Looking back, I hardly knew John Stimson. But he made me a little boat, and it will stay with me forever.
I remember him as an old, thin man with grey hair and a slight limp. He’d look down on me with a smile and ruffle my hair. John could often be loud and funny, but sometimes he would sit very quiet, or go and lock himself in his little garden shed. Sometimes we could hear him singing wartime songs to himself, as he made his model boats. He’d come out again when he was ready.
John was wounded in France in the retreat of 1940, and evacuated from the beach at Dunkirk. A small pleasure craft took him to a Royal Navy Destroyer, and then to safety in England. The physical battle with his wounds was soon won, but his mental war was never completely over.
I didn’t know his story until after he had gone. To me he was just Grandpa, but I’m proud to have known him.
(This story is fictional but is intended as a tribute to the men and women of the British Armed Forces who have given their lives to keep our country safe.)
Lest We Forget
This is my contribution to Sunday Photo Fiction, hosted by Alastair Forbes. Click the logo for more details.
Click the link here to read the other stories.