My daughter-in-law Sue's, dad R.J., and I, both share an interest in military history, especially the first and second World Wars. We share our DVDs and books with one another and I have been reading one of his while here: A War in Words by Svetlana Palmer and Sarah Wallis. His nephew Luke, bought the book while in Europe with his school on a Battlefield Tour.
The book is a deeply moving selection of first hand accounts in the form of journals kept by 28 soldiers and civilians, including children, during World War 1. The writers are Serbian, German, French, English, Italian, Turkish, Russian, East African and more. One of the writers unknowingly records his own end as he stops writing mid-sentence. He could not be identified by the enemy soldier who found the journal in his hands, but he kept it safe until he too, was killed in battle. The book is a treasure and imparts a deep sense of history, humanity and the waste of war.
Today my nephew John dropped in for a visit. He told us that on a job with a friend, cleaning out a house, he had found a brass World War 1 rifle oiler, made in nearby Birmingham. You can imagine my interest.
He had been on the internet to determine its value and they were selling for relatively little. I told him I would pay double what they were selling for, but quickly realized that John treasured the thing himself and had only been looking for its value out of interest. He is developing an interest in and knowledge of antiques.
I had no idea what a gun oiler was but learned that they are issued with military rifles and stored in the stock of the gun.
They contain lubricant and enable the gun to be cleaned on the spot if it jambs in battle.
John returned later that evening with the rifle oiler and I ran downstairs from Rob's flat to Mum's to get my camera so that I could take some photos of it. As I held it in my hands I wished it was able to tell me all of the stories it had witnessed.