It’s impossible for us to imagine the innermost thoughts of people who lived and fought during the First World War. But perhaps a word of reflection on those four shattering years can be left to Private Harry Patch.
Harry was Britain’s last surviving soldier who’d served in the trenches, and lived until his 112th year. The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantryman was conscripted in 1916 and fought at Passchendaele’s dreadful battle; nearly a hundred years later, his medals are displayed at the DCLI Museum. Today Harry’s thoughts ring out: "When the war ended, I don't know if I was more relieved that we'd won or that I didn't have to go back. All those lives lost, for a war finished over a table. Now what’s the sense in that?"
Across Cornwall's towns and villages, after the war memorials were erected to the fallen. Above is Truro's, topped by a triumphal representation of a Cornish soldier. Beneath the figure are commemorated the dead.
This is my final post on Cornwall's First World War. I'm grateful for readers' interest, and for the guest posts generously provided by contributors.
My book, 'Cornwall In The First World War', is published by Truran. With 112 pages and 100 images, you'll find it in bookshops across the Duchy. It's also available through Amazon: http://amzn.to/19JbtZm