This post originally appeared on Naked Blog.

We are a three-church village.

There’s the main one (used most Sundays but not, shamefully, by me), a smaller subsidiary one (occasional services, somewhat overgrown) and a spooky disused one (spooky and disused).

The main one is directly opposite the cottage. Dozing in bed on a Sunday morning listening to the bells is one of the pleasures of country life.

Many generations of villagers lie in the churchyard, including the long-ago residents of our place. The same surnames crop up over and over.

* * *

In the corner of the plot are the war graves. The RAF station on the edge of the village provided the occupants of this – pilots that had been downed (or crashed) over the region or who had been pulled out of the sea off the North Norfolk coast.

It could define ‘military precision’. Immaculately uniform, the stones stand to attention like pawns at the start of a chess game, equally spaced to the millimetre and looking as new as when they were first placed. The grass is as beautifully kept as any golf course. Somebody still cares.

Probably one third of the interred are from Canada, Australia or New Zealand. As you walk around, you can’t help yourself from thinking that it was a bloody long, long way to come to die.

* * *

If one third are from the Commonwealth countries, another sixth are German. Of course, they died here too, in flames in the fields or washed up onto the shore. Even today it’s still a shock to see the insignia on the headstones in this context – sixty years of war films have preserved its sense of menace.

At first, when the powers that be discovered that a German had been buried in the same line as the English pilots, they planned to exhume the body and put it elsewhere. The villagers, however, refused to disturb the airman, and he lies there to this day. Future German burials were grouped together, facing the Commonwealth stones, with equal reverence and dignity.

* * *

In my continuing quest to share any returning Naked Blog traffic with newer bloggers, I love All’s Well Jezebel. She is the younger of a blogging family, the Coleen Nolan of blogging.

Comments are closed