Good morning Tash Appreciators,

This week saw the passing of Clive Dunn. He’ll be fondly remembered by those who were fans of Dad’s Army and his oft repeated line: “Don’t panic, Don’t panic!”. As an aside, he also had an exceptionally distinguished moustache:

Clive Dunn played the part of Jonesy, and his character spent many an episode recalling his time in the deserts of Sudan during the First World War. In reality, he fought in the Second World War but spent four years as a prisoner of war. He later said that his time in Dad’s Army was payback to the Germans. I suppose he wasn’t one for holding a grudge. His death, in the week before Remembrance Sunday, is a reminder, if one were needed, that we are steadily losing those who lived through the war years. 

So much is eloquently said and poetically written about veterans at this time of year that it would do them an injustice for a nonsense “blog” like TF to chip in with some hastily drafted tribute. Instead, I’ve tried to find something which might resonate particularly  with what TF is all about: living life to the fullest. 

The example I have chosen is from one the prominent First World War poets, Rupert Brooke. He was a Cambridge student and his friends (including Winston Churchill and Maynard Keynes) would later become giants of his generation. His sonnet, V: The Soldier, said this:

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there’s some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England’s, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven. 

Poetry like this leaves you wondering how much richer a place the world would have been if Brooke, and the millions like him, had been given the chance to do more than occupy a corner of a foreign field. 

Have a good weekend folks. 

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