This image was created a couple of years ago and I was confounded by the weather in my attempts to get the shot. My intention was to scatter poppies in the incoming wave or even lay them loose either side of the medals but the gales at the time put paid to that idea!
My dad was a veteran of the Second World War and served in the 8th Army. He passed away in 2013 in his 100th year so I though this to be a perfect opportunity to remember him and honour his colleagues by using his campaign medals which I’ll be wearing with pride on Remembrance Sunday.
The famous poem ‘For the Fallen’ was written by Laurence Binyon during the early days of the First World War, whilst sitting on the clifftops between Pentire Point and the Rumps (near Polzeath). So it has a special connection with north Cornwall and the imagery of ‘England’s foam’.
For the Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.
Solemn the drums thrill: Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres.
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.
But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;
As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain,
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.
The Medals in the image are those of my late father who served in the 50th Division (Tyne & Tees) of the 124th Field Regiment, part of the Eight Army serving under Field Marshall Montgomery. The Medals are (from left to right):
- 1939-1945 Star
- Africa Star (8th Army)
- Italy Star
- France & Germany Star
- War Medal 1939-1945
After the war my father created this commemorative shield of the campaigns served by his Division during the second world war. A copy of this shield is at the D-Day Museum at Arromanche in Normandy, on ‘Gold’ beach where he landed during the D-Day invasion.
As a postscript to this story, last year I had a rather famous Hollywood actor/director/producer, well known for his WW2 productions, ‘endorse’ this image by using it on his WhoSay page and on his social media pages. No permission was sought, no fee was paid, no communication was had, and on publication, the image was even over-written with ‘his’ copyright. He captioned it ‘Those men who saved the world… Hanx’