In the lead up to Remembrance Day it’s often a time of reflection and a look back into our own heritage and, with 11th November this year marking the centenary of the armistice – 2018 is no exception.
The extraordinary sacrifice by these brave men, in truth, is now difficult for us to comprehend. The impact was prevalent for decades to come in local communities with so many husbands, fathers and sons never returning.
Our thoughts in particular this year will be with Arthur Poulter – awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry for his efforts on the night of April 10, 1918 while acting as a stretcher bearer. That night he ten times carried badly-wounded men on his back through heavy artillery and machine-gun fire at Erquinghem-Lys in France. Enemy fire was so intense that two of the wounded were hit a second time whilst on his back and, even after a withdrawal over the river had been ordered, he returned in full view of the enemy and carried back another man who had been left behind. He then went on to bandage 40 men whilst under fire – and was seriously wounded himself while attempting yet another rescue.
Two weeks later, he was badly wounded again when a bullet struck his head, narrowly missing his eye. Blinded and invalided home, he regained his sight after several operations and his VC was presented to him by King George V at Buckingham Palace on December 13, 1918.
We learnt of this heroic story earlier in the year from our warehouse operative, Barry Poulter, who can proudly name Arthur Poulter as his grandfather. According to Barry, Arthur’s physical strength was widely attributed to his time before the war spent working for Timothy Taylor’s Brewery carrying sacks of barley.
Unsurprisingly, Timothy Taylor’s Brewery honoured Arthur last year with the launch of a beer aptly named Poulter’s Porter – a rich, dark, warming 4.8% ABV porter with hints of coffee, chocolate and liquorice.
It’s certainly worth having the conversation with colleagues and friends and, who knows, there may be other extraordinary stories waiting to be told.