When I was little, the occasional riotous behaviour of my father and uncles and their friends seemed rather fun and I used to feel sorry when Granny and the aunts would look disapproving. It's only years later that I realise just how much all these young men spent their twenties putting themselves back together again after the war.
I've recently read my eldest uncle's diary, in which he describes how he found himself catapulted into the war and how, at first, being at war just meant scrubbing a decidedly scruffy boat from one end to the other endlessly. His main worry was how his mother would cope without his wages, which helped her feed and clothe his younger brothers and sisters. That it would be years till he found himself at home again never occured to him or that he'd be at sea, in one way or another, till his sixties.
Much as I loved him, Matthew was no literary giant and the diary wasn't an easy read but a lot was fascinating. If nothing else it explained his lifelong reluctance to bow to authority.
He mentions their attempt at tailing the Graaf Spee and how it was perhaps as well that they never got too close given that their 6 inch guns had been installed in 1901 and definitely not up to the fire power and range of any modern ship. Perhaps it was just as well that my grandmother didn't know anything about what exactly her eldest son was up to just then. Never one for quietly accepting her fate, or anyone else's, she'd have been banging on the Admiralty doors, demanding better arms for them all at the very least.
fort sweater + summery things
1 day ago