Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Finding relatives

I got a link to an account of the death of my great-uncle Bunny today. It's part of an account of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in Burma. The KOYLI suffered heavy losses, and Bunny (Walter Alexander) was one of them. One thing I didn't realise was that he'd been lightweight boxing champion of Burma; granddad had been heavyweight champion of Burma in the early 1930s, which was one of the things that helped get his transfer from the Indian Army to the British. Granddad was attached to the 8th Army for the war, Bunny joined the KOYLI in Burma (where they were from) and died there. One of my great-uncles by marriage was also there when Bunny died and told me about it at granddad's wake.

I think one of the reasons why I don't dress very 1940s, despite loving noir films and swing, is that for me that decade is always linked to the war, and it's a time of sacrifice I take very clearly. I don't like wars, because every death is an irreplaceable person gone forever and too soon, whatever side they're fighting on, but I do respect the courage it takes to fight in one.

Yeah, that account has made me thoughtful.

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