Monday, 1 June 2015

Memories of VE Day (2015)

One Sunday morning recently, walking into the vestry of my local church, St Luke’s, Headless Cross (Redditch) in Worcestershire, a close friend and fellow member of our choir invited the writer to view that which she had published in our monthly magazine. So moving were her words, this column now shares them with the wider circle this column touches internationally.

Mrs Dorothy Marriott has become a close friend during the past 4 years or so, within the context of our local church and we have shared many thoughts, memories and reflections based on our mutual love of our church, our faith and liturgical music. We have had a few laughs too…

In a review of the monumental events of the recent VE Day memorial events, which moved so many of us, given the input of the diminishing ranks of those who were contemporary to the times, Dot has these lines to share…

Whilst I was watching V.E. Day 70 years celebrations on the television I was at times moved to tears and when the programme ended, I felt the need to write down what it has all meant to me.

 I was seventeen when I started working in a military hospital. After some initial training my boss decided to take me on his ward rounds to train me further in my chosen career. I shall never forget entering a ward of badly wounded service men who had been in tanks blown up by enemy fire. It was a very hot August that year and flies were crawling over their wired faces, as many had suffered fractured jaws and they were unable to flick the flies away.

Their arms were encased in bags of saline because of the burns caused by the blazing tanks. The smell of burnt flesh is also something that I shall never forget. In other wards there were wounded men so covered in bandages it was a problem to find some where to get a blood sample. Some wards men were there with horrific injuries and in other wards there were paralysed men with no hope of getting mobility back.

 Nevertheless their only thought was to get healed and return to the front and re-join their comrades. Many would laugh and joke with you. War is not glorious, which I fear is a mistaken impression some people feel when watching the parades. I view November Remembrance Sunday with mixed feelings and when we are asked to 'Remember them'- I do. Peace and love, Dot.

Reading and re-reading these anecdotes of events so long ago, but nevertheless seared into Dot’s lovely heart, one could be moved to tears. Apparently some people have been so moved and understandably so. Mrs Marriott (Dot) is surrounded by a close-knit family and furthermore is the current ‘head honcho’ of the local Mothers Union. 

For obvious reasons, one cannot publish a lady’s age, but she is a week or two older than this columnist! She works indefatigably in all she does in a myriad of activities that she pursues, not least singing Soprano in our Church choir. (Yours truly at 57 is the youngest of all of the regular members!... So humbling)

Knowledge is nothing if it is not shared: Dot has shared, in the most succinct and concise sense, strong emotions that mean a lot to her. Deeply moving emotions that must at times trouble her mind: Suffering and strife are not mutually exclusive to World War II of course, nor to earlier conflicts. For example, the only year in the 20th century when a British Soldier was not lost to attrition was 1968. 

We continue to be hugely extended militarily now, thanks to arguably the paucity of political leadership that prevails, ad nausea. Our troops simply do not have the budget commitments that even the appeasement government of 1938 allowed the MOD. Scandalous!

God bless you Dot darling… and thank you….


Chris Green 

Beşparmak Media Services

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