I don't remember World War One so I make every effort to imagine it instead. The endless mud with blades of grass trampled into it, the horses, the trenches full of water and waste, bedraggled uniforms and the shells and the explosions and the killing. The two minutes of hush are to draw a mental picture with as much vividity as possible.
Today, Sunday 11th November 2018, marks one hundred years since the end of World War One. Armistice Day has long been an important date in the calendar and this has been even more so this year, the centenary. Our village had several events to mark it, including the service of Remembrance at the church of St Edward the Confessor in Netley. Many people gathered on the lawn at the church in a moving service that included the reading out of the names of many local people who had died in the war, followed by the laying of wreaths.
Later, in the afternoon, there was a further service of remembrance at the church of St Mary the Virgin in Hound, which included a special reading of the names of soldiers from Old Netley who had served and died in the war of 1914 to 1918. This church in the cemetery on Hound Road has a particularly appealing interior and is well worth a visit.
Then we went to the Royal Victoria Country Park, which was utterly glorious in the sunshine, clothed in all the richness of autumn colours, for a service at the Netley Military Cemetery. There, amongst so many graves, we gathered to pay our respects. Our MP, Mims Davies, was present, as was the the Mayor of Eastleigh, Councillor Bruce Tennent. I looked over many of the graves in the cemetery, and found a particular one for a F. Leedham of the Coldstream Guards, who died on 5th May 1915, aged just nineteen.
Hound Parish Council, like many other councils across the land, had arranged to light a beacon for Remembrance Sunday. Our one is on the Cricket Field in Netley and this ceremony marked the end of a poignant day of thinking of all those who had died or been injured in World War One and all the wars that have followed.
Reverend Sanday from St Edward’s, as one of the themes throughout the day, had stressed that we remember the death and the pain so that we never forget what others have laid down for us so that we can live on and, just as importantly, so that we strive for a world at peace, that can truly only think of war as something of the past, in the hope that the children of today and the future are not made subject to the horror and despair of another Great War.