Tonight I wanted to do something different. On nearly every page of our local paper this morning there was an article that was in some way related to the history or World War 1, which I have found unbelievably interesting and informative. I have been researching my husband’s grandfather Cyrus Clarence Allsopp’s war records to find out where he fought, but the articles in the paper, not only today but over the past fortnight, have helped be to understand just a little of what he experienced.
I have learned so much about the conditions under which he fought in the trenches on the Western Front that it amazes me that any of our brave men survived at all. The hardships, the weather, lack of food, constant fighting for many days at a time, all seem such a world away from what anyone would experience these days.
One of the most moving things I learned about was the significance of the red Flanders Poppy. Like almost everyone, I knew that the red poppy was associated with WW1, but I had no idea of its actual significance or meaning until I read an article the other day. For instance, did you know that the red poppy were amongst the first plants to regrow in the devastated fields of Northern France. Or that the red colour was symbolic of the blood spilled by the soldiers’ comrades. Increasingly the red poppy has become symbolic of our Anzac day.
Over the last two months I have researched four relatives that fought during WW1, and heartbreakingly, only one came home – Terry’s grandfather. What a legacy each of these men left, what a sacrifice they made. I feel that I don’t ever want our family to forget these men, and to that end I have attempted to transcribed their war records and add a picture of them to the Discovering Anzacs website. What a privilege it has been to work on this project. If you haven’t seen the website it is well worth a look, and if you can spare the time, why not see if you can upload a picture of one of your relatives.
I will conclude by saying that I will view our local dawn service with new eyes this Anzac Day.