Monday, 24 December 2012

Whose family am I aiming at?

The army in Flanders in 1914 was still the regular professional army, serving soldiers and reservists who had seen service in India and the Empire, men whose training and fire-discipline at Mons had convinced the Germans they were facing machine guns rather than SMLEs. It is not surprising therefore that this was the cohort that co-operated in the Christmas truce, rather than the later Kitchener armies, for no one hates war more than a professional soldier. The Germans (as is usual) started it; they lit candles and sung carols in the front line trenches, their artillery refrained from firing. We responded in kind.

For a thousand years families in England have gazed into the flames of a Christmas fire with their thoughts reaching to their men gone to war; on Crusade in the Holy Land, somewhere in France, at sea, in Central Europe, the scented Empire, the Middle East. Afghanistan. And as those men's thoughts turn to their own families and firesides as they watch over their rifle sights, as John McCutcheon sings, they wonder whose families they are aiming at.

As my eyes scan the pixellated effect formed by hundreds of passport photographs of the fallen of the recent wars, with far too many boys amongst them, my heart finds it impossible to find the forgiveness for 'Bloody' Blair and his war-stained coterie that my head requires, and I must still swallow hard my anger and think instead of the Prince of Peace. Too many homes this Christmas will be missing a son, a father or a sister.

May we all have a peaceful and charitable Christmas.

   

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

An angry frustrated tear in my eye, when I survey the wanton destruction wrought on this green and pleasant land by Blair and his cohorts and run through my mind the comment I read here some time ago.
Veterans of the War regret, many rue the sacrifice they made defending these shores, golden lads and lasses spilled their blood in the dust and all for naught.

A contemplative Christmas to all who visit here and to you R.

meltemian said...

This will be sad Christmas for many here in Greece but we hope for a better New Year.
Καλά Χριστούψεννα Raedwald and everyone, Happy Christmas.

Barnacle Bill said...

I can never forgive Blair, nor that faggot from Kirkcaldy, for what they have done to this country. Their hands are stained with the spilled blood of our youth. The only Christmas wish for them and their ilk is a early and painful passing.
To you Raewald and fellow bloggers I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful Christmas.

Petr said...

Made my eyes damp, too - especially your middle paragraph.
Thank you for this and your other daily blogs and a Merry Christmas.

DeeDee99 said...

I detest Blair and the Kirkcaldy Moron. I will never forgive either of them - or the rest of the NuLabour - for what they did to my country or for the wars they continually dragged us into on behalf of the USA. I continue to hope that Blair will get the punishment he deserves.

Thank you for your blogs Raedwald and please keep up the good work in 2013.

A Merry Christmas to you and yours.

And I hope 2013 is a good year for us all.



James Higham said...

my heart finds it impossible to find the forgiveness for 'Bloody' Blair and his war-stained coterie

Amen to that and if poss - Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Plymouth Naval Memorial bears the names of 16,000 sailors who have no marker, their graves the sea. The uncle I never knew is one name I look for when I visit, a Devonshire lad, age 19, killed in action, 1944.

During this November's visit I found myself apologising to him: for the England he gave his life for is no more. I did something I haven't done for many years, I cried. "Sorry Fred", I muttered to myself as I turned and left.

Waes Thu Hael Raedwald.

Steve

Anonymous said...

Thank you Raedwald. A thoughtful and thought provoking Christmas posting.

Best wishes, from the Grandson of an "Old Contemptible".

Jon Thirkell

G. Tingey said...

A good YULE to everyone.

What is thei "christmas" of which you speak?

Anonymous said...

G er T rude, then, celebrate the winter solstice if you must - a very important time of year for mankind - and still marks the time of rebirth of nature, by eck, the symbolism........

Anon 2 said...

Yes, Raedwald -- this Christmas and for years to come, we must "Pray to God to intermit the plague that needs must light on this ingratitude."*

Thank you for your blog --- and the best of the Christmas Season to you and yours. Good wishes also to your other readers.

Thereafter: We probably ought to work on turning the tide, or ameliorating its effects.
_____________________
PS: How that idiot c-slug has the nerve to broadcast to the nation is beyond my understanding. I wonder if anyone tells him the ratings....


* Pace WS : Julius Caesar I.i.56/7.

Anonymous said...

God bless and keep you all and, Greg, I wish you a happy Yule tide.

May God's peace be in the hearts of the bereaved and may our serving forces stay safe and come home soon.

Raedwald, thank you for another year's excellent blog.

Gaudete, gaudete Christus est natus Ex Maria Virgine Gaudete.

Coney Island

Budgie said...

A Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to you and yours Raedwald and all commenters.

okjoe58 said...

God bless you and many thanks for your terrific blog. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Mr Raedwald

Anonymous said...

As someone who served in the British Army in Borneo, Aden and Northern Ireland, I can confirm that no sane man wants war. It is only greedy, hypocritical, politicians, who never have to put their feet into a theatre of war, who seeks it. Like many other countries, the political leaders of this one have done little to stop, or prevent, such conflicts. Blair and Brown have their faults, in either starting or continuing them, yet Cameron also has his, for doing little to stop them. But then, they have not experienced the fear, degradation, and filth of war, so why should they stop something they know nothing about? When leaders actually lead from the front is the day that wars will cease.
Well done Raedwald
Penseivat

G. Tingey said...

See also:
"On Greenhow Edge" by Kipling

Anonymous said...

Despite all the hatred engendered in WW1, it was still possible to make human contact with the enemy, as we still shared the same cultural foundations.

Now we dont have that, even as the enemy lives within the gates

DP111