As I publish this it is early on the morning of ANZAC and in an hour or so hundred upon thousands of people in NewZealand and Australia, as far as the peninsular in Gallipoli and later in London they will gather to remember with sadness the men and women of all the overseas wars our personnel have served in. We will remember them.
My Uncle Paul, my godfather, served and suffered but came home to us the loving man he had always been. God Bless you, my beloved Uncle. Benno in the poem is my father.
Dear Brother Benno
to: Uncle Paul
My father, eleven years of age at the time, Paul
was twenty-three. A postcard from France, 1916.
Received mail from home some time ago.
Enquires of Benno new teacher, better
than the old And, I say
Benno have you grown any more since I saw
you last, or are you still as small as ever. Give
my best love to Mother and Father. I remain
your loving brother.
A curly letter M – addressed to Mr Benno,
squeezed beneath which he wrote. I also received
a letter from Linda. Can you tell them that.
Again no question mark appears, though all
available space is used, taking care to show only
the face he most dearly wishes his family to see.
Turn the postcard over and on it embroidered
‘Greetings from the trenches’
Conservation work is needed here with flimsy
fabric and cardboard lifting. But in this small
card you confirmed us in the family of ANZAC.
You remain for me a hero, the kindest of men
and of the suffering you never spoke. I often held
the hands that from the outbreak of yet another war
never ceased to shake. For how long then could you
continue at your trade of carpentry? An old man
before your time. And, when yet another war began
in 1939 Benno, by then, soldiering in the Homeguard,
because he too past a prime for warring as Paul had done
in World War One: four long years Egypt, France, Gallipoli.
Benita H. Kape © 27.10.2013