“Don’t listen Tommo, dont look , dont think only remember”
Remembering Our Fallen war heroes with Michael Morpurgo and Private Peaceful
It seems quite apt at this time of year to be reading the story of a world war 1 soldier in Private Peaceful by Micheal Morpurgo. With everybody wearing their poppies we still sometimes do not realise what these men went through and sacrificed for us.
“I could in my minds eye , picture her standing there on her doorstep, letter in hand. I could feel her grief and her pain” Micheal Morpugo
In this special edition commemorating 100 hundred years of the battle of the Somme is a forward by Micheal Morpurgo. Micheal was inspired to write this story shortly after writing the War Horse. At the time The War Horse was written it was not the success it is today. Had Micheal not wrote The War Horse he might never of got to go to the conference in Yves in Belgium, the town that was fought over so fiercely in the First World War. It was here that he visited The Flanders Fields Museum and noticed a letter in a frame on the wall. In this letter wrote from a captain in the army, a mother is informed that her son was shot at dawn for cowardice. Micheal looked at the jagged tear of the envelope and realised that this letter had destroyed her life and the lives of her family. Intrigued Micheal went on to learn that over 3000 soldiers were condemned to death in the face of the enemy for desertion. Of these men 306 had their sentences confirmed and where shot at dawn. Many of these men were simply suffering from what we know today as post traumatic stress syndrome. These men were only pardoned in 2006.
“Tonight more than any other night of my life I want to feel alive”
The story of Private Peacefull is set in the same town and village as The War Horse. Private peaceful re tells the story of his life from a small boy to what brought him to his room in France during the war. He relives his memories and the tales of his childhood life in the peaceful countryside. Later he then tells of the stark contrast of the trenches and it could not be more heartbreaking. Private peaceful enrols underage and goes off to war with his brother without realising the brutality they will face. He spends a night in his room counting the clock from ten in the evening until 6 o’clock in the morning Tommo does not want to forget one memory. He tells tales of growing up, his school life, his family and the horrors of the trenches. Tom tries desperately to hold close to him all that is dear. Whatever lies awaiting for Tommo will truly change his life forever.
Somme. The whole history of the world cannot contain a more ghastly word. — Friedrich Steinbrecher
The battle of the Somme is the most tragic battle in British military history. On the 1st of July 1916 at 7.30 am, over 100,000 men were sent over top of the trenches towards enemy lines. As they advanced German machine guns fired. This horrifyingly left 20,000 dead in the most brutal one day of fighting in human history. Over the next few months it turned in to a stalemate where many more lives were lost. Tanks were brought in and conditions worsened. Plummeting temperatures and snow put an end to the battle on the 18th of November 1916 with over a million soldiers killed across British, French and German armies. Many of these men were very young or very old and not entirely trained for the objective.
“But the sound I hate and fear the most is not the sound of the explosion – by then it’s done and over with, and you’re either dead or not . No it’s the whistle and whine and shriek of the shells as they come over. It’s the not knowing where they will land, whether this one is for you.”
Win a copy of the book in our competition
If you would like to follow the rest of the unsung Heroes Book Tour take a look at the other bloggers websites participating. I also have one copy of Private Peacefull to give away. Enter through the raffkecopter below, completion runs until the 21st of November. Good luck!
Open to UK residents only.
Thank you for reading Michael Morpurgo and Private Peaceful , my thoughts are with our fallen heroes gone but not forgotten. D x