Every village has a war memorial, the little wrought iron gates next to the church, usually bloated with the hundredth coat of glossy black paint, quietly seals off that almost sacred plot that as a child you never ventured. Somehow the little patch of grass, lists of names and occasional bunch of flowers gave off a deep sense of the unknown.
The nearest town has an even bigger memorial, standing at the top of steps that double up as a picnic area for tourists or somewhere to crash out whilst uncontrollably drunk on a Sunday afternoon. These are more serious affairs adorned with commemorative bronze plaques inscribed with the obligatory “And also to those that fell during the War of 1939 – 1945”.
And then there’s the nearest city, cities usually have towering great affairs adorned with bronze statues, there’s no names because far to many people died and besides they wouldn’t be read in the middle of the road anyway.
They form an integral part of everyday life, standing patiently and unnoticed as the pace of modern change accelerates past at break neck speed. There’s plenty in France too, kept admiringly in immaculate condition, have you ever stopped to wonder if there are any in Germany? That’s not meant as a dig and I would think it a great shame if there wasn’t.
That’s the War Memorial then. The question we need to ask ourselves is when and how did the Royal family muscle in on the act?
Who’s idea was it that on Rememberance Sunday an unelected head of state should head the procession with the biggest, best and most obviously ‘not paid for’ wreath?
How come this bunch of freeloaders have servants to hold their umbrellas whilst the real heroes wait patiently behind in the pouring rain?
How come the eyes of the world focus on a personality whose life has been shrouded with the utmost safety, luxury and extravagance? When of course they should be focused on the brave men with no legs, eyes and arms ect?
And how come the Queen doesn’t shed a tear for the millions that were killed overseas, but cries when her free luxury yacht was quite rightly re – appropriated?
This little outburst begs the question of what the Royal Family where up to during this hour of need.
Thousands of miles away from home fighting the Hun? Keeping cheerful whilst starving hungry, knee deep in mud and shit whilst battling it out with Jerry?
No, the answer is of course, zilch.
Well that’s if you discount the Queen Mother, as she later sordidly rebranded herself, who took pistol lessons in one of her vast gardens. Steady on! No wonder the Waffen SS didn’t occupy London.
And there’s also that lovely legend about her looking the East End in the Eye. Ahhh! They were with us every step of the way. My Arse!! Languishing in their extravagant bunker deep under Windsor castle more like. Windsor? Bloody good idea for a family name.
In keeping with Royalties nasty obsession with self preservation there’s also the secret deal with Hitler that needs mentioning, the underhand arrangement that would have kept them as heads of state in a Nazi England. It wouldn’t have affected their lives that much and the language barrier certainly wouldn’t have presented much of a problem.
I recall with amazement a young officer approaching me when I was in the army, and I’m definitely not trying to align myself with war heroes here! He said shyly, “Would you like to contribute to a statue of Bomber Harris that is going to be erected along Whitehall?” When I asked him how much he had already he replied whilst trying not to laugh. “Well I’ve been round half of the battalion and I’ve got £4.75.”
Squaddies are great at prioritising! Basically (not really!) I told him where he could stick his statue of Bomber effing Harris.
It was the Idea of Bomber Harris, the fearless RAF commander who never ventured further than High Wycombe, to flatten large parts of innocent and civilian Germany in an attempt to force its dictator to surrender (Iraq 2003?).
Bomber Harris was also a great friend of the Queen Mother. So it wasn’t possible for her to cease gambling and drinking at Kempton for one afternoon and cough up for his statue? After all it would have been she that would gave hobbled up to it and be hailed as a the nations brave Grandma by the Daily Mail?
So next Remembrance Sunday we should pay our respects to the living and dead as we do every year. We should also question the suitability of the Royal family as the people to stand in front of our Memorial, that remember our heroes that did us so proud in our time of need.
Isn’t it time she retreated back to one of her big castles and let the servicemen and women have the limelight they deserve while they still have the chance?
Rather than using remembrance as an excuse for justifying the obscene amounts of poor peoples money that she and her hangers on get handed every year.