Empty Chair

The pathways to horror are many, but most are man-made. Causes belied with hatred, greed and intolerance. The manufacturing of the tools to extinguish life. The devastating impact when the horror in a far away land becomes a horror in your neighbourhood.The ritual over analysis of 24-hour news channels struggling to fill time with empty words. The peddling of shaky images and grainy films from mobile phones across social media. The silent space vacated by reasonable people who just want to live a peaceful life. The bigots and political thugs with their contorted facial expressions, gasping for air, to fill their lungs and expel their prescribed rigid ideology be it faith, Marx or Smith. Those who hide behind the artificial boundaries of nationality, those who pull the trigger, those who embrace the ends of days, those who manipulate and spread poison in the shadows of ignorance your darkness will ultimately consume you. Sometimes it’s ok to say nothing and just reflect that a chair once occupied is now empty and an embrace once given is no longer provided.

3 thoughts on “Empty Chair

  1. Mervyn Mitchell, Sisters Beach, Tasmania, Australia

    Hi John,

    I have come across your photos and comments relating to the six Czech airmen from Squadron 3111 who were shot down near Mere on July 2, 1941. I am currently researching this tragic accident and was interested to read your statement that pilot Ulrick Helma was a veteran of 18 sorties, while his crew were rookies. Also your description of their raid on Cherbourg and of the events on their return journey that led to their being unidentified and eventually shot down (by Sqn Ldr. Charles Appleton).

    I wonder if you could direct me to your sources of these facts. I’d be grateful if you would. I also have quite a body of material relating to this event, including several photographs of the various crew members, their plane, and a map prepared by the investigation team of the crash site, and I’d be very happy to send you any or all of these if you are interested.

    I am currently writing an account of the crash and am keen to obtain as much supporting information as I can find.

    Incidentally, the plane came down on my grandfather’s farm and my Uncle Monte, then a boy, but still very much alive and in full command of his memory, was first on the scene that dreadful morning. The father of Jaroslav Lancik was in England at the time, visited the site of his son’s death and became friends with my grandparents, staying with them at Mere on several occasions until his return to Czechoslovakia (as it then was) after the war.

    Best regards,

    Mervyn Mitchell

    Sisters Beach

    1. John Kerridge Post author

      Hi Melvyn

      Thank you so much for your message and its fan static to here more about this story. I stumbled across the headstones whilst walking my dog to be perfectly honest and it simply sparked an interest, which I followed up. I got the information through web searches and then finally making contact with the RAF 311 Czech Bomber squadron page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RAF-311-Czech-Bomber-squadron-656096887801662/ the more i read and find out the more interesting this stories become. I’ll try and rerun where I got the source and come back to you.

      Best wishes John


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