**First Published in Nov 2008 – re-edited for this year**
My Nana is 96 years old and she still talks about the First World War like it was literally the worst thing that ever happened. This is a woman who lived in Central London, alone with a small baby in the Second World War being bombed every night in the Blitz; and she found this more bearable than her childhood memories of World War One.
I don’t think we can even fathom how awful it was, probably the closest (hopefully!) our generation will get to it is September 11 or the Iraq/Afghanistan Conflicts. For those of you who haven’t studied WWI, overall it’s estimated there were 37 million casualities 16 million dead and 21 million injured, numbers impossible to comprehend now.
The defining battle of WWI for pretty much all British people is the ‘Battle of the Somme‘, in the first day alone the British lost 57,470 men and overall there were 1.5 million casualties at the Somme. One of the men in that battle was my Nana’s father James Easter. Although he survived he had been a career solider and apparently was never the same after the war. He came back a quiet man, with lung problems from being attacked with Mustard Gas (chemical warfare started in WWI) and he eventually died in the 1950’s from his injuries
His brother in law’s weren’t as fortunate and never came home they are buried where they fell.
Private John Criddle
died 30th September 1915
Battle of Loos
Alfred Alexander Criddle
died 22nd September 1918
Buried MIKRA BRITISH CEMETERY, KALAMARIA
So for them and everyone else who’s been lost in a conflict since or are in one now think of them this week, they are heros.