Remember this reality when mediocre members of parliament and extremist politicians alike use the language of war in their arguments and in politics in general.
First published in April 2019.
“War is sweet to those who have no experience of it, but the experienced man trembles exceedingly at heart on its approach.” — Pindar (518 BC – 438 BC)
Many people have taken to social media to show their anger and their shock at mediocre MP Mark Francois’ decision to invoke so many military images in his recent letter to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee, Graham Brady.
As Steve Bullock rightly described them, the following tweets are “story after story of parents, grandparents and friends too damaged or sickened by their experiences of the horror of war to even talk about it.”
This is why those who didn’t experience war — i.e. Mark Francois et al. — should be more respectful and more careful in their choice of words and choice of analogies in politics.
Here is a selection of tweets about the experience of war:
It's always the bloody war with #Brexiteers.— blueballoo2000 (@blueballoo2000) April 8, 2019
From my family, no one would willingly discuss the war - it was a terrible experience, frightening and arduous to an almost unimaginable extent.
It's got nothing to do with trade policy.
Generally speaking those who experienced war first hand never want to speak of what they saw and did especially if they were involved in fighting. My father was such and refused to reveal anything, only tears would come to his eyes if he was asked.— Adrian Mason #FBPE (@Adrian_Quark) April 9, 2019
There are NO winners in war.
Growing up post war, one the gentlest people I knew was a Church of Scotland minister in our town, who survived Burma camps.— Jim Cuthbert #FBPE (@JimCuthbert) April 8, 2019
He never talked about it.
His forgiveness was so deep.
His peace and love so secure.
Every sermon full of love.
So different, so good
This is my late Grandmother, Leading Aircraftwoman Eleanor Porter, one of the sweetest people you could ever hope to meet. She almost never talked about the horrors of the war, but was still complaining about rationing when she died at 95. pic.twitter.com/CItacUhTSB— blueballoo2000 (@blueballoo2000) April 8, 2019
My late dad was at D-Day, aged 19. He saw his best friend blown to bits next to him. He was left on Hermanville beach with severe shrapnel blast, in the care of a German teenage PoW, until he could be evacuated. It took him 40 years to mention any of this to me. He was pro-EU.— Kate Eaton #FBPE (@kate_tweeton) April 9, 2019
Exactly! My Mum was 19 when war broke out. She saw her family home hit and Dad wa ‘bombed out’ 3 times. But they rarely spoke of it and never with the bombast of the new alt right— Gerri Ellis (@eastender99) April 9, 2019
My uncle was an officer in the Cameron Highlanders, fought at Kohima and won the MC at the crossing of the Irrawady. My dad, who was too young to join up and spent most of the war in Canada, always tried to get my uncle to talk about it. He never would.— Graham White (@gcw09) April 9, 2019
My grandad was at the Somme, my dad on arctic convoys and D Day landing 6 on a tank carrier. Both rarely talked about it.— BlueWendysNoBrexitAtAllDay#FBPE (@bluewendysday) April 9, 2019
I don’t want my son to be the next generation to have to suffer in the same way. As a species, we should be growing out of war by now.
Everything I now know about my Dad (Chindits, behind Japanese lines destroying their infrastructure) i learned from his diaries after he died.— On The Naughty Step #FBPE #RemainPartiesUnite (@trumpy675) April 9, 2019
My Grandad was shot and injured in the desert. The only thing he spoke about was his time in hospital (said the German doctors/nurses saved his life). Refused to talk abt fighting/getting the injury or POW camp after. Also refused to collect his medals.— KS #ABTV #PutItToThePeople #FBPE (@ks_1968) April 9, 2019
My father was a kid in East London during the blitz. My uncle fought in Papua New Guinea against the Japanese which was brutal. Before his death, Uncle Bill NEVER spoke about the war because it blighted the rest of his life. Dad will only talk if really piushed.— Samantha Malin #FBPE (@SamanthaMalin) April 9, 2019
My father saw combat in Vietnam. Didn’t talk about it. People who understand wouldn’t be so casual with references like that.— Daniel Powel (@danielapowel) April 9, 2019
No-one in my family who lived through either or both world wars, never really talked about it: certainly never boasted.— Chris Bore (@chris_bore) April 9, 2019
They sicken me. My dad was a real war hero, blown up in his tank in the desert suffering injuries which lasted to the end of his long life, spent a period in a POW camp yet, like others who have been mentioned,hardly ever mentioned it other than to deplore war not glorify it— Tony Watts (@Tonywauk) April 9, 2019
In the mid 80s I worked in a care home for old soldiers, some of whom had been in WW1 - they didn’t talk about it but some still had nightmares. There was a lovely old man who’d been a stretcher bearer at the Somme, who waved his stick and shouted at the telly on Remembrance Day— Bill Eborn (@EbornBill) April 9, 2019
My father survived his boat being blown up, off the coast of Italy(until she died my mother kept the newspaper clipping), he never spoke of it. He had nightmares for the rest of his life. Remembrance Day was a very serious time in my house.— Helen Normington (@hknormington) April 9, 2019
Similar thing happened to my grandfather. I learned some of what he would have witnessed from a book on the event, and it’s horrifying. He apparently never spoke of it, but my mum has said (in hindsight) there were symptoms of trauma.— Hollie (@HollieTheNerd) April 9, 2019
Yep, my grandfather (Dutch, escaped with family and crew in a Dutch minesweeper). Crewing minesweepers was one of the most dangerous jobs in the navy. Who knows how many friends died.— karl meyer (@karlmeyer) April 9, 2019
Never mentioned the war once.
