90 years ago the Great War for Civilization ended at 11 minutes past eleven o’clock. My Grandfather James served for four years defying the odds. He was born in England, emigrated to Canada at the age of two, and like many of his peers, he thought of himself as a citizen of the Empire. Thus it was no surprise that upon declaration of war in August 1914, he returned to England and commissioned into the local regiment, the New Army 6th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers) of the East Yorkshire Regiment (later amalgamated into the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry). Following training his battalion was tasked to Sir Ian Hamilton’s Gallipoli force, landing at Sulva Bay 7 August 1915.
After seeing action at Teke Teppe ridge he was invalided out to England and recuperation. In 1916 he opted to join the Canadian Artillery, specifically the seige artillery and remained as an Artillery Officer for the remainder of his active and later reserve service.
Granddad never spoke very much about the things he had seen and done, he preferred to keep quiet – perhaps because the horrors were too much for an inquisitive grandchild, or perhaps out of respect for those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Tomorrow I will think about the kind of man he was and how grateful I am that, because of his and the sacrifice of those who paid the ultimate price, we live in a free country.