Monday, 4 August 2014

My Ancestors : Centenary of the Great War

August 4 marks the 100th year since Great Britain declared war on Germany. The 1914-1918 campaign would become known as The Great War. This blog post commemorates all of my ancestors who fought for "King and Country".

My great-grandfathers Arthur, Percy and Albert all fought in the Great War. Arthur was married with two young sons, the eldest of whom was my grandfather Herbert who was four years old when war broke out. Percy was married with one son, my grandfather Percy junior who was barely a year old. Albert was also married and had three children, a daughter and two sons.

If Albert had not have survived the war, he would not have gone on to have seven more children with my great-grandmother, Elizabeth. My grandmother Lilian, born in 1920, would not have existed which meant she would not have married Percy junior and had my mother, Denise. In the words of my friend Brett, that is a sobering thought.

This blog post is to say "Thank You" to my great-grandfathers who fought in the war, who left their wives and their homes, their children, their jobs, their regular life. They went to the mud, the filth, the front lines, the rats and the lice, the uncertainty of their future.

"Thank You" also to my two cousins and my great grand-uncle; James, William and Sidney, who never came home. William and Sidney left behind their families and their widows. William had three children when he died of wounds in 1917. Sidney had been married just shy of two years.
Such, such is Death: no triumph: no defeat:  
Only an empty pail, a slate rubbed clean,
A merciful putting away of what has been.

And this we know: Death is not Life, effete,
Life crushed, the broken pail. We who have seen
So marvellous things know well the end not yet.

Victor and vanquished are a-one in death:
Coward and brave: friend, foe. Ghosts do not say,
"Come, what was your record when you drew breath?"
But a big blot has hid each yesterday
So poor, so manifestly incomplete.
And your bright Promise, withered long and sped,
Is touched, stirs, rises, opens and grows sweet
And blossoms and is you, when you are dead.

Charles Hamilton Sorley  (1895-1915)


  1. A very thoughtful piece on your family in WW1 Debs. It is by finding out about our own family experiences that the war becomes real.

    1. Thanks very much Liz, I really appreciate your kind comments.

  2. So many generations would have been changed forever with the absence of war, or the random "hit or miss" of injury. I like the 100th anniversary logo.

    1. Thanks Pauleen, at the moment I'm reading 'The Great Silence' which is really hitting home too. Thanks for your comments.