Denver, my neighbour here in Westbury, Wiltshire in the UK was telling me today that he’s off to Cannes in France at the weekend. The second world war grave of his 19 year old brother has been discovered by a Westbury man who visited Cannes war graves, and wrote down the names on every war grave with a Westbury association.
Through a coincidence involving a broken wire on a garage door, the man met Denver, and was able to link one of the graves with Denver. It was his brother’s long lost war grave. He only knew his brother died in Cannes. He didn’t know there was a war grave. The fact that a war grave can remain unknown to a direct family member for over fifty years indicates the scale of loss in the second world war.
One tiny coincidence involving hundreds of miles, fifty years, and millions of people amazed me. Few people stay in one small town like Westbury for so many years. If Denver had moved away from Westbury, he would never have known there was a war grave. How many more war graves are not known about over fifty years on, the relatives growing too old to ask questions, too old to investigate?
Denver told me that he served in Africa, and that another brother served in Egypt. He’s not looking forward to the journey because he’s finding walking difficult. I’m sure he’s going to make it though. I’m sure he’s going to get there.