Posted by talfanzine on November 3, 2008 at 5:59 PM
By Bre Abu - Tal Fanzine
When my grandmother passed away in the early 1990s I was going through
some old photographs and found a card with the photo of a young soldier
with a black ribbon attached. It was addressed to my Great-great
grandfather and family from the War Department announcing the death of
their son at the Battle of Loos in September 1915. He was aged 19 and
conscripted into the Highland Light Infantry.
One year while travelling through France curiosity got the better
of me and I visited the Commonweath War Cemetery at Loos and saw his
name inscribed on a granite wall. No grave simply buried in a mass pit
along with thousands of others.
When i got back to Glasgow I decided to try and find out what
actually happened to him and his company in the battle. I visited the
regiment's archives, stored in the museum on Sauchiehall Street.
I was given the officer in charge of the 10th Batallion HLI?s diary
to read. On the day my great uncle was killed he was sent to attack a
train line being held by the Germans. The officers ordered mustard gas
to be fired in advance at the German positions. According to the diary,
prevailing wind conditions hadn?t been considered and the mustard gas
blew back into the faces of the Scottish troops. So there you have it.
Chemical weapons and death by friendly fire...in 1915.
Do I feel like contributing to the Earl Haig Fund (to give the organisation behind Poppy Day its real name) because of this tragedy? Certainly not.
These lions led by donkeys deserve our thoughts and remembrance
along with the many tens of thousands of conscripts slaughtered
in Gallipoli and other places the Celt died for Anglo-imperialism.
However, I won?t be contributing because nowadays the funds go to
VOLUNTEER soldiers who have in my opinion collaborated with the ruling
class in the name of imperialism in Korea, Ireland, Iraq and
Recruitment in Scotland for the Crown forces is at an all time low
and jingoism is the order of the day to reverse that trend for the
overstretched British military. So now it?s mandatory poppies, minute
silences and aggressive recruitment in our schools, colleges and
Remembrance this November should be for the great Scottish
Republican Socialist John Maclean who stood in front of huge crowds
during the imperialist slaughter of 1914-1918 and called for mutiny
amongst the troops and class war. He was jailed several times for
sedition and force-fed while on hunger strike. He died an early death
in 1923. So on November 30th, the 85th anniversary of his death,
remember one man who would never have worn a poppy no matter how much
pressure he was under...