In our school hall, we have a plaque with the names of the old boys who were killed in World War One. Just an initial and a surname. So I have been working with Year Six to find out from census and military records who were these young men.
We presented our findings in a Remembrance assembly today. We are a small school now and were even smaller then. Nevertheless the war – and the idiots who let it happen – took twenty eight of these young men’s lives.
There are tales of only children being killed. A boy of fifteen who must have blagged his way in. A father of three young children, including a baby.
One story particularly resonates. A lad of seventeen joined up with his older brother, only to be discharged a month later because, according to the medical papers, he kept wetting himself at night. Imagine the embarrassment! A couple of months later, he tried to join up again, changing his middle name and claiming not to have been in the army before. The following day, he was sent home again for being incontinent, and yet again discharged. The next time we hear of him is in July 1916 when he is killed at the Somme, two days before his brother.
It certainly throws having a bit of a shake into perspective.
Not a jolly post. Cheer yourself up with my favourite You Tube clip at the moment: Paw de Deux