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What did you do in that war Grandad ?

Posted by Big John on September 10, 2008

Last weekend I had a visit from a cousin who, due to the recent death of a relative, had aquired a basket full of old family photographs, newspaper clippings and other odds and ends. She left the collection with me to see if I could improve the quality of some of the photos by using my computer software.

Many of the photographs were in very poor condition such as the one below, which I suspect had been taken to appear in some newspaper or other …

… The picture bears a stamp showing that it was taken in High Wycombe and it shows a parade of assorted army volunteers …


After a bit of work on the computer I came up with the above enhanced section of the photograph and low and behold I found my grandad ! He is the bloke second from the left with the ‘Old Bill’ moustache, so this picture must have been taken during the 1914-1918 War when my grandfather served with The Royal Field Artillery.


Now my grandad, would have been a bit old for military service being nearly forty years of age and having eight kids at the time (final score ten !), but I have also discovered another picture of him (left) dressed in the uniform of The RFA (note the spurs and riding crop) prior to World War I, so I assume that he was a member of the ‘Territorial Force’, now called The Territorial Army (similar to the US National Guard). 

My father told me that he remembered his father dressed in the blue hospital uniform worn by wounded and sick soldiers, walking with the aid of crutches after his horse had fallen on him crushing both his legs. 

Now I don’t know if my grandad was injured due to enemy action or because of an accident, but I like to imagine him astride a galloping horse dragging a gun and limber in some heroic action. However the only souvenir of WWI which I have that belonged to him, I found amongst my fathers carpenter’s tools. It is a very large kitchen knife in a wooden sheath bearing the War Department stamp (W↑D) on the handle, so perhaps he was lucky enough to end up as  … 

…   one of the battery’s cooks ?   😀


One Response to “What did you do in that war Grandad ?”

  1. Ginnie said

    Isn’t it amazing how you can doctor up old photos with the use of the computer, John? Your Grandad was a handsome and very debonair man !

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