Monday, 11 November 2013

Remembrance Day

BEDN day 11 - Remembrance Day (I thought this topic was yesterday but logic says today is the right day for it)

My father served in World War 2, he was in the Army, Royal Artillery regiment.  He rose to the rank of sergeant and was posted to India and Burma, where I believe he fought.

He never spoke of his wartime experiences.  If asked about his time in the army he told my sister and myself stories about his first time in a plane, tall tales involving tigers and tents and warnings not to get tattoos when drunk in India!  He never mentioned anything about the actual war, what he saw or experienced or how he felt about it.  We stopped asking about the war and just enjoyed his tales about his time in India and his mates. 

Later we realised that he must have seen unbearable things, perhaps involving those same mates he spoke of (I don't remember any names if he shared them).  He may even have done things which he didn't want to remember or share with his loved ones.  As we grew up and learned more about the war we distanced those things from the Dad we knew - a funny, kind, loving man who is now greatly missed.  He wasn't the man who went to war or the man who came back - we never knew him then and only knew the man he became.  Our Dad.

Dad had a deep seated distrust of all things Japanese.  He wouldn't allow anything made in Japan in the house, which Mum said was because of what he'd seen during the war; I don't know whether he told her about his wartime experience but she may have known more than us.  As I grew up I learned about atrocities committed by the Japanese Army in Burma and the Far East; it upset me to think that my Dad might have seen these things so  I didn't think about it and stopped asking him about the war.

Dad always wore his poppy in November and observed the silence on Remembrance Day.  I often wonder who he was remembering but he didn't say.  Dad wasn't one to make a fuss about things so we never found out any more - there were questions that we didn't ask and he didn't volunteer any information, again because it was a time he didn't care to revisit.  He didn't attend Remembrance ceremonies as he wasn't a church goer but I think he marked the occasion in his heart.

So when Remembrance Day comes round I think of Dad who we lost suddenly in 2000; I also think of all those brave men and women who served in many ways in many wars and I'm proud of all he did and all he meant to me, my sister and  my Mum.

2 comments:

  1. Lovely post Jo :)x

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is lovely, open and heart-felt. x

    ReplyDelete