My great grandad always scared me. He died when I was 10. I’d never known him as a father, or even a grandfather. I’d never seen him in his prime, storming a machine gun post in Ypres. Even my older brothers had seen him when he still had two brain cells to rub together. But to me he was just this scary, smelly thing my parents rolled out for Christmas, Easter and Remembrance Day.
"Go and give Pop a kiss," they’d say, and I’d shudder.
He smelt of death. I didn’t realise it at the time, but that’s what I think of now. He was a man on the verge of death, and a man who had dealt death with his own hands.