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I was born in 1973, in Newcastle. There are worse places to be from. Much worse. Mogadishu springs to mind. We Geordies perfected locomotion. They perfected female genital mutilation. I rest my case.

Anyhow, this morning, guess where I was? Of course I was at the war memorial in my little town on the outskirts of Manchester.

I can’t stand the vicar for she is a vile moo (as a Quaker Warden I’m expected to be ecumenical and do some outreach and stuff) but the Rev Margaret is a right witch but like whatever… She conducted a solemn and dignified service today. A soldier played the bugle. There were cops there like Barney Rubble tends to break out in middle-class towns in Cheshire on Remembrance Day? I guess coppers died in the Blitz so fair enough if they were there for that.

This is our war memorial…


And yes, I wore my poppy. Not with pride but with humility. The first war I recall was the Falklands. That memorial was built in 1920. There is no person alive who fought that but we remember them. Of course we do.

I recall the first British serviceman to die in the Falklands. He was a Harrier pilot and called Nicholas – which is of course partially why I recall it. I don’t think he was shot down. I think he crashed in bad weather.

I remember. I remember lots of things.

And I remember today. Every year. Of course I do!


  1. Shodan71 says:

    I actually have something that was passed down through my family, originally made by someone who survived the Somme.

    It sort of resembles a knife, in that it has a handle made from a bullet cartridge from the battle, but with a ‘blade’ (beaten out from another brass cartridge) in the shape of a feather. It has two words inscribed on it – ‘Somme’, and ‘Albert’. Albert was the best friend of the man who made it, and he died in the battle.

    Something that personal, and made with such love as a tribute to his friend…every Remembrance Day I look at it and it brings home to me more than anything else the human cost and tragedy of war.

  2. NickM says:

    I don’t want to spoil your.story and I am not claiming truth but… The Somme was a campaign and the first battle was the “The Battle of Albert”.

  3. john in cheshire says:

    I had family who fought in the first world war; I have family who fought and died in the second world war. we don’t talk about it much in our family; I don’t know why but it seems that my mother and her mother and her grandmother didn’t do that. I know that my great grandmother sat in a rocking chair after just learning that one of her sons had been killed in North Africa, fighting Rommel and that one of her other sons had visited his grave. And she sat and rocked in her chair for hours just crying. I know that because it is one of the few pieces of information I have as told by my mother, who was only 8 years old and she sat with my great grandmother all the while. We deserve better than the people who now purport to govern us. We lost better men and women during the two world wars than have, with few exceptions, ever stepped forward since then.

  4. Paul Marks says:

    Good post Nick.

    Fortunately no person tried to talk to me at work today at 11AM (unlike last year – I got a complaint for not replying).

    Tomorrow is the 11th of the 11th.

    Let us remember that the fighting went right up to the last minute.

  5. Shodan71 says:

    Ah…that could be it, Nick. Maybe the story I was told was the wrong one. Or possibly not – I’ve no way of finding out right now!

  6. NickM says:


    Well, I dunno but it is an idea. I could be right, and I could be wrong.

  7. Lynne says:

    Not a WWI veteran but still a wonderful and very human story story.

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