Newspaper article here
Some people will doubtless try, but it's impossible to be arch, ironic or cynical about this: Harry Patch (In Memory Of) once again proves that Radiohead are light years away from most of their supposed contemporaries - though I'm not sure that's really the point. Yorke dedicates it to "peace and understanding", you can download for £1, and monies go to the Royal British Legion.
I have been watching the funeral on TV - not out of morbidity but shared awe, the following come out
- Harry was an ordinary working man who was the last person on the planet who knew and experienced the horror of the trenches in the First World War.
- His funeral is about peace and reconciliation - his pallbearers include Belgian, French and Germans.
- Far from being brutalised by the military machine and the warmongers - goodness there are still plenty of those prats knocking about, Harry remained a quiet and private person.
- He never told his children or grandchildren about his war experiences - including Paschendale. At the age of 100 he decided that history dictated he needed to tell his story.
- For the last decade we Brits have got used to seeing this articulate man appearing on TV and relating his story. A friend on the TV has just said at this years Menin Gate ceremony people wanted to shake his hand, touch him and were in tears in his presence.
- He was a member of a First World War Lewis Gun team - the 4 of them had a tacit agreement. To fire low on advancing troops i.e. aim for legs or fire above their heads as warning shots - only to kill as a last resort.
- Harry is a national icon, an ordinary man - a retired plumber.
- Harry was a hero.