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Because of that, here I am

My mum was born in New Cross, London, during the Second World War. She no doubt played in the bombed out buildings that lined the inner city streets. Yet so nearly did she succumb to the daily air raids that forever altered London’s map. She was barely a year old when a V2 rocket blew up the house next door and forced my grandparents to flee. My granddad came back from work that day and saw the damage. He didn’t know where his family was and presumed them dead. Thankfully for me, my future mum was safe. My gran saw to that when she dived over her to protect her from the blast.

I often wonder how my Grandma must have felt at that moment. Was she thinking about the fiancée she had who was shot down in the battle of Britain four year previous? Was she thinking how Britain had found itself at war again, just thirty years after the war that would supposedly end all others? Maybe she questioned her Christian faith. After all, her entire life up to that point had been shaped by men killing other men. Her own father, for example, had died not long after she was born, returning from the Front in 1918 to be struck down by the flu that took the lives of millions of war-wearied bodies.

My gran was then sent to a home, as her mother (my great grandmother) could not afford to look after all the children, now that she was the sole breadwinner. The strict Victorian discipline of that home shaped who she was and how she then interacted with her own children. And that in turn must have had some impact on me.

So let it never be said that World War One was just a big fight that occurred ninety years ago. It lives on in the descendants of all those who endured its horrors. It lives on in us. We are who we are because of what that war was.

3000 wasted lives

No more excuses