more attacks. 
   

Hours, days, and miles just pass away and leave the mess 
Of dead and wounded, 
That make our numbers less. 
Thoughts in all our minds of "what's it worth? 
To keep a place on God's good earth." 
For others just to squander 
While we just lick our wounds.. 
And wonder? 
We struggle on , and , nearing every bend, 
Think of what's around it....... 
Perhaps the end? 
But no.. 
The picture as before, 
And more. 
The Hussar, scouting, rides across the fields, 
And, through the hedge he drives. 
Reports... 
And, once again... 
We're fighting for our lives. 
Weary and worn, 
Though badly battered, 
We drive them back ....and then 
Can only scatter, 
Form up again, 
Then...on and on, 
With swollen feet, and legs near gone. 
With bodies wracked, 
The spirit's all that's left intact. 
Through village, town and city...cobbled. 
Yet still we hobbled 
On & on 'til they were gone. 
Then, trees and hedges once again, 
And rain, 
And pain. 
Then sun and dust.  

. But on we must. 
We have one aim... 
Outspeed them, 
Fox them, 
Lead them on, 
Until we're ready to attack, 
And make the kill. 
The time must come, 
But shall we still be fit, 
To make a hit, 
When that time comes?Two hundred miles and more 
We march, 
Before, 
Sore and soaking wet, 
We yield to sleep, 
At last, 
In open field. 
Roused again, 
Before the light of day, 
Once more... 
We are on our way. 
But things are different now... 
We're going BACK!! 
The marching's over, 
Now for the attack. 
We've slept. 
We've eaten. 
Now we'll show them 
We're not beaten. 
This is the Marne, 
And still, 
With odds the same, 
We WIN the game. 
And soon we are among them, 
Bayonets out, 
Bodies lying all about, 
Wounded, dead and dying all around; 
And still, 
We're bent on killing more... 
No Sentiment..
 
 
 
 
 
      

Our task is over, 
And we've won..... 
Yet, we have only just begun. 
On to the Aisne, 
And, once again 
The fight goes on; 
But from that day on we know, 
That reinforcement's on the way 
And we must hold these Germans, 
Come what may. 
Our numbers growing less and less, 
Yet still we hold, 
Until we get relief. 
Then.. 
We are told... 
And only then.. 
Our job is done! 

"Heroes all" 
The General said. 
and "honoured you shall be." 
And yet, 
When all was said and done, 
What honours did we get? 
Not one! 
 
 
 
 
       But No.....
..
The Kaiser..
Unbeknownst.
Bestowed upon us,

For our very own...

The nom - de- plume....
..'CONTEMPTIBLES'!