Tower of London, St Katharine’s Way, London
Then said he unto me:
The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah
is exceeding great,
and the land is full of blood,
and the city full of perverseness.
– Ezekiel 9:9 from the KJV
‘I saw the Prince of Darkness, with his staff,
Standing bare-headed by the Cenotaph:
Unostentatious and respectful, there
He stood, and offered up the following prayer.
‘Make them forget, O Lord, what this Memorial
Means; their discredited ideas revive;
Breed new belief that War is purgatorial
Proof of the pride and power of being alive;
Men’s biologic urge to readjust
The Map of Europe, Lord of Hosts, increase;
Lift up their hearts in large destructive lust;
And crown their heads with blind vindictive Peace.’
The Prince of Darkness to the Cenotaph
Bowed. As he walked away I heard him laugh. ‘
Siegfried Sassoon, At the Cenotaph
Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, an installation by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper at the Tower of London, November 2014. The City of London beyond.
in profound memory of:
Arthur Page of Ely, Cambridgeshire, a Serjeant in the 2nd Suffolks. He was my Great Grandfather. He was killed shortly before first light on the 20th July 1916 in an attack on Delville Wood on the Somme. He was 37 years old. He lies at Delville Wood Cemetery at Longueval on the Somme. His youngest daughter was my grandmother Phyllis Knott née Page.
Harry Anable of Dry Drayton, Cambridgeshire, a Private in the 11th Suffolks. He was my Great Great Uncle. He was killed just after 7.30 am on the 1st July 1916 at Sausage Valley just south of La Boiselle on the Somme. He was 19 years old. His body was never found. He is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme. His sister’s daughter was my grandmother Winifred Cornwell née Reynolds.
Herbert Page of Ely, Cambridgeshire, a Private in the 2nd Suffolks. He was my Great Great Uncle. He was a drummer in the Battalion band. He was killed on the 2nd March 1916 at St Eloi near Ypres. He was 30 years old. His body was never found. He is remembered on the Menin Gate in Ypres. His brother’s daughter was my grandmother Phyllis Knott née Page.
Herbert Cross of Ely, Cambridgeshire, a Private in the 1st/5th Suffolks. He was my Great Great Uncle. He was killed at Gaza in Palestine on the 18th June 1917. He was 27 years old. He lies in the British Cemetery in the Palestinian State. His sister’s daughter was my grandmother Phyllis Knott née Page.
Still loved. Never forgotten. A memory handed on, a keepsake, a promise unbroken.
Move him into the sun:
Gently its touch awoke him once,
At home, whispering of fields unsown.
Always it woke him, even in France,
Until this morning and this snow.
If anything might rouse him now
The kind old sun will know.
Think how it wakes the seeds,
Woke, once, the clays of a cold star.
Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
Full-nerved, still warm, too hard to stir?
Was it for this the clay grew tall?
O what made fatuous sunbeams toil
To break earth’s sleep at all?
If I were fierce, and bald, and short of breath
I’d live with scarlet Majors at the Base,
And speed glum heroes up the line to death.
You’d see me with my puffy petulant face,
Guzzling and gulping in the best hotel,
Reading the Roll of Honour. `Poor young chap,’
I’d say. `I used to know his father well;
Yes, we’ve lost heavily in this last scrap.’
And when the war is done, and youth stone dead,
I’d toddle safely home and die in bed.
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