The war to end all wars – the wish to end all wishes.
The idea for my present work in progress came from sorting through some old photos I found when I moved house.
They are of my grandparents. Florrie’s family has already been the subject of an historical series, FOR THEIR COUNTRY’S GOOD, when I discovered her great uncle killed one of Lord Northampton’s gamekeepers and was transported to Van Diemen’s Land in 1841.
Book One – On Different Shores can be seen at On Different Shores
This time, I turned my attention to my grandfather, Bill, who was the love of my young life. He had a way of telling stories with his hands, and he used to describe the vast deserts of Egypt in 1914-18 with a slow sweep of a broad paw. It grieves me that I can’t remember the tales he told, but the spirit of them lives on as does his love of horses, a passion he passed to me.
Research turned up war service records, more photographs and, although the facts are sketchy, much paperwork having been destroyed after the war for security reasons, I have pieced togather enough for a story. It may not be his story, exactly, but it’s a story of any of the young men who left their homes and their sweethearts to fight a war about which they knew nothing and which was, in many places, commanded by men who had military and social seniority but little practical, tactical battle experience.
This is the scenario into which our young men went and the research I’ve undertaken has brought me to tears at the waste of young lives. Many died due to the mistakes made by incompetent generals, and many more to disease, and those who survived and came home found that they and England had changed. They didn’t want the same things they’d craved before they went to war, and many were disillusioned with the England they’d fought for and many had died for.
Gallipoli, Cholocate Hill, Jerusalem, Marne, Ypres, Loos, Somme, Paschendaele: they are names that evoke a sorrowful and morbid fascination, a horror of the waste of the flower of England’s youth – a war to end all wars. But nothing was really settled, and the wounds of war festered and still fester, politically as well as physically.
There are no winners in war and if you ask most ordinary people, the ones who were called upon to lay down their lives, or live with the grief of the loss of their loved ones, they would make a wish to end all wishes – an end to war.
The Dandelion Clock will be released in November 2018 to commemorate the centenary of the end of WW1.
Other books by Rebecca Bryn