Rejoicing and relief at the end of World War I was relatively short-lived. An exhausted populace, eventually realising that their lives had not changed for the better, stirred into acts of civil unrest as drastic political, economic, cultural and social changes took effect. However, I think this important aspect of the aftermath of World War I must be largely left for another time while we concentrate our attention on the military casualties of this so-called ‘war to end all wars’. Although the horrendous statistics defy imagination, encourage the children to think of the casualties as people rather than numbers. There are acres of headstones and crosses, of ALL the participating nations, in cemeteries worldwide, BUT each stone usually has a manís name on it, not a number. Equally there are mammoth memorials to those who have no known grave … and individual names are engraved on those too.
What of the physically and mentally wounded? In addition to medical facilities for those maimed in war, all nations have veterans associations who give aid and counselling to ex-military personnel. As early as 1915 the Rev.Tubby Clayton set up Toc H , a house in Belgium where all ranks could rest while passing through battle areas. Toc H also established a similar house in London after the war. Blind Veterans UK (St.Dunstans) was also set up in 1915. The British Legion founded in 1921 was followed somewhat later by Guide Dogs for the Blind in 1934 . Even the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals and the Dickin Medal for animal gallantry grew out of the part that animals played in World War I. No doubt the children will able to track down more such organisations.
Finally ask the children how many wars have there been since the ‘War to end all wars’ came to an end?
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Work Sheet 8 – Lest we forget
13th July 2012
Content last updated
17 December 2012
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