Remembering those who have served.

As Armistice day approaches it seemed right to think about those who have served and it is the centenary of the end of the First World War. My Great grandfather served in the First World War, he was already a veteran and had served in the Boer War and had been injured. (See photo). He served in the First World War alongside friends and neighbours as part of Lancashire Fusiliers often referred to as the Salford Pals. At the age of 40 he joined 15th Battalion (First Salford Pals) and served for the duration of the war from 15-Oct-1914 to 10-Jan-1918.

This website has a wealth of information about the Salford Pals, they were mobilised to France in November 1915 and served in the Somme and were almost wiped out in the summer of 1916 in the conflict at Thiepval. He was awarded the Silver Cross in 1920. He passed away on November 19th 1926 aged 52.

war time memories project

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He was born in 1874 in Sale Cheshire but by the time he was 11 years old had moved to Chief St Salford with his family. He married Frances Taylor on December 14th 1901 and they had 8 children between 1902 and 1915, Frances, John, Henry, Hilda, Ernest, Frank, Arthur and Edith. The photo is of John, Frances and Edith.

 

How little can we live off?

Fragile strands of hope

Adrift at sea, lifeless, mere driftwood in the doldrums,

Dear God deliver us from this desperate dream

Have mercy-throw us a line.

 

Lift us up above the relentless rips that ride us roughshod across the sands.

How little can we live off?

Give us some crumb of comfort

Let us know that tomorrow will bring new hope on the horizon.

 

It is a wild place

No comfort for those who care.

We are foreigners in a flawed landscape

Fettered by our need to belong.

 

© Alison Jean Hankinson.

We have been through much this last year, and it seems like each day brings some new horror but we have no choice but to walk forward still. It is wild and a little unkempt and uncaring and I wonder if it can ever be any better, any less wild.

This is for d’Verse poetics.

 

 

Small moments, meaningful memories.

Dad enjoyed a whisky each night

Said it just seemed right

Helped him put the plight of the world to rest

Before eyes-shut, sleep-tight, God-Bless.

© Alison Jean Hankinson

A short sweet contribution for Napowrimo Day 11.

 

 

Wish you were near.

If I could turn back the clock and revisit the years

The worry and fears would feature less in our lives

I would hold your hand tightly and cherish the tears

I would be kinder, argue less, smile more and realise

That the memories and moments and having you near

Are worth more than ever as ever-swiftly time flies.

 

©Alison Jean Hankinson

This is my contribution to the birthday open link night at d’Verse. I am a November birthday. This is about my children, especially my firstborn twin, who is a long way from home and is bravely making her way in the world with no family at her side. When I look back at all the moments I wish there had been more time not less.

 

 

Storm clouds gather over Heysham Head.

 

Against the backdrop of the sea

My love for you rises with the tide

No plain nor perfect place I would rather be

With my time-worn soulmate at my side.

 

Sunset over Lakeland Hills

Windmills as far as the eye can see

Hand in hand we walk the sands

No plain nor perfect place I would rather be.

 

Storm clouds on the horizon

Wind blows strong across the land

Sudden wind chill makes us shiver

Hand in hand we walk the sands.

 

We head for home across the Head

In the Church ruins shelter and hide

Against the backdrop of the sea

My love for you rises with the tide.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

 

Submitting this for open link night. At d’Verse.

Salford Pals

 

I have spent a considerable amount of time this weekend rebuilding the lives of my paternal Great-grandfather John Henry Mcclenan( McLanaghan) and my Great grandmother- his wife Frances Taylor/Skinner. It is a fascinating story of friendship, war, battles and lives lost, and love rising like a phoenix from the ashes to build what was to become a large and strong family. John Henry and his best friend George Skinner were to fight in the Boer War, George was killed and John Henry injured in the hip and returned to Salford to convalesce. On recovering he went to see George’s wife of 4 months Frances Skinner and over time they fell in love and were married on 14 December 1901.

Frances was 27 by this time but they went on to have 8 children, one of whom was my Grandfather Frank born in 1911(the one on the horse), and although getting on in years John Henry served with the Salford Pals 15th regiment from 1914-18, surviving a number of key battles including the Somme in 1916 and the siege of Thiepval July 1st 1916 and was awarded a number of medals. Frances and John’s fourth child was a daughter Hilda and her Great Grandson Christopher Finney went on to earn the George Cross for bravery in the Iraq war 2003. I think great things came from the broken fragments of John Henry’s Boer war broken-ness. He passed away in 1926 from amongst other things TB in the injured hip. I might not have fully complied with nature- but maybe war counts as the impact of human nature…

Bleak Boer War battle

John Henry lost George Skinner

Frail Fall brought Frances.

 

Alison Jean Hankinson

 

For d”verse our challenge is to write about finding beauty in the broken pieces or imperfection and/or the process of mending the broken pieces.- kintsugi. A “broken” object, cityscape or landscape, or personal experience of mending and embracing imperfections. Kintsugi means “golden rejoining,” and refers to the Zen philosophy of acknowleding flaws, embracing change, and restoring an object with a newfound beauty.