Norton of Morton

Read a new instalment of Norton of Morton every Saturday at 4 o'clock

Saturday 10 November 2018

Lest we forget

In which G.M. Norton shares a story.

Not only is tomorrow Remembrance Sunday, but it also marks the one hundredth year since the end of the Great War. To mark the occasion, there’s a beautiful soldier and poppy tribute in my hometown, on the site of an old church.

For me, it’s interesting that Remembrance Sunday falls in the autumn, which is essentially a season of decay. Combined with very few hours of daylight now the clocks have gone back and it’s perhaps no wonder that we tend to look inwardly, thinking about our own mortality and the deep family roots from where we came.

My six year old is learning about the First World War at school. This follows other topics about Australia and London. They’re going to visit the library next week and a local war memorial. I think it’s really important for us all to remember, no matter our age.

As I wrote about last year, my great-grandfather fought and died in the Great War. His name, Alfred Norton, is carved in stone at the Cenotaph. It’s easy for your thoughts to be dominated by the young soldiers that lost their lives, but it’s also important to remember the people who were left behind at home who had to cope without husbands, fathers, brothers, sons.

I remember reading about a particular local story. It was the written account of a person in the very area that I was born and still live in today, who saw the local postman sat on the kerb in tears. A lady had her arm around him, trying to console him. You see, the postman spent every day delivering telegrams to inform people that their loved one had died. Imagine how horrible it must have been for him to see the devastation that these telegrams brought, with households worried that he would visit them next. In this moment, it all became too much for him.

It’s these stories that get across the terrible impact of war.

Next Saturday will be something lighter. I promise.

G.M. Norton
Protagonist of 'Norton of Morton'

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