Sunday, August 8

Least We Forget

The Sunday Quote

Four quotes today from four of the surviving twenty three combatants of the First World War who on Wednesday so movingly honoured their fallen comrades at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

'' I will never forget my comrades. You cannot think about the morbid things that took place. If you did, you could not go on. But on days like this I pray for them.''

Mr Harry Allingson at 108 Britain's oldest survivor of WW1 who fought at Ypres, Jutland and Passchendale in the Royal Naval Air Service.

'' No one would know what it was actually like unless they were there. Your imagination won't go that far. It is best forgotten. It was that awful.''

John Oborne, 104, speaking on BBC Radio 4, 'Today' programme. Mr Osborne Joined the 52nd Devonshire Light Infantry, fought at Passandale and other battlefields of France and Belgium.

'' I saw many of my friends who went to fight in the war and who never came back. It was tragic and this morning's ceremony was deeply moving for me - I am a fortunate representative of those who have died.''

Bill Stone the 103 year old veteran who lead the 90th commiseration. Mr Stone joined the Royal Navy as a stoker on his 18 th birthday. Served in both world wars on eight ships was decorated after Dunkirk where he made 5 heroic trips to the beaches.

''I miss my brothers so much, Tom was killed first, and that was terrible, but Bill and I were only a year apart in age and we grew up together. We played together. Every thing we did we did, we did together. War is not something nice to remember. There is nothing nice about it. It was a bad time and we were often outnumbered by the Germans. But it was not them I went to fight. I wanted to help Bill and Tom, but I could not in the end.''

Fred Lloyd, 106 former soldier who served with the Royal Field Artillery and the Royal Veterinary Corps, has six great grand children.

The four centenarians with chests emblazoned with medals on carried wreaths and personal messages to the Cenotaph to mark the 90th anniversary of the start of the First World War. The war that was to end all wars.

Who was it that said ''War is a failure of politics'' ?

Least we forget.

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