I’m not hugely into the ceremonial aspect of remembrance day in the UK. I am however deeply aware of the sacrifices individuals made.
I’m therefore making a suggestion: take a name from your local war grave. Look them up online at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Google, Wikipedia etc. Share what you find about that individual.
Here’s mine from today’s walk to the David Stirling SAS monument between Dunblane and Doune.
E A F Widdrington (MC)
Killed after being parachuted into Italy, evading enemy patrols and placing 6 bombs on 6 planes. He died defusing the extra bombs he and fellow officer were carrying.
He had been awarded MC for taking part in over 100 dangerous missions in Jordan, Syria and Tunisia, having been a Dragoon Guard and the SAS.
He was 29.
Posted 2 months agofrankconwaySubscriber
moab – what a great suggestion.Posted 2 months ago
I am both deeply aware of the individual sacrifices and will be thankful for those sacrifices until I die.
Am also supportive of the ceremonial aspect as it helps keep the memory alive.
Armistice Day is also the anniversary of my Dad’s death – 28 years this year – which adds to the significance.MoreCashThanDashSubscriber
Great idea. Last year the local parish magazine published details of every name on the war memorial – age, unit, date of death, son of, husband of, father of. That was a very chastening read
I don’t have an issue with the ceremonial, nor with those who don’t – dad was in the forces, always involved in the parades through Scouts and Guides. Eldest is on a DofE event this weekend, he was hoping to plan a route to get them to a memorial for 11am tomorrow. Especially poignant as he spent last week having some taster days with the Royal Marines Band Service. Youngest will be on parade with the Guides. Before the event the village chippy is doing sausage cobs and donating all profits to the RBL, our Explorer unit is running a tea room in the village hall after the service, usually makes the RBL over £100.
This year I’ve not bothered with a single use paper and plastic poppy, just using last years pin badge and made a donation to the bemedaled guy in Aldi last weekend.Posted 2 months agofaerieMember
Whilst I think it’s important to remember the reasons and victims of war, I think that the ceremonies have become a sad celebration of it, where war is glorified. Lockheed Martin and weapon manufacturers sponsor the British Legion and the poppy appeal and promote military career days in schools, which I find quite distasteful. Surely, in respect of those who lost their lives we should not wish to repeat it.Posted 2 months ago
The White Feather Diaries tell the stories of some of the conscientious objectors to war and how they helped the victims of it.
Mathon Church near Malvern has a plaque which has Noble Vale mentioned.
He was born in England, lived at Mathon Court until he emigrated to New Zealand to join the Government Farm school in 1911. He joined up in the Wellington Mounted Rifles and died at Gallipoli On 9th August 1915. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Chunk Bair memorial in Turkey.
His Parents, who owned Mathon Court for a time, also placed his name on a family gravestone in the churchyard.
Service Number 11/864A
Wellington Mounted Rifles, N.Z.E.F.
Son of William Croxton Vale and Marie Zelie Vale, of “Pineholme,” 120, Richmond Park Rd., Bournemouth, England.
He happens to have been my Partner’s Great Uncle but we didn’t know that until very recently. Her mother was brought up near Bournemouth, she was brought up in Birmingham and moved to Malvern 30 years ago. The visit to Mathon Church was a spur of the moment and as the surname is unusual we found the connection.Posted 2 months ago
Faerie, my Uncle was a conscientious objector in WW2, joined the Society of Friends (Quaker) ambulance corps and followed the 8th army through the desert and Italy campaigns, setting up the blood transfusion service that contributed to the NHS blood service after the war. A deeply brave and principled man, whose war experience made him loose his faithzippykonaSubscriber
I always remember my uncle but possibly for the wrong reasons.
He did serve but that’s not relevant.
He was always the life and soul of the party and not afraid to lark around in public.
A few years back he was diagnosed with cancer but fought it with his customary humour.
On arriving at the Mardsen for his first treatment he was confronted with a deathly quiet reception room where even the staff were glum faced.
He said ” I’m not going to get better in a miserable place like this” then launched into one of his cheer everyone up routines . My auntie and everyone else started giving him daggers.
Apparently not appropriate behaviour during the 2 minute silence.Posted 2 months agowrightysonMember
Charles Edwin Stone
A grave I spotted in our towns cemetery some years ago whilst walking the dog. The VC on it immediately spiked my interest and I googled him whilst stood there. Thought i’d share.
Charles was born in the town of Ripley in Derbyshire. When he was 29 years old, and a gunner in the ‘C’ Battery 83rd Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, British Army during the First World War, the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 21 March 1918 at Caponne Farm, France, after working at his gun for six hours under heavy gas and shell fire, Gunner Stone was sent back to the rear with an order. He delivered it and then, under a very heavy barrage, returned with a rifle to assist in holding up the enemy on a sunken road. First lying in the open under very heavy machine-gun fire and then on the right flank of the two rear guns he held the enemy at bay. Later he was one of the party which captured a machine-gun and four prisoners.
He later achieved the rank of Bombardier. His brother Ernest was killed in 1917. Stone is buried in Belperin DerbyshirePosted 2 months agotheboatmanMember
I’m a third generation squaddie and I still struggle with remembrance day, and what I am supposed to be or do.
When I was a squaddie I had to remove the bodies from a people carrier that had been burned out; two adults and a number of children up to about the age of ten. It was an awful thing to do but oddly I didn’t consider it the worst thing I’d done or would do at the time. And it wasn’t as I did some work after leaving the forces for money.
I still see them when I’m driving. I’m lucky enough to have 3 girls but when I see them in the rear view mirror that scene vividly play’s out in my head, only with it being my girls bodies. I still find myself driving and having to hide or fake sneezing to explain the tears. They do tell me I’m weird and my eldest is always quick to tell me that she now drives without the need to cry!
