Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Armistice Day

Roy Milner is one of the young men named on our local War Memorial. He was the younger son of the family who lived at Totley Hall and after leaving Repton School he went to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. On 22nd January 1913 he was commissioned into the 2nd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters and began his career as a regular soldier. The Milner family were well liked and respected and on the outbreak of war in August 1914 the local people lined the lane and cheered as he left to join his regiment. On September 11th 1914 the regiment landed in France and Roy wrote home to his parents to say that he was on his way to the front and in good spirits. Below is an excerpt from our book describing the last few days of his life. The details are taken from the regiment's War Diary.

On 14 September Sec. Lt Milner and his men of ‘A’ company began the 350 mile march to the area around the River Aisne in Picardy. The following day the battalion marched for fifteen hours in heavy rain. The drenching rain continued as they marched for another twelve hours on the 16th. Finally, weary and footsore, they arrived at Chacrise on the 18th where they were billeted on a farm and were given a 24 hour rest period. On 19 September with three other battalions of the 18th Brigade they moved forward to the village of Vendresse in the steep-sided Troyon valley where they relieved the 1st Black Watch in the trenches. Later that day they were moved back to a reserve line.

20 September dawned wet and cold with heavy rain and sleet falling. The Sherwood Foresters joined other regiments as they attempted, with some success, to retake trenches broken into and occupied by the Germans. Roy Milner, with a fellow officer and most of their men, was cut down by heavy machine gun fire as he led a charge up the valley. On 24 September Mr and Mrs Milner received a telegram from the War Office announcing the news of their son's death. Roy’s body now lies in Grave Ref. 6. C. 5 in the Chauny Communal Cemetery British Extension in Aisne, France. He was just 21 years old.

Remembering also Gt Uncle Harry 1880-1916 and Uncle Harold 1911-1942

When you go home, tell them of us and say
For their tomorrow, we gave our today.

Monday, November 07, 2011

What I've Been Doing!

Once again I've been rather busy and not had much time to either blog or comment recently. There was a rather large pile of letters to answer and I've managed to get some work done in my garden too though there's still a long way to go there I'm afraid. I'd intended doing more outside today but it started drizzling while I was up on Blackamoor with B Baggins this morning so I've done other bits and pieces indoors instead. This afternoon I'm trying to catch up a little with the blogging world. Making the Christmas cake was one of the things that kept me away from the computer. It's turned out OK I think and will be wrapped in clingfilm and put up on top of a kitchen cupboard now until ten days or so before Christmas only coming down briefly a couple of times to be fed with sherry.

I've made the mincemeat as well and used some of the pretty labels that I bought at Country Living Spring Fair earlier this year. On Wednesday I'm off to London again with my friend L for the Country Living Christmas Fair where I'm hoping to find something (or even more than one something!)on which to spend the money I got for my birthday in September. I turned 65 this year and one of my gifts was £1 for each year of my age:)

This is what has really been taking up a lot of my time though. For the last couple of years two friends and I have been researching the lives of the ten men on our local War Memorial who died in the First World War. Jim and Pauline did five of them and I did the other five and also wrote the introduction, a chapter on the village in 1914 and a conclusion. It doesn't sound much but it took ages as I had to do quite a bit of research to discover something about life here at the start of the Great War. It has finally been published to coincide with Armistice Day as that seemed a fitting time for it's appearance. Now we are hoping that a few people will buy it! The vicar of the local parish church is basing his sermon for Remembrance Sunday on our book and Jim, Pauline and I will be laying a wreath at the War Memorial. Last year I did it but this year Jim is going to do it as one of the soldiers is (was?) his uncle.

A couple of peeks inside, this is the first chapter on the village as it was in 1914 and....

.....this is part of the story of Jim's uncle with a wonderful family photo. Hopefully this year instead of being just a list of names on a brass plaque these men will become real people who once lived here in our village and whose deaths will have left a huge gap in the lives of their families and friends.