Readers of this blog know I have an interest in WWI history and a huge admiration for the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Most of the inscriptions and epitaphs on the headstones have a religious overtone – perfectly reasonably when you consider the times – and wherever possible the closest relatives (invariably the parents due to the shockingly young age of so many of those killed) had a say in what went on the headstone.
And then, by contrast, at the weekend I came across the headstone of Second Lieutenant Arthur Conway Young who was killed 150 yards East of Brory Farm, Zonnebeke, near Ypres, Belgium.
One of the startling truths to emerge when you have an amateur’s interest like mine let alone an academic historian’s deep insight is that we seem to learn little from these epic tragedies. The words on this headstone capture that far more eloquently than I ever could.