“Hetty, Hetty help me”, she woke feeling his hand touching her face, “Tommy what’s wrong” she called out as she rose in the bed. She had been in a deep sleep, dreaming of Tommy and those last few happy weeks they had spent together in Clovelly, DEVON then too soon it all ended and Tommy had to go.
“Tommy” she cried as she turned to him by her side no Tommy where was he. Then Hetty remembered “oh Tommy darling, Tommy I so need you” she wept as she knew where he was, out there in France. She sat back in the bed and wept as she remembered, was it a dream, was she still asleep, “it was real Tommy I felt you, I smelt you”.
She touched the right side of her cheek “it was your gentle touch on my cheek I felt so much” its what Tommy always did to wake her, gently stroke her cheek. “Tommy you were here with me, your touch your soft words it was you but as she wiped tears from her eyes she felt pain in her chest in her heart, she felt ill she didn’t want to think “no no don’t think that” she said.
Hetty laid back in the bed but not sleeping knowing Tommy had been there in their bedroom, she slipped out of bed it was so cold, this 2nd morning of November she shivered as she looked at the clock 6 am, she reached for her dressing gown and slipped it on and then knelt by the side of her bed and prayed, prayed for her love that he was safe.
Life went on and no news. at least no news was good news thats what people would say. Tommy was safe Hetty told herself. It was whilst Hetty was in her front garden sweeping leaves that had fallen from the Trees Tommy had planted, that young Billy arrived on his bike, she looked up and froze no words would come forth, Billy got off his bike and slowly and quietly walked through the gates towards Hetty. “Mrs Sinclair a Telegram” he said as quietly as he could as he handed Hetty the Telegram, Hetty took the telegram and stumbled, Agnes who lived next door had just come out of her front door to chat to Hetty, she saw Hetty stumble and young Billy trying to help her “Hetty love whats wrong” then Agnes saw the telegram in Hetty’s hands “no Hetty oh dear God no , don’t think the worse Tommy could be just injured or missing, do you want me to open it” Agnes asked.
Hetty nodded and Agnes took the telegram, Bill silently walked away down the path and through the gates, onto his bike and rode off, he looked back at Hetty and Agnes “its alright Son, I’ll look after her don’t worry” said Agnes. “Come Hetty lets go in to my house and I’ll make some tea” with her arm around Hetty’s young waist she gently led Hetty into the house, Agnes sat Hetty down and quickly made some tea, all the time Hetty was holding the telegram Agnes had given back to her, when Agnes returned with the tray of tea and poured a strong sweet Tea out for Hetty she said “do you want to open it”, Hetty looked at her the tears in her eyes “no Agnes, I can’t”, “its alright love let me” Agnes told her.
Agnes carefully opened the telegram and the words she would never want to say she heard herself saying “It is with the deepest regret we ………………………………..Private Thomas Sinclair D I E D on Friday November 2, 1918 at 6 am at The Battle of Amiens in Picardy……………………………………………………” Agnes looked at Hetty “Dead, Tommy Dead, Dead” thats all she could say, Agnes wrapped her arms around Hetty and put the telegram in her hands “come on love sip this tea it will help”, “it won’t bring Tommy back” Hetty said sobbing, “no love it won’t do that but its all we know isn’t it, that tea helps, stupid but” Agnes could not finish her words she was fighting back the tears. “I know Agnes, I know, he came to me” said Hetty.
“Who came to you love, who came” Agnes asked, “Tommy came, Tommy came to me on Friday 2 November in the early hours, he stroked my cheek like he always did to wake me and he spoke” said Hetty, Agnes hugged her “Hetty I believe that, he came to let you know he was at Peace, God Bless him, he came to reassure you love that I am sure of”. “Agnes I will be with him again won’t I” cried Hetty, “yes love one day, not for a long time but one day and Tommy will be waiting for you” Agnes told her.
The very cold November days passed and Hetty tried to cope as best she could, people from the Village had been very good to her bringing gifts of flowers and food and just calling in to talk to her comfort her, but she did not want to seem ungrateful there were times when she just wanted to be alone with Tommy. Agnes and Bert next door were always there for her, in fact Bert said he would pop in when he got home from work at the Smithies. Indeed Bert did drop in, Agnes came too, Hetty left the door ajar for them she heard the tap on the door “comer in Bert please come in”, as Agnes and Bert entered the little Cottage he placed a basket covered with a bow on the handle on Hetty’s settle “now whats that” asked Hetty, Agnes giggled “open love, its from Bert and myself, we hope you will love it, in fact we are sure you will” said the pair.
Intrigued Hetty undid the bow and lifted the cloth and there staring up at her two Black eyes and a bundle of fur, a puppy the most softest puppy she could touch “Bert, Agnes” Hetty squealed with delight as she lifted the puppy out of the basket and the puppy proceeded so excited to lick Hetty’s face “there you go love, he’s in love with you already” said Agnes, Hetty hugged the puppy “a little boy” she asked “yes a boy” said Bert “what do you think you will call it” said Agnes ” Hetty kissed the puppy as she held him close “Tommy ” said Hetty “I thought you might” said Bert, “your Tommy would love that and he would love this little chap too” Bert said smiling.
“HELLO, HELLO” they heard a voice shout, Bert went to the door “Herbert whats wrong with you” asked Bert it was Herbert down the road “Bert, Agnes, Hetty sorry to disturb you but thought you would want to know there has been an announcement, the War is over, its all over the announcer said the guns fell silent at 11 am, its all over, I’m sorry Hetty it did not come sooner for you”, Hetty just nodded, “well its odd isn’t it” said Agnes “its the 11th day of the 11th month November and the guns stopped at 11 am, thank God its finished”, “yes thank God no more suffering, just wish Tommy had lived to see it” Hetty told them.
At the 11th Hour on the 11th Day of the 11th Month November 1918 the Guns Fell Silent and the War to End all Wars had drawn to a close. The millions and millions who had been sacrificed on the Altar of Mens desire for War would live on in the memories of all their loved ones and in the Country of their Birth. Those that survived would be physical and mentally traumatised for the rest of their lives.
Tommy and Hetty Sinclair just two of the causalities of a War that should never have happened. Private Thomas Sinclair just another young man who volunteered to Fight for King and Country, Henrietta Sinclair just another young girl in love with her Husband and looking forward to bearing his Children and living their lives together, just another young couple from another little Village from another Country.
Tommy and Hetty, millions of them the casualties of an unnecessary War, Lands torn. Soldiers buried where they fell far too many. These were the Real Heroes not those that sat behind desks and sent these Men to their Deaths and lives that continued in pain and suffering.
REMEMBER THE TOMMY AND HETTY’S, REMEMBER THE SACRIFICES MADE BY ALL THOSE COURAGEOUS SOLDIERS WHO FOUGHT IN THE WAR TO END ALL WARS AS THEY WERE TOLD.
W O R L D W A R I – 1 9 1 4 – 1 9 1 8
R E M E M B E R A N D W E A R Y O U R R E D P O P P Y W I T H P R I D E
THE BATTLE OF AMIENS 1918