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Wednesday, 2 January 2013

A Lancashire "Scot" ? Sepia Saturday

Each week, Sepia Saturday, provides an opportunity for genealogy bloggers to share their family history through photographs.
I looked at this week's photo prompt, and knew I had  one photograph in my collection which was so apt - that of  my grandfather dressed in a kilt - and he wasn't even Scottish!

This photograph of my grandfather William Danson of Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire was in the family shoebox collection of memorabilia, and intrigued me when I first saw it as a child. There was no Scottish connection that I knew of on my mother's side, so why was Grandad wearing a kilt and a tammie?

The story was that in the camaraderie of World War One  he became friendly with some Scottish soldiers, and as a laugh he had dressed up in one of their kilts, with a tammie, and had his photograph taken to send home.  It must have been taken in France as the reverse of the photogrpah  indicates it is a "Carte Postale" with space for "Correspondance" and "Addresse".  Grandad served 1916-18.


Continuing the theme of friendship in war,   here is a Christmas memento from William's son Harry (my uncle)  in World War Two - a menu from his Christmas meal in France in 1939.  

This signed menu of December 25th 1939, written in French and typed on flimsy paper, was found amongst the papers of my Uncle Harry. He was in France with the British Expeditionary Force, 9/17th Field Battery. In the Sergeant's Mess,  breakfast was cold ham with piccalilli, eggs, coffee and roll and butter; for dinner - turkey with chestnuts, pork with apple sauce, potatoes, and cauliflower followed by Christmas pudding, apples, oranges, and nuts, with cognac, rum and beer.

Five months later Harry (left)  was one of the many men evacuated from Dunkirk, saved by the flotilla of small ships. Sadly many of the men who were at this Christmas meal may not have survived.

He arrived back home from Dunkirk still in the uniform in which he entered the sea to be rescued. He never talked about his wartime experiences, but seeing commemoration services or documentaries on TV could bring tears to his eyes, so the memories remained very strong. He later served in North Africa and lived to the age of 89.

To see how other Sepia Saturday participants have interpreted this week's theme -  click  HERE

Copyright © 2013 · Susan Donaldson. All Rights Reserved



  1. Great post Susan!!! I laughed over your Lancastrian/ Scottish Grandfather :-)... and cried over the evacuation of your Uncle Harry from Dunkirk. As a child, the words:
    "The little ships, the little ships went out across the sea... to save the luckless army from death and slavery" touched into my very soul.
    Maybe the child I was got the words wrong but, no worries, the sentiment came through perfecly. Cheerio for now, Catherine.

  2. Great picture, the signed menu touching, but most of all I appreciated the tears your grandfather shed at documentaries and commemoration brought your grandfather's feelings about his time in the service into clear focus. Evocative.

  3. Nice One Sue (I have A Photo somewhere of my Polish dad in a kilt!).The Silent Tears Of Soldiers.......Lovely Post.

  4. Wonderful post Sue! The signed menu must have meant a great deal to your Uncle Harry since he kept it all those years.

    The photo of your grandfather wearing a kilt is priceless.

  5. That's an interesting story about your Grandfather and the kilt.

    The menu is interesting and the food sounds yummy.

  6. Love the signed menu...I've never seen one like it before. Harry looked very handsome in his Tam. My father would cry too at services or war memorials. They went through a lot of horror.

  7. A great post, ticks all the boxes and a few more as well. But most of all, a joy to look at and to read.

  8. Your grandfather missed a good opportunity to be Scottish - he certainly looks the part! The signed Christmas menu is such a special keepsake. I enjoyed this post very much.

  9. A splendid post. Your grandfather looked good in a kilt even if it wasn't his own. My father and his brother served in WWI and my two brothers in WWII. All came back safely, but they would not talk about thier experiences either. I have photos from my brother's experience in the Fleet Airm Arm but that's all. I can understand Harry's tears.

  10. This was just totally wonderful, and I don't have any personal connection to Scotland, except for my daughter's best friend, and I do have some stories about kilt's but I left them out. This was a pleasant computer vacation to the taste of Scotland, thanks!

  11. That photo of your grandfather in a kilt could have totally thrown off your research if you were starting with no knowledge. So many through the years have been traumatized by the wars in their lives.

  12. A great bargain, two super stories for the price of one!

  13. Thanks for a wonderful Blog Susan which enriches my life. It's therefore with great pleasure that I nominate you for "The "Blog of the Year 2012 Award". For more info just go to: http://caiteile.com/2013/01/06/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ Cheers, Catherine

  14. Boy were you on theme all the way through on this wonderful post! Love the kilt picture and the clever idea of the signed menu. I am so glad that Uncle Harry made it home safe and sound.

    Thanks for sharing with us,

    Kathy M.

  15. Moving memories and a nice remembrance. The menu is a nice touch of the past.

    I too have shots of a relative in Scotland dressed in full kilt, a great uncle I never got to meet. He was still alive when I first visited Britain but for some reason family didn't want to bother him. He served in WW1.

  16. Thoroughly enjoyed your post. These soldiers suffered a great deal of trauma but found some humor and friendship in the midst of it all.

  17. What a wonderful memory of your grandfather! It seems everyone wants to wear a kilt!


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