This was written as part of the 1418NOW project, where people were invited to write a letter to the Unknown Soldier, the statue that stands on Platform One at Paddington Station. I decided to write a letter in the form of a poem.
I’ve now dedicated the poem to the memory of my former radio colleague, Jonathan Ali, who died in May, 2019, after bravely fighting a battle against cancer. Jonathan – Jali, as we called him – was an expert on the First World War.
He published a book, Our Boys: The Great War in a Lancashire Village, detailing the lives of the 40 soldiers who died out of a total of 167 young men who enlisted from Jonathan’s home village of Hawkshaw, north of Bury, then in Lancashire.