Dalry boneyard 05
First noticed this war grave many years ago on a walk and often return to it. For me it sums up the utter futility and stupidity of war and leaves me wondering why in the 21st century we still consider it a normal option just like humans have for thousands of years, never stopping, never changing, never bloody learning...
Look at it, look at it closely - the name on the top is Private James Allan, Royal Scots regiment (one of the British Army's elite regiments), died 1918 after serving in The War To End All Wars. The name at the bottom is his son, Pipe Major James Allan, also of the Royal Scots, killed in the war which followed it, falling in France in 1940. Can't help but wonder if James Snr, suffering through the horrors of the Western Front in the Great War, thought even if I don't make it home, at least no-one will ever be mad enough to have another war, how could anyone even think of one after this slaughter? My son, at least my young son will grow up safe, if nothing else... And here lie father and son, both did their duty in a famous regiment for King and Country, "asleep in Jesus". Heartbreaking sad. And really there's not two casualties of two wars here, there are three at least - surely we must consider the wife of James Snr and the mother of James Jnr to have been a casualty of war too for what she lost.
I've since gone on to use this image as inspiration for a short story, Memorial to the Mothers, which closes the graphic novel anthology To End All Wars, which is published August 2014 by Soaring Penguin Press to mark the centenary of the start of that dreadful conflict. Proceeds from the book are going to Medecins Sans Frontieres who frequently deal with those in war zones today. You can read more about the book here toendallwarscomic.wordpress.com/
My story in the collection is illustrated by Kate Charlesworth, and you can read a BBC article on the book, including a section of myself and Kate's contribution (and her illustrated version of the scene above) here www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-27887688