Widow's Windows

"Mum showed us yer war medals an' the Military Medal for 'gallantry', las' week, Dad," 11-year-old Art says as the pair walk to the next job, "next munf it'll be twen'y years since The Great War started in 1914."

"She should've asked me before she dug out my medals, Art. Although," Roger Bird replies, "if I'm honest, I'd almost forgotten about them."

"Sorry, Dad, I never meant to upset yer."

"Art, you're old enough now to know about that awful war, it could all happen with Germany again. They're preparing for another war now, while we sit on our hands and dither."

"The MM medal reads 'for gallantry', Dad. Does that mean you was brave?"

Roger shoulders his ladder, carrying his bucket of soapy water.

"Depends on what you call brave, son, sometimes you just do what you have to do, you don't have any choice. The citation in 'The London Gazette' says I erected a machine gun under enemy fire and gas attack, and therefore helped our advance. I was the only surviving NCO from my section, I was left in charge. You also have to be seen doing something out of the ordinary by a surviving officer before anyone gets a medal. The Company Captain, William Baird, saw the action from th...

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Tony Spencer
Jun 6 2020

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