Harry Patch - a very sad day

iBrian

Peace, Love and Unity
Veteran Member
Messages
6,542
Reaction score
30
Points
48
Location
Scotland
BBC NEWS | UK | England | Crowds watch WWI veteran funeral

The funeral service for World War I veteran Harry Patch is under way at Wells Cathedral.

Soldiers from four countries acted as pall bearers for the coffin which was applauded by crowds of people as it was driven through the city of Wells.

Harry Patch was the oldest man in Europe when he died aged 111

Veterans Minister Kevan Jones said: "Active participation in the Great War is now no longer part of living memory in this country, but Harry Patch will continue to be a symbol of the bravery and sacrifice shown by him and those he served with."

Considering the impact of WWI, and childhood memories of asking older relatives about it, it's astonishing to think there is no longer a soldier from Britain who survived the Great War alive to tell the tale.

And just think - one day nobody who fought in World War II will be alive. How terrible would that seem, for WWII to become just another statistic in the historical record, as abstract as any other before it?
 
BBC NEWS | UK | England | Crowds watch WWI veteran funeral



Considering the impact of WWI, and childhood memories of asking older relatives about it, it's astonishing to think there is no longer a soldier from Britain who survived the Great War alive to tell the tale.

And just think - one day nobody who fought in World War II will be alive. How terrible would that seem, for WWII to become just another statistic in the historical record, as abstract as any other before it?
I regret that I never got to meet 1 of my great uncles for he could have told many interesting tales. He was killed toward the end of WWII in the Pacific. Fought in WWI. Graduated from West Point in the same class as Dwight Eisenhower and Omar Bradley and his first commission was under the command of General Black Jack Pershing chasing Poncho Villa around the Texas border. earl
 
Sad day?

It is our transitions that move us on. Physically from one incarnation to the next...whatever one believes. But it is my prayer that along with his leaving this earth we may leave a piece of the consciousness that brings on war behind as well.

It will be a day of joy that the last soldier dies. Imagine a world where peace has reigned for decades and we celebrate the day when the last soldier died, where it is no longer required to defend or attack, where all that money poured into a military machine is used for the good of the world.
 
Perhaps, wil, but the more distant such memories become, the danger is, the nearer we move towards repeating history.
 
I had a girlfriend who's dad served in the English army as a regular at the outbreak of WWII. He was shipped to Egypt and fought in the North African campaign from day one, then Sicily and Italy, and was finally told, whist slogging through the Alps into Austria, "It's over. Go home, report to Catterick Camp."

His stories of fighting with the Desert Rats (he was in the Rifle Brigade and an authentic member of 7th Armoured Division from '41-43) were endless, and the difference between his eye-witness accounts and the history books is such that it was rarely easy to piece the two together.

The stories of simple courage, comradeship and humanity on the one hand, of the suffering, hardships and men brutalised by war on the other, were quite telling and often difficult to square ... but such is human nature.

And of the Desert, they were endless, from the humerous to the horrifying. But of the later years, nothing. I once asked him about the campaign in Italy. "Horrible," he shook his head. "All flame throwers and hand grenades." That's was it. That was all I ever got. It was a closed book and a taboo subject. Now of course, enlightened by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, understandable.

There is no glory in war, for many, just fear and pain and death — but should we forget? I don't think so:
"Do not rejoice in his defeat, you men. For though the world has stood up and stopped the b*st*rd, the bitch that bore him is in heat again."
Bertold Brecht, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui

We should recall the words of the likes of Harry Patch, the clear and unambiguous insight of those who were actually there — War is murder, sanctioned by political expediency.

Thomas
 
I'm glad to hear you were shared some of the accounts, Thomas - would have loved to have heard them myself. :) My great-uncle served as a pilot supporting the 8th Army in Africa, and he refused to ever talk about the experience to us children, because of the horrors he'd seen in the heat.

My grandad served in Italy with the engineers, so didn't see frontline action. However, it was only after he died last year I found out my mum had already been encouraging him to write something of his life. She mentioned he stood on top of Monte Casino after it had been taken by the allies, and remarked that there wasn't a single living thing up there - there weren't any insects - and the whole effect was very eerie.

