Contributed by: Brian Bradford, on 2008-11-05
|Year of Birth||1879|
|Year of Death||1921|
|Place of Wartime Residence||Poplar, Other|
Andrew Rourke was my Grandfather,when he Died in "The Great War"my Mother was 3years of age,she had four other siblings,Andrew 8,William 7,Rosina 3,and John 2.My Grandmother Florence Emily now a Widowed would be left to fend for them all!
During this 90year resurgence of thought for those unfortunate Men who Died in their thousands on the Battlefields and on the Sea,Very little is focased on those who had to pick up the pieces when this conflict had finished.
The Families circumstances were meger before the hostilities started,so what could this Widow expect having five children to support.It was very doubtful that Army Pay would have sustained them while he survived the War,but when he died what then?.
The youngest child John died in 1917 of a condition that is only seen in Third World Countries today brought on by extreme povity.Florence Emily herself was subjected to the shame of the Workhouse.
No letters,no photographs exist of Andrew Rourke other than the Family resemblism,given by my Grandmother,in fact all that is known of him and handed down is through her,she kept his memory alive through his children.
The stories handed down by the children of this illfated marriage,was of a Man larger than life,a good man!and the "boys" grew up in his image.
My Mothers stories took on a more noble bearing of her Father and was her wish through out her life to find his last resting place,every year she would look on the memorials on The Somme for his name without sucess until the shear size of the project and ill health prevented her.
This took me less than afew minutes on the net once I had his Army Number,and this year in her stead I arrived at Grove Town Cemetary just outside Meaulte on the Somme.
My first impression where of the surrounding Countryside,of underlating rolling hills and vales,my wife and I had visited several other Cemetaries and were stuck by the solitude of the places,often or not they were by the roadside with heavy traffic noise outside,but,within,peace Grove Town Cemetary was on a lane,we had approached it from a different direction than those at hand,it stood on the sky line and from our vantage point the only trees visible for a number of miles were those at our destination As we both stood at the Cemetary all was quit,no birds sang,and we were so far from the roads there was no traffic noise,sublime!
We entered the Bronze Gate,opening a Bronze door to our right and looking for my Grandfathers name,thoughts of my Mother and my Aunts and Uncles (all deaceased now) flooded back,this was indeed an emotional journey!
His last resting place found,My thoughts written as a dedication,all his family are re-united my duty has been done!! "Rest in Peace Grandad"