World War 1 – Through the memories and eyes of the blind…

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100 years Ypres revisited
I can remember vividly as a child Sunday mornings’ watching World at War on the TV being transfixed as those grey figures walked nonchalantly towards impending doom, falling in there hundreds as simply tripping over a stone. As you can imagine a ten year old boy cannot comprehend that these men most of whom still only boys were being mowed down by German machine guns.

With black and white footage that did not need to show the colour red but red was there in the faces of those who perished and more so in those who survived. I somehow knew even as that 10 year old boy that I would one day walked in those very same footsteps of those soldiers that left their print 100 years ago.
Years later I had the opportunity to revisit my past as a 10 year old child and more importantly walk in those footprints left behind all those years ago.

Time had changed us all, memories had become distant memories the last British survivor of this horrific war had played his last post and had joined his comrades in a place where cannon shells replaced by seashells. Shrapnel is replaced by sunshine surrounded by family and a mother’s arms.
Time had also caught up with myself. The eyes that gazed upon the TV all those years ago do not work, those memories, those vivid pictures were etched upon my brain and as a blind man it gave me the opportunity to experience the past through utilising all my other senses.

There I was in the trenches that had not been changed by man’s hand for 100 years, only by Mother Nature’s hand, there was a deafening silence, only being broken by a chilling crackle of a single crow, which only added to the haunting ambiance were the past met the present. Rusted corrugated iron, tangled barred wire, rusted and frozen together but still had the capability of ripping into flesh. There was shrapnel, shells and shelters. I felt like a rat in a maze, 100 years later this place was a piece of hell time forgot. Guns and cannons still pointed towards the enemy who are now our friends.

Many historians have pondered how did this happen? Who was too blame? I suppose in 100 years’ time we still won’t know the answer. From this carnage came courage from this pain came poetry, from this hell came heroes.
Hundreds of thousands of soldiers died between August 4th 1914 and November 11th 1918. The fields of Flanders are filled with row upon row of headstones each one with the name of a son, husband, father whose remains lay here a thousand miles from home. These men had fallen but had not been forgotten and will always be remembered through the eyes of that 10 year old boy and the heart and memories of a blind man.

blinded soldiers leaning on each other walking with medics the soldiers are holding their faces in agony.

World war 1 soldiers in treches surrounded by barbed wire.

Do you have any memories of learning about the War or opinions of soldiers facing huge changes.