It always amazes me how quickly the start date for one of my trips comes around, but here we are getting ready to sail for France. The weather has been miserable all morning, but seems to be trying to brighten up now.
My thoughts have been continually turning back nearly 100 years to the men, who with my Grandfathers, would have been also getting ready to cross the English Channel by ship. In their case though, there was certainly no guarantee of a return trip and definitely no comforts on the voyage. I wonder what they were thinking? No doubt on the surface all was bravado and fun, but inside it must have been a different story. Who was it who said that courage is to be afraid, yet still go on?
I found this photograph of a troop ship leaving Folkestone, where so many embarked. Who knows, maybe William or Charles could be in this photograph. What of those men in the picture, what happened to them and how many came home? The answer is lost in the mists of time, but it certainly is a sobering thought.
I know that our Brittany Ferry ship tonight, my old friend the ‘Pont Aven’, will be considerably more palatial than this dear old two stacker…but with nothing of the style! Then again, I won’t have to spend the crossing on deck in case of submarine attack…
‘And I heard a voice crying, This is the path to Glory.’ (Wilfred Owen 1893-1918)
Catch you all in France tomorrow.