11 November 2011

Remembrance Day

Edward Maurice Busby

My grandfather... not forgotten.


  1. And almost 100 years on, the 'Great War' still resonates. My wife and I observed the two minutes' silence today and I tried to imagine how I would cope with the loss of a son.

    My grandmother lost her older brother, who died at Loos. Reading between the lines, it's clear that she had a nervous breakdown and was never the same again. When she became a mother, she found it impossible to demonstrate any affection towards my father and his whole persona was driven by a craving for approval.

    He was a wonderful father to me, but quite weird and I had a rather strange childhood.

    In recent years, I've become aware of the long shadow of the First World War - the number of lives it changed and the ripples that continue to affect us today.

  2. The shadow is indeed long... and in Canada seems so much darker than with the conflicts that followed. I suppose this has something to do with John McCrae's 'In Flanders Fields', which I've heard read every Remembrance Day since I first entered kindergarten. Such heavy losses for so small a population.

    Edward, who interrupted his studies in medicine at McGill to serve with the 6th Field Ambulance, lived on to a good age. By all accounts the cheeriest and energetic of men, he died weeks after I was born.

    My maternal grandfather, William Humphreys, served in the war as a machine gunner. A happy man, I never saw him look so sad as when, at age five, I asked him about the 'bad guys' he'd fought. 'There were no "bad guys"', was his response. He then walked out of the room.

    For reasons he never told his family, wife included, William earned a Distinguished Conduct Medal. A friend in London, something of a history buff, has offered to dig into this, but I think it best to let things lie.