Seven years after the Armistice the returning soldiers were being settled. Next door was Mr Lawrence, a giant of a man, who had arrested Roger Casement and taken him to the Tower. Mr Rogers had been in the Infantry, as had Mr Dalgleish and others along the road. Albert Whitehead, my father, was one of five brothers, all in the infantry. One was killed and one lost a leg. Similar family histories were common all along the street.

Over the mantlepiece in the sitting-room was the picture of Uncle Cyril, the youngest brother of the family, in a small round photo-frame, with last year's Armistice Day poppies arranged above it. The face, rather stiff and uneasy in some photographer's grotto, was undeveloped. Taken during his last leave, he was still a lad, smartly turned out, potentially handsome, but raw. Like so many others his life was before him until, in 1918, in the eleventh month, he was killed. This was the last picture of him, all in fact that remained, and each year the poppies were replaced by new. Many houses had similar photographs which continued to exert their influence throughout the Twenties and Thirties on all political parties, right up to Munich. In 1925 the soldiers who had survived were home and this estate would begin to house them. Others were waiting impatiently for more houses to be built on the land behind. It was like a Roman legion, disbanded after a war, being settled as a new small town in some foreign valley.


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