FiL was 3. Never stops banging on about the war.
In the couple of years before his death, we spoke to my great-uncle about applying to receive the Légion d'Honneur that was rightfully his as a veteran of the D-Day landings. He wouldn't hear of it, didn't think he deserved it.— LitChick79 #PeoplesVote 🇪🇺 (@LitChick79) April 9, 2019
My handsome grandfather. Never spoke of anything but the “lads”, drinking and reusable condoms. Never, ever told us or his children about The War; that aspect was never glorified and he came home a lifelong pacifist pic.twitter.com/5dzNTa33W6— Justine 🏴🦄🐴 (@poorponyowner) April 10, 2019
My mother wouldn't let us watch 'Allo 'Allo as kids - as a history teacher she was horrified by it, claiming it trivialised the war. (For some reason Dad's Army was fine... maybe because Jim Perry had been in the Home Guard?)— LitChick79 #PeoplesVote 🇪🇺 (@LitChick79) April 9, 2019
Indeed. While 'Allo 'Allo had its moments, it perpetuated stereotypes of a peculiarly British nature. Dad's Army makes us laugh at ourselves, 'Allo 'Allo makes us laugh at foreigners, insidiously reinforcing that bizarre sense of British superiority.— LitChick79 #PeoplesVote 🇪🇺 (@LitChick79) April 10, 2019
Indeed. My grandfather and his best friend dived for cover under a truck in the desert from an air attack. He got the right side, but his friend got the wrong one and was killed as he lay next to him.— Steve Bullock (@GuitarMoog) April 8, 2019
He only talked about it 2 or 3 times in 50 yrs. Was nothing but horror to him. https://t.co/31UeOh4iY0
My grandad was a Pow. 2 years after the war his wife and baby No 7 died of TB and he was left with 6 kids. He became a violent alcoholic and drove his family away and died alone. Was is never glamourous. The implications are still being felt in my generation of that family.— BitchAgainstBrexit #FBPE #TIGGER (@PointlessBrexit) April 9, 2019
My grandad had to pick bits of aircrew out of shot-up bombers in WWII. Loathed the Germans until he died but supported the EU as he knew what was at stake.— oscarfranklin #PutItToThePeople (@OscarNMFranklin) April 9, 2019
He never ever spoke about it, it should be said. It was something to be forgotten as quickly as possible.— oscarfranklin #PutItToThePeople (@OscarNMFranklin) April 9, 2019
Yup. My grandfather’s best mate was shot dead beside him on a latrine in Burma. Never talked about. But the night he died in a small Somerset hospital, his delirium made him try, with wasted body, to hide from it under the bed.— Nicky Maine (@OftenArsey) April 8, 2019
My grandad was a desert rat - rarely spoke of it - told me the same story - he and his best mate both dived for cover from an air attack on their truck - his mate was killed. Spent his 21st in a pow camp. Said he survived because a German soldier shared his rations with him.— Robster (@BobbyTeddy1) April 9, 2019
I’m older than you Steve. My grandfather fought in WW1 and then saw his sons go to fight in WW2. He died in 1970 aged 70+. He knew about war. #Nevertakepeaceforgranted— Mr Brewski (@B37boy) April 8, 2019
My Father gave up 6 years of his youth for WW2 ie 8th Army, Desert, Sicily, Italy, D Day+4 to France, Belgium. Germany and rarely spoke of it but never wanted it repeated ...he voted YES in 1975 and supported a united Europe in hope of sustaining peace!— Kathy Thornett (@ThornieKate) April 9, 2019
My grandfather exactly the same route, ended up as a liberator at Bergen Belsen. Told me he had seen true evil in the world, but could never talk of it. He did tell me that his experience of German POWs was they were like him, tired, frightened and just longed for home.— Adrian Marsh (@snitterby) April 9, 2019
My partner’s grandfather was invalided from Verdun. Once as a fussy-eating child her grandmother scolded her with “what you need is to experience war”. Her grandfather replied: “oh no she doesn’t”.— Michael (@baoigheallain) April 9, 2019
That was the only time he ever mentioned the war.
