100 years ago today, the World stood at the brink of War.
A generation of men(and boys) stepped up to "Do their duty".
One was my Grandfather Henry(known as Harry) Brown
We are lucky to have this picture of him...it is the only one we have, and has been on display in our home since his wife died in the 1970's.
None of his children wanted it. He had been an angry and aggressive father, who had a cruel sense of "teaching lessons" in life.
Yet our mother insisted on keeping the photo. Our Dad (his 3rd son) would get angry when talking about him, yet on other occasions would say how our Grandad would have loved us so much. and told us how, when the first black man came to teach at the local school no one would give him lodgings, but our Grandad took him in without hesitation.(must find out the photo of that gentleman)
We also have a box of medals...some Grandad's some his eldest sons from WW2..
But these treasures have never been hidden away...
which is how I got the information I needed to search for his records.
Each medal is engraved with his name regiment and regimental number...
on the round medals it is engraved around the edge...
Poignantly, the words read "The Great War for Civilisation"....I wonder what they would think of "civilisation" right now?
Even with this information it took me many hours scrying through records..I must have read over a thousand pages before finding him...H Brown is a very common title, and his notes had been mixed in and filed under a different H Brown. Hopefully your search will be easier.
Tonight from 10pm til 11pm The Royal British Legion are asking that we take an hour to contemplate and remember the moment that these men knew they would be going to War. They are asking for a "Lights Out" period, where we light a single candle instead. I will be doing this tonight.
Our Grandad actually signed up on 28th August 1914 at 19years of age.
He survived in the field until June 1918, when a "severe head wound" hospitalised him. He was given time to recover before being sent back in November...He was hospitalised again with "Bronchitis" almost immediately, but finished the War back in the field(as best as I can tell from the records)
He may have survived physically, but who can tell how much of his "anger" was carried from those fields?
We all take time to remember on November 11th, but I have made a point of remembering all year round...
"Lest We Forget"
(photo of the fields our Grandad/Dad/selves grew up walking in,taking by my brother Carl Brown)