Tuesday, February 28, 2012

G IS FOR...

...GRANDFATHER
My grandfather was born in Sheffield in 1882.  We have a newspaper article stating that he shaved a couple of years off his birth-date when he joined the British Army which was in about 1900.  I'm not sure how old you had to be to join the army then, so the 1900 date is a little flexible.

He joined the 6th Inniskilling Dragoons.  Below is a postcard of the military dress uniform which he sent to my grandmother in 1905  He addressed it to her maiden name, so they were probably not married at the time. 


In 1900-1902 he fought in the Anglo-Boer War in the Orange Free State.  In this photograph below the X points him out, with his hat rakishly tipped to one side.  I'm sorry I don't have the right military vocabulary but you know what I mean. He was small in stature so I suspect he is standing on something  here.

The Sixth Inniskillings was a mounted cavalry regiment and served not only in the Anglo-Boer War but also in India.  Below is a photo of him mounted on his horse which he rather naughtily called Kate, the name of my grandmother!

While still with the 6th Inniskillings Dragoons, he was part of a team which won the Rifle Championship of the Mediterranean  in 1909. 

In the first World War he was stationed in Mhow, Central India where his rifle skills were put to good use up at the Khyber Pass on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, (the more things change the more they stay the same!)
   
Second from the right in the photo below, he is now a sergeant with a different regiment, the 'D' Squadron of the First Life Guards in France where he fought at Ypres in 1915.  I think these men were draftees.  There were about a hundred of them and many of them had been together in India in earlier years.  According to the dispatches their high spirited  reunion and rash behavior gave the powers that be a headache. I just also discovered from a newspaper clipping that Granddad was a tank commander during the 1914-18 war. As you can see, he was small in size, but I think feisty would be a good word to describe him. From what I remember of him I don't think many would want to tangle with him.
He was a awarded a good many medals which sadly had to be sacrificed by the family in a time of need. At some point, I know he spent some time in China and that he was also appointed as batman to Sir David Rutherford. Once out of the army he remained in service with Sir David as his chauffeur and my grandmother went into service as a housemaid up at the 'Big House'. (Shades of Downton Abbey).

Happy days in retirement. 

 I remember my grandfather best for his eating very highly seasoned (hot, hot) food, for which he had acquired a taste while in India.  I remember being fascinated with the beads of perspiration that appeared on his top lip (must have shaved off his mustache at that time) while eating that kind of food.  For many years as a child I tried to copy that habit, just because Granddad did it.

He died in the sixties. One other significant memory I have of him is when he took me into the fruit cellar where all the apples off Sir David's trees were stored for the winter.  He showed me how each one was set in a space by itself without touching any other apple so that if there were any blemishes on one apple they would not be transferred to another.  He used this as an opportunity to teach a life lesson of choosing friends carefully and being careful not to influence others negatively.

I wonder if grandparents today realize how much influence for good they can have on their grandchildren.

I must give credit to my older brother who died in 1984 at age 48,  who collected and identified the photos above.   Thanks also  to my sister, Kaybee,  who conserved them for many years. Between us and with the help of blogger Snafu we now have many, many old family photos and family trees.

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This is my entry for ABC WEDNESDAY letter 'G'.  If you would like to see more of these intriguing entries, please click on this button HERE  and it will take you to the many others who are participating in this fascinating project.

25 comments:

Jane and Chris said...

This was fascinating! My grandfather was 5 years younger than yours..also a military man who died aged 50..25 years before I was born.This post made me think of him,and how he may have been had I known him.Thank you, Chris.
Jane x

Dartford Warbler said...

What an interesting life your Grandfather had. Thank you for a fascinating post. I loved the story about calling his Army horse Kate, after his wife!

Meryl said...

What a wonderful retelling. I love that postcard and all the memorabilia you have. You are lucky. And, I just love smaller feisty people. I count myself proudly among them!

Have a great week.

mrsnesbitt said...

Wonderful - said a "hello" to you this weekend - we went round the roundabout to Brid - but were going to Pickering! Yes - wrong road but i still sent out a greeting to you! Jon thought I was indicating the road! lol!
Dxx

Leslie: said...

Wonderful tribute to your grandfather. I happen to think, although short, he seems rather rakish! LOL I'm sure he would have loved to see this writing.

Leslie
abcw team

Patty said...