Same here. All GranFs (both mine and my wife's) who served would refuse to talk about it.— 🌹Max 🇪🇺🇬🇧🇮🇹#revokeA50 #BinBrexit #FPBE (@MaxMigliorato) April 9, 2019
One said to me directly that there were things he saw that he did not want to tell anybody.
My g grandfather was at Gallipoli. He kept his revolver and used it to kill himself in the 50s. My grandfather was a desert rat. I have a picture of him in a wheelchair shortly before his death, weeping on Remembrance Sunday for his lost comrades. I hate this romanticism of war— Helen Troup (@hltroup) April 8, 2019
My grandfather never talked about it, bar once when he was drunk. Told me of the horror of collecting body parts of men under his command and that he had personally killed 3 Germans, or as he called them, terrified kids, just like he was.— Nick Lowe (@Lowesmore) April 9, 2019
My grandfather survived D-Day - voted to join Europe in the 70s; his three children are octogenarian - and all voted Remain. Brexiteers of my generation evoking this nonsensical bulldog spirit over a trade deal is imbecilic.— nomnom #FBPE (@yes_tono) April 9, 2019
I never met my paternal grandad, but he was at Passchendaele as an 18 year-old. I understand he never spoke about it. Those who were there and experienced the horror and the fear, didn't.— Jan Bird (@Janspics26) April 8, 2019
My husband's grandfather lost his leg in the battle of the Somme + became a 'quiet, dour' man -a complete change to the character he was before the war. Never ever spoke about it.— jaka #People's Vote! #RevokeArt50!#BanBannonFromEU (@jcrgordon5) April 9, 2019
My grandfather was killed when my dad was 6 - torpedoed by a U-boat. Every time my dad hears a brass band, he gets visibly upset recalling his only real memory of his father leaving port. But he won't talk about it.— Peter with a plan Simms 🇪🇺➕🇬🇧🔶 pro-EU (@peterrsimms) April 9, 2019
He is an ardent remainer, knowing what war and hate bring.
A German correspondent on this medium described growing up with his Nazi grdfather, his acutely anti-Nazi parents, & his new generation; his best friend is Jewish. He enjoys the thought of his grdfather rolling in his grave. It has taken 3 generations careful work to get there.— Dr. K2 #FBPE #filthyRemainer (@VinaigretteGirl) April 9, 2019
My late neighbour was a WW2 vet: a working class, undereducated homosexual who never 'came out', tried to conform, and cried hopelessly recalling the death of the only boy he loved when they were fighting in N. Africa. He joined up to be with him. So many layers of hurt.— Dr. K2 #FBPE #filthyRemainer (@VinaigretteGirl) April 9, 2019
My Grandfather had a similar experience on a ship. Torpedo hit and he and his friend were in the bunks. One bunk got hit. My grandfather survived. I maybe paraphrasing but something like that. He threw his medals aside and cared not for them after.— Haider Bahrani #music #food #love (@HaiderSonneteer) April 8, 2019
My Grandad only ever spoke about the war a couple of times. My nan and dad told me what they knew. Was officially a Lancaster tail gunner. Shot down over France. Made it back... A cabinet full of metal. That sort of thing. He was a bitter man, but very pro European.— We broke it (@Anthropoc3ne) April 8, 2019
Yes, my dad, tank driver, fought in Normandy and Holland, wounded twice, would only talk to comrades, never family. Only told me what happened a few years ago after considerable persuasion by a good friend.— Bill Marshall (@spiderbill) April 8, 2019
If they talk endlessly they weren't there.
