We Do Remember Them
Every year, at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, in the eleventh month, the nation comes together to commemorate the brave men and women who gave their all in the wars and conflicts of our past. Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, which both fell on Sunday 11th November this year, offered a chance to remember those who fought, as well as to reflect on how conflict affects us all.
This year marked the centenary since the guns fell silent at the end of the Great War and when the Armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany in 1918.
To honour the day, our care homes crafted some beautiful poppy displays, before joining together in remembrance with their local communities at 11 am on the 11th. Here’s a look at what some of our homes did to mark this moment:
Our homes made touching tributes as part of their commemoration, with some also raising funds for the Royal British Legion or local charities. We were so pleased to see all of our residents, staff, families and friends who came along to help us remember this very significant day.
Amazingly some of our residents were alive at the time of the First World War! They have shared some of their childhood memories with us about life during the war and at the time of the Armistice…
BARBARA RICHARDS (105 years old, Derby Heights Care Home in Littleover)
Barbara recalls, “I used to watch the bombs coming down during the war with my dad. One landed across the road from our house and I remember the lady who lived there was injured and lost her leg but survived”.
The main German strategic bombing campaign against England started in January 1915, using airships including Zeppelins, although by 1917 these had mostly been replaced by aeroplanes. There were approximately 51 bombing raids on England during the war. The civilian casualties made the Zeppelins an object of hatred, with the raids killing up to 800 people and injuring approximately 1,900.
KATHLEEN (‘KIT’) MEARS (106 years old, Seagrave House Care Home in Corby)
Kit lived in South-East London when the First World War broke out. Her father was employed in a reserved occupation building canvas tents for the forces.
Kit, who was only 2 years old at the outbreak of the war, said most of her memories of the time focus on her family. Being the youngest of seven children, with 18 months or less between them all, she said clothes were handed down and shared in her family. “My mother was a very good cook, but there was very little food around. Coffee was made from parsnips and the family never wasted anything. My brothers and sisters and I would all have chores and used to help our father make tents, so with that and school there wasn’t much time to play.”
Kit added, “During the First World War children were not evacuated so my mother stayed at home to look after everyone. When I was six, I remember going to the church hall around the corner to avoid the air raids. Being so young, I didn’t understand what was happening so didn’t feel frightened and it seemed like a normal part of the day at the time.” Unlike the Second World War, bunkers had not been set up for protection from air raids, so civilians had to ‘make do’ with what protection was available, including local community centres, basements and cellars and even areas of the Underground.
JENNIE MORTON (105 years old, Highcliffe Care Home in Sunderland)
Jennie Morton, who celebrated turning 105 years young this year, sadly lost her older brother William (nicknamed Willie) in the First World War. He went to war at 19 years, when Jennie was only four.
“I didn’t want him to go to war,” said Jennie. “I knew I would never see him again. When he was killed, I can remember my mother screaming; she cried for days. Willie was a lovely man, very loving, who loved God. And I missed him terribly.”
Thank you, Barbara, Kit and Jennie, for sharing these memories with us.