|A field of "poppies" at Canberra to commemorate the Armistice (photo S Reid)|
My paternal grandfather was too young for WWI and my father and uncle were too young for WWII. Mum's brother had been at war but was deceased when I was young. Later I found it was PTSD that caused his death. Such is the sadness that goes with service for country.
James Cross Kerr and his brothers
signed up from 1914 onwards.
Later when I started my Genealogical journey family members who were soldiers, sailors and air force men came into view. My maternal grandfather and great uncles had been at war in 1915, my paternal great grandfather and his brothers had signed up almost at the start. My husband's family expanded the collection of those to be remembered.
Later I began writing their stories on my blog. I learnt about the wars, the timing of the battles. I found prisoners of war, spies, some injured, and the saddest of all, those killed in action. Bravery awards and medals have been uncovered.
Some of the men returned maimed and we can only imagine the families who suffered when their men returned mentally scarred.
In the context of family history they were not just men but members of families - fathers, brothers, sons, husbands. Wives were left to hold the fort, work in the family business or perhaps carry on forever in their partner's absence.
Some of the men returned maimed and we can only imagine the families who suffered when their men returned mentally scarred. A little known and recognised casualty of war is now recognised - too often we complain "he didn't tell us anything about the war". They suffered in silence.
It has been a privilege to follow their stories, write about their sacrifices and their lives and interests post war. There are more to come- the Ford boys naval service and others.
For those who enlisted in England I have attempted to "remember" them on the Imperial War Museum's Lives of First World War I and copy their story. This is a digital memorial to those who fought. I encourage you to seek out your relatives, "remember" them and add their stories.
Imperial War Museum - Lives of the first world war
Poppies adorn "Simpson and his donkey" monument (photo S Reid)
Lest we forget