Tonight my father passed to me a small autograph book to look at, one that had once belonged to my great grandmother. The book, which dated in use from around 1916-1919, contained small notes from friends and hospital bound soldiers from the Yorkshire and Durham areas of England, places where my great grandmother lived and worked as a nurse.
There was some fine examples of jokes, sweet messages and beautiful little ink and pencil drawings of countryside scenes. One picture, found towards the end of the autograph book and drawn in 1919, depicts the flags of the allies draped around a peaceful landscape scene of homes with the single word ‘peace’ placed at the bottom.
This opening sweet poem to the collection also caught my attention:
“I slept and dreamt that
life was beauty,
but woke and found that
life was duty.“
As I delicately turned the pages I wondered what became of these men nearly one hundred years ago.