He certainly led an interesting life. Shame his medals had to be sold off. But you have a lot of nice photos and you know who they are and etc. Our family has some photos, but no names on the back of the photos and anyone that could tell us something about them has since died. I have one of my Grand Grandparents from my Mother side of the family and my Fathers side of the family and I do have their names and they are in a photo album, so our kids will know who they are. Thanks for your visits. Haven't been getting around much to blogs like I would like to. Been doctoring with my back. Go tomorrow for an MRI, perhaps we;ll know more when that's done.

Roger Owen Green said...

great history and GENEALOGY. I know so little about one grandfather, and virtually nothing about the other.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Morning's Minion said...

It is sad to think how many family photos and stories are lost because we didn't think to ask questions of our grandparents when we had the opportunity.
Your post is interesting far beyond your own family circle.
Your grandfather had an assertive stance that probably made taller men think twice before crossing him.

kaybee said...

What a wonderful tribute to our grandfather, Chris! You found some history I didn't even know about. Being seven years younger than you, I have different memories of him. My favourite is that whenever I stayed with them, he would come home from work and allow me to guess in which pocket he had a surprise for me - a chocolate bar, a comic, or a little toy became mine every evening! I remember being at the Rutherford's "big house" too - I saw the children's nursery once, but wasn't allowed to touch any of those lovely toys - what torture for a 6 year-old!

kaybee said...

By the way, for those who don't know, snafu is our UK cousin who has spent probably hundreds of hours sorting,scanning and sending us copies of family photos found in another cousin's attic recently!

Scriptor Senex said...

As you know, Chris, I've followed your blog for a long time but this has to be one of your best posts ever. How wonderful that your brother and sister have helped even though the former died so young. And what a great tribute to your Grandfather.

I suspect it was because he joined a mounted regiment that he had to be reasonably old. Foot soldiers joined at a very young age.

I have various family photos from Victorian times most of which I have identified but one - a similar scene to yours in the Boer War - remains a mystery. No clue as to who was in it or exactly where and when it was taken. The headgear in your photo has at least confirmed I was in the right war - thanks for that.

photowannabe said...

I love the photos and history of those early years.
I hardly knew either of my grandfathers. Its always fun to heat the stories.

ChrisJ said...

Thanks for the many comments. First I have to say that I didn't specifically identify Snafu as my cousin as I wasn't sure if he wanted to be revealed over the web. Because my sister, Kaybee, knows him better than I do, I certainly do concur with her about the wonderful treasure trove of photographs he has labored over for so many hours in recent months. Both he and Kaybee have been much more meticulous than I about identifying, labeling and categorizing them. I thank them both especially Snafu. I don't want you, Snafu, to think I didn't appreciate your hard work. I'm just a little sensitive to people's desire for privacy.

SCRIPTURE SENEX: Thank you so much for your very complimentary comments especially since you are from Liverpool! I greatly value all comments and followers. It does give one incentive to keep up the interest level... and writing skills.

Still going through clippings and photos, I just discovered today, that Grandad was also A TANK COMMANDER in the 1914-18 war. I am going to try to insert that fact into the GRANDFATHER blog without disrupting it very much.

snafu said...

No problem Chris, that blog makes me feel quite proud to be a relative.
In the D Squadron picture he shows a strong resemblance to your father but I always remembered your granddad as being much bigger. It must have been because I was just a child when I met him and we did not see him often.

MorningAJ said...

My grandad 'stretched' his birthday to go off to war in WWI. It cost him an eye but that didn't stop him working on the railways when he got home.

R1 said...

amazing story of your grandfather...

Gigi Ann said...

What wonderful memories you have of your Grandfather.

Thanks for your visit today.

Gigi Ann ABC Wednesday Team

EG Wow said...

You have such wonderful memories of your grandfather. Grandparents truly do influence their grandchildren. :)

MorningAJ said...

Hi Chris. Sorry you're missing out on the blogs at the moment. I had something similar a few weeks ago with Hilary's blog - but only Hilary's for some reason!

You're worth waiting for, though. So just keep calling by when it lets you!
AJ

claude said...

Chris, what a great post.history he has been through. Thank you for sharing this and the photos from the past.

Elizabeth said...

What a lovely post, Chris.Thank you for sharing it. x

Mrs.D said...

what a wonderful tribute!

sush said...

great one- for the theme.

Gill - That British Woman said...

how wonderful to have all those photos and to know so much about what he did in the army,

Gill

Pearl said...

How wonderful to know so much about your grandfather. I know so little. I really should look into it...

Pearl