There is many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

  • Warning! Elderly Person Blogging


    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.



  • My Life and Times

    I was born in 1939 BC.
    That’s ‘Before Computers’.

    Luckily I survived the following events in my life, such as

    World War II, The London Blitz, Rationing, and worst of all… Archbishop Temple’s School.




    During the mid 1950s I was enjoying Rock ‘n’ Roll and being a first generation teenager, when suddenly, just like Elvis, I found myself in uniform during ‘The Cold War’…and then




    I became ‘a family’. Which meant that I sort of missed the ‘swinging sixties’, but still managed to look a complete prat in the 70s, just like everyone else.




    During the ‘Thatcher Years’ I lost my hair and a lot of people lost a good deal more. My career fluctuated to say the least as I was demoted, promoted, fired and hired a number of times, but still I managed to stagger on into a welcome retirement and to celebrate 56 years of happy marriage.

  • February 2012
    M T W T F S S
    « Jan   Mar »
  • Meta

  • RSS Validated.

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 569 other followers

  • Advertisements

My unlucky uncle.

Posted by Big John on February 21, 2012

I know that this is not a very good photograph, but it was taken more than a hundred years ago and, like so many, it ended up stored away and forgotten until I happened upon it when going through some old family papers.

The picture shows my father’s eldest brother. He was a couple of years older than my dad and was born at the very end of the 19th century which meant that he was conscripted for military service towards the end of World War I. My dad was lucky as that war ended just as he received his call-up papers and he never had to report for duty.

My uncle was not so lucky, for although the war with Germany ended in 1918, he was sent to Russia as a member of a multi-national military force sent to back the Tsarist forces fighting the revolutionary Red Army.

I have tried to trace his military history, and have found only one soldier with his name. He was a private in a battalion which is recorded as being sent to Archangel in 1918, and a War Office medal record card in his name shows that he was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.

I have no idea what happened to my uncle during his service in Russia, but my father told me that his brother returned to England, after going ‘missing’ for some time, bringing with him a suitcase full of Tsarist bank notes which, of course, were of no value by that time.

I often wonder what happened to that young man when he went ‘missing’ in the Russian snow, and how did he come by all that money ? .. Did he meet up with some Bolshevik ‘friends’ ? .. After all, as a poor lad who, like my dad, had slept “five in a bed” in a rat infested ‘Victorian’ slum, he had far more in common with the Russian proletariat, than with the people who had sent him there in the name of some bloody king and in support of a despot Tsar: and if he did, perhaps his new ‘comrades’ helped him ‘liberate’ all those paper roubles from some Romanov aristocrat, or perhaps he just found the case in a ditch ? Alas, we can only speculate.

My dad had nine brothers and sisters, and I knew most of them, but as far as I can recall I never met this uncle; which is a pity, for I bet  …

… he had a great tale to tell.


6 Responses to “My unlucky uncle.”

  1. He certainly must have had a tale to tell and such a pity that it does not exist for the telling. My father was one of the youngest men in the First World War and his brother who was two years younger, was among the oldest of the enlistees (just made it in by a few months) of World War II.

  2. Rummuser said

    Don’t be surprised if some day. suddenly some insight about his life comes your way. It happened to me regarding one of my grand uncles. A completely new acquaintance, came up with some startling stories about him. They knew each other in a then princely state’s administrative office, my new acquaintance having just joined and the older man about to retire. When my father met this acquaintance, it was an amazing journey for both of them going down to a India of different times and conditions.

  3. Grannymar said

    I have a wonderful fascinating family story, but without the permission to share it, I must keep it to myself. Pity.

  4. Ginnie said

    As much as we may miss the “good old days” at least now it would be easier to trace a person’s life … and that’s not always a good thing. Let’s just pretend that his was a life of intrigue and romance. I feel sure it was!!

  5. bikehikebabe said

    After all the generation above me died, I thought of questions I wanted to ask, but never got around to it. So many mysteries left unanswered. At least you have a history (not complete) of your uncle.

  6. My father and three uncles served in WWI. Two saw action. One uncle returned to a life of disability after being gassed during the trench warfare. Another came back with a French medal for valor. None came home with a batch of cash.

    Among the four there should have been at least one intriguing story. Unfortunately, we are left with no such tale. It’s a pity many of our ancestors left no accounts of their activities.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: