Watford WW1

Joey Allwood with his fiancée Annie Simmonds during WW1
Joey Allwood in unknown location
Joey s father during WW1 ‘somewhere in France’
Joey s Mother, Annie Minerva Allwood (nee Jones)
Memorial to the Herts fallen unveiled on 31/06/2017 at St Julian, Belgium

My grandmother s older brother Joseph ‘Joey’ Allwood is listed on your roll of honour.
I always recall my gran talking about him and, this year, I went with the Herts Regiment to St Julian where Joey died, missing in action. We unveiled a memorial and I saw his name on the Menin Gate. We visited on 31/07/2017, exactly 100 years to the day that he and most of the Herts boys died. I was so moved that, whilst there (and having read the famous Flanders poem) I wrote one of my own.

To my children upon my return from the centenary of WW1 at Ypres 2017

In Flanders field where poppies blew a century has passed
Retirement now, a family vow has found me here at last

Your great gran loved her brother Joe with little sister’s pride
His sepia photograph she’d show, fiancée by his side

A child, it seemed, in uniform,naive and unaware
A look of you, son, I would say, the same curl to his hair

In Flanders clouds roll endlessly, past grave on granite grave
By fields, now corn, I stand and mourn, the bold, the scared, the brave

I walk in Joey s footsteps, uncover his sad story
‘Missing in the action ‘. No grave, no fabled glory

I read the Flanders poem. I see the Menin Gate
Their names, with his, ascend the sky. The heavens know their fate

Great Grandma knew that poem too, she said; The war was won,
Because that torch once thrown ‘from failing hands’ burned on and on

She asked should we extinguish it, let fully it burn out?
Or let a subtle glow remind; A whisper, not a shout

Of all they lost, she said, of many hopes and dreams denied.
No, Let the torch move through the years, let’s pass it on with pride

It’s symbolism now, not war but memory and warning
Of boys like Joe who didn’t know another new day dawning

And so she passed that torch to me, for years I’ve held it tight
A legacy of loss and grief; futility of fight

So never let it burn again. Never give it cause
From Joe to Gran, to me, to you. From his hands into yours

And now that you have children too, the message on must go
Let corn grow high, let no men die. Just leave the poppies grow

This page was added on 26/01/2021.

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