Moving article in Herald today
Ninety years to forget, but his bloody war lives on
We visited Ypres in May so it is fresh in my mind
"His membership of that steadily dwindling band of veterans of the war to end all wars has earned him audiences with the Queen and the French Legion d'honneur. A few years ago he was taken to meet a German veteran who had fought opposite him in Flanders. "Nice old chap. A pacifist. Same as me. Why did they suffer, those millions of men?"
The afternoon is wearing on and Patch is tired. He pauses to listen to the children playing. What does it feel like to be the last of those millions, that army of ghosts? "I don't like it," he says. "I sit there and think. And some nights I dream - of that first battle. I can't forget it.
"I fell in a trench. There was a fella there. He must have been about our age. He was ripped shoulder to waist with shrapnel. I held his hand for the last 60 seconds of his life. He only said one word: 'Mother'. I didn't see her, but she was there. No doubt about it. He passed from this life into the next, and it felt as if I was in God's presence.
"I've never got over it. You never forget it. Never."
Also a comment in the movie :”History Boys” seen this week that all the memorials to the dead of the First World War were to salve the consciences of those who started that dreadful unnecessary war. Pity some of our politicians today still do not understand that war solves nothing.
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