Granddad was in the Coldstreams. Nana thought he "just a cook". He admitted, once, he killed a German, Never spoke of again.— Ian Hadingham (@jelltex) April 8, 2019
My Grandfather was a hero. He fought in Royal Navy for 6 years but he never liked talking about it. Having to kill people to survive will do that to you. These Leavers would pee their pants if they had to go though a tenth of what my Grandfather went through in WW2— Phil Watson #FBPE #FPHD (@PhillWatson1970) April 8, 2019
He served on HMS Iron Duke, HMS Rodney and KGV. The one story I got out of him once was how he was rotated of HMS Hood a few days before she sailed. He told me of nearly drowning in Scapa Flow when Iron Duke was run aground but he never talked about the Malta Convoys.— Phil Watson #FBPE #FPHD (@PhillWatson1970) April 8, 2019
my dad fought in Burma, and when asked told me he was in admin. me being stupid thought he meant behind a desk, when what he meant was the battle of admin. one of the worst battles of the war. he only spoke about it once.— planX 💷 🔶 🏳️🌈 #RevokeA50 #Remain (@aldmars1) April 8, 2019
My Dad’s cousin was a POW in Burma. When he finally came home he was a broken man. He ran a newspaper kiosk because he felt safe in his ‘box’ with no one else there. Every single night for the rest of his life he had nightmares and woke up screaming. The war, for him, did not end— 🇪🇺 Jojo🐝 #RevokeArticle50 #FSFA #FBPE (@eu_lover) April 9, 2019
My dad was RAF in Burma.. Asked him how he won his medals once.. He just said he was in the wrong place at the right time... He never collected them.. Just went back to Ireland and became a farmer..— dwatch (@dwatchorn) April 9, 2019
1/2 One grandfather shot in the head, russian front. Survived it. Tortured afterwards via electrocution of metal plate by the British.— das v (@dasvee) April 8, 2019
2/2 the other survived a Japanese prison camp for the duration. Swaithes of the rest of my family died in a singapore Japanese prison camp because they withheld basic anti fungal meds. Imagine your whole family dying of athlete's foot. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.— das v (@dasvee) April 8, 2019
Aye. My grandfather was a medical orderly, in North Africa and on medical trains. Never, ever talked about it.— Ben Cooper (@bencooper) April 8, 2019
My friends won't even discuss Iraq and Afghanistan.— David (@PermaConfused) April 8, 2019
My grandad buried the dead at Belsen with a bulldozer.— Colin Savill (@ColinSavill) April 8, 2019
Tonight I sat in a room with my French and German neighbours and we chatted and laughed and drank as we prepared for the village flower show.
I’m grateful to Ernie and what he gave so we can now be European.
I think about this whenever I’m in Ypres. Grandad was in a trench nearby being shot at, trying to keep warm or being eaten alive by lice. I think he’d be pleased that his grandson is sitting drinking beer outside a bar in a peaceful Europe.— Rick (@FlipChartRick) April 9, 2019
My father was an ambulance driver in WW2. My son aged 8 asked my Dad if he had ever shot any Germans. My Dad, quiet for a while, replied "No, Sam. But I sat at the bedside of men, holding their hand while they died."— pamela evans (@betsypoppit) April 9, 2019
My son never forgot this, told the story at his funeral.
Yup. Grandfather's boat was torpedoed in the far east, bobbed about swallowing petrol and it wrecked his health. He came back a different man, suffering from depression which he self-medicated with too much alcohol. Spent the last ten years of his life incapacitated by bad health— EffEvans #FBPE #FBR (@eff_evans) April 9, 2019
A kind, thoughtful, melancholy man, the Farages and Yaxley-Lennons of this world would have utterly disgusted him, and distressed him beyond measure.— EffEvans #FBPE #FBR (@eff_evans) April 9, 2019
My grandfather never ever spoke of his time in North Africa.— Dr Martin Remains #Revocateur #Facciamorete #FBPE (@MartinRemains) April 9, 2019
Mine Polish immigrants who came here in the 50's. My dad's mum raped by a German soldier - we only found out years after her death and that I have another German aunt. That's just one side of the family. I love that I'm European. I hold no animosity, what does it gain.— Andrew Bresler (@a_bres) April 9, 2019
My (Harwood) grandfather (was something in the legal profession) had something to do with various war crimes tribunals after Ww2. I didn't know this until after he died. He never spoke of it.— Theresa #BitchesagainstBrexit Harwood 🇪🇺#fbpe (@treebleetto) April 9, 2019
My grandfather, who raised me, was a Korea- veteran. He only talked about it once. Full horror. 2 or 3 hours long. A day before he died.— jacques pieters (@jacktax_jacques) April 9, 2019
My dad was out in North Africa in 8th army and he had to bury his brother out there, he only once or twice spoke about the war because it was to painful for him.— Trisha Wade #FBPE (@preshn9) April 9, 2019
