Day 32 Hull to York

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When I was looking at the map of where the torch is today, the place names fascinated me.  There’s Stamford Bridge, only not the Chelsea FC one – and a Richmond, far from Surrey. Then there’s a Melbourne, seemingly on the wrong side of the world. There’s Haworth, which makes me think of the Brontes, Aysgarth, which is synonymous in my mind with follies and Thirsk, which dear old Ray Moore used to say was a terrible desire for vodka.

One of the key places on today’s leg is Harrogate, the location for one of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries.  I love war cemeteries, especially the ones from WWI and from the D-Day landings.

Stonefall, like many other such places, has some special stories to tell, and some special lives to commemorate – like the five airman from Canada and the US who died when their Halifax hit a railway bridge. How did they end up over here? What happened to their plane? Who did they leave behind? Did any of their loved ones ever come over and visit their memorial?

These places (and books of reminisecences of people who were there at the time) are a constant inspiration for me and – so far – I’ve written three stories set around WWI. I can’t help but write about those times. All Lessons Learned was ‘born’, at least as an idea, as soon as Lessons in Love was written, as I knew the boys would go to war. This Ground which was Secured (from Home Fires Burning) followed hard on its heels, but still WWI wasn’t written out of my system. So Promises Made Under Fire (out next year) came about, because every new book I read about those times suggests new stories…

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4 responses »

  1. I know and love most of the places the torch has been today – my grandparents lived in Hull for many years – and given where I live the places in North & West Yorkshire are a stones throws away. Indeed it’s entry into West Yorkshire made me smile as it entered my home county. I shall be in Bradford on Sunday I hope to see it pass through.

    Stamford Bridge is of course where Harald defeated the Norwegian Army (and his brother) before marching to Hastings to be defeated himself. I’ve been to a re-enactment there as one of my friends is a member of the local ‘Dark Ages/Vikings’ re-enactment group.

    As to Stonefall – I have been past the cemetery any number of times but never actually been in – know many of the other places it passed in Harrogate as it is my mother’s (and mine technically) home town.

    • I’ve not been to Stonefall, but there’s a cemetery at Brockenhurst which I drove past for years without visiting and then was completely knocked out when I visited it. Rather like the one five minutes up the road I only heard about this year!

  2. Ah Stamford Bridge. I remember as a ten year old walking from my home in York to SB on the anniversary of the battle (1966) with the men on horseback who were taking part in the mock battle. All resplendent in authentic costumes and carrying weapons. But…..my parents did not know I’d gone, but guessed, came looking for me and I really copped it when they got me home.

    Ah, happy days. 🙂

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