On the 28th July 1914, the start of World War One began. Nobody knew how long this war would go on for; nor did they know how many lives it would take. Nobody knew how much of an impact it would have, nor how it would be remembered 100 years down the line.
It was known as the Great War and the War to end all Wars due to the size of it compared to any other war that had occurred in all of history.
On the 25th December 1914 (Christmas Day) a temporary truce was declared between both sides and they took part in a Christmas Day football match in No Man's Land, however despite this truce, the war was far from over.
On the 11th November 1918, on the 11th hour, the war was declared over, after just over four years of fighting.
To put into perspective how large this war was, I'm going to tell you the number facts of the war:
- you had to be 18 to sign up to be in the armed forces
- you had to be 19 to fight abroad
- 12 million letters were delivered to the front every week
- by the end of the war 2 billion letters had been delivered
- by the end of the war 114 million parcels had been delivered
- 65 million people around the world fought in the war
- 5 million people that fought in the war were British
- 8.5 million troops are thought to have been killed
- 750,000 British servicemen are thought to have been killed
- 21 million troops were wounded
- 1.5 million of the troops wounded were British
- around 2 million soldiers, sailors, and airmen died from disease, malnutrition and other causes
- around 13 million civilians were killed
Imagine living in this time. Imagine living in a time of uncertainty. Imagine living in a time when you have to see your loved ones leave and have absolutely no idea whether you are ever going to see them again. Imagine what was once a full house full of love and happiness, is now a house filled with worry, dread and despair. Imagine your husband, son, brother going off to war, only never to return. Imagine your child growing up without a dad and asking where daddy is, only for you to not be able to answer. Imagine getting married to your husband and the next day he is called up for war, never to return. Can you imagine all of the hurt and the pain that any of this would cause? You might be able to slightly, but the reality is that millions (if not billions) of people across the world during this time had to go through this hurt and pain day-in and day-out, not knowing when, if ever, it would end.
On this day, exactly one hundred years after the war was called to an end, we remember those who fought, but lost. We remember those who risked their own lives so that we could have a life of our own. We remember those who risked never seeing their family again so that we could see ours. We remember those who went to war with their friends, only to come back with none. We remember those who witnessed their friends and family members die right in front of their very eyes, yet had no time to grieve as they had to carry on fighting. We remember those who loved, only to have lost.
So remember those who fought, without ever thinking about themselves, just so that you could live your life how you live it today. Without them our lives would almost certainly be a completely different picture. History would be completely different and who knows what our lives today would be like: whether they be better or worse.
But, most importantly, we must remember: them.
Love Beth xx