Remembrance Day 2009 - The Forgotten Front 1918
Remembering the Forgotten Front (please View On Black )
My Grandfather John Henry’s 1st World War medals with his map of the September 1918 trenches at Camporovere, Italy, are superimposed on part of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem where these words by 2nd Lieutenant Wilfred Owen MC (1893/1918) are set to music:
Great gun towering toward Heaven, about to curse;
Reach at that arrogance which needs thy harm,
And beat it down before its sins grow worse;
But when they spell be cast complete and whole,
May God curse thee, and cut thee from our soul!
In 2009 we are as far removed from the 1961 War Requiem as that music was removed from Owen’s poem and my Grandfather’s map, but still, it all seems very familiar.
These 1st World War trenches are on the Asiago Plateau, Italy, sometimes called the “Forgotten Front” having been eclipsed by the scale of the fighting in France and Belgium. The totals of dead and injured (of all nations) in this area nevertheless totalled many hundreds of thousands over the period 1915-18.