This short story was one of our award winners in our Tales of Eltham competition. The author said it was inspired by the Eltham War Memorial, St John’s Church , Eltham High Street. It is a moving story.
by Ann Tolladay
When he and his brothers finished at Roper Street school, he felt such pride when he was taken on as an under gardener at Eltham Palace. Bill was working in the post office in Passey Place and Eddy worked in the bank at the cross roads.
On a Friday they would meet up for a pint or two at the Greyhound pub. One night it was so crowded they went round the corner to The Rising Sun and there she was, fate had put the love of his life in front of him, all blond hair and blue eyes. They got talking and to his surprise she agreed to met him the next afternoon.
The Tarn could not have looked better, sun lush greens and flowers. Their feelings for each other blossomed too, they married at St. Johns Church and a year later the twins were born. They lived very contently in a two up two down in Sun Yard. Money was short, but his wife and children gave him a life full of love.
Now he lay here in the mud soaking wet cold and yes angry. The anger welled up in him, the destruction and carnage they were causing must be stopped. It was for the love of what he had left behind, for little families like his that he was prepared to do this terrible thing. The whistle sounded then the movement of men going over the top like a great unstoppable wave. At that moment he knew that what ever his fate, in one part of London what he had planted would continue to grow and even in a hundred years time people would remember and be proud of the sacrifice they were making .