There is a small brick wall that separates my driveway from that of my next door neighbours, it is only a foot or two high and when I am washing my car it comes in handy as a place to store the debris from inside my car whilst I attack the carpets with the Dyson. This morning, I was doing just this, I haven’t cleaned my car for a while and there were lots of things stacked up on this wall, including a book on the Northamptonshire Regiment, which, as it happens was on the top of the aforementioned pile…
As I was going about my business my neighbour’s front door opened and out came Lynn and Mike, whom I know very well, and also a sprightly old chap who I presumed was either one’s senior relation. As I said hello I saw this old fella looking at my pile of stuff and pointed to the book. “I was in that regiment during the war” he said. “Oh really, which Battalion?’ I replied, “my Grandfather also fought in the Northamptonshire’s in the Second World War”. He looked at me squarely in the eyes and said “I am not talking about WW2 son. I am talking about July 1917 when I lost all my friends, my very best friends. Shrewsbury Forest it was, I will never forget. We lost hundreds of men, good men we did.”
Well, as you can imagine, by this point I was in utter disbelief. Completely speechless (which doesn’t happen often, let me tell you). I was under the impression that all the WW1 veterans has passed away, could be true that i was standing face to face with a survivor? It was then that i noticed he had a little white and purple ribbon on his jacket which i recognised. Quickly pulling myself together, I managed to reply “Is that where you won the Military Cross?” “Yes,” he replied “I got my revenge on a few of those Germans, don’t you worry…”
Just then he had to go, and he was away. I hope I get to see him again, I thought the veterans of ww1 has all passed away, now I know that I have one who not only fought in my family regiment, won the Military Cross, but lives next door to me!
Unbelievable. Oh, and i will be having words with Lynn and Mike next time i see them….!