Tag Archives: remembrance

Remembering Harold

Harold Hoyle was my great uncle.  Born in the late 1800’s, he died near the Front on August 25, 2018 in the closing weeks of World War I. This past weekend, my mother along with other relatives, gathered in Earby, northern England to lay a poppy at the town’s war memorial. The oldest of the clan was my uncle Martin — Harold’s half brother. The youngest, my nephew Mylo.

My mother shared her memory of grandmother, Harold’s step-mother, telling the story stood of him leaving for the last time. She was stood on the very step he left from never to return.

Harold Hoyle was my fathers half brother and lived at Hodge Syke in Earby. He was an essential mill worker but was given the white feather one Friday evening by two mill girls so went to war. He was injured in France and came home to recuperate for 5 months and then went back. I remember Pauline Mary Hoyle (my grandmother and his step mother) telling me about the day he went back, standing in the doorway at Hodge Syke and telling her he would never come home again. She cried when she told me this and although not much more than 10 years old at the time (I’m 70 this year) I have never forgotten her look as she remembered the event.

The local paper, The Craven Herald, carried his death notice along with two moving poems on September 20th, 1918.

Private Harold Hoyle, Duke of Wellington's Regiment.
Private Harold Hoyle, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.

Private Harold Holye, Earby

Private Harold Hoyle, Duke of Wellington’s, killed in action on August 25th, was 25 years of age and the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert J. Hoyle, Hodge Syke, Earby. He was wounded last October and returned to France after four months’ recuperation in England. Altogether he had been two years at the Front and was formerly an engine-tenter at Grove Shed, Earby.

HOYLE – In loving memory of our dear son, Private Harold Hoyle, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, who was killed in action somewhere in France, August 25th, 1918.

Somewhere in France in a soldier’s grave,
Lies our dear son among the brave;
From earthly cares to heavenly rest,
Missed by those who loved him best.

–From Father, Mother, Brothers and Sisters

Somewhere in France in a soldier’s grave,
Lies my dear sweet heart amongst the brave;
But the unknown grave is the bitterest blow
None but an aching heart can know,

–Ever remembered, Mollie

100 years after the end of the Great War, I find the story deeply moving. Harold was doing his part for the War effort on the home front, and yet something as flimsy as a white feather —  a potent symbol of cowardice — led to two years at the Front of the most brutal war and ultimately to his death in battle. Rest in Peace, Harold.

 Martin and MyloIMG_0317

Redwoods and Remembrance

I have spent the past week in England, not to attend the opening of the Olympics, but rather to attend my 90-year-old granny’s memorial service. As with all such occasions, the sadness of loss is mixed with the happiness of being with family and sharing memories.

Honor tree in Butano Redwoods State Park
I left England about 20 years ago, so really have only seen granny during family events and Christmas gatherings. She did visit me in California on several occasions—and each time we went to the redwoods. To Montgomery Woods, the Grove of Old Trees andButano State Park. These groves of towering giants—unlike any other places on Earth—left a lasting impression. One of her favorite photos was of her amid the redwoods at the Grove of Old Trees in Sonoma County.My oldest son who came with me cannot imagine anyone older than his “GG.” And even to me, she is my only real link to a Britain that went to war, survived bombs and rationing, and emerged into a bleak 1950s while America boomed. I choose to mark her memory and that of her husband Dick who died 21 years ago, by dedicating a tree at Butano Redwoods State Park in their memory through the League’s memorial program. It’s a place we went together. It’s a place that I have helped protect over my 15 years at the League through various land acquisitions. And it’s now a place I can take my sons to talk about their very English relatives. To me, being in the presence of these timeless giants and remembering past happy timesgrounds me and makes me feel alive, part of a larger world, and at peace.I’d love to know how the redwoods have helped you honor the memory of a loved one or cope with a loss. Please feel free to share your thoughts and memories below. Thanks for sharing.[first published on “Giant Thoughts,” Save the Redwoods League, July 7, 2012]