About Me

My photo
Blogging about things that matter to me. Photographing things I love - Instagram @debcyork. Writing about both. Only wine and chocolate can save us… You can also find me on Twitter (@debcyork) and Facebook. If you like four-legged views, try @missbonniedog on Twitter

Thursday, 7 August 2014

What happened to our family in the First World War, Mum?

This week has, of course, marked one hundred years since the start of the First World War.  The commemorations have been, in my humble opinion, very well staged - dignified and well thought out.  The picture shows Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, an art installation at the Tower of London by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper.  One of the many impressive tributes to the fallen of 1914-1918, at local, national and international levels.
CBBC has been doing a great job of helping my children to understand what this is all about.  They have always been fans of Horrible Histories but there have also been dramas and documentaries for them as well.
However, knowing my interest in family history, it has led them to many questions about our own family's part in the First World War.  And it seems, from what I can find out so far, that the immediate, direct families somehow did not have any real involvement.
My father's side, as readers of previous posts will know, were all in India.  There appear to have been a number of these Anglo Indian relations in the Indian Medical Service but I cannot find any evidence, as yet, that they served abroad in Europe.
As for my mother's family, it appears that my grandmother's side took no role - there not being many male relations.  My grandfather's father was a train driver so presumably his role was to remain at home and keep the trains running.
And my in-laws - my children's "other family" -  are Irish and do not appear to have been part of the Irish regiments that were raised, despite the continuing battle for independence.
So, a disappointment for my children's interest "what our family did" but obviously a good, if unusual, situation for the families involved!
The combination of these rather unusual family situations with an article that I read this week about the home services and their losses during the First World War has, though, spurred me on to investigate where Walter the train driver worked and to check more closely into the Anglo-Indian relations' service.
I do not like "presumably" and "seem to" - these phrases spur me on to find more definite information!  There is one place that I think I am going to have to start though and it fills me with dread in many ways.
My son, when aged 2-3, was a total train obsessive.  I understand that this is a fairly common toddler trait but given the many Anglo Indians who worked on the Indian Railways and also Walter's family's history, we did wonder.  Living in York provided the perfect place to satisfy all train cravings.  The National Railway Museum!  I knew that place inside out and back to front.  I knew every climbable footplate and every press-able button.  I could get round it blind fold pushing a buggy.... and that place gave endless (free!) joy to my son.
I have managed to avoid it in the past couple of years, especially once the "Wheel of York" was moved from its yard.  The article about the services recommends the archives at the museum though.  Who knew?  I thought it was just the hardware - the engines and the royal carriages, the turntable and the Flying Scotsman.  Apparently not.  Apparently it is a mine of useful information about those who worked on the railways.
Bet my son won't come with me though, unless they have the history of Minecraft too....  the train days are definitely gone!

No comments:

Post a Comment