Archive for February, 2011

The Visit (long awaited) to Guillemont Cemetery

Well, here we are, all lined up neat and tidy, ready for our visitors – if they come. We don’t have many these days. Don’t know why. We used to get quite a few, but they’ve died off now.

When it happened they kept us out in the field for a while. It wasn’t safe to bring us in. They did finally get us here, cleaned us up and gave us a decent place to rest.

We are looked after well, they’re always brightening the place up with plants and flowers – they are really for the benefit of the visitors – it keeps them happy.

Harry’s niece came to visit a while back. She brought some crocuses, said they’d look nice in the spring. Cheered him up no end. Thought they’d forgotten all about him! “Course not!” I said. “They’ll not forget us – will they?”

Turnpike’s brother (forget his name now) used to come and visit. We’d been in the same battalion, the same trench… Anyway, he stopped coming. His health wasn’t what it used to be.

Once thought I heard a fellow mention my name – he looked vaguely familiar around the eyes, but I couldn’t place him. He slowed as he walked past and gave a look as if to say “Poor chap, never mind”. Didn’t see if he found who he was looking for. Shame, it would’ve been nice to have had a visitor.

Wyndham and Asquith, they get plenty of visitors – and don’t know any of them! Rank and who you know counts for a lot. Hope I do get a visitor. A relative would be nice, ‘course they’ll be busy I suppose, with their families and things…

(Helen Charlesworth, 1997)

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