Posted in Personal life, Writing

For Remembrance Day

Lest we forget
cover of Hawkesbury At War by Simon Bendry
A moving tribute by a fellow villager (click image for more information about this important book)

I’m lucky enough to live in a village with a profound sense of community, and never is it more strongly visible than on Remembrance Sunday.

On Remembrance Sunday, villagers come together to process down the High Street from the former Hawkesbury Hospital Hall (built to nurse injured soldiers in wartime) to the war memorial on the Plain (our village green) at the centre of our village. All local groups are involved, either in laying wreaths at the service or taking part in services in school or in church or in one of our two chapels.

I don’t remember this degree of commemoration when I was my daughter’s age, living in suburbia in the 1960s.

Perhaps the war was still too close for my parents’ and grandparent’s generation – they wanted to forget. Although it’s now so much longer since the end of the Second World War, I feel much more conscious of it now.

Cover of Murder in the Manger
This Christmas special includes commemorations on Remembrance Day

For this reason, and slightly to my surprise, I found myself writing it into the Christmas special of my latest cosy mystery novel, Murder in the Manger, whose timeline runs from 6th November to the week before Christmas.

My Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries are essentially comedies, but there’s always at least one serious, and, I hope, moving scene. One such scene that I found myself writing in Murder in the Manger takes place on Armistice Day (11th November) in the village school, in which villagers join the children in the village school. During a short service of commemoration, the children recite the names on the war memorial, many of whom, as in Hawkesbury Upton, are still represented in the village by their descendants (Chapter 13 We Will Remember Them). It also draws the reader up to consider who in their acquaintance would be called up to fight should there ever be another such war. (Chapter 14 We Can Be Heroes)

I know that is something I consider every year, as I stand quietly at our war memorial during the service there, observing the young men and women in the crowd who would be sent to fight, or who would not have long to wait for their call-up papers. My daughter, her friends, and her peers.

This small episode in my novel is my small tribute to those that sacrificed their lives in both World Wars and to their bereaved families and all those who loved them, not just in Hawkesbury Upton, but all around the world.

We shall remember them.

poppy field image in public domain

Author:

Optimistic author, blogger, journalist, book reviewer and public speaker whose life revolves around books. Her first love is writing fiction, including the new Sophie Sayers Village Mystery novels (out 2017), short stories and essays inspired by her life in an English village. She also writes how-to books for authors and books about living with Type 1 diabetes. She is Author Advice Centre Editor and and UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) Advice Centre blog, an ambassador for the children's reading charity Readathon, and an official speaker for the diabetes research charity JDRF.

3 thoughts on “For Remembrance Day

  1. You are possibly right that our parents & grandparents (some had lived through 2 ‘world wars’) did not want to ‘remember’ in local group activities, but I remember that the Cenotaph service was always heard on the radio, with a very reverent and subdued attitude. They did not talk about their experiences … it was too raw and too complicated. My youngestUncle had been bombing Germany on this 21st birthday. Not something you want to think about – and he only told his children during his last illness, and they told us a few year later. My Dad was obviously very proud of his ‘men’ when he was a in anti-aircraft on the south coast, but again, there was nothing else about the war, just the odd remark if a photo appeared during family de-cluttering. I think the Wars changed people and brought to end the lovely freedom and fun they were having as young adults. Some leaving University and straight into military training, and if they survived, into a ‘re-building the country’ type job instead of, for example, becoming a professional musician (my youngest uncle). SO … it is up to us to ‘remember’ and maybe to keep on working to make the world a more peaceful and generous place (which it certainly still resists being …) … Oh, and in World War One, I n ever even had heard of anyone who was killed, until I did Family HIStory research, and discovered 2 families shattered by the loss of eldest sons … so today I shall be thinking of Bryant Yorke Lodge and Louis Feaveryear … nephew and cousin to my 2 grandmothers. Ad writing this has made me cry (a rare thing) … the echos of war … Debbie, I’m going to post this on my FB page hope that is okay – I was going to write it later but seems I’ve written the basics of it now …thank you for eloquently raising the subject here …

    1. Thank you, Clare, for your long, thoughtful and heartfelt comment. I’m sure you’re right that people kept their silence on things too painful to share. There must be so much that we never heard and never will now, and it’s crucial that we keep remembering, commemorating and respecting.

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