My dad, aged 17 RN/RM commando, Walcharen 1944. I know 4 little snippets, 3 were humorous o/wise he would have told only 1 which wasn’t at all funny & needed him to be squiffy first. I found out that he was 1st on beaches with supplies & marshals. Pipsqueak Francois.— Sue Ward (@horaryastrology) April 9, 2019
My father was in Bomber Command. Only spoke of it weeks before his death. Before that, his only real reference to the horror was that, without fail, every time a film or TV had a dead body being carried, he'd quietly say "dead bodies don't hang like that."— Atheist Ape Man (@AtheistApeMan) April 9, 2019
Two of my great uncles fought in WWI. One came back permanently damaged from the gas used. His younger brother who was too young to join up was killed but his body was never found. Not even a grave to visit. Heartbreaking.— Clare McMenemy (@highpoh) April 9, 2019
My father never spoke about the war. He always took me to the local Remembrance Day service every year but never talked about his experiences until recently when he described the dead bodies floating in the sea on D Day. He was 20. He's now 95. He's never forgotten the horror.— Tricia Giles (@StriglaTricia) April 9, 2019
My grandfather told us almost nothing of his war experience. There were a few stories but mostly it was pretty obvious that he wanted it consigned to history.— Dave Lauchlan (@davelauchlan) April 9, 2019
My father only really talked about the war in the year or so before he died. He was a trained killer, but never spoke about who he might have killed. Longterm impact on the whole family was never discussed. #PTSD— Edwina Love Lawrence (@EdwinaLL) April 9, 2019
My first father-in-law was a paratrooper in North Africa. He NEVER spoke of it, ever.— mac jordan #putittothepeople #stopbrexit #fbpe (@ramtops) April 9, 2019
My maternal grandfather was promoted and knighted on the field in WW1 (Italian Army), and literally never told anyone the story of how it happened.— (((Eugenio))) #queuejumper (@emastro66) April 9, 2019
Ditto my Dad, here just returned from Dunkerque. Later trained as a Commando, then Armoured Articifer with Desert Rats in Italy and Normandy to the Rhine. Let a few details out one weekend in 50 years. Mostly it was “I saw some bad things,” with no details. pic.twitter.com/vpE2XtdnYm— Tony Spencer (@TonySpencer4) April 9, 2019
Grandpa torpedoed twice. Only found out during his eulogy.— Othello (@OthelloFloof) April 9, 2019
My Dad was in the Arctic Convoys for most of the war and on HMS Rodney during Battle of Bismark... mostly talked about how beautiful the sea was...— Teel1 (@Teel18) April 8, 2019
My mother in law lost her father in the war, killed in 1943 in Italy. It gave her a lifelong hatred of regimental museums. I always think of this when people bang on about it.— trophicegg (@trophicegg) April 8, 2019
Same here. My granddad only spoke of his war experiences in the last few days of his life - they also included a story of luck when the plane he was in crashed into the Burmese jungle and the tree branch that came through the fuselage impaled his best friend sat next to him.— Mark Nixon (@fatbadger442) April 8, 2019
My great uncle Sidney Collins never, ever spoke about his time in the Horse and Field Artillery in the Great War. His generation never spoke about 1914-18, ever.— Yesterday's Man (@petegaskin) April 8, 2019
My grandfather took a direct hit in a bombing - badly brain damaged - in hospital for 18months.— Navvie 🇪🇺🔰🇾🇪 (@MccabeTheBull) April 9, 2019
Had to relearn how to read and write. Didn’t recognise wife or children with zero memory of pre war.
Skull basically re- made of metal.
Never spoke about it. Mother told me story.
Some of us have experienced it only two decades ago, and there's nothing to boast about.— Dr.V (@ValiMD) April 8, 2019
All those not been directly involved in one, yet bringing wars up in their arguments can go *unprintable themselves!
My pinned tweet - my father's twin brother, Malcolm, died under Monte Cassino. Dad never, ever, talked about it. Died in 28/6/2013 aged 95.— Archimedes (@We_reScrewed) April 8, 2019
Data shows it's very largely those who did not fight in WW2 who always fall back on these appalling memes.
Forgive them father...
My Uncle fought in North Africa. When he came home vowed to never have children Said he couldn't bring another human into the world after what he had seen. Never talked about the war. And psychologically never recovered. Sick of hearing this from Brexiteers.— Dianne Bancroft (@DianneBancroft) April 9, 2019
One of my uncles landed with the Canadians on D-Day and fought his way across Europe. His entire family discovered this in 1997. When asked why he'd never said anything about it, he just said "it was a horrible war and it's best forgotten.". Still alive at 93 bless him.— Clare McMenemy (@highpoh) April 9, 2019
