it is impossible to read the story we tell today of Lynne Gladstone-Millar and her war hero father and remain unmoved.
Captain William Ewart Gladstone-Millar was an extraordinarly brave man, who, undaunted by the deaths of his comrades, went on singlehandedly to take a German gun nest. Those of us who are lucky enough never to have experienced the horrors of war will never fully understand the courage that required, but we can all imagine enough to know that it was a truly remarkable feat. The Military Cross he received was fully merited.
However, it is not Capt Gladstone-Millar’s “boy’s own” heroics, as impressive as they are, that are the most moving part of this family’s story. It is the shared moments between father and daughter, the walks in the woods and the soldier’s recollection of a tragedy 40 years later that strike the most emotional note.
These are moments which we can all relate to as we dwell this weekend upon the sacrifices made during two worlds wars and other deadly conflicts. Many will recall similar moments shared with our own loved ones, while many more will dearly wish they were able to have such conversations with their father or grandfather.
It is not the extraordinary courage but the ordinary, everyday moments that have the power to move us to tears. It is the trauma carried as haunting memories for half a lifetime and tenderly shared.
The emotions and memories that Capt Gladstone-Millar shared with his daughter she has now shared with the rest of the Capital. It is these everyday stories of terrible suffering and tremendous endurance that will ensure the remembrance of lives lost in war will endure. The stories of the men who trained at Dreghorn before heading to the Great War will live on for generations through stories like this and the Memorial Woods they inspired.