As the train slowly gathered speed from the platform, our friends and families disappeared from view. It was then we finally realised that our journey to the British front line trenches in Belgium had begun. Like many of us, I was carrying a photo of a family member close to my heart. To remind me what this expedition was all about.
The excited babble before we pulled away quickly fell into silence, each one of us lost in our own private thoughts. A small group started singing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”, but it soon fizzled out. This was more a time for reflection. None of us really knew what to expect. Even though we’d all seen photos and some jerky movie footage from the front. We knew that brave lads giving the thumbs up, before going over-the-top, wasn’t the whole story. Not even close.
As we pulled into other stations, more groups joined the train. The noise level rose as we greeted our new comrades. But as the platforms disappeared from view, the mood always dipped. It was as if we were all playing some great game, for the benefit of those we were leaving behind. Some of them would never understand what we were doing. Some said we should stay well out of it, that it wasn’t our war.
But if not for us, then who did those men die for? Many never got the send-off they deserved. I take out the the small photo of my Granddad, taken just weeks before he was killed in Mons, a hundred years ago. Doesn’t he deserve a few days of my time to take a Battlefield Tour in 2014, and place flowers on his grave? I look at the diverse group of people on this train, and I’m proud that they feel the same way I do.
For the first time, I’m using one story to enter two challenges. The first challenge is inspired by a specific photo, while the other has a completely open theme. Feel free to visit both!
1) Sunday Photo Fiction, September 14th 2014, hosted by Al Forbes.
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To view other entries in this challenge, click this blue frog!
2) Pixel Prose Challenge, September 14th 2014, hosted by Amanda Lakey at www.UniqueArt Chic.com.
Click the logo for more details.
To view other entries in this challenge, click this blue frog.
15 thoughts on “Good Bye-ee”
Very good. I really thought I was in a different time and then discovered it was a tour.
Thanks. A Battlefield Tour is on my Bucket List!
A poignant story Steve with a twist. Thank you for entering Pixel Prose 🙂
Thanks Amanda. I found writing it very emotional.
Wow. That was impressively written. It felt like it was the soldiers heading there for the first time.
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. The sepia effect of the photo made me think of days gone by, although it could be from any era. I thought it would be good to add a present-day twist. 🙂
It was, and it gets you right at the very end. Especially with this year being the anniversary of the start of the war as well
Love it and spot on. Keep writing.
Thank you. I will keep writing! 🙂
I love this and a great unexpected twist at the end
Thanks! Glad you liked it.
Thank you! 😀
Loved the twist at the end! Your description of the men getting on the train, the questions, the feelings, the trip — captured going to the front so well!
Even if the front is now a grassed over meadow with a monument, or rows of graves. First part makes me think of “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae, May 3, 1915 at Ypres.
Hope you get to take your tour!
Thanks! “In Flanders Fields” is an incredibly moving poem. Although I put a present day twist on the story, I still wanted to be respectful to the brave men who made that original journey.