The Way Home
Lovereading Price £7.99
Why I wrote this book
William and Nora Anderson had four sons; Bertie, Ronnie, Charlie and Teddie. In 1914 they went to war. None came back. This is the story of a family’s destruction.
The Way Home is a fictionalized telling of a true story, the brothers sharing their experiences, hopes and fears as they approach their fates amid the horrors of the trenches. Back home in Scotland, Nora finds an outlet in her diary as the Great War tightens its grip on her children.
It began on a surge of patriotism: Bertie, Ronnie and Teddie rushed to join Charlie in uniform. ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were all in this together,’ wrote Charlie. He arrived in France in late 1914, and soon went over the top. He was never seen again. Ronnie, a happy wanderer, was next for Flanders. He lasted until the following autumn. ‘Quiet day,’ recorded his battalion’s war diary. ‘AR Anderson killed.’
Teddie, the heart of his mother’s existence, had swapped his school books for the pilot’s wings of the fledgling flying corps and was soon at the front. Finally came Bertie’s turn, and he too went off to war.
1918 arrived with no end in sight. To Nora’s relief Teddie was back in Britain having been made an instructor. Then one sunny March morning, he lost control of a Sopwith Camel and plunged to earth. ‘Yesterday,’ recorded Nora, ‘I buried my youngest son. Edward Kerr Anderson. He was 21 and as a man he had known only war and yesterday I buried him a victim of war.’
On the day of Teddie’s funeral, the Germans launched a massive offensive. Four days later Bertie was dead. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross and a memorial to the four brothers was placed in Glasgow Cathedral. It remains there today.