Why we must remember them

Rob Wilmot

Rob Wilmot
Founder & CEO

Posted by Rob Wilmot in Ideas and Features on 10 November 2018

It is one hundred years since The Armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918 brought World War One to a close.

It is vital that we commemorate this now, and in the future, to remember those who lost their lives in the fight, but also to make sure that we fully understand the futility and destruction of war.

My remembrance has a face and name:

P T Wilmot L/Corporal 14780. 8th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. Killed in action 16th May 1916, aged 34 years. Son of Henry Josiah Wilmot of Haxey, husband of Rose Annie Wilmot (formerly Curtis) of Haxey, Lincs. Born Haxey, enlisted Epworth and resident Haxey, Lincs. Commemorated Dartmoor Cemetry, Becordel-Becpourt. Died as the result of being struck by a shell, and his remains were buried in the military cemetery behind the fighting lines.

With the increasing trend towards nationalism and intolerance around the world including Europe, America and Russia, we need to hold on more that ever to the collective memory of the catastrophic devastation of the world wars. As Winston Churchill said in 1948 “Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”

Daniel Schönpflug, a German historian, points out that over the centuries, periods of war in Europe’s history have been followed by periods of prolonged peace.

“But once the generation with living memory of fighting had died, the next war came along ... History teaches us that when the generation that experienced war dies out, caution diminishes and naiveté toward war increases."

All the innovation in the world will not save us if society fails to remember the futility of aggression and violence. We must continue to endeavour to resolve conflicts peacefully by finding common ground and utility in our humanity.

I am hopeful that Crowdicity is playing its small part in helping shape a future of collaboration and problem solving across boundaries.

Update 23:52 Sunday 11th November. I just received the following transcript of a letter from two friends of Percy Wilmot to his widow. Thanks to Chris Wilmot for sending this to me.

Dear Mrs, Wilmot, - It is the deepest regret and sympathy that I write on behalf of Charlie Keightley and myself to express our sorrow on your sudden and sad bereavement. I can scarcely realize how in so short a time he has been removed from our midst, for only a week ago we were out together and I could not help but admire the cheerful spirit which has always been a characteristic trait with your husband, and which was evident here under shell fire as when on the football ground in England. We shall mourn his loss, but we shall always retain memories of one whose courage and happy disposition won the respect of all who knew him. It was his motto, as it is ours - "We do not die while England lives," and it is men like our departed friend that have held up the honour of our dear old Empire, - men who would rather suffer death than dishonour; and there can be no finer example of his.

May his noble sacrifice atone much for your loss: for greater sacrifice hath no man that he should lay down his life for his friends.

It will be some consolation to know his end was swift and painless, and Charlie and I will take the first opportunity to visit the spot that marks his last resting place, there to pay our last tribute of respect to a real true friend - a British hero.

Signed, J. Coggon, C. Keightley

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