I got my poppy during the week on Brighton Station. Leaves on the line and a few other delays meant I got to talking to the distinguished looking man with the poppies collecting for the British Legion.
I mentioned that my family had had a role in the film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ in 1968. and suggested he might like a soldier puppet featured in the film on the stall in the future. Marionettes can be good at raising funds.
Well you could have knocked me down with a feather! It turned out he had been in the film himself. His name was Paul Buzz and at sixteen he had been cast as the paper boy, as well as being an extra in the theatre scene and watching Maggie Smith do her stuff! Now I want to see my DVD of the film again and check him out!
Apparently his connection did not end there, his dad Albert Kinsville, had worked in the wardrobe department so he too had been party to the whole thing. But the irony was that two years later Paul joined up himself. He served in several campaigns and was lucky to be alive I guess!
My train arrived so I had to rush off but I asked him his name and told me he was the Chairman of the Brighton and Hove British Legion. I do hope our paths do cross again.
This picture is of my grandparents’ house where I lived as a child. Grandpa had been gassed and suffered so badly from shell shock in the Great War and he was hospitalised for nearly a year. He used to joke that he was the only one in the family who was sane and had a certificate to prove it!
Yes I have written one or two poems about it all…
During the second world war my mother and grandparents in London were literally trying to avoid the bombs. My mother used to say that trying to fit a gas mask and throwing herself over the pram would have been completely ridiculous if there had been an attack, but that was the kind of thing they were expected to do.
A few years before my mother died, I took her to France to see all the places where my grandfather had trained and served during the Great War. We took a little film of our adventures that I still treasure.
This was the military band playing on the station at at Victoria last week.
This is one of the local pubs in Rottingdean showing their respects.
Wars just seem inevitable, sadly part of the human condition.
I hope as many as possible give generously to the British Legion.