To the innermost heart of their own land they are known,
As the stars are known to the Night.
April 1984 was a memorable one for me and my family. It was the Easter school holidays and we were stationed in Germany at RAF Rheindahlen. My mother came over from England to join us, on her own as Dad was working, and we had a two days touring the WW1 battlefields and cemeteries, with two small children. Not the most exciting trip for such youngsters I know, but we were making the most of the opportunity we had, and they behaved very well.
I’ve written about this trip before, telling how we had gone in search of the memorials, and one grave, of my mother’s three uncles, and shared many of the photographs associated with them. I still had photos to show, and as this blog is about old images, here they are.
This is my husband on 9th April 1984, standing by the grave of my Great Uncle Edward, in Caudry, France. Edward died here after the War, and you can read his sad story in The Last Hundred Days.
The following day, among the many moving memorials and cemeteries we visited, was Tyne Cot at Passchendaele, containing 11,900 graves.
Here were also several memorials to the missing, including this one to the New Zealanders who fell at Broodseinde and the First Battle of Passchendaele.
There was an intact German Pill Box, later used by the Canadians as a field dressing station. This in itself a moving memorial, and a reminder that men of several countries died here.
We posed our small son, not quite five years old, in front for scale.
We returned to our married quarters that evening, and a couple of days later, leaving the children with their grandma, we went off to Berlin, on a special four day trip. I wrote about that in Where We Were Then, and showed pictures of the amazing Treptower Park, a memorial to the 80,000 Red Amy troops killed in the Battle for Berlin in 1945, and a cemetery for 7,000 of them.
Here, my husband stands in front of one of the memorials, designed as sarcophagi to represent the graves; these actually lie beyond the park, behind the plane trees which line it.
Altogether these Easter holidays were memorable and a grave reminder of the scale of damage and misery wreaked by two world wars.
See more contributions to this week’s Sepia Saturday, where our prompt image is Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, from The National Library of Ireland on Flickr Commons.