Title source: line from final stanza of 'There's No Silver Lining' in Aftermath (2014) - see blogs 21 & 22 May
How are the above items connected? During World War 2, while Dad was in the British Liberation Army, Mum and I lived in Lancaster. Aged between 3 and 7 then, I used to wonder why there were so many men, with one trouser leg pinned up, sitting on the pavement outside the town centre shops. I don't remember ever asking why. Maybe I guessed that, hearing the adults' constant preoccupation with their own wartime problems, the answer would have been: 'Mind your own business and don't stare, it's very rude.'
Those men must have been some of the 28,000 British soldiers who had lost a leg in World War 1, their livelihood and more besides. They would have arrived by ambulance train from a south coast port.
Well over 100 soldiers lost a limb in Afghanistan. This week, 20-26 May, is BLESMA, the Limbless Veterans (charity founded 1931) week. Follow this link to Joanna Bourke's history of the development of limb prostheses for war amputees in 'The Wounds of War': www.eastsussexww1.org.uk/wounds-war/
The British Legion, a charity, was founded in 1921 to meet the range of desperate needs of service people, war veterans and their families which the nation could not provide after such a costly war. My father joined in 1946 after he was demobbed from WW2. His badge is on the right of the image. I joined after visiting the Normandy beaches in 2000 when it had become the Royal British Legion (see badge on left of image). The Legion is still needed today because, as I once heard the late Avril Fearns, fellow Legion member and tireless poppy collector, put it:
'Politicians make war.'
It's almost two years since I published In Our Fathers' Footsteps (see under BOOKS). My latest book, One Dog and His Cop, about my cousin's police dog,was published 30 November this year (see under BOOKS).