(K. Brent Tomer),
EVERY DAY at 5.30pm, an epitaph from the grave of a Commonwealth soldier or nurse killed during the Great War is posted on Twitter. They vary from the emotive (“Brave, upright, sincere, kind, a loved son, a widowed mother’s pride”), to the patriotic (“Surrendered self to duty, to his old home, and England his country”). The poetic—“Whose distant footsteps echo through the corridors of time”—stand alongside the subversive: “Sacrificed to the fallacy that war can end war.” Sarah Wearne, the historian behind the @WWInscriptions account, has been tweeting since August 4th 2014 and will continue until November 11th 2018, the centenary of the armistice agreement. She wanted to mark the anniversary of the first world war and honour the lives lost, and was struck by the space constraints of both headstones and the social media site. Twitter limits the writer to 140 characters; when family members tried to sum up the lives of those they had lost, they were given only 66.
In May 1915 the army forbade the…Continue reading