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by Ian Curtress

We moved into this lovely old house six months ago and are slowly restoring it.
A labour of love which I enjoy apart from the difficulty I have in getting a good nights sleep
I have been watching too many war films I thought, after another restless night.
It had been a nightmare.
First World War. I was in a trench, noise was unimaginable, it was one mortar after another and we were taking casualties.
Then the mortars stopped and for a moment an uncanny silence.
Too late we realised the trap.
We thought we could overrun their mortar positions and gain an important vantage point.
With this in mind we were to make a quick attack.
Over the top we went only to be cut down by a heavy machine gun set in a bunker.
It was in such a well prepared position there would be a massacre.
The nightmare became a ghastly mix of shouting and rapid machine fire
I had dropped my rifle and was running……
The explosion was horrendous, a ringing in my ears which deadened the pain that was a background to this mad scenario.
Then suddenly it all stopped. The machine gun bunker had disappeared and I was in smart uniform again.
There were people around but I couldn’t see their faces.
This is where I awoke every time.
That was a couple of months ago and the dream has been less frequent of late.
I had turned my mind to the planned schedule for tackling the restoration and had made a start on the sitting room wooden floor.
The planks were in a surprisingly good condition but had warped and shrunk in several places.
Once I had managed to lift the first couple the job became easier and fortunately the beams were sound. They certainly knew how to build houses in the past I thought.
I was using an industrial vacuum to remove the years of historical dust which made me think of the lives and people who had lived and sat talking in the room..
I was rudely shaken from my thoughts when the vacuum rattled noisily and stopped.
Fortunately, being an industrial appliance it was used to “foreign bodies” and had an easily removed cover to clear them.
Inside was a shredded coloured ribbon attached to a dirt coated disc which was obviously some kind of medal.
With shaking and excited hands I carefully removed and began cleaning the worst of the grime.
It was a DSO medal. Second only to the VC in the British Army.
I have now cleaned it up properly, it is superb. The name is clear but I won’t mention it here as we are in touch with Military Records to know the full story.
How had it found its way under the floor. Had they searched without success.
How distraught they must have been.
Now, I have an open mind on some things we don’t understand, even more so now as I have not had that dream since recovering that medal.