Contributed by: Mike Battersby, on 2008-11-10
|Year of Birth||1896|
|Year of Death||1942|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Worksop ( joined up at Reford -1915 ), Nottinghamshire|
As far as I am aware my Grandmother never even went out for a date with another man after my Grandad died, leaving her aged 42, with 2 sons away from home in the army - it was 1942 - and 3 teenage kids 2 of which were still at school. My Grandad died of pnuemonia - largely brought on by gas poisoning in WW1- aged 46. But as I looked further into things I found out that that wasn't the only effect the war had on him. My Grandmother was quite a proud lady and kept photos and memorabelia going back years.
In particular was the photo of my fresh faced grandad aged about 20 in his army uniform - he looks very much like my son - in the front room of the terraced house that my grandmother lived in until she was 95 years old. The photo is my possession now. My Grandma also gave me a telegram from king George 5th addressed to my great grand mother informing her of the good news that Grandad had successfuly rejoined his unit having escaped from a POW camp
Over the years I have occasionally come across further details of my granddad . One in particular stands out told to me by my aunt, his daughter, who told me that when she was a young girl - she was his youngest child - she was out for a walk with my granddad when a piece of metal came out of his leg. Seemingly this was a piece of shrapnel which had lodged itself and after years came to the surface.
On my mother's side the war had its effects too. In the Church of Ireland church in Enniskillen there are two chairs each bearing a small plaque inscribed in the names of two young soldiers - my maternal Grandpa's two older brothers. Both were killed in the same month in 1917 - my mother always used to tell me that her grandmother was never known to laugh again from that time on. The chairs were my Grandpa's memorial to them when he was in his seventies
I submit the foregoing as I consider myself as only typical of members of my generation. Sadly typical in as much as millions of the families from which the members of my generation come must have a very similar inheritance. I've never lost one thought though that recurs and that is what the thoughts going through my grandfather's mind must have been when my dad - aged 19 -walked out of the back door of their home when my dad went off to the resumption of hostilities in 1939 - the terrible memories and fears it must have evoked as he watched him leave only 21 years after his own experiences.