Sobering reality of war hits home at Somme

The sobering reality of war hits home at one of the battlefields of the First World War Western Front.
The sobering reality of war hits home at one of the battlefields of the First World War Western Front. Emma Channon

FOLKS, yesterday was Remembrance Day, and if you forgot to remember it then, please, do so now; I'll wait.

The Great War, or War to End All Wars, was relabelled WW1 after it became clear that it wasn't actually going to be the last war (and really wasn't so great either).

Instead of ending all armed conflict, the First World War marked the beginning of a new terror, the Technology Wars.

Advances in machine gun and artillery technology combined with inventions in the form of submarines, tanks, aircraft and chemical warfare, which were gleefully used by both sides to cause mass destruction on the battlefield.

Sadly, old school military advances still applied in one vital area, i.e.: "I say chaps, let's keep charging the machine guns until they run out of bullets! Tally ho!"

We visited the Somme a couple of years ago and our tour guide grimly read out the Allied casualty statistics. These were very sobering. Then he tallied the German losses, and the figures were so appalling I stuck a fist into my gob to keep from crying out.

Finally, he pointed to a lake and explained that it had once been a prominent hill where hundreds of men were evaporated by the world's largest man-made, pre-atomic blast. Farmers are still finding bits of those poor sods around the district.

Look, it's good to remember the fallen of that war, but in spite of their great sacrifice we still haven't learned how to effectively deal with megalomaniacs bent on world domination, religious extremists or nations greedy for resources or land, without going to war; again and again.

In spite of modern, remote control technology targeting enemies with surgical precision, only occasionally obliterating schools and hospitals, lasting peace won't be breaking out anytime soon.

And that's definitely something worth reflecting on.

Greg Bray blogs at Find him on Facebook: Greg Bray - Writer

Topics:  general-seniors-news greg bray remembrance day somme

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