I appreciate every penny everyone gives because I think there are so many people that just need support.Posted 2 months agoCountZeroMember
I don’t have the details of what happened, but a family member, Dickie Bates, was killed in action at Arras on 9th April 1917. He was 20.
I spent some time in quiet contemplation in the churchyard where he’s buried along with other family members after placing a cross with a poppy on the grave.
It was a particularly beautiful afternoon as well.
Posted 2 months agostevenmenmuirMember
We live in a former mining community and at the service today they talked about the Bevin boys who were conscripted to work in the coal mines. I could do without the religious aspect of the ceremony but it was interesting to learn this and spend a bit of time thinking about the sacrifices others made. I hope all the politicians at the Cenotaph did the same.Posted 2 months agobsimsMember
Not exactly what the OP was suggesting. When I was younger we would go for a lot of walks in the countryside and every so often we would walk over Roughtor on Bodmin Moor, where the is a plaque to the 43rd Wessex of which the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry was part.
They were part of Operation Jupiter in Normandy in 1944. In particular when reading up on the subject, Hill 112 drew my attention and that from the 10-22nd July 2000 of that regiment were killed and 7000 injured.Posted 2 months agolightfighter762Subscriber
I just got out of an SF team after 17 years and the David Stirling monument holds a special place for me. Wrote the book on special forces and later we still use and study tactics they used and proved, in most cases well behind enemy lines. The ops they went on. Basically all suicide missions. Not even using body armor and night vision back then. Amazing stuff. RIP all warriors.Posted 2 months agoCregMember
Not quite what the OP is suggesting but here is mine (with some context if anyone is interested). Apologies now, this is a long post.
When it was the 100 years of the Battle of the Somme I was given a commemorative poppy made from shell fuses which was dedicated to one of the soldiers who died during WW1.
The soldier mine is dedicated to is Pvt William Hastings, Middlesex Regiment. He died on October 23rd 1916.
At the time I didn’t know what to do with it, it was a lovely gesture but I didn’t feel like it held much for me. But then I had an idea, to research and plan a trip to Battencourt Cemetary, Arras, where Pvt Hastings is buried and visit his grave and to do the trip by bicycle stopping at various places on the way.
I headed to the library and over a few weeks discovered a lot more about his life thanks to the Ancestry website.
He was born in Shoreditch, lived in a house with 9 siblings. When he was 5 his father died and when he was 7 he was sent, along with one sister, to the workhouse. The trail goes cold until the 1911 census where he is living back at home again and working as a bakery assistant. Along the way several siblings died and he ended up in the military. During his time in the war London was bombed and the family home was destroyed. I don’t know how many survived as the census records for 1921 haven’t been released
Some of this is a bit patchy and its difficult to pin down exact facts but from what I can gather he was in 2nd Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment and he died at the battle of Le Transloy in Zenith Trench. He was 23 years old.
In turn I actually discovered that a relative of mine was also in active service during WW1 (the bulk of my family were farmers which was a protected occupation). He wasn’t conscripted, he volunteered. It is really patchy to find information as his war records are not the most comprehensive but I have been able to determine he was in the Yorkshire Regiment, I think 6th Battalion. He actually survived the war and according to family legend had the grim job of finding bodies on the battlefield after the war finished.
In the 1960’s he was working as a gardener in a manor house on the outskirts of Scarborough. One day at work he took his own life with a shotgun in a shed.
I haven’t taken that trip yet but I hope to next year.
All this from a commemorative poppy dedicated to a total stranger. Lest we forget.Posted 2 months agotheboatmanMember
I think I derailed this thread and it wasn’t my intention. Apologies all, the original idea the op had was really touching and a brilliant way to remember. I appreciate the kind words people have said, I have the odd up and down, but I’m a pretty standard issue bloke that is lucky for what I have.
John Francis Aitken;
2nd Lieutenant, 1st/6th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers attached to the General List. Killed in action 7th September 1917 in France. Aged 26. Only son of Harriett Ann and the late James Frederic Aitken, of Bakewell. John was born in the United States of America (probably Alabama, as his father James Frederic Aitken is buried in Avondale Alabama) James came from Mississippi and was a cotton planter. Harriett was the daughter of Francis Nelson, who owned Nelson’s pork butchery in Bakewell. Harriett returned to Bakewell after the death of James in July 1896 and John and his sister Dorothy grew up in Bakewell. John originally enlisted in the Derbyshire Yeomanry with Regimental number 1734 and was a Lance Corporal. His medal card records that he entered his first theatre of war in Egypt on 27 April 1915 and was commissioned on December 6 1915. The Commonwealth war graves registry records his death as September 6th 1917 with the 1/6th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. The battle record of the 1/6th Battalion indicates that on this date they attacked German pillboxes at Iberian, Borry and Beck House Farms. Officers died in the Great war gives his date of death as 7 September 1917. (Apparently there was a hospital at Brandhoek and it is possible that he died there or was identified there following the action of September 6th and interred in the New Cemetery there.)Posted 2 months ago
Buried in BRANDHOEK NEW MILITARY CEMETERY No.3, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. PLot I. Row G. Grave 3.filibusterMember
A while back I stumbled upon a commonwealth war grave to the south of Munich. To a door due to with tourist traffic and went past a cemetery, mostly asked servicemen shit down over Nazi Germany. Was hard work going walking up and down among the headstones. Guys ranging in age from 18 to mid fifties from all over the globe. From Canada to India, Australia, NZ, South Africa and of course the UK. “Only” 2000 odd graves, but still…..
To think, but for a generation of so things would have been quite different for many of us.Posted 2 months ago
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