In the nick of time

Pocket watch Our feature for August prompted me to fetch out my English grandfather’s pocket watch. He was a gunner on a Bristol fighter during the Great War, and was shot down over France. My grandfather walked away from the wreckage, taking the cockpit watch with him as a souvenir.

My Irish grandfather had a close shave as well. He took part in the Easter Rising, and survived getting bayonnetted in the head.

On my daily commute to and from Manchester, I’ve fallen under the train twice. Surviving that didn’t demand any courage – but maybe I’ve inherited my forefathers’ reflexes.