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Man who had experienced the Horrors of the Somme, sees his dead comrades

Identifier

021271

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

The Art of Dying – Dr  Peter and Elizabeth Fenwick

My uncle served in the First World War and experienced the Horrors of the Somme, which lived with him for the rest of his life. He had led a group of men, returned with only three survivors and was badly injured himself.  He was awarded the Military Cross.  It was around, 30 years ago, when he was dying of cancer that the following event took place.

During his illness my mother cared for him at home, and I remember one evening we were sitting with him talking quietly. He was too ill to contribute much to the conversation but liked to hear us chatting, when suddenly he leaned forward and stared across the room. He became very animated and looked very happy as he began to talk to people he could, obviously see but we couldn't; he was calling them each by name and asking how they were and how wonderful it was to see them again.

It became apparent from what he was saying they were some of the men who had served with him at the Somme and died there. There was a look of wonderment on his face and he forgot his pain.

I will never forget that night, and though I could not see his friends, I have no doubt whatsoever that they were there. I didn't see him conscious again, and he died a couple of days later.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image

Activities

Observation contributed by: Francis Keeble