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Wendy Young - disability arts online
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I will remember you Arthur Bowler - Victim of The Great Slaughter 1914-18 / 15 September 2014

Arthur Bowler in uniform 1916

Arthur Bowler in uniform 1916. Killed in Action 15th September 1916. Image © Wendy Young

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98 years ago my Great Uncle Arthur Bowler was 'killed in action' in the 'organised murder' (Harry Patch).  He is commemorated on a brick in Thiepval, France. 

Strangely, he was near an area called Albert, and he had a brother called Albert, pronounced very differently with a Barnsley accent, who also served in Malta in the same conflict and survived to have a very good life.  I wonder if Arthur may have connected these names as he waited in the trench to die. 

His sister, my Grandma, had a strange, small piece of heavy black glass on her mantelpiece which I used to pick up and look at and feel and say 'that's not a pig!' and she would say 'yes it is, our Arthur made that pig for me!'.  He worked at a glassworks before and was looked after by my Grandma and now I see it was a pig, a precious memento beside his brass plaque, one of millions, Arthur Bowler, who died in the Great War.  I wish I could go back and say, 'yes, I see it is a pig' but like most things we regret, it's too late.  I was too young and naive and all I can do is pay homage by the magic of social media.  

Thank you Arthur for giving your life but it was all in vain, the slaughter goes on, again and again.  Here is Wilfred Owen's superb poem as a dedication to you and all the innocents who thought they were doing the right thing and also the ones pressured through the 'white feather' anti-conchie brigade.

Parable of the Old Man and the Young

So Abram rose, and clave the wood, and went,
And took the fire with him, and a knife.
And as they sojourned both of them together,
Isaac the first-born spake and said, My Father,

Behold the preparations, fire and iron,
But where the lamb for this burnt-offering?
Then Abram bound the youth with belts and straps,
and builded parapets and trenches there,

And stretchèd forth the knife to slay his son.
When lo! an angel called him out of heaven,
Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad,
Neither do anything to him. Behold,

A ram, caught in a thicket by its horns;
Offer the Ram of Pride instead of him.
But the old man would not so, but slew his son,
And half the seed of Europe, one by one.

Wilfred Owen