This story from the pages of the Eccles and Patricroft Journal from September 1918 is a mixture of both of the above emotions and an almost happy ending for once.
Corporal David Macfarlane who resided at Cross Street, Eccles was before the outbreak of war a postman on the streets of Eccles and by all accounts a well known man in the Borough.
He was no stranger to combat having fought in the Boer War in South Africa and in October 1916 he joined the 2/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusilier and was soon in action.
He fought in the Third Battle of Ypres where his regiment suffered many casualties, he was shot through the hand as he was retreating and then in the leg as he lay on the floor, along with fellow Eccles man, Corporal Lee who lived at Cecil Road, Eccles he was taken as prisoner of war and taken to various camps around Belgium before settling at Munster Lager, Medical Hospital, Westphalia in Germany.
With the war grinding to a bloody stalemate Macfarlane because of his age and ill health was repatriated back to Blighty after 13 months in captivity.
He gave an interview to the Eccles and Patricroft Journal when he was on home leave from the King George Hospital in London, who no doubt wanted to hear tales of heroism and jingoism and he did not disappoint.
When taken prisoner he was taken to a field hospital and the only treatment he received for his injuries where cold water bandages which left his hand deformed and useless, he did retain the use of his leg though.
Now in his stride he told the journalist,
"I saw plenty of British pluck on the Western Front but nothing compared to to the pluck of our boys who are in the hands of their German captors.
"Nothing can induce them to or compel them to make munitions, one lad who refused was placed on bread and water for 17 hours and was forced to stand in bitterly cold weather, at the end of it he had to be practically thawed out but he maintained his refusal to work for them"
He then thanked the Prisoner of War Relief Fund who had sent them essential food.
"I received six parcels a month, the Germans were eager to buy our bread, dripping and soap but Tommy never parted with them, we make sure our boys get their share"
Surprisingly he was allowed to visit the nearby town of Munster, he said that all the shops were either closed or had no provisions in them and yet the Germans were still convinced that they would win the war as the people of Britain were starving to death.
Also in the Munster camp were three local men, Reggie Cox who lived at Boardman Street, Eccles, William Moore from Church Street, Eccles and a lad named only as Winn from Parrin Lane, Winton.
Macfarlane finished the article by stating that he was eager to to resume his duties as a postman in Eccles when fully fit, despite his deformed hand.
That newspaper article to me reads full of British bravado and the good old Bulldog spirit which is what the people wanted to hear.
However that wasn't the the truth as his parents who lived at Vicarage Close, Eccles revealed that David was one of their seven sons.
One had been killed, one had lost his right hand, and another son had lost his arm and a leg.
The other three were still fighting in France and to be honest they still stood a good chance of being killed killed or maimed in that senseless bloodbath which would drag on for another three months.
To have lost one son and had three others disfigured and maimed is beyond my belief, yet somehow people were still joining the Army, albeit more reluctantly than in 1914, which seems a form of collective madness which it obviously wasn't but begs the question why?
I doff my cap to Corporal Macfarlane and the many, many men who fought and died in that that war yet still cannot understand why they didn't refuse to go, point blank after seeing the terrible loss of life and hardships that would be endured by families at home.
Don't be alarmed if you are walking through the streets of Eccles and see scarecrows popping out of gardens, hedges and bushes, it's only entries for the inaugural Eccles, Winton, and Monton Scarecrow Festival organised by Megan Dwyer a teaching assistant at Clarendon Road School.
Check Out The Video Here: https://www.youtube.com/embed/nZhOG4aUTuo
We went down to her school as she explained what the festival was all about.
We took a drive around to see some Scarecrows and were delighted at the variety and imagination that have gone into making them, Super heroes, Harry Potters, Mary Poppins, The Big Friendly Giant, Wee Willy Winkie, and an amazing Yellow Brick Road themed front garden.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/EMWScarecrowFestival/
It is great to see so many people coming together and making a concerted effort to have fun and everybody who has participated deserves a pat on the back if not a prize! and hopefully this will be an annual event.
So get out, get spotting and get voting!
There are four easy to follow trails, covering, Eccles, Monton, Peel Green, Brookhouse, Winton which pinpoints where the scarecrows are located, they can be picked up from the following establishments.
Barlow and White, Monton, The Monton Van, Green Lane, Morrisons, Eccles, New Happiness Chippy, Winton
ECCLES BORN JOURNALIST AND 'BRITAINS GREATEST NEWSPAPER EDITOR' SIR HAROLD EVANS, DIES FROM HEART FAILURE IN NY, AGED 92By KARL
A local journalist who was once declared Fleet Streets greatest newspaper editor has died aged 92-years old in New York.
Harold Evans was born on the 28th of June 1928 in Patricroft, Eccles, son of Welsh parents who had moved to Eccles, his father finding employment as a local train driver.
He would go on to enjoy a career in journalism which would span 70 years but very much founded in local journalism.
Sir Harold found employment as a journalist with the Manchester Evening News but built his reputation back in the 1960's as the hard hitting editor of the Northern Echo, working on campaigns which led to national screening for cervical cancer which has undoubtedly saved countless lives over they years as well as in reducing air pollution which at the time and as now, was a major problem in inner cities and urban areas.
He also tirelessly investigated and campaigned for compensation for British expectant mothers who had been prescribed Thalidomide during the late 1950's, which led to thousands of children being born with missing limbs, deformed hearts, as well as a whole host of other birth defects attributed to the drug which was administered to prevent morning sickness.
His campaign led to an increase in the compensation given to victims by drug manufacturer Distillers Company.
Sir Harold would spend some 14-years as editor of the Sunday Times, then moving on to edit the Times of London, not long after Rupert Murdoch bought the paper in 1981. His term with the publication would last only a year as he quit or was rather ousted after a dispute with the Australian media mogul over editorial independence.
The giant of journalism never forgot his humble working class roots and used his talents to both represent and fight for the people of this country during many media campaigns.
For his efforts, in 2004 he was bestowed with a knighthood by the Queen for his services to British Journalism.
However it was during 2002 that he was given the even higher honour in his eyes of being named as the greatest newspaper editor of all time by Britain's Press Gazette and the British Journalism Review, an accolade he cherished.
In his final years, Evans would continue to write and conduct interviews as editor-at-large of Thomson Reuters. He would continue to encourage journalists old both and young.
Sir Harold passed away due to congestive heart failure in New York, according to his second wife Tina Brown.
Police were called after a crash involving a blue Renault and a Grey Vauxhall vehicles outside of the Wellington Pub on Worsley Road in Eccles on Tuesday (8th September).
One of the vehicles is suspected as being stolen and the occupant is said to have fled the scene before the arrival of emergency services.
Fortunately the occupant of the other vehicle who was on his way home from work, was not seriously injured.
Officers from GMP Tweeted: