Muriel's talk to the children of Shaldon Primary School, on the opening of

the World War 1 Exhibition in St Peter's Church, Tuesday 13th November 2018.


Hello, my name is Muriel.

For those who are interested, I am 101 and three-quarters years old, which means I was born in 1917, during the First World War.

Lots of things were happening in the world at the time, but I was a baby, so I knew nothing about it – you could say that I slept through it all!

My dad fought in the First World War.

He had just trained as a teacher in London and had started his first teaching position, and like a lot of young men, he volunteered to join the Army.

Almost everyone did. The country was in danger, and lots of men volunteered to protect the values we stood for.

At the time, he was engaged to my mother, and so they quickly married – it was 8 o’clock on a Sunday morning in November 1915, – and the following day he joined his unit. It was a long time before she saw him again.

I often think, even today, how my mother coped - a wedding day followed by her new husband going to off to war. She was very brave.

Women were very brave, they had to carry on and keep things going at home whilst the men were away.

My dad, his name was Thomas, was with a group of men who were miners, so when he was in France digging deep trenches, he wasn’t as good at it as the miners were. They were used to hard physical work, but my dad had different talents – he could read and write.

You have to remember that a lot of miners left school at a very early age, and so were not able to read and write very well. My dad helped them.

The trenches were dreadful places, as it could be cold and wet and very frightening. Letters from home were very important, as they are today for soldiers posted overseas. It shows that even in terrible times, people still had the capacity to be kind.

The trenches were dreadful places, as it could be cold and wet and very frightening. Letters from home were very important, as they are today for soldiers posted overseas. It shows that even in terrible times, people still had the capacity to be kind.

My dad was in France – was involved in some really big battles, and then he was sent to Italy.

He was wounded in Italy, and his injuries were so bad, they thought he might loose his leg. They were able to save his leg, but he had to wear leg irons all his life, and they were always painful.

My dad never talked about his experiences in the war: a lot of people died and the sights must be dreadful. I think he wanted to forget … but for us, it is important to remember what all those men and women did for our country, and their lives were their gift to us today.



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