In Your Great Loss: May 27th 1919

Lawrence Hannon

Two telegrams, one at the end of January in 1915,

another at the end of May in 1919.

Two sons dead, Peter and Lawrence.

What did my great grandparents do when they heard about the death of their sons in World War 1?

Did she scream and cry? “This isn’t our war!”

Did he pound his fists on the table and yell,

                                                          “I want my boys home!”

Maybe they saw the death of Peter as noble.

Dying of his injuries at the Battle of Hanna and buried in Basra War Cemetery in Iraq. “Peter died in battle,” William, his father, might tell people with pride; or, “He shouldn’t have even been there!” his father, might tell people in anger; or, “Peter, our son is gone forever,” the father, might tell people in despair.

What did Peter’s mother say, I wonder?

Two sons gone, one in battle, the other……….. Did they even tell people about

Lawrence?

The war was six months over.

A train ride home through France.

Wine consumed.

 A carriage shared with two other soldiers.

Peter Hannon

Drinking, but not drunk, they said at both inquisitions. On good terms with both men,

they said at both inquisitions. No fighting or disturbances during the night, they said at both inquisitions. Yet his body was found with a blanket thrown over it on the morning of May 27th 1919. Death by suffocation, but no foul play the coroner said.

Did Lawrence’s telegram say, “In your great loss?”

The man whose hands were on Lawrence’s throat as he took his last breath, what did he loose that day? Did he die thinking, “I killed a man with my bare hands?” and wished for it not to have been that way? Did he die an old man, regretting what he did or extolling it? A lot was lost on May 27th 1919, most notably the truth.

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