G brings us to the seventh of 26 short stories – 250 words or fewer - about Alice’s life and times.
G is for Glory
The first months of the war were surprisingly quiet and became known as the Phoney War. People relaxed and stopped carrying their gas masks everywhere. In the spring of 1940 they were made to think again when the Netherlands and Belgium were invaded and the battle for France began. Suddenly the enemy seemed uncomfortably close.
Letters home calmed the anxieties of Alice’s family but they had little idea where the brothers were. They dreaded seeing the telegram boy and sighed with relief when he passed by. One day in 1941 he stopped at the house. Edward was missing in action, presumed killed. He was just eighteen. His parents wept and Ruth and Alice did their best to comfort them though they could hardly stop their own tears from falling.
Three years later another telegram arrived reporting Charles’ death. His ship had been torpedoed in the Atlantic in early January.
When VE day came in 1945 there were ecstatic celebrations for those who welcomed home their loved ones. There was proud reference to the sacrifices of ‘our glorious dead’ but the bereaved could not see it and could not rejoice.
Finally, Daniel returned. He’d left his legs behind on a battlefield but at least he had survived. Alice watched Ruth as she got ready to visit him in hospital. She was trembling. Alice recognised her fear and hoped somehow Daniel would be the same as he had ever been.
She was thirteen - half her life had been lived in wartime.