Letter: Remembrance

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Sir: In Ypres last summer, we walked silently along the old trench lines, and visited countless home-made museums in garages and sitting- rooms, stacked with the debris of war. Old tin hats, rusting ammunition, shoes that still held the shape of their owner. Our children stood underneath the great arches of the Menin Gate, tearfully reading the lists of the dead out loud.

My grandfather and his brothers left their native Galway to fight in the Great War - Ypres, Passchendaele, and Salonica. They saw the worst of the action, but managed to survive the four years. They returned home relatively intact, but not unscathed. The nightmares continued into old age.

My grandfather wrote his memoirs in later years, saddened that the incredible bravery he had seen in his fellow Irishmen had never been fully acknowledged ("Irish tribute to troops who fell in Great War", 10 November).

At the end of our day at Ypres we visited the cathedral, completely rebuilt, as was the entire city after the war. In the garden the children noticed a tall Celtic cross. The inscription, in Irish, told that the cross had been dedicated by the people of Cork to all the Irish who had fallen at Ypres. In some foreign field there is a little piece that is for ever Ireland.


Marsh Baldon, Oxfordshire