Remembering 1914

Part of the point of commemorating the hundredth anniversary of a war is the certainty that nobody who served in it will still be alive.  It is the point at which, definitively, that war has passed from direct into reported experience; history that can be turned into mythology, without the inconvenience of spontaneous testimony from […]

Selling Wootton Bassett short

It has been announced that Wootton Bassett will henceforth be known as “Royal”, like Tunbridge Wells and Leamington Spa.  The decision was apparently taken in response to a personal initiative by David Cameron, and, we are told, recognises the vigils undertaken by people in the town as the bodies of British soldiers were repatriated after […]

Lest we remember …

My grandmother was born in 1906, the youngest of thirteen children.  Three of her brothers were killed in the First World War.  She was not a woman who was tolerant of establishment hypocrisy and sonorous banalities about “our glorious dead” were apt to bring a contemptuous snort from her.  The fact that, nearly a hundred […]