My grandfather was shot across his chest in north africa, he survived, just, but never told anyone about the details his whole life. Lets stop any comparison to to surviving brexit and WW2, its so inappropriate.— Roskin (@Roskin10) April 8, 2019
Not a family member but I spoke to a D Day veteran in the 1980s. He said it was the worse day of his life.— Michael Starling (@StarlingMichael) April 9, 2019
My father was a regular in the tank regiment. He survived Dunkirk, how I’ll never know because a lot of his mates didn’t. He had a few stories. But none about the waiting on the beach being bombed. Seeing men blown apart.— Angie Leach #FBPE #RevokeA50 #BinBrexit🇪🇺🇪🇺 (@AngieLeach20) April 9, 2019
My grandpa told my mum of when his convoy was bombed as they were at tea. He hid under a truck and lived. As kids he described that there was soup everywhere. But as mum got older he opened up that his friend was killed next to him and that the “soup” was actually human remains.— Matthew Horne (@Matthew_orne) April 9, 2019
Asked why did you get the military medal for bravery my grandad would only say .."For being a good runner!"— Kevin Anthony (@KevinAn48751902) April 9, 2019
Yup-father in law in Canadian forces in Italy as a medic.Spoke about it once ...hearing PoWs sing opera but not the ‘action’. My dad was in a slave labour camp. Never spoke about it to us. Opa died in a camp. Oma survived but died before I knew her. Uncle injured on D day beaches— Katrina Hoogendam (@Tuttlebees) April 9, 2019
Brexiteers should be sent to see the Don McCullen exhibition at @Tate Britain. Stark photos of combat, aftermath and consequences. Nothing noble or romantic to see here.— WWW (@w_weinstein) April 9, 2019
Likewise my Grandfather. Dunkirk and Italy. Mentioned it once in the time I knew him, and never answered questions.— Mark Gregory 🇪🇺🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@MarkGre88372343) April 9, 2019
My Polish grandad lost siblings before being forced into the German army. Managed to cross to the allies and fight at Monte Casino. Exiled after the war. Never spoke of it, until very ill with Alzheimer's in his 70s and calling out, terrified, in Polish, back in the horrors again— Rachel Ward (@RachelWard83) April 9, 2019
It's incredible what that generation suffered and endured. We say "lest we forget" every year but what's being remembered in this thread - the true, awful horrors of war - is completely out of kilter with the rhetoric being thrown around so smugly in the current debate— Rachel Ward (@RachelWard83) April 9, 2019
Indeed again. My father was with the British army when they discovered Bergen-Belsen. He spoke about it just 1 time in over 60 years, and it reduced him to a tearful mess after all that time. It was utterly horrifying to him.— Julian Luttrell (@JulianLuttrell) April 9, 2019
Dad was RAF in WW2, "up the desert", for 2 campaigns, then Malta, & later SOE RAF Ops. He was pro EU, made lots of EU friends. He respected the Germans, loved the Dutch, despised the French & the Yanks, laughed at the Italians. He never discussed the horrors he must have seen. pic.twitter.com/ikj0tAqesC— Cardinal Biggles McFerryFace #FBPE 🎓 📚 🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@CardinalBiggle2) April 9, 2019
My grandad didn’t talk about fighting in the war but what he did talk about was the fact that Italian villagers sheltered + protected him + his mate at great personal risk when they escaped from a POW camp. He was very grateful + pro European, he encouraged me to study MFL .— Kim Haddrell (@Khaddrell1) April 9, 2019
I have a letter from my grandfather telling his wife about pulling his brothers off the barbed wire in Belgium #WW1 unbelievable horror.— Loz #leavealighton (@lozlis) April 9, 2019
My great uncle & his younger brother were in the same regiment in https://t.co/NNno0I36JZ. Their truck was blown up & my uncle’s brother died in his arms, my uncle was permanently disabled. He would never talk about it afterwards. It affected him his entire life.— Julie Morris @ ALittleBookProblem (@book_problem) April 9, 2019
And my father was in the Admiralty, a reserved occupation during WW2. He was a firefighter at Portsmouth Docks during the night raids.— mac jordan #putittothepeople #stopbrexit #fbpe (@ramtops) April 9, 2019
He never spoke of that either.
My father was interned in a concentration camp fought in North Africa, And italy on his release. Never spoke of the horrors and refused to watch war films.— RichBerks #FBPE #WATON (@reasonablerich) April 8, 2019
My great grandfather survived Passchendaele. For the rest of his life he never talked about it, and he lived until the 1970's...... People romanticise war, but only if they weren't there.— Chris Rosindale #FBPE #RemainerNow #Bregretter (@dietschiberg1) April 8, 2019
My great grandfather saw action on the Some and 3rd battle of Ypres.— Andy P. #FBPE#FightorKneel (@AndyParrott1) April 8, 2019
Lost two brothers (one at each)
Wounded three times.
Lost a son in WW2.
Never talked about it.
