Irene’s tribute to war heroes

Irene Penman with a copy of her book "Where the Poppies are"
Irene Penman with a copy of her book "Where the Poppies are"
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A former Bellshill women has published a book of poetry as a tribute to her ancestors who served during World War One.

Irene G Penman, who moved to Aberdeenshire 10 years ago and works as a practice nurse in a GP surgery, was inspired during a visit to France in 2014.

Along with her family Irene researched her ancestors who had fought in the conflict and as she discovered more turned her feelings into verse.

These poems have been collected in “Where the Poppies are” which is available now on Amazon

Irene said: “While visiting museums and places of interest relating to World War One I began to realise how people reacted to the museum displays and the battlefield history.

“We came home and started researching our family history online which led me to find I had family who served and died in the Great War.

“We went back to France and Belgium later that year and I began to write down notes about the places we visited, later retelling it in verse.

“I had ancestors who fought in World War One, some died, never to be found, others have graves and names on memorials in France, which I was able to visit.

“It was emotional visiting places where a lot of my family members have not visited and were unaware of lost relatives.

“I have tried to convey both the personal and the national sentiment in my book, focusing a lot on the Scottish regiments, as for me, this is where my journey/family led me.”

Irene entered her poem “Noel On No Man’s Land” into The Whispers of War competition to commemorate the centenary of World War One and celebrate the play “Not About Heroes”, weaved from the letters, poetry and writings of two soldiers, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, who formed a bond during the conflict.

Irene said: “The goal of this competition was to find poetic voices of today and build an explicit link between the experiences of World War One and the 21st century.

“I was honoured to be a small part of this and delighted to a finalist as I wanted to contribute something to the centenary of World War One.

“I write from the heart, with a feeling of gratitude for the fallen and I want my poems to pack a punch.

“It is not about the glory of war, it is about the men who faced its horror, and wherever they may be, and however we remember them that is “Where the Poppies are”!”