Today is Remembrance Day in Australia.
I walked in our garden in Braidwood today at 11am and thought about how fortunate I am to have lived such a long and happy life.
I thought too about an uncle I never met, Gerald Lyons.
This is a photograph of him taken on his 21st birthday in 1940. He had joined the Marines a year earlier.
Gerald served in the North Atlantic as a Royal Marine. He was rescued from the cold waters there on four separate occasions. The official War records report that Gerald died of an illness on a hospital ship in Liverpool on 21 June 1943.
He is buried in Bistre Cemetery, Buckley. I have written about his grave here.
By sad coincidence the 11 November is the anniversary of my brother’s death. He died just three years older than Gerald.
Like all of my family, he is buried at Bistre too. Not far from an Uncle he did not meet either.
It was a beautiful day for these memories. A long way from a cold November dawn in Wales when friends will walk past the memorial in the town of Buckley to young men who did not return. It is a place, as Curtis Bennett reminds us of standing awkward … unsure with the dead and “experiencing once more, this terrible place of memories”.