(First posted in November 2019)
With the little autumn book tour behind me, I turned my attention to some overdue correspondence. I recently received an email from a 92-year old from Chester, UK and as this is remembrance weekend it prompted me to pause for thought.
A few years before my family history fiction was first published, I wrote an article for a genealogy magazine about researching my father’s war service. It was well received and over the years has continued to attract the odd comment, most notably from people with a direct connection to my father’s war experience. Ted, the man from Chester, is the latest. In 1943 he joined the same merchant navy vessel, SS City of Dieppe, as my father and served alongside him for the two remaining years of the war in the Pacific.
It was a pleasure and a privilege to hear from Ted and a strong reminder that this weekend when sacrifices are remembered it is not only the military who should be counted as valiant. Merchant seamen, firefighters, railway workers, nurses, ambulance drivers and a host of others too numerous to mention, all answered the call to serve in their different and vital ways.
These ‘others’ are all to often overlooked in our increasingly militaristic world where the casualties are, more often than not, unarmed civilians. Perhaps we should give the military a rest this year and remember everyone else who suffered and those who continue to suffer in their wars.