War is over

Claude Choules died yesterday aged 110, he was the last surviving combatant of the First World War.
WW1 is something that has always had a resonance for me, as a youngster hearing stories from already very old men who were there, some bearing the scars, several eyepatches and odd shaped ears come to mind as well as missing limbs, but also as a high school student where a year of studying the war got me an A in higher history.
I always fought to understand the reasons, the motivation, the mechanics and the scale of it. Also the dismay that we learned nothing from such a colossla loss of life but how to fight big wars more efficiently.
With Claude Choules passing the Great War becomes a thing purely of books and photographs, of opinion and interpretation, it really is history now and as such has a distance from our lives. I find that a little melancholy.

13 thoughts on “War is over”

  1. Yep, it’s always fascinated me too. I remember the old BBC series ‘The Great War’, not as highly acclaimed as ‘The World At War’ but every bit asgood in its own way.

    Of course it won’t be all that long until WW2 goes the same way – it’s being pretty well documented in books and TV and film, but the veterans are getting noticeably thinner and thinner on the ground.

  2. Just said much the same to Flaff on facebook Matt. I remember as an apprentice WW2 veterans stillbeing around at work, including my favourite, the Spitfire pilot who worked at an engineers merchants.

    Film from WW1 amplifies the horror I think, the jerky grainy black and white footage aalways seems to cut to the crux: life in peril.

  3. Respect.
    I remember sitting on my great uncles knee and asking him about a scar on his hand.

    The scar on his palm was from a German Bayone. He never told me the full story.

    Dulce et decorum?

  4. Aye, I figured that :o)

    It’s the stories that weren’t told are the ones that carry the most important message. Carrying something alone for a lifetime? My dad worked with an ex POW from a Japanese camp in the 60’s and although he never talked about his experiences they way it had affected his life made enough of an impression on my dad that he had to talk about it.
    Which means that maybe the reality of such things will carry on after the wintnesses are all gone.

  5. A personal interest for me too. Go to the WWI war graves in N. France: I think that all newly elected MPs should be made to go as a part of their induction.

  6. Not a bad idea.
    I’d also make them pass their cycling proficiency test and work for a month on a building site.

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