My grandfather never talked about war. Ever. Only after his death did we find out he served on the Somme in WW1. I wish his generation were still around today, in force, to remind us all of their sacrifice and painful lessons.— Mike Townsend (@mike_earthshine) April 9, 2019
Mine too at the Somme. Survived but 50% of his regiment did not return home. He was gassed, lost a finger to frostbite but lived to be 92. Would NEVER talk about the war except to say it was awful. He was only 17 when he joined up 😥— BlueWendysNoBrexitAtAllDay#FBPE (@bluewendysday) April 9, 2019
Dear FIL fought the Japanese. He was lucky and came home but about half his classmates from Falmouth Grammar School did not. He never wanted to talk about it.— Ed Austin Proud European #FBPE 🇪🇺 (@EdAustin11) April 9, 2019
As a child on a number of occasions I asked older members of my family who had fought in the war what it was like. And every single one of the refused to talk about it. That's all I need to know about how awful it was and the sacrifice they made ensuring I would never know.— John Arnold 🔶 PeoplesVote (@floyduk) April 8, 2019
My Spanish grandfather only talked about the Civil War once with me, shortly before his death. Too painful.— Aaron Vincent (@pylade1779) April 8, 2019
My Dad, who fought in WW2, rarely mentioned his time there. But did say the only people who glorify war and want war, are those who have never fought in one— Cats in France 🇪🇺🇮🇪🇫🇷🇬🇧 (@CatsInFrance) April 9, 2019
My father was a conscientious objecter in WW2, working on the land and in hospitals. His father was a conscientious objecter in WW1 but volunteered fir the RAMC as a stretcher bearer at the front, but he served in the RAF in WW2. Neither spoke anything much about their experience— Keith Marshall (@kcm76) April 9, 2019
I was brought up surrounded by the men in my family who had fought in the war. One uncle had been a desert rat, another was a Wing Commander and prisoner of war, another had his fingernails pulled out by the Japanese in Burma. They didn’t talk about it.— Betty Jane (@BettyJanesCat) April 9, 2019
My grandfather never volunteered for anything post war: his team were split in two - one side of the line went to Burma and mostly died. His side of the line didn't. He came back a completely changed man apparently. Life & soul pre war: quiet and reserved after. War not discussed— Citizen10001 (@zombiecitizen) April 9, 2019
My dad and uncle, as 21/22 year olds called up TAs at the start of the war, enrolled in the RAMC, medical corps. Spent the war picking up/patching up the bodies, including at Dunkirk. Grandmother said they came back "changed"; uncle settled into normal life, dad didn't.— Chris Chivers 🔸️ 🇬🇧🇫🇷🇪🇺 🔸️ (@ChrisChivers2) April 9, 2019
My great uncle commanded a tank regiment in North Africain WWII. He never, ever spoke about it.— Dr Katherine Schofield 🇪🇺 (@katherineschof8) April 9, 2019
My great uncle was born in 1920 & spent a good deal of WW2 scouting behind enemy lines. He was one of the first British troops into Bergen-Belsen. He only ever spoke about it to me once, as a warning. By then, he was in his 70s and he wept while he recalled.— Knit wit (@AKnitWit) April 9, 2019
my grandma's second husband lived through a very similar ordeal - a tank turned on their foxhole - he was the only survivor. He had nightmares every night, often crawling under the bed, screaming.— Catherina #FBPE #RegisterToVote (@justthevax) April 9, 2019
My uncle never spoke of what was done to him on the Burma railway... but I saw his back when we went swimming once and I can guess. My father never told me how the Nazis marched him across Europe in the middle of winter - I found out after he died. There is no glory in war.— Julie the Harridan #FBPE (@Jorekai) April 8, 2019
You are absolutely right, my father participated in D-Day, and later was wounded and had malaria in Burma. He scarcely talked about it even when we asked.— pjmeade (@pjmeade) April 9, 2019
Oafs like Francois, who appropriate others’ deeds and sacrifice for their own agendas are the lowest of the low.#StopBrexit
My grandad was dishonourably discharged from the army at the end of WWI because he was caught giving cough medicine to German prisoners of war. He always said “ I didn’t want to fight, they didn’t want to fight, the politicians wanted the fight”— Lib Spacek #FBPE (@MrAverage2) April 9, 2019
All these— Sarah 🍒 🇪🇺 #FBPE #European (@sarah27dv) April 10, 2019
comments, I am so comforted, and I wish my father was alive now to read them, and know everyone felt the same as him, he told me many stories later in his life, being on the front line, the horrors! They all fought,the EU is their legacy, honour them and it!.
