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Rory Bremner

Rory Bremner didn't know his father very well, remembering him as a somewhat distant figure who died when his son was 18. Rory knew he was an infantry officer in the Second World War, but thought he had seen little action.

At his brother's house Rory discovers some of their father's wartime letters, which refer to a battle for the Dutch city of 's-Hertogenbosch. Rory travels to Holland, where he meets a man who served alongside his father and discovers the pivotal role Major Bremner played in this crucial battle. Next Rory moves on to Germany, learning about the part his father played in the post-war reconstruction, as well as finding out how he managed to find time to get to know the locals.

Further delving in his brother's treasure trove of family memorabilia uncovers a painting of Surgeon General John Ogilvy, Rory's great-grandfather. Investigations reveal that John Ogilvy was an army medical surgeon during the Crimean War and was on the front line at all of the major infantry engagements.


    • 1. At 2:53pm on 04 Feb 2009, U13814159 wrote:

      I enjoyed this episode with Rory Bremner but wondered why, after finding out about his father, the programme concentrated on the maternal Ogilvy connection?
      Though I managed to find this out from the descendent of Jonathan Trimingham:
      iii. EMMA DALZELL GILBERT, b. 1860, Paget, Bermuda; m. JOHN OGILVY, April 12, 1883, St Paul's, Paget, , Bermuda; b. 1834, of Pembroke, Bermuda; d. December 23, 1899, Surrey, England.

      More About JOHN OGILVY:
      Fact 1: Dep. Surgeon Gen.
      Fact 2: Surgeon's General, principal medical officer of the Bermuda Comman at time of ma.

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    • 2. At 9:38pm on 04 Feb 2009, U13815158 wrote:

      I was fascinated by Rory Bremner's journey into his past. My one disappointment was the disappearance of John Ogilvy's son Walter between his departure for Bermuda and his return in the 1895 census and the lack of any comment. Was there a reason for this?

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    • 3. At 10:50am on 05 Feb 2009, U13814159 wrote:

      Referring back to the marriage of John Ogilvy and Emma Gilbert, it is also noted that her brother, Joseph Trounsell Gilbert married Grace Elizabeth Gosling in a double ceremony.

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    • 4. At 1:42pm on 05 Feb 2009, U13816090 wrote:

      Don't know if Rory Bremner would be interested but my Bombadier father kept a daily diary during the war as a Gunner. He writes:
      19 Oct "Went on recce. We are going to an area west of Nijmegen to shift Jerry out of s'Hertogenbosch. The 7th Army Div have been trying to take it for three weeks...."
      Lots then written over next 10 days then:-
      31 Oct "Battery right in s'Hertogenbosch CP (Command Post) in upper room of suburban house. Very nice house, no water on though....."
      1st Nov "All the civvies are living round here and it is just like an ordinary London suburb. We have never been so close to Jerry, in fact from our upstairs window we can see houses he is occupying. The bloke next door is titivating his garden...."

      If Rory is interested I have the diary as a PDF very happy to send copy. Who knows, it could be the same house his father was in. The diary gives a very real feeling of just how it was.
      My father pulled out from there 1st Nov to head South where Jerry had made a breakthrough.

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    • 5. At 1:26pm on 08 Feb 2009, U13821499 wrote:

      I always try to watch WDYTYA and now with BBC iplayer there's no reason to miss an episode, it's brilliant!

      With regard to Rory Bremner's episode, John Ogilvy, the surgeon, wrote his farewell letter to his children from aboard the SS Marairan (at least that's what it's looks like on the top of the letter) on March 31st 1881.

      The 1881 Census was taken on the night of 3 April 1881 and I have searched for Edith, Evelyn and Walter Ogilvy as they were supposed to be in the UK living with and left in the care of their governess, at least according to the programme.

      But where are they????


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    • 6. At 10:56pm on 12 Feb 2009, U13829230 wrote:

      I enjoyed the Rory Bremner WDYTYA episode very much, but I got the impression, from what was said, that John Ogilvy had returned from Bermuda with the four younger children shown on the 1891 Census.
      The 1891 Census shows all these four children, to have been born in England. Perhaps, this is why viewers never saw the right-hand side of the census form.

      A writer asks where are Edith,Evelyn and
      Walter on the 1881 Census? They appear to be living in Aldershot,with a Jane Ogilvy, whom I assume would be an Aunt.

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    • 7. At 10:44am on 06 Mar 2009, U13860724 wrote:

      I loved this episode

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    • 8. At 10:59am on 06 Mar 2009, U13860724 wrote:


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