TODAY’S travails will be seen in a totally different context when set against the sacrifices that were being made 100 years ago as World War One reached a bloody stalemate.
Take former Leeds police officer Sergeant Major John Crawshaw Raynes who was awarded the Victoria Cross for “conspicuous bravery”, and whose valour was marked yesterday exactly century on from the selfless actions that earned him the country’s highest military honour.
West Yorkshire Police laid a wreath at his grave in Harehills Cemetery, as a bugler played the Last Post yesterday in the city where he served before and after the First World War.
Sgt Maj Raynes was awarded the Victoria Cross after going out under heavy shellfire to save a wounded comrade at Bethune, France. His heroic story (we really do use the word ‘hero’ too lightly these days,) is documented on page 10 of today’s YEP.
Anthony Child, 54, who learned of the soldier’s story while researching his own family history, said. “People don’t realise that the First World War is as relevant today as it was then – we mustn’t forget what those men and women did.” Indeed we must not.
It was yesterday, too, that the nation remembered nurse Edith Cavell who was court-martialled and executed in German-occupied Brussels a century ago after aiding the escape of hundreds of Allied soldiers.
Though the deeds of both have been well-chronicled, they are further examples of how the awful of events of the 1914-18 war are being brought back to life so today’s generations have a greater awareness, and appreciation, of the sacrifices made by their forebears. Long may this continue.
Welcoming back Leeds’s blockbuster festival
It’s become one of the cultural highlights of the year for Leeds film buffs. And now the much-anticipated programme has been announced for this year’s Leeds International Film Festiva, featuring more than 300 screenings and events at 16 venues across Leeds.
You’ll read a lot in these columns about the city’s bid to be a European Capital of Culture in 2023 - and surely it’s celebrated, establish, events such as this that will help place us firmly in contention