During the past week the BBC has been showing various people tracing their ancestors and the effect the 1914-18 war had on them and their families. I think it showed how it affected not only the soldiers but the civilians too.

 My mother’s brother, Arnold, was just 17 when he visited their older brother, Will, in London. Arnold was tall and maybe looked older than his years, so a group of campaigning women surrounded him and, haranguing him for what they perceived to be his lack of patriotism thrust white feathers at him. 

This upset him, but Will dissuaded him from enlisting there and then. However instead of returning home to Nottingham, he went to Manchester, lied about his age and joined the First Manchesters. He was killed just before his 19th birthday.His mother never recovered from this and suffered her first stroke 6 months later.

I wonder if those campaigning women ever gave a thought to the consequences of their actions that day. Maybe it is a lesson to us all before we try to impose our own bigotted views on  others particularly when we have only a superficial idea of what their circumstances are.

Advertisements