CHARLES GRAHAM - Warnings from history

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IN a beautifully-tended cemetery in northern France lies my great-uncle George Smith along with thousands of his fallen fellow comrades.

He was just 19 when he became one of the First World War’s last victims in 1918.

Photos show that he had big feet like me but now my grandma (one of his sisters) is long gone, there’s not much else we can find out about him.

What sort of horrors he encountered in the trenches we can only guess at and I can only guiltily thank my lucky stars that I’ve not had to face such ordeals and such a fate at so tender an age. George came to mind again watching Birdsong, the BBC dramatisation of Sebastian Faulks’s best-seller (pictured) which is largely set on the front line of what was meant to be “the war to end all wars.”

There are no Tommies left to remind us of that insane conflict either now, but quality dramas and literature like this, the continuation of Remembrance Day commemorations and those family memories passed down through the generations are priceless in keeping memories and important warnings from history alive.