Finally

Researching the War Memorial has been a rewarding and humbling experience.  Without exception everyone has been very helpful and supportive, particularly the relatives of the servicemen.

For half my life I've walked past the monument with barely a glance but now feel privileged to know their names and just a little of their stories.


Broken men came back from the Great War.  One lost his sight, another his leg, others were also disabled and many faced the nightmares that waited in their dreams.  Those who fought in the Great War could only talk to other veterans about their experiences.  Civilians were incapable of even beginning to understand the horrors they had witnessed and the hardships endured.

Suffering through trench life often year after year.  Pounded by shells, targeted by snipers, plagued by rats, infested with lice, underfed and unable to wash, enduring the mud and deafening noise, not knowing when ‘their number might be up’.  Eagerly waiting for letters from loved ones and desperate for an end to the nightmare so they might get home to Blighty.

On the whims of Generals, they had to go ’over the top’ where they faced heavy artillery, machine guns, grenades, mortars, the full might of the enemy.  Pals and comrades fell all around them but still they went on, and on…

Men could drown in the mud, be blown to pieces or get so terribly wounded they might cry for their mothers.  Lions led by donkeys.


The survivors returned to ‘A Place Fit For Heroes’.

Some died from their injuries while still young men.  Most had to search for work, suffer the Depression and watch their children go back to war just 20 years later.
 

The Second World War was a fight for survival but the Great War seems to have been just the slaughter of millions.  Scotter, like everywhere else, lost men at Mons, Gallipoli, the Somme, Dunkirk, at sea, on land, in the air, at home and as prisoners of war.

Brave men all, in the prime of their lives, just trying to 'do their bit' and making the ultimate sacrifice which left their families and friends grieving.

Some of the suffering was particularly extreme. Young children without fathers.  Theresa Birkett, Emily Wray and Polly Johnson each lost a brother and a son.  Four Eminson cousins died and poor Annie Fountain gave two of her boys.
 

Lest we forget.