John Halewood-Dodd column

John Halewood Dodd.
John Halewood Dodd.

This week marked the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

An event so significant in world history that I felt that there was really nothing else to write about this week.

On August 4, 1914 Britain entered the Great War with many politicians, as well as the men who went to battle, predicting that it would all be over by Christmas.

It wasn’t until November 3, 1918 that the Germans finally surrendered and by that time some 37 million people had perished.

How many families and friends, from both sides of the conflict, would have been devastated to discover that their loved ones were either killed or missing in action?

The numbers involved are almost beyond comprehension.

Many of those slain were young men in the prime of their lives.

Indeed, the first British casualty of the war was a 17 year old boy by the name of John Parr who was shot dead near Mons in Belgium.

His family were not informed that he was missing until 1915, and they were not told of his death until after the war had ended.

My oldest son is 17, and with all due respect to him he is still a child.

The thought of him being born 100 years earlier and possibly facing the fate of John Parr is too horrific to contemplate.

That is why we have to ensure that future generations are aware of what occurred so that hopefully other families do not have to suffer as millions did in both World Wars.

After all the Great War was described as the war to end all wars.

However, what concerns me is that humankind has not learnt from this.

There are numerous conflicts taking place throughout the world some of which are relatively close to home.

Too many families are suffering in Gaza, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and the Ukraine.

The rise of nationalistic politics throughout the world leaves me with the utterly depressing thought that similar conflicts are likely in the future.

Surely, as a species we cannot allow this to happen.