A Victorious Innings

I happened to be watching UKTV History (Yesterday as now named) today and noted a programme about the Last Tommy: the surviving soldiers from the trenches of WW1. One of those featured was Harry Patch, who died today (aged 111) * less than a week after succeeding another veteran, Henry Allingham, as Britain's oldest man. Seems ironic that the TV documentary - made in 2005 by the BBC -had already been scheduled for the day of his death.

Harry, as his close friend says,

  • "He was a man of peace who used his great age and fame as the last survivor of the trenches to communicate two simple messages: remember with gratitude and respect those who served on all sides; settle disputes by discussion, not war."
I still have my grandfather's First World War medals; he never wore them, but they remained in safe-keeping and are a constant reminder of the brutality of war, the futility and bravery; the need to reflect on prejudice based on nationality and difference.

Never forget.

(*111 is seen as unlucky as a cricket score and is sometimes known as a Nelson)