This week's prompt asks us to pay tribute to our ancestors who fought in the First World War. I am proud to have covered this topic before several times in my blog, most recently in November 2013 when I took part in the Remembrance Day Challenge.
Few families in the land could have escaped the impact of the First World War and my mother's Danson family was no exception. What must it have been like for my widowed great grandmother Maria Danson (nee Rawcliffe) seeing her five sons going away to war ?
|One of the many embroidered cards sent home by my grandfather|
|William (Billy) - my grandfather who was awarded the Military Medal for action at Givenchy and fought at the Bottle of Paschendaele.|
He never spoke of his war experiences.
|John (the eldest) - died in army camp 1917|
leaving his motherless daughter
Annie an orphan,
| George (the youngest) - a stretcher bearer killed |
on the Somme in 1916 aged just 22.
|Frank who was wounded and hospitalized on Malta|
- Arthur William Matthews, my great uncle on my father's side, killed at Gallipoli in 1915, leaving a wife, four young children and eight siblings.
- John Thomas Matthews, Arthur's brother, killed in France in 1916 leaving a wife and six children.
- Frederick Donaldson, my husbands
great uncle, killed on the Somme, in 1916, the same day as George
above and remembered on the Thiepval Monument.
The reality of war faced by so many families is epitomized in this photograph of George' Danson's grave, sent to his mother Maria Danson. It conveys in a stark way the horrors of mud and blood that our ancestors must have experienced and contrasts with the pristine white of the more lasting memorials that we recognize today.
Just one extended family's experience of the First World War
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