Sunday, 9 March 2014

Sanctuary from the Trenches

Dunham Massey Hall is a National Trust Property near Altrincham, England. The hall is open as the Stamford Military Hospital from 1st March - 11th November this year. Many soldiers of the Great War recovering from their injuries mental and physical  wrote poetry. I like this one. 

During the war there were more than 3,000 such hospitals set up in Britain. One young man, my grandfather to be, received shrapnel wounds in the Battle of the Somme. 

Between the scraping of the bone operations which he had to endure he was allowed to sit in the gardens of such an establishment when the weather was fine and expose his gangrenous bone-thin leg to the sunlight, which he believed to have a beneficial effect.  And it worked. It saved his leg from the "certain amputation" of the final diagnosis. 

He lived on into his eighties. Kept allotments. Grew vegetables and flowers. Roses. Like Private Edwards he was a man of few words; but to me they were the few words that mattered. 

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