We’ve been thinking a lot about World War One this month, and looking at all the different ways there are to remember and commemorate. Sheldon has looked at the lives of some notable people that lived, worked and fought during WW1, as well as some striking cenotaphs and war memorials that can be found in the UK. We’ve also seen some examples of propaganda posters that were used at the time and read some letters from men who went to the front, who wrote to their families back home. Some died and some survived. I’ve been talking to people about WW1 a lot this month, as well as reading what I can and collecting anything that might be interesting for Cemetery Club.
Below is a collection of all the things that haven’t fit into any of our posts this month, but that are too interesting to discard. I hope you find something interesting. Leave us a comment and let us know how you’ve been remember World War One this month.
I spoke to my Dad after he read my review of the newly opened Imperial War Museum and it’s exhibitions of WW1. He said ‘your Grandpa was born during World War One you know’ and I said that I had vaguely known that.
‘He was born in 1917. He claimed it was in the middle of a zeppelin raid, but he liked to embellish things’.
An example of a field service postcard from 1914-1918, collected at The Imperial War Museum, July 2014.
A Field Service Postcard was a short letter that allowed soldiers to delete as appropriate from a set of pre-printed messages and proved a quick and effective way of letting their families back home know that they were safe, and the state of their health.
In 1916, 7.5 million items of mail were received by British soldiers per week, and 5 million sent home. Many of these items would have been Field Service Postcards.
A slightly wonky cross stitch memorial, by me. August 2014
My Dad lent me a book. It’s an old book and so I handled it with care (in fact, it’s a 1929 edition and it smells great! I handled it with a lot of care). It’s the diary of a writer who was called up for military service in 1916. It’s a compelling read that is often beautiful and sometimes shocking. Below is an extract that I found particularly poignant.
‘I decided to go for a solitary walk. I left the camp and strolled up a hill from where I could get a fine view of the surrounding country.
I gazed in an eastward direction. All the snow had melted, the fields, the bare trees and hedges, were steeped in warm sunlight. In the distance there was a gentle slope crowned by a long line of poplars.
Beyond the poplars, about eight miles away, there was something I did not see, although I knew it was there – a stupid, terrible, and uncouth monster that stretched in a zigzag winding course from the North Sea to the Alps. It was strangely silent at that hour, but I was fascinated by it and thought about it harder and harder, in spite of myself. I became increasingly conscious of it, and it grew upon me until it seemed to crush and darken everything beneath it’s intolerable weight.’
– from Combed Out by F. A. Voigt