‘Five foot ten of a beautiful young Englishman under French soil. Never a joke, never a look, never a word more to add to my store of memories. The book is shut up forever and as the years pass I shall remember less and less, till he becomes a vague personality; a stereotyped photograph.’
Captain Noman Austin Taylor © Sarah Vernon
Such a commonplace death. Shot by a single sniper. Youngest child, only son. Three sisters and a father left to grieve along with so many other fathers, mothers, sisters, wives, brothers, children.
“Poor Norman,” said my grandmother Joyce in the 1950s, and turned away so that her youngest son changed the subject. Was she still, so many, many years later, too saddened by her brother’s death to talk or had he, for her, become nothing but a stereotyped photograph about whom she felt unable to talk?