Monday, November 11, 2013

Armistice Day

Ninety five years ago today, the First World War came to an end.  Eighty four years ago - to the day - the writer of this postcard died.  This was my grandfather - my father's father, who died when my father was four (and Don, his elder brother, seven), of pneumonia: his lungs were weakened - or so I was always told - by the gassing he'd received during WW1.  But was it in this battle?  Which battle was this?  I think it may have been part of the failed offensive in Champagne - but that's the result of only a cursory on-line newspaper search.  It wasn't one of the Big Battles, I don't think - which makes this postcard the more poignant (I've selected it from several that I possess, and which are very dear to me).  "D.G.." it reads - Dear Gladys - his girlfriend, my grandmother - "Just a line to inform you I have come thro' the night safely.  No doubt you have read about it in the papers.  'Twas awful.  Hope all are in the best of health as it leaves your devoted J. [Joe].  Love and x."  The understatement of wartime correspondence (of course, anything more revealing would have been censored).  And the other side?  A French postcard of a very demure nurse.

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