Paxtonvic’s Blog

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Handing on

Been reading about the wonderful  gentlemen Harry Patch and Henry Allingham who have died recently. Mr Patch   was  111 years old  when he died on July 26th and Mr Allingham  who died on 18 July  was aged 113 years and 42 days. At the time of his death,  Mr Allingham  was the 14th oldest verified man of all time.   He was also the first verified British man ever to reach the age of 113. Mr Allingham  was the oldest ever surviving member of any of the British Armed Forces and the oldest surviving veteran of the First World War.

Mr Patch  had fought at the notorious Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 — where an estimated half a million troops perished. He did  not speak about his wartime experiences until he was aged 100 and was strongly opposed to violent conflict, calling war “organised murder”.

“It was not worth it, it was not worth one let alone all the millions,” he said of those who died.

“It’s important that we remember the war dead on both sides of the line — the Germans suffered the same as we did.”

Both of these remarkable men have handed on to us an outstanding example of bravery but also  make us think very hard about war and whether it can be justified. Harry Patch’s view needs to be taken seriously – but how can we do so  without undermining the sacrifices that our forces are making right now in Afghanistan?

harry patch

Harry Patch fought at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917

I have the utmost respect for our very elderly population – many of whom had to live through living conditions during the  2nd world war  the likes of which slightly younger   folk have no knowledge of.  I always try to listen and learn what I can when I see an older person – grateful for all that they share withe me.

mike and mum  july 18th 09 no 2 hands

July 27, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. This is a tricky one, I always try and read someone’s experiences of war before Remembrance Sunday- this year I have Anthony Beevor’s book on D day. I heard him talk about this a month or so ago and was struck to hear about the large number of French civilians killed in the bombings which prepared the way for D day. Later this week I will be meeting the author of last year’s book, Bugle Boy, affectionately known as Tinker. He served as a royal marine bugle boy during WWII and was at Scapa Flow among other scary places. I had no idea that the youngest military casualty in WWII was just 14.

    Comment by Allrevedup | July 27, 2009 | Reply

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