Soldiers Small Book

Contributed by Cainsy

This Soldiers' Small Book was issued to my maternal grandfather Clarence Bryant, of the Norfolk Regiment, in February 1914. The book was intended to record the soldier's service particulars. I can see from the book that he enlisted in 1907 for seven years service in the regulars and five in the reserve. In his regular service he was posted to South Africa and Gibraltar before returning to Great Britain. In the year before his postings he passed 3rd and 2nd certificates of education. I know that he had five other brothers who served in the First World War as one of them, Reginald, died in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in 1916 and the Imperial War Graves website has a comment on his record. My grandfather married his deceased brother's sweetheart who had been pregnant with my uncle, also Reginald, and they had another six children together. This reflects the capriciousness of life particularly during times of war. All of the brothers could have been killed during the First World War so none of their many descendants would have existed. It's not an unique story as many other families have similar ones but the Great War was exemplary in the ruling classes sending their subordinates off to die.

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