Saying goodbye to Bill
A small wooden box was as close as Rosemary Johns had ever been to meeting Bill Isbister.
A giant penny on the top of the box revealed the secrets hidden within. ’’A dead man’s penny.’’
Three service awards, a stoic photo, a badge and war documents are all that remains of Bill.
Bill was Rosemary’s great uncle. He went away to fight in World War I and was killed at the Battle of the Somme. He was 21.
In August Rosemary and her husband Tony travelled to France to visit Bill’s grave.
As she stood face to face with her great uncle’s grave and the graves of countless others, she couldn’t help but shed a tear.
Bill is buried in a town north of Paris called Albert. ’’It was an eerie and emotional place.’’
Poppies were scattered everywhere and the gardens were pristine, she said.
It was hard to believe a town so affected by tragedy could ever recover.
‘‘This town was pummelled with hundreds of shells and they rebuilt it all, it’s quite amazing.’’
It was moving to see how many people visited the site to pay their respects.
‘‘The visitors books were filled.’’ Rosemary hopes to one day travel back and revisit the site.
Rosemary Johns looks through a box of WWI medals.