Remembrance – art critic Jonathan Jones and classics scholar John Maxwell Edmonds – compare and contrast.
‘When you go home, tell them of us and say
For their tomorrow, we gave our today’ – is one ot four epitaphs penned by classics scholar John Maxwell Edmonds which appeared in an article for the Times newspaper in February 1918.
Writing for the Guardian, art critic Jonathan Jones recently expressed his views on the art installation of nearly 900,000 ceramic poppies at the Tower of London – his right, his job. How sad to have used the artwork for political comment, how churlish to have patronised four million visitors and how clever to miss the point. I am no art critic, but red poppies – ceramic, paper or natural are the symbol of remembrance. But poppies are apparently not brutal enough for Jonathan who would prefer to see barbed wire and bones, ‘gory vile and terrible to see’. Perhaps he ought to have a go at that for next year – good luck with it – the components would most likely be woven around the word ‘sorry’ – on behalf of the rest of us poor nationalistic fools.
It seems from various ‘vox pops’ that people who have flocked to see the poppy installation have drawn their own interpretations of ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, just as they should. If they happened to bring to mind the image of a young soldier, or a forebear’s name, then it is likely there followed some emotion reflecting that the person had been killed in a bloody war. The sentiment that their death may have been futile in the scheme of things may also have occurred. Trite perhaps, but ‘job done’ as they say.
Did those who lost their lives in war do so to allow patronising folks like Mr Jones to look down his snooty nose at the rest of us?
As you will be aware this website is a vehicle for remembrance. I hope that the stories of the various young people here, for the most part now long dead, do them justice and cause us to spare them a thought.
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Lilian Noble,  passed away on 3rd July 2011.
Lilian Noble used to plant two poppies on the Field of Remembrance every year – one each for Jimmie Ives and Allan Clifford.
Five weeks after last hearing from Jimmie Lilian gave him a nudge:-
82 Saltram Crest,
Maida Hill W9
Tuesday 29/2/44
My dear Jimmie,
I think that it is
about time you wrote me
a letter so I thought I would
remind you about it.
I have heard from
Cecil in the sanatorium and
he is having all sorts of
complicated experiments
carried out. I’m glad they
have got to work on him
without too much delay.
The Rowing Club
dance arranged for this
Thursday was on the verge
of being cancelled owing to
the raids but Alma got
her way in end and its
taking place after all. We
wish you were on leave for it.
Allan is still in Scotland
and according to him is
getting all sorts of invitations
for hunting, shooting & fishing
parties. He’s getting as good
as Poulter at that sort
of thing.
Well Jimmie, that’s about
all until I hear from you
Yours as ever
Lil.
Jimmie had been dead for a month. Lilian would not know of her friends death until her letter was returned to her in mid-May.
When Lilian’s last letter to Jimmie was returned to sender ‘on Air Ministry Instructions, she contacted his parents. Although the crew of ND360 were still officially ‘missing’ John and Mabel Ives and Lilian already knew the worst. Lilian wrote on 28th May 1944:-
82 Saltram Crest
Maida Hill, W9.
Dear Mr & Mrs Ives,
I was so sorry to
hear the sad news about
dear Jimmie.
Jimmie taught
me my job at London Region
before he joined the RAF.
he was always most kind
and helpful in those
days and later when he
went to America we wrote
a great deal to each
other and became firm
friends.
His leaves were
always bright spots for me.
There was so much he had
to say in that gay
lighthearted way of his.
Indeed he was popular
with everyone. He was a
great pal and his death
is a deep personal loss
to myself.
My sympathy is
with you. I am so proud
to have known him as
you must be to have
been his parents.
Yours sincerely
Lilian Noble.
The letter and envelope were retained amongst Jim’s effects.
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Jimmie Ives
Captain Allan Eustace Clifford was killed in action in Holland after the Arnhem landings in fighting around Oosterbuik on 13th October 1944, he was 22 years old. Allan’s grave is in Overloon War Cemetery.  (sorry – no photograph of Allan Clifford available).

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