At the launch of my book Shell Shocked Britain: The First World War’s legacy for Britain’s mental health on the 22nd October 2014, I offered people the opportunity to take a red luggage label, a pen and write a simple message on it, tying it to the life-sized white wooden tree installations in the event space at Foyles in Bristol. I waffled on a bit about saying something about the evening, about the book, about the nibbles etc, but I also suggested people might want to offer up the names of someone they hold in their heart, as an informal act of remembrance.
I have to say, when I looked through them after the event, I was really moved at the names and comments people had taken the time to note down. So for Remembrance Sunday, for Armistice Day and for posterity I thought I would note some of them here on my blog, and say a huge thank you to everyone who made the event such a special evening for me.
In loving memory of my dear father George who died aged 83. He was an officer in the Royal Engineers and served in the Korean War. Love you always Dad
To the past, the present and for a better future with more understanding and available help x
A cliché but Never Forget
Thinking of my Italian ancestors who fought for Italy in WWI
To Grandpa, who couldn’t bear dirt or to be dirty after the trenches…
John Cant grandfather survived died 1970. Wilfred Carr Great Uncle. Died of wounds December 1917 near Ypres.
For Herbert My grandfather who never spoke of his experiences and I was too frightened of him to ask, hoping for exciting stories no doubt. Now, when it is too late I respect his silence and regret I never got close to him
Remembering Ronald Robertson RIP
To all conscientious objectors from The Society of Friends
Remembering all those women who served abroad In memory of all the conscientious objectors
In memory of my dear and beautiful friend Susan – I will carry you in my heart to every launch, event, exhibition and special place…xx
I also had some lovely congratulatory messages, but I am so pleased that the launch and my book offered people the space simply to remember. We have so little time to think now that we are in danger of losing sight of our essential humanity and connections to each other, and to those people in our lives who have made us who we are.