Monday, August 04, 2014

100 years ago today...

Like many others I am commemorating Britain's declaration of war in 1914 today.  I have already posted a picture of my grandfather in his KRRC uniform but he volunteered for the nascent RFC and spent the rest of the war there.

Here, from just over 99 years ago is the form postcard he sent to his father from France.  Not many of my contemporaries had a grandfather who fought in WW1 but because my father was 37 when I was born, I did.  I do remember meeting him when I was small.  It is this personal connection, missing from today's youngsters, which makes it easier to help them understand the importance of commemorating the World Wars.


  1. Legatus Hedlius, Ave!

    You are indeed fortunate to have these documents which bear witness to your grandfather's service. These are testaments to the extraordinary bravery of one who went into harm's way not with bugles flourishing and swords waving, perhaps, but doing one's duty in the face of what could be great terror. As Don Featherstone had commented "War was months of boredom punctuated by moments of stark terror." Be proud of your grandfather's achievements for that pride is, indeed, merited.
    Gerardus Magnus

  2. Very interesting my grandfather was a too young to join the french forces he lied about his age (he was 16 too young to join legally) and joined the French Air Reserves just after the war.

  3. I always feel a little 'disconnected' with WWI & WWII, largely because I seem not to have had any reasonably close relatives that fought it them ... dad was born in '41, and his dad in early 1900's, and he and his family were indentured to the land, being either farm-workers or miners... so no going off to Flanders fields, I think he'd have been too young anyway... on mums side, her father was something to do with RAF... but I am not sure what... and unfortunately that side of the family is somewhat 'adrift'... Still,. I guess by their relative lack of involvement I can be grateful that I am here! ;-)

  4. A nice personal story Legatus. Despite some excellent TV coverage of the conflict and its anniversary, I do find myself increasingly annoyed with the media pronouncements that 'They died for our Freedom' when my understanding is that our freedom wasn't particularly under threat. Any thoughts?

  5. Now you’ve made me feel old! With one grandfather who was an Able Seaman onboard HMS LION throughout the war (without a very lucky escape at Jutland, I wouldn’t have been here either) and the other a Lt in the 5th Yorkshires, I’ve never felt disconnected from the Great War (or, indeed, WW2 with my father serving in the Pacific Fleet). I have a very middle-aged man’s worry that most British people under 40 have an appreciation of the Great War based almost entirely on Wilfrid Owen and Edmund Blackadder? The frustrating thing about much of the current commemoration frenzy (particularly on the BBC) is the insistence on trying to overlay 21st century morals, values and attitudes on those very brave men of 2, 3 or even 4 generations ago. A notable exception was ITV’s “Brothers in Arms” shown last Sunday - no actors or re-enactments, just a series of interviews (filmed in the 90s?) of ordinary soldiers linked by a very low-key narration. Still available on ITV Player – I thoroughly recommend it. Rant over! Jeremy

  6. While I feel it is essential to commemorate the anniversary I have to agree that a lot of the coverage has been full of inane comments by TV is the tragedy of ordinary folk caught up in extraordinary times that needs to be told. I agree that "Brother's in Arms" was the notable exception.
    Good to see a real story with your grandfather.