Tuesday, 11 November 2014

In Flanders Fields...

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
("In Flanders Fields" by LtCol JohnMcCrae)

As wargamers we recreate armed conflicts from past centuries and decades, first and foremost because of historical interest and because of the exciting games we create and play with our fellows. But besides this we have a certain measure of responsibility when bringing battles to live. After all it's a very bloody business which we simulate and illustrate. A business in which millions of people lost their lives. Therefore a lot of wargamers have a certain bond to military tradition and remembrance for those who were killed on the battlefields of history. And so do I.
Today the end of World War I has its anniversary and a lot of countries hold Remembrance Day. Although German Volkstrauertag is on 16th November let me join your international fellowship and let me pause for a minute and think of those who have died in the line of duty.
There's so much nonsense coming from the EU why don't those chaps in Brussels create a united and uniting Remembrance Day?
Lest we forget !
And with that I don't care which nationality the soldiers had who gave their lives for king or country. Shame on those who caused such grief but honourable remembrance for those who suffered thus badly.

Unfortunately I didn't manage to get a poppy here although I would go for wearing it with honour this very day and close ranks with you fellows in France, Belgium, the United States, Great Britain, the Commonwealth and wherever Remembrance Day is celebrated today. If anyone of you get's hold of a plain and simple poppy for me I would appreciate if you could send it to me. Of course I would either be willing to pay for it or donate an appropriate amount to the British legion and the German Kriegsgräberfürsorge.

For the last weeks I haven't been able to get McCrae's poem out of my head. I heard I very often when I was working the miniatures for the vignette above and found the following interpretation particularly impressive. It's underlaid with the melody of "Abide with me".


  1. Monty, I truly share your view on our hobby and responsibility to convey the lessons of the past, by making history accessible. Within our lifetime, in some 30 years, Europe can finally celebrate 100 years of peace. But, only if our dear politicians don't mess things up along the way, either in EU or in our foreign relations. I do think the lessons of history have never been more important than now. So I join you in remembering those millions of men, who died fighting for causes that develop our part of the world into what it is today.

    Kind regards

  2. Excellent post Monty. Totally agree. Never forget!

  3. Very hard to listen to without a moist eye and a lump in the throat.

    If only it was the War to End All Wars.

    1. That's why I appreciate this interpretation of McCrae's poem so much. It simply catches the sadness of it...

  4. Well said Stefan. We should remember them with respect and work for a world in which young men and women no longer have to sacrifice their lives.

  5. Beautiful.

    If all wars the ended.
    But they do not stop.

    When you look at the news, there will always be more.
    60,000 AK-47 or copy are use every day
    Other arms (hand) in addition to.
    The arms industry is a too big business.
    the other is a power struggle, the third to maintain great power status

  6. Monty, I wonder if it's worth contacting your local British consulate (or other Commonwealth one). I'd be surprised if they didn't have or know of a supply of poppies.

    Over the last couple of months there has been a daily 15min programme on the radio on the history of German. It very effectively caught the devastation and suffering that your nation had after both world wars - very educational for us Brits.

    1. Many thanks for the hint, Ed. Meanwhile I discovered that the British Legion sells internationally as well. But they charge a rather high shipping fee...

  7. A wonderful post Stefan, sentiments I share wholeheartedly.

  8. Hat off for you Stefan! Well said! And never forget!


  9. Excellent painting on the british. Never forget.

    1. Thanks to Mark Hargreaves's excellent hints about the colours.

  10. Great post! I have a special bond as well, I served 20 years in the U.S. Army from 1989 until 2009. I have seen a lot of things in those 20 years and I hope peace will continue here in Europe. Now I live in Sweden, a country who last saw War against Norway in 1814. It is a big difference from the Unite States. Luckily for me there is one more American at my office who wished me a happy Veterans day. Great painting on the figures!

    1. Thanks a lot for contributing your thoughts.

  11. Monty, thank you very much for that wonderful post.