Sunday, April 5, 2009

A wartime Story.

The two Bills.

When my parents died I asked for the family albums with the idea of recreating in story and image, times in my family`s past of which I personally had no memory. A way of honouring and giving resonance to the lives of those who created me. A way of understanding myself a little better too.
The first thing I wanted to tackle were my father`s First World War photographs of his time in Egypt and Palestine in and around 1917. Amazing to think that it was almost a hundred years ago and how few generations really separate the present day from say, 1066 and the battle of Hastings. People haven`t changed that much through time, just the content of their minds undergoes regular updates and renewals.

I researched the historical background of the Palestine campaign to be able to put the photos and personal stories into perspective with the help of my brother John who has written military histories and interviewed Dad to get the story of his personal battle and wounding. I was surprised how naturally all the complexity of the campaign was understandable to me: as though every Englishman has generations of warfare built into his DNA. As well, the photos gave me a view of my father, (whom I only ever knew as an elderly man. I was born when he was fifty-two), as a young man still in his early twenties. I saw him in the photos fooling around with his fellow officers in a way that seemed eerily familiar: like myself in fact. I had made a connection all these years later to another ‘Bill’ Gardam.

Bill is in the middle. 1917.

I`ve put the story on another separate blog as it would interrupt the continuing Amazon Adventure on Dragongate. I also hope that it will attract readers and researchers with more specific interests who will add their own comments and additions: a sort of community resource.

No comments: