Tag Archives: Mametz Wood

1,568 Sawdust Hearts

Thanks to Cathy of Nanacathydotcom, I am taking part in a beautifully poignant Sawdust Heart project curated by Untangled Threads.

My Sawdust Heart is decorated in Memory of my Great Uncle, John Henry Absalom

who died, aged 17, on 10th July, 1916, in the Battle for Mametz Wood on the Somme in France. (photo courtesy of my second cousin HA)

His body was never found but his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, northern France, which commemorates 72,246 soldiers missing in action.

I ordered some organic cotton printed with Welsh Dragonssawdust heart

I found this project surprisingly difficult to do. Each time I started thinking about what to do I felt shaky and anxious.

My Grandfather was 11 when his beloved brother John left for France, never to return. My Grandfather never got over it and would talk to me of John with tears in his eyes. He hated anything to do with War, as did my father, who fought in the RAF in WW2.

In November 2016 I had the huge honour of being present at a very special ceremony at a school in Nailsea honouring the fallen, including my Great Uncle John.

Being born on Armistice Day has always held great meaning for me, and as a child, I thought of my birthday as Peace Day. I donate to the Poppy Appeal, but I wear a white poppy. My father was proud to fight in ‘A War to End All Wars’ ….. or so he thought ….. sadly human conflict continues.peace poppy

My initial ideas for the heart were far too complicated which meant every time I made a start I hit a hurdle. I did a trial run and decided that would be ‘good enough’, or it would never be finishedsawdust heart

At last it was ready to send.

In the back I tucked a copy of the letter John wrote home to his family

sawdust heart

Letter:

 

France, 13th 1916

 

Dear Mother and All,

Received your most welcomed parcel safely everything was allright packed a treat.

You can imagine how glad I was to receive it, quite a change from our Army diet, hoping you will continue sending them the same, the battery fitted my flash lamp a treat. Received John Bull and Reynolds a few days ago. We have had glorious weather up to date with the exception of a few showers just what you can expect this month.

Our furlow have been cancelled for the time being, but I think we will get it shortly again as they tell me that they often cancel it out here and in a few weeks it starts again.

We are going back to the line again tonight but it is a very quiet place.

Now that the weather is coming we are much more comfortable wile in the trenches.

According to the papers the allies intending to advance all along the line. The sooner it comes the better. Well as we are barred from saying to much about our doings out here I will conclude hoping to find you all as it leaves me in the best of health.

Yours etc John

mind write by return JHA

~

Tomorrow I go with Cathy to the Armistice Commemoration gathering.