I think it's the personalisation of the war experience which is the greatest loss - of knowing people who were there, listening to their stories, all of which gives everything a much greater impact I think. I guess that's why losing Harry Patch is such a greater loss for Britain and its generations. No more can we hear from those who were there what it was like, except in recordings and writings.
 
Perhaps, wil, but the more distant such memories become, the danger is, the nearer we move towards repeating history.
We repeat it now every day around the world....what is our excuse?
His stories of fighting with the Desert Rats (he was in the Rifle Brigade and an authentic member of 7th Armoured Division from '41-43) were endless, and the difference between his eye-witness accounts and the history books is such that it was rarely easy to piece the two together.
And the question is why do we believe what is written in our books and our newspapers, when anytime we have first hand or second hand knowledge we know they are largely incorrect....guess I shouldn't bring up the bible now...
 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/8186578.stm
And just think - one day nobody who fought in World War II will be alive. How terrible would that seem, for WWII to become just another statistic in the historical record, as abstract as any other before it?

Fear not, for all the rhetoric that's wheeled out at such times, clearly the human species is too stupid to stop having wars. Millions have died in long forgotten wars and there'll be plenty more "lest we forgets" to come.

But I was in Wells recently...beautiful cathedral.

s.
 
Perhaps, wil, but the more distant such memories become, the danger is, the nearer we move towards repeating history.

Huh? We've never STOPPED repeating history...

s.
 
And the question is why do we believe what is written in our books and our newspapers, when anytime we have first hand or second hand knowledge we know they are largely incorrect....

I believe it's called the first casualty of war.

s.
 
Exactly how many forgot WWI before we started WW2 or GW1 before we began GW2....and how many battles does Israel and Palestine remember, and how many will they continue? (seems like they wrote a book about a number of them....and folks talk about it all the time...but they've been warring for what 4,000 years?

Yeah, maybe it is time to try peace....and forget war.
'
 
That would be nice Wil, that would be nice.
I know i would sleep easier if I knew my sons werent in danger. but I am very proud that they are soldiers. (well, one now, the other is now a civvy).
Its a contradiction i am aware.
 
That would be nice Wil, that would be nice.
I know i would sleep easier if I knew my sons werent in danger. but I am very proud that they are soldiers. (well, one now, the other is now a civvy).
Its a contradiction i am aware.
no contradiction, as long as war is the norm we need warriors. We just need to quit lying to ourselves that we fight to end war, that we are preserving peace.
 
All hail the endless war
*to the background noise of goose stepping bushs*
(Tongue firmly in cheek);)
 
yes, poor old Harry, the last Tommy... you could still see the terror in his eyes, if you looked. Apparently he and his friends didn't want to fight, they were terrified when they were in the trenches, and they made a pact not to shoot "the enemy" directly- instead aiming to wound, not to kill...

[SIZE=+3]Anthem for Doomed Youth
[/SIZE]
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles rapid rattle
can patter out their hasty orisons
No mockeries now for them; no prayers or bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs-
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,


...Written by Wilfred Owen, 1917.
 
Apparently he and his friends didn't want to fight, they were terrified when they were in the trenches, and they made a pact not to shoot "the enemy" directly- instead aiming to wound, not to kill....

"a growing number of experts are arguing that the urge to wage war is not innate an we are moving in a direction that could make war a thing of the past." It appears to be in the July 07, 2009 issue. me ke aloha pumehana, pohaikawahine
two posts that warm my heart...

thank you both.

(raises glass) and Harry, thanx for your service.
 
let's see if I can get this right - there is an interesting article Winning the ultimate battle: How humans could end war - science-in-society - 07 July 2009 - New Scientist that says "a growing number of experts are arguing that the urge to wage war is not innate an we are moving in a direction that could make war a thing of the past." It appears to be in the July 07, 2009 issue. me ke aloha pumehana, pohaikawahine

Yes, I read that - the author claimed that Australian Aboriginals never practiced war, then happened to mention it was depicted in their cave art. Hmm...
 
Back
Top