1918-2008: Ninety Years of Remembrance

Soldier Record

Ruben Lansdown

Contributed by: Bill Steers, on 2008-11-13

No portrait available
First Name Ruben
Surname Lansdown
Year of Birth 1885
Year of Death 1952
Regiment Grenadier Guards
Place of Wartime Residence London, Greater London

Ruben's Story

L/Sgt Ruben Lansdown was a regular - probably a victim of conscription by starvation and father of three daughters, the second of whom was my mother. His peacetime service included ceremonial guard duties outside Buckingham Palace.

He was intensely disliked by my father, but a pal of mine. He was invalided out of the Army because of a sniper's bullet that smahed his right elbow joint as he was ladling out treacle-consistency rum in a Ypres Salient trench.

That was in April 1917, I think. He displayed his framed discharge certificate above the living room sofa.

He got a temporary post war job in France and Flanders supervising gangs of Chinese coolies clearing up the devastation.

The Guards Association took care of him after that and got him a cushy job working in Fleet Street delivering newspapers and periodicals to newsagents. One of his duties was to fetch 6 or 7 pints for the night workers. He used to carry them in metal cans hung from on a notched metal rod, having bought them from the public bar in a fancy pub around the corner, whose saloon bar boasted a display of Scottish tartan.

He used to provide me with just about any publication produced on Fleet Street that included most penny dreadfuls (then costing tuppence) whose pristine quality made me an aristocrat among my peers when it came to swapping.

I became an avid reader of the 1938 publication by Sir John Hammerston, '20 Years After - I Was There', hence at 10 years of age I was something of an expert on what is now being remembered.

This reinforced the conditioning the skewed value my father had imbued in me of the Great War. He had been a pimply faced 16 year old at war's end and much of that time's propaganda had become his gospel truth, that persisted even after he was called up in 1942 and served 3 years with the Ordnance Corps.

When it became my turn to don khaki I was chuffed when being stationed at the R.A. Depot in Woolwich, just a 53A bus ride via the Elephant and Castle and the tube from there to Old Street.

I shared this joy with my Grandad who called me a bloody fool for not taking advantage of the opportunity to see the world at Government expence.

So I took his advice such that the travel bug has taken me and my wife (who I met and married while serving in Germany) all over the world.

Other memories

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