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.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Remembrance Day

At 11am on the 11th of November each year our busy lives stop for a brief moment as we remember all those who have given their lives in the service of their country. As always I remember my Great Uncle Harry who died in WW1 and my husband's Uncle Harold who died in the Far East in WW2. This year though I want especially to remember Tom Fisher, a young local man who died at Cambrai in WW1. He was from a farming family and I pass the farm where he was born every morning when I walk my dog. He left our little local school at the age of 14 and began his working life as a farm labourer. When we wrote our book about the men named on Totley War Memorial we were unable to trace any living members of his family and we have no photograph of him. We were fortunate though to discover a memoir written in the 1980s by an old man who remembered Tom and it gives probably a better 'picture' than any photograph. This is what Archie Thomas (1903-1991) wrote:

 “In the bottom cottage in the 3 on Baslow Road lived Mrs Fisher. To my brother and I there was no-one like her in the world, she had 3 sons at home and the youngest daughter Jess; 3 other daughters being out in service. Jess later became Mrs Joshua Tyzack - an affair of which I probably have more knowledge than any other living person! I loved the youngest son, Tom, and one of my earliest recollections of him (when I was about 3 years old) is of him taking me by the hand one dark winter’s evening and going to Ash Cottage where he milked a couple of cows for an elderly Mr and Mrs Hattersley.. When he took the milk to the house he was given about a half-gallon can of morning milk for his mother. I used to go with him when he was mowing and sit on his knees on the machine for hours at a time, while he mowed the land where Main Avenue, Rowan Tree Dell and all that property now stands.” 

 To me this conjures up a picture of a kind, gentle young countryman who was liked by all who knew him. Tom Fisher is my favourite of all the soldiers we researched and even though he has no known family to remember him he will not be forgotten. Tom's body was never found and he is one of over 7000 names of men with no known graves on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval.

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


Leanne said...

nice post Rowan. Sleep well Tom.x

Leanne x

Jessica Cangiano said...

What a deeply touching post, dear Rowan. I sincerely appreciate that you shared a snapshot of Tom's life with us. He will definitely be amongst those nestled firmly in my thoughts tomorrow.

♥ Jessica

Diane said...

What a moving post. Its lovely that you will remember Tom today. xxx

Lynda (Granny K) said...

We will remember them, always.

Mary said...

I've just read to Bob, with difficulty I must add, your heartfelt post on Tom fact the last two quoted lines brought tears. What a great memorial to one who has no grave.....may Tom know he is not forgotten thanks to good people such as you dear.

My parents were married on this date in 1942 while in the RAF/WRAF, so it brings back memories of them also.

Rowan, re: your ? on my template, I don't know which one it is as I've used it for ever and Blogger has made so many changes! I think it was just one of the first 'classic' group when blogging life was simpler! I'm scared to go in and try to update to something else so just plod along with the same old, same old! Sorry I'm of no assistance - perhaps someone else who's more of a techie can help.

Hugs - Mary

Heather said...

A wonderful and poignant post. So many memories and so much sorrow. We will remember them.

Rosie said...

I've just been looking at your book to read again the chapter on Tom Brown Fisher. Thanks to your research he, and all the others on the memorial, will be remembered.

Mac n' Janet said...

Thanks to you and the others who wrote the book Tom will be remembered and not just a name on a memorial.

*Sheila* said...

Lovely post Rowan, and I'm glad he is remembered in your book.
I think Rupert Brooke's poem 'The Soldier', beautifully describes the final resting place of the English soldiers who died while serving King and Country.
My dad's uncle Reg was killed in action, and is remembered on the monument at Theipval.
I remember being very upset when I first found this out from the CWGC website. He was just 21.

Angela Bell said...

Rowan that is so moving,the horror of all thos young men going off from their homes to be slaughtered is so terrible.That soet of history brings the reality of war to us.RIP Tom and all the others so cruelly wasted.

Patricia said...

Oh I love your post Rowan. How lovely that Tom is remembered and not forgotten. Having that testament from his old friend is wonderful. It just goes to show that when researching our own families how much we should treasure any Information we can get hold of whether oral or written that can in turn be handed down to our heirs.
Patricia x

Bovey Belle said...

How wonderful that you have not only remembered Tom, but made his life known to us too, so that he is not forgotten, on this day of all days. A very poignant piece.

Jenny Woolf said...

I just read in the blog of someone that I follow, that he has been approached by an ex soldier with post traumatic stress syndrome and mental health issues resulting from it. I'm so appalled that we do so little for our ex soldiers when you think of the official care and concern shown by the USA to their veterans. Memorials are necessary but help for the living is also needed.

Strawberry Lane said...

What a moving post. What a price the countless have paid. This is a wonderful tribute to Tom Fisher, so much a part of life and then gone. How wonderful that he is not forgotten. Leaves us with much to think about.

Roy said...

A privelge to read this D, very moving.

Dog Trot Farm said...

Hi Rowan, what a very moving post, Tom shall never be forgotten, thank you for sharing this heartfelt post. Greetings from Maine, Julie.

Ruthie Redden said...

How wonderful that you were able to track this down Rowan, what a moving story & so lovely that it paints a picture of Tom. Hope you are keeping warm & dry x

Stephen Prosser said...

I know I am now a little dated on commenting but this post reminded me that I finally got to see your book when down at Neil's house. The one sent out to South Africa never made it.

Granny Sue said...

Beautiful, Rowan. He will never be forgotten now. I can see him with the can of milk, holding the little boy's hand...such a picture.