Today, as I am sure you will be aware, is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. I intend to watch the many programmes commemorating the event today, my thoughts no doubt turning to my two Grandfathers who took part in history’s largest ever land invasion. I know next to nothing of their own, personal D-Day stories. I know very little of their time during the war full stop. Like so many, it appears that they didn’t speak too much about it. And by the time my own curiosity had grown, it was too late.
One of them died of cancer before I was born, the other died when I was twenty years old, at a time when I had yet to fully develop my great interest in history, and in particular my own family history.
I do wish I had asked. Either them, or other older relatives who may…
If only one of those monochrome apparitions could reach out and take me by the hand, leading me into a world of smoke and ale and revelation.
The woman stood by the door on the right of the picture is my great grandmother. The two little girls are my grandfather’s older sisters. The guy on the far left, in the bowler hat, is my great grandfather. The other two younger men could be family, I don’t know. Will probably never know. Posing with a football and a trophy of an unknown triumph, they remain silent, anonymous ghosts. Enigmas of imagination.
The building itself, its very brick and mortar, contains more than can be revealed in a two dimensional image. It contains that which is valued in meaning.
Ancestors of mine dwelt in that place between 1901…