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Around November 20th


Today, at a spot in London, you will find gathered many men. Approach one of them standing motionless at our Cenotaph, but take no offence should he react neither to your approach nor to your questions. His eyes what do they see there? Not a column of cold stone rising from a sea of red, but rather faces and figures at rest in a bed of blazing scarlet. Faces and figures of former comrades - nay of still whom he is conscious today above all days. What does he hear? He hears the sound of parade ground, canteen and barrack room, of battle. He hears too, voices raised in command, in anger or may be lowered in urgent whisper, voices of pain, despair, of laughter. He may hear the voices of loved ones, sense their presence and feel their touch, be reminded of a forgotten perfume. On this day he tastes again the bitterness of defeat, the sweetness of victory, his mouth knows again the dryness not of thirst but of fear. All these are his, locked away in his library of memory, open to no one. No my friend, expect not a reply from this man for he would find no words, rather go on your way, content in the knowledge that you are here today, but above all, with gratitude in your heart for those remembered by a man at the Cenotaph.

November 20th is Cambrai Day for that day in 1917 the tank corp was born.

Arthur Matthews


ABOVE: In the Tank Corp


UPDATED: 25 December 2013 2013