In 1916 my Great Uncle Hector received the call to go over the top.
I’m not sure how far he got before death greeted him, but I bet he was more afraid than ever about what he was doing.
Another innocent to the slaughter.
He was a young man answering the call to defend king and country.
He and his two brothers set sail from country New South Wales, believing it was their duty to fight the Hun and support their one-time mother country.
The boys had come to Australia with their father in 1900 and joined their uncle in country New South Wales.
In France, they encountered the harsh reality of war. It was mud and blood and trenches, with young men suddenly realising that there was nothing glamorous nor exciting about war if fact getting killed was the greatest reality.
I hope when the time came for Hector that it was quick and painless, that he was here one second and gone the next. If not the alternative is all but unthinkable.
Today there is a field of crosses in a field in France the only evidence of him and others who died having gone over the top.
His father and family must have been heart-broken when they received that chilling telegram. I don’t know if he left a sweetheart behind, in fact, I know very little about him as they were like so many of the time, not the best at writing things down.
His brothers returned in various states of injury. One of them Robert, became my grandfather, the war must have had an impact on him, he suffered from being gassed, and sadly he died a relatively young man. The pleasing thing about my grandfather is he lives on through my sons, one of whom has an uncanny likeness to him.
My great uncle, like many others, went over the top, they paid with their lives, but their efforts did give rise to the great oxymoron, military intelligence.