The subject of last night’s Who Do You Think You Are? was Chris Moyles, a radio presenter notable for presenting crassness as though it were wit. The programme was quite interesting, though, as he traced his family back to the grimmest slums in Dublin. Of his great-grandmother’s fifteen children, only five survived.
Moyles’s great-grandfather was a soldier at Ypres. A newspaper cutting revealed what had happened to him, and how he paid a terrible price for curiosity:
“He peeped over the trench and fell back quite dead… a bullet had cut clean through his forehead. He was one of the pleasantest men in the trench”.
I was reminded of Kipling’s The Beginner:
On the first hour of my first day
In front the trench I fell.
(Children in boxes at a play
Stand up to watch it well.)