The Catholic Parish of
Saint John Henry Newman

 Covering most of East Leeds

They will be remembered

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On the 24th September Ann and I, together with our son and his wife and our daughter and husband, visited the war grave of my grandfather, James Ambrose Freeman, near to Bapaume in France. It was the 100th anniversary of his death having been killed by a sniper whilst repairing telephone lines.

Despite earlier experiences with son Paul's tendency to provide prose at family celebrations, it took us by surprise when he sought our attention at the graveside and then related the following verses -

Remembering Private James Ambrose Freeman
As we stand and think of those
Who gave their lives now in repose
We take a breath, breathe hard and long
And say our thanks that they were strong
They said farewell, their last goodbyes
And were thrown into the battle cries
Frightened, scared and full of fear
The horrors relentless, year on year
The fear and terror they were not faking
In a war that was not of their making
Yet despite all this they did not waver
Through lack of fortune and of favour
And as we stand here now and remember you
And think of what we have and what we do
The victory that came through all your pain
Is proof your sacrifice was not in vain
We cannot thank you face to face
But what you fought for we embrace
And live our lives, full and true
James Ambrose Freeman, we will remember you
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them

During the two days spent in the area, we saw thousands and thousands of grave stones at various cemeteries which reminds everyone of the great sacrifices suffered by many during the Great War and which, in turn, affected and influenced the lives of descendants ever since.

The words expressed about James Ambrose Freeman apply equally to all those others who suffered the same fate.

Brian Smith

Published Sat 22nd Dec 2018 17:33:04
Last Modified on Sun 23rd Dec 2018 23:26:44

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