In 2014, people all over the world are commemorating the centenary of World War 1.
The Crafty Expat is not only about my stories but also about yours so, today, I am thrilled to have on the blog author Margaret Tanner who not only writes about World War 1, but who has also visited the Australian battlefields in France and Belgium.
I had goose bumps whilst reading her post and I’m so glad Margaret has decided to share her experience with my readers.
Margaret has just released The Loves we Left Behind, a three novel collection depicting the tragedy and triumph of 3 different women during WW1.
Without further ado, lets leave this space to my friend Margaret.
Centenary of World War 1
2014 is the centenary of the start of the Great War or World War 1 as it is more commonly known these days. On the 4th August 1914, England declared war on Germany and, within a couple of days, young men from the far flung corners of the British Empire rushed to enlist.
My interest in WW1 started whilst reading about my family’s history in this conflict. After that, I found out as much as I could about this war by reading a family member’s diary and numerous books in the library. It has, I suppose, become an obsession with me.
My husband, my son and I visited the Australian battlefields on the Somme in France and also in Belgium, a truly poignant experience.
Australia was a small country in 1914 with a population of less than 4 million yet, we sent over 300 000 men to the front, Gallipoli in Turkey, Egypt, France and Belgium. More than 60 000 soldiers lie in the beautiful cemeteries in France and Belgium, 12 000 miles from home.
We met our tour guide in Amiens. We visited large cemeteries where hundreds of white headstones stood amongst green lawns with pretty flowers nodding their heads between the graves. It was so poignant, one could have cried a million tears and it still wouldn’t have been enough.
At Thiepval we saw a monument with thousands of names engraved on it for English soldiers who fell in the area but have no known grave. One of the most memorable monument wasn’t very big. It was at Fromelles, a bronze statue of an Aussie soldier carrying his wounded mate.
At the Menin Gate in Belgium, a huge monument with thousands of names inscribed on it for soldiers without a grave where they still, after all these years, play the last post every evening as a mark of respect for the fallen.
We visited large war cemeteries and, as beautiful and sad as they were, the most touching was a small cemetery near Passchendale with only a handful of white headstones.
Night was falling as we passed through this cemetery and, as we stopped to read the inscription on an eighteen year old soldier’s grave, we whispered that someone from home had come to visit him. When we turned and walked away through the misty rain, all we could leave behind for him was our tears and a red poppy.
Daring Masquerade, Lauren’s Dilemma and Allison’s War, all published by Books We Love, are set during the 1st World War. They have been combined in a BWL trilogy to mark the centenary of the start of this terrible conflict. You can purchase The loves we Left Behind on Amazon.
Margaret Tanner is an award-winning, multi-published Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels and prides herself on being historically correct. No book is too old or tattered for her to trawl through, no museum too dusty. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia. She once spent a couple of hours in an old goal cell so she could feel the chilling cold and fear.
Her favorite historical period is the 1st World War and she has visited the battlefields of Gallipoli, France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience.
Margaret is a member of the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild (MRWG).
You can visit Margaret’s website here: http://www.margarettanner.com/
Tell me about a time in the history that truly inspires you or your writing.
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