The Carved Angel
The Carved Angel
When 14-year-old Tommy Wagstaff starts work as a miner in North Yorkshire his father carves him a small angel out of wood ‘to protect him wherever he goes’. This is soon put to the test when arrogant Archie Tilsley causes an explosion in the mine endangering Tommy’s life.
Three years later, with the First World War in full flow, Tommy is swept up by patriotic fervour and enlists into the army with his best pal Bert – a decision Tommy soon bitterly regrets and one that is much against his loving ma’s wishes. Then his misfortune continues when he unexpectedly finds himself plagued by his nemesis Archie Tilsley during training and later in the front line trenches on the Somme.
Amidst all the horrors of fighting, Tommy witnesses Bert being blown apart before his eyes. In his grief, and to the astonishment of both the British and German troops, he ignores the dangers and buries his dead comrade in no man’s land. This caring action becomes his purpose – to give friend and foe alike a Christian burial; his only protection being the carved angel. It is almost a mania, which at the same time offers some solace from the horrors of the battlefields and trenches across France and Flanders that surround him.
Even on returning to his home village his prayers still seem unanswered and there remains something missing within him, but once again the little carved angel miraculously appears to come to his aid.
The story is enhanced with the inclusion of black and white illustrations by the artist Jane Andrew.
About the author:
The author was born in Plymouth, Devon where he now continues to live. Having originally studied for a degree in drama and public media at Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds, he has spent most of his working life on local newspapers in Devon and Cornwall.
John now works as a reporter and sub-editor on the Tavistock Times Gazette, previously being employed in a similar post at the Falmouth Packet and South West Farmer. He has also been a reporter for the West Briton in Truro, The Sunday Independent in Plymouth and an editorial assistant on Housebuyer magazine in Teddington, Surrey.