In 1990, our elderly neighbour Charlie Spencer, recounted being at El Alemain when the bombing started, he was crying, 48 years later, he just said he and his mates were crouched with their hands over their heads for hours as the relentless bombing continued, they were in hell.— Ian Walker (@BeerWalkerIan) April 8, 2019
My Great-Uncle, 18, was in bomb-disposal, defusing land mines. NEVER discussed the war until he was the last brother left & then not more than once or twice. My Gran cooked for troops home from Dunkirk. She never forgot the look on their faces & the dreadful silence. /end #NOJOKE— blueballoo2000 (@blueballoo2000) April 8, 2019
This is my grand uncle being married in WWI. He survived the war to end all wars but his only son was killed in WW2. To try and stop this we formed A EUROPEAN UNION which has lasted for over 70y pic.twitter.com/WjgYdruicZ— bruce macfarlane (@beajayemac) April 8, 2019
My dad was on the North Atlantic and Arctic Convoys on HMS Meynell. He woke in the night nearly every night screaming until his death in 2014. His experience in war took that mans life as surely as if he had died in 1942. He existed but didn’t live.— Barry Edwards (@somersetbaz) April 9, 2019
Dad never said anything until his last years. He was on one of the first ships into Hamburg as the war ended, he said that the smell of rotting dead and the site of humans dying of hunger stayed with him every day.— Barry Edwards (@somersetbaz) April 9, 2019
Yeah dad was 16 when he signed up with his best friend. He never saw him again. THAT is war.— Barry Edwards (@somersetbaz) April 9, 2019
My father came from Poland and joined the SOE. The only thing he ever said to me when I met him again in 1996 was that he had been taught many ways to kill. He then worked with the SIS until retirement.— phoenixrising3010 pro EU-internationalist (@meandme3010) April 10, 2019
My mother escaped from East Germany, met my father in the UK. Mother took us to Germany and for a time we lived in a camp for the dispossessed in Shalding, the stories the women told (when we were supposed to be sleeping) still haunt me.— phoenixrising3010 pro EU-internationalist (@meandme3010) April 10, 2019
My grandfather was a Sgt in the army in WW2. That is all I know, and only because we found a photo of him and his troops after he’d died.— black cat luck #FBPE #deeplyunhelpful (@blackcattrinity) April 10, 2019
My Grandfather was in the RAMC for D-Day landings, travelled with troops to liberate Bergen Belsen. Never spoke about it. pic.twitter.com/bARlvv7e9D— CatherINe #revokearticle50 🔶#FPHD (@cathintwick) April 10, 2019
I was in Kosovo I saw first hand the immediate effects of oppression and war...they have no idea what they are talking about most of these people who romanticise it...— jeannette ellwood (@Sanyeh1) April 10, 2019
My dad dived under truck in Egypt during WW2 but got a bullet to his leg. He died in 1980s but was thrilled to vote for EEC membership in 1975 - “best security of peace”— SamRobbins (@SamRobb34797357) April 9, 2019
My Granddad was a mechanical engineer based in Egypt in WWii. In a raid, the building he was in took a direct hit. He was playing cards with 5 other servicemen at the time. Only he survived.— 1934 *Revoke A50 now!* Nigel #FBPE 🎣⚽️🎸 (@Nigel1934) April 9, 2019
I know about this through my Grandmother. He never, ever, spoke of it.
Indeed. AA guns blew my grandfather’s B-17 out of the Belgian sky. Not all of his crew got into their parachutes. He survived because the wind happened to be blowing in the right direction that day.— Perfidious A.L.B. (@alxratner) April 9, 2019
I only know about this because of my grandmother and aunt. He never spoke of it.
This is why Brexit is fucking personal. We won’t go back to that kind of world. Not if we love our children.— Perfidious A.L.B. (@alxratner) April 9, 2019
My grandfather was a prisoner of war in Germany. My parents still remember the American soldiers liberating the area. My grandmother hid Jewish and Spanish kids in her loft during the occupation. Courage I could not even dream of. She just did it.— Marianne M #FBPE #INLIMBO (@mm_tw9) April 9, 2019
My aunt still hides when she hears a plane flying over the house. Blitz spirit simply meant trying to stay alive and being terrified— Winnie CullMac #FBPE (@WCullmac) April 9, 2019
My grandad was a navigator in Bomber Command. Would talk endlessly about the stations he was based at and his friends, but never about any missions. I did once get out of him that they bombed U-boat pens in St Nazaire and other French ports.— ⓜⓐⓡⓓⓨ (@propermardy) April 9, 2019
Used to talk to lots of veterans when I qualified 25 years ago. They'd sometimes talk of traumatic events they'd rarely shared. They were never jingoistic, aggressive or vengeful. Often spoke of extreme pity for the other side, especially civilians. NOTHING like the far right now— Ken Macdonald (@KennethMLK) April 9, 2019
My Dad was a paratrooper. Never said a word, it embarrassed him.— Steve (@steves_amps) April 8, 2019
We could easily publish hundreds and thousands other such testimonies to prove the simple point that war terminology or war examples should never be used for political points related to Brexit, the European Union or otherwise, and that politicians should never abuse their freedom of speech to ignore other human beings’ suffering.
Brexiters will very likely never read this article, and this together with Francois’ idiotic, appalling letter show how very little respect they hold for others, vets and all the victims of wars.
And to fellow journalists: do not give Mark Francois (who gets easily aroused by the sound of his own voice) a platform to talk his Brexit nonsense. There is no reason for such a mediocre MP to appear on TV unless you are complicit in creating a Farage 2.0 worse than the original.🔷
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