IDLE and DISSOLUTE

The History of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade Royal Field Artillery

A truly emotional experience…

February 1, 2015

……. I woke up with a fright at 02:00am, on the morning of 11th November 2014, with an unstoppable desire to see for myself the Poppies at the Tower of London. At 03:00am sandwiches made, two poppies pinned on my coat, I jumped into the car and drove to London (from Stoke on Trent – approx. 150 miles), as the sun was rising, I was already on the tube from Hillingdon to Aldgate, 1 hour later, I was walking from Aldgate to the Tower of London, arriving a little after 08:00am.

The path around the moat was already full of people and then – the moat itself……. my goodness, what a truly amazing scene! Those 888,000 ceramic poppies covering the entire moat in a blaze of red. I am still unable to find words that adequately describe my feelings. Such was the power of seeing all those poppies, each one representing a life lost – I could easily have sunk to my knees and wept.

I stayed there for over an hour, just gazing at this incredible sight whilst thinking about my great-uncle William, the other 132 men of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade who had fallen during the First World War and the remaining men (totalling 2,500) that have so dominated my life for the past fifteen years.
I eventually moved on to observe the 2 minutes silence in Trafalgar Square, before starting the journey home. It turned out to be a long day – but, one that I felt compelled to do…. I saw all the Poppies in place on 11th November 2014 and at least one person was there to remember the brave men of the 160th (Wearside) Brigade. Lest we forget.