Best article I have read in ages!
Alan Bennett famously wrote: “History? It’s just one fuckin thing after another!”. He was right, of course, but the older I get, the more I come to realize that its weight lies far more on individuals than on nations.
On October 12th 1917, 95 years ago today, my granddad, Tom Duckett, was a Gunner on the first day of the Battle of Paschendaele. At home, my mum was 5 weeks old; my grandma had spent the previous two years traveling round England, with a baby girl and latterly pregnant, so she could spend some brief times with her husband – Portsmouth, Shoeburyness – they don’t put gunnery schools in easily accessible locations.
Tom was lucky, he survived the war and had the great ‘good fortune’ to go through it all again, as an ARP Warden in Liverpool during the May Blitz in 1941. In the fifties, when visiting us in…
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