Saturday, November 10, 2012
WHO WILL YOU REMEMBER … Lest we forget ?… on Remembrance Sunday
For those of you who do not have this particular day in your country, here is some background.
Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day, is actually on the 11th day of the 11th month and the two minute silence that is held, is at 11am.
This was when WW1 ended and was commemorated for the first time in 1919 as a mark of respect to all that had fallen throughout the Commonwealth. Remembrance Sunday is the second Sunday of November and this year they fall on the same day. Poppies tend to be worn from about the two weeks before …these represent those that have fallen and the idea came from the poem, 'In Flanders Fields'.This flower was adopted as the emblem in 1921 by Field Marshal Douglas Haig.... the money raised through the sales, goes to ex-servicemen that need help in some way or other, through the British Legion.
When I was a child everything stopped for the two minutes …even cars in the street…and by then we were remembering those who fell in WWII and all the other conflicts that followed but now sadly it is easy to miss that there is a silence, as very little seems to halt. On the Sunday it is a different matter as, at all war memorials there will be a gathering, wreaths and poppies laid and many more try to observe the silence on that day . I would have expected more homage to our dead nowadays rather than less, as so many have been lost since the first Falklands war and - many are still dieing, every day in the conflicts that still rage.
Over the past few years there are those that want to stop this day and the wearing of poppies …it is said they feel it glorifies war and does not really apply anymore in our multicultural country. I feel that our country is free to be multicultural because of those who gave their lives and this is not a glorification of war ... it is a remembrance of those who died…rather like a funeral …but on a grand scale ..and every where at the same time making it more poignant.
A while back I created a LO to remember my mums ‘Love of her Life’….he was lost long before my father was on the scene but never forgotten by her, so I choose to remember him.
John McKelvie aged 27 is ‘buried’ in France at Prefailles along with many of his comrades …members of 98th Squadron. Aparently he has a head stone and he was on the list of those that boarded the Lancastria. This was sent to help with the evacuation of those still traped in France, after the huge evacuation of Operation Dynamo better known as The Dunkirk Evacuation. This rescue centered around St Nazaire. I read somewhere that the soldiers were displeased that the airmen were some of the first on board… safe and warm below deck, they must have thought…but when the attack occured, were probably in the line of one of the direct hits.... with little hope of survival.
Well that is some of what I have discovered …all Mum knew was that his dog tags were washed up at St Nazaire,that there was a memorial entry to him there and it was assumed he had been on the Lancastria as a fellow serviceman reported to John's family later, that he was seen running towards the ship.
This is the War Memorial in Methil, Fife ....his home town …where also he is remembered.
It was originally errected to honour those who died in the WWI and later the WWII names were added to the sides . I thought it was fitting to show the view from the memorial space too.
I also discovered recently that he had not been shot down before his evacuation by the fated Lancastria but that the squadron had been stationed in France from about April 1940. It was a volunteer reserve squadron and remained a training squadron preparing the airmen who were to be then transferred to other squadrons. They had as yet, never flown on a mission themselves, just trained those who did. As far as I know neither his family or Mum knew the details of his service … all Mum knew was he was training men and was recently promoted to sergeant … but she thought it was at an air field in England. I also don’t know whether he had served in another squadron and then been transferred to the 98th to be an instructor, as she seemed positive he had served as a rear gunner. I am glad Mum never new any of the other details about the sinking including the fact that the ship sank in 20 mins to the sound of those on board singing ’Roll out the barrel’ …and …‘There always be an England . Over 6000 were on board … only 2500 survived … and what angers me is that Operation Ariel and the sinking of the Lancastria are rarely, if ever, mentioned.
Take Care xx
UPDATE ..To day is Remeberance Sunday ..I explained a tiny bit about it to the boys as I felt they would take in what they wanted to and I was amazed that Kris wanted to watch the laying of wreaths on TV ...he stood in silence for the whole two mins .... impressive for a 5 year old and. even Robbie sat quietly with only a couple of utterences.
We managed to mix the Xmas cake too ...early this morning ....and lick the spoon ....in the words of Kris ...'awsome'.