Probably the greatest pleasure I get from this blog is the periodic contact I get from descendants of 11 DLI men researching their ancestors. During the WW1 centenary period I guess this is likely to increase. I am particularly keen to hear from anyone who can add or correct information that I have posted in the Roll of Honour, and to get photos of the men or their families. When I get time I hope to put up a gallery of images.
As an example, last year I had the surprise contact from someone in my grandfather’s adoptive family line, the McGlassons. Over the years contact between them and the Bashforths had been lost, so it was great to be back in touch. What was even more astonishing was that they had kept many more photographs than my immediate family, including ones of my grandfather and grandmother I had never seen before – not least two that contained pictures of my father as a baby. A little indication of how my Gran must have had to put memories of my Grandad into the back of a drawer as she got on with a new marriage, a new husband and a new and larger family.
As frequent readers will have noticed from my rare ‘political’ comments, I am not much interested in arguments about the rights and wrongs of the war, even less about the machinery of it. A friend of mine often sends messages on a postcard which reads “If war was the answer it must have been a stupid question.” I do care passionately about the impact of war on human beings and on families, and it is the family history contacts that I value most. It shows that, generations on, WW1 still hurts. If anything, that hurt is resurfacing after having been suppressed for too long by the ‘British’ stiff upper lip and the demands of patriotism.
So do keep the contacts coming in!