A WW1 family story.

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A WW1 family story.

Post by Maywalk on Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:51 am

A true tale which starts in 1912.
Told to me by my mother.

Many years ago I remember my mother telling me about her family.
I never knew any of them but according to what my mother told me she had an older sister who was married and had twin daughters and a brother who was in the Army. Her sister's husband had gone out to America to make a new life for his family and my mothers sister and twin girls were to join him as soon as he got settled.

From what she told me her mother, my grandmother, was a gypsy and the last of a Romany clan who had married my grandfather an Irishman.
For those who have read my book this was the grandmother that I met when she was dead.
I was told that my grandmother could see things happen before they did and seemed to have an uncanny way of KNOWING what was in store.
In other words she was seer a person who can foretell the future.

When the time neared for her eldest daughter and granddaughters to set sail to join their husband/father
my grandmother had a vision of a large ship that was sinking and begged her daughter not to go but to wait and go on another ship later on in the year.
My mother said her sister laughed at her mother and told her that she was seeing things again.

Unfortunately my mothers sister took no heed of her mothers warning and she with her twin girls set out to join the ship that was to take them to America for a new life. They were sailing on the Titanic.

As the reader will be aware the Titanic sank on the 14th of April 1912 with the loss of 1500 lives on her maiden journey and my mothers sister and twin girls were among those lost.

My mother was just 11 years old at that time and as my grandfather and grandmother were separated it made life rather grim for my mother because she was trying to comfort her mother and grieve herself.



My mother idolised Tommy her only brother and he was her hero.
He had a concertina that he loved to play and his favourite tune was “Danny Boy.”
She used to sing to his playing and although Tommy was at least 14 years older than his sister he too loved her very much and used to encourage her to sing.
When WW1 broke out Tommy had to go to the war front in France and he left his concertina at home in the cupboard in his bedroom.

My mother was the only one left at home with her mother and to comfort each other they slept in the same bed.
WW1 had been raging since June 1914 and it was on the 26 of August 1914 while lying in bed with her mother they both heard the concertina playing “Danny Boy”. They got up and went into Tommy’s bedroom and opened the cupboard door to find the concertina out of its case and my grandmother just said “My Tommy is dead.”

My mother said she found out afterwards that my grandmother had written the date down previously to her son being killed and put it in a musical box.

I can still see my mothers face as she related this story to me and the grief she was still feeling with losing her sister and nieces now it was her brother.
Far fetched you may think but knowing my mother she was not the sort of person to make up stories.

Mother told me that she could remember the horseman dressed in red ( a guardsman ) coming to the house where they lived in London with a scroll tied up with red ribbon to hand to my grandmother.

I too saw that scroll which was signed by the king to say that one of his men had been killed in action and how brave he had been. That was the only time I saw it because when my parents moved to the town where I lived in later years it must have got thrown away in the moving of their belongings.
My grandmother or my mother never did find out where Tommy was buried OR if he had a grave at all.

Many years later I got very curious about where my Uncle Tommy had died and I phoned the War Graves Commission.
I gave her a few details over the phone of what little I knew about him and where he lived when he was the Army not even hoping that she could help me.

I was absolutely astounded when she came back to me and told me his Army number and although there was no known grave his name was carved on sarcophagus in France. She also told me the exact place to go to.

I was SO impressed with the way the young person had passed over the information.
I said it was marvellous to think that after all these years we had at last found out and I thanked her for how efficient she had been.

Her answer nearly floored me because she said “Actually it was very simple to find him Mrs Walker because he was the ONLY chap killed in WW1 with the name of THOMAS HUDDY.”

I was amazed to hear this and she told me there were some more Huddy’s killed but only the one with the name of THOMAS.

Of all the millions killed in WW1 it seemed incredible but it was perfectly true.

My biggest regret was that if I had done this sooner when my mother was alive she would have been more at peace with herself.

A photo of my uncle who was killed in the First World War.

This is where the memorial stone is in France.
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Re: A WW1 family story.

Post by Tan on Mon Apr 29, 2013 2:47 pm

Such a terrible tragedy what happened to the Titanic, and all the people that were killed our Maisie.
But even more so knowing of family who were on it, like your Mothers Sister and her Children, so devastating for sure, and a terrible loss to her husband, your Mother, and Grandmother as well.

To be forewarned like that, would of course been hard to think about, like a defence mechanism we all think it will never happen to us what at times is predicted. 'If only' steps in there, but sadly tragedy did happen.
I wonder in the future when your Grandmother mentioned of other things she had in her mind, if then many did listen, and change the course they were going to initially take, as I sure would have listened, and taken anything like that on board.

So terribly sad too for your Mother losing Tommy, and hearing the concertina, liking to think he in death had come home. So tragic for sure, so many losses in one family, and all relatively so young as well.
It certainly was so good you phoned and getting to know the information about your Uncle Tommy, peace in mind for you, and sure some way your Mother with her being in your heart knew then too, and your Grandmother.
God Bless them all.

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Re: A WW1 family story.

Post by Maywalk on Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:18 am

Many thanks Tan.
I put the story up because Rich and Dougie said they would like to read it.
Strange story but perfectly true.
I got the information about the whereabouts of the sarcophagus from a chappie I used to know who belonged to the Royal British Legion.He was going to tour the battlefields of WW1/2 with one or two more chaps who were interested in this sort of thing. He said it will give them a real target and make it more interesting to him and his pals
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Re: A WW1 family story.

Post by Guest on Tue Apr 30, 2013 2:29 am

Thank you our Maisie, it was a good story yet really sad and your Uncle was a handsome devil. My grandfather fought in the first world war as he joined a regiment in Scotland. I had many veterans in both my Dad's family and my mum's side. Thank God they all came back and no one was injured.

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Re: A WW1 family story.

Post by Maywalk on Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:42 am

Thankyou for getting back to me Rich.
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Re: A WW1 family story.

Post by Guest on Tue Apr 30, 2013 4:45 pm

My pleasure Maisie, I really enjoyed it and the photo and you write so well.

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Re: A WW1 family story.

Post by Guest on Tue Apr 30, 2013 5:27 pm

Oddly enough perhaps, it's not as 'strange' as I once may have thought, our Maisie - gentle smile.

What horrible tragedy and what heartbreak for everyone.

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