Timothy Sugrue

Born: January 28 1884

Timothy wanted to dress in his finest attire for his portrait, and that’s just what he did. He said he did not know why he had lived so long. His only regret in getting to 100 was his sadness at so many of his friends passing away before him. His longevity, he felt, might have something to do with the lessons he learned from fighting in the First World War and from having been a POW. He fought at Ypres and at the Somme. At the Battle of the Somme he was trapped for countless days in a trench, where, he said, the most¬†unimaginably terrifying experience, and his abiding memory, was ‘the sound of machine gun fire in the night’. He seemed to re-live the time if not quite the terror as he spoke of it. He had not been able to shed it since. I will never forget his words or what I heard in his voice that day.

Immediately after the war, and for the following sixty-eight years, Timothy concentrated on taking as much happiness from life as he could, but the suffering of the trenches and the senseless killing never faded completely. Timothy was dignified and articulate and very keen to convey to me the futility of war.