Sunday, November 10, 2013



This is a picture of my late Aunt Nancy watching a Remembrance Day ceremony on television when she was 100 years old. 

When WWII broke out she joined the South African Military Nursing Service. She served in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein from 1942 to 1944, then went to Italy where she nursed wounded soldiers twelve miles (twenty kilometres) behind the front lines. 

She was forever changed by the experience. 

She proudly sought out and wore the red poppy every November. 

She died last year a few weeks after her 102nd birthday. When my sisters and I were going through some of her things we found a bag full of Remembrance Day poppies (remember when the centres were green?). She couldn't bring herself to throw them out. 

After some of the things she saw while she was overseas she was all for peace, but she also wanted to honour the memory of "the lads" who died to give us our freedom. 

On her 100th birthday, with great-nephew Jesse. That's her in her nursing uniform in the little picture. That's also her, at 89, on the back of a motorcycle so she could get closer to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Another red poppy memory... My dad died at the beginning of November in 1978. At his funeral I watched as one of his old friends after another walked past his coffin and put a poppy on it. A red one. He was in Air-Sea Rescue with the RCAF during WWII. 

That's what I'll be wearing tomorrow. Lest we forget.

Lyra, Bronwyn, Kyran, Gareth and Enid at
Bronwyn's great-great grandfather's grave.
He was Nancy's father and he served in WWI.


1 comment:

Caroline Woodward said...

Beautiful photographic essay, Linda. Thank you! xo Caroline