A tale of two brothers

As today is Armistice Day I thought I’d like to share a relevant family story with you for my What’s The Story? post this week.  This is a tale of two brothers from the First World War.  I’m very proud to be related to both of them.  I started to trace our family history when my parents decided to emigrate to Spain 9 years ago.  Before that time I knew nothing about my father’s family (it turns out Dad knew hardly anything either!).  My grandfather died when I was young, I do vaguely remember him, but he was already in a home at that stage.

This is my paternal Grandfather.

A tale of two brothers
My Granddad JE

Granddad JE was 24 when he enlisted in 1914.  He was a Postman in civvy street and served in the Postal Division of the Royal Engineers. We know that he witnessed the madness of the Somme and was present at Ypres.  When I return to work I want to see what I can uncover (if anything still remains) of his personal service record, or his battalion.  Dad said that his father wouldn’t talk of the war at all.  I wonder whether he was responsible for passing letters from loved ones to the front line?  That’s the romantic in me coming out!  My brother has his 1914 Star medal handed out to those who saw service between August and November 1914 – he was in the thick of things from the start.

The only story that Dad know’s is that at some point my Granddad was sitting on a wagon loaded up with explosives when an enemy shell landed right in front of the wagon.  It was a dud – it didn’t go off.  If it had been live, I wouldn’t be here today to write this post.

Somehow, Granddad JE survived the terrors of the First World War and returned home to Surrey when the war finished in 1918.  I don’t suppose he was the same man who had left 4 years earlier.  He went on to be an ARP in the Second World War – he really was part of Dad’s Army!

This is my Great Uncle, my Granddad JE’s eldest brother.

A tale of two brothers
Great Uncle TW

My Great Uncle TW was much older than my Granddad, and was 36 when he enlisted in 1915.  He was married with two small children and was also a Postman in the same area of Surrey and as my Granddad.  He was also a part-time Fireman.  Great Uncle TW served in the East Kent Regiment – I have no idea why! We believe (and one day I will find the truth) that he joined up in the summer of 1915, he was shipped over to France and was killed almost immediately in September that year.  He took part in the Battle of Loos died at the beginning of that particular campaign.  There is no proper grave for my Great Uncle TW, his name is shown on a remembrance wall at the Loos Memorial in France, along with 20,000 other service men who also have no known grave.  How totally tragic is that.  I have photo’s of the memorial and of my Great Uncle’s name on the wall, that a distant relative took and passed on to me.  When Monkey is at school and is learning about World War One, I want to take his to France, so we can remember a brave man, who fought and died so we could be free today.

My Great Uncle TW is named on the town war memorial where he and my Granddad lived.  I’ve been there myself, it was very moving to know that I am related to that man, and to know a little of his story.  I’ve also found an archive photo of the unveiling ceremony held on 27th February 1922.  There are crowds of people in the photograph.  I’m sure my Granddad and all of his family were in that photograph, along with my Great Uncle’s widow and children.

This is my tale of two brothers, one who survived the war by some miracle and one who tragically didn’t.  This is my What’s the Story? post for Armistice Day, my family, my way of remembering two very special men.


It’s Friday already!  Another week has flown by and I’m linking this post up to #PoCoLo

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About Over 40 and a Mum to One

I'm a Mum in my late 40′s with a 7 year old son. I had a busy life in Export Sales before my Monkey came along, but decided to become a stay at home Mum once he arrived. Now I enjoy writing my own family lifestyle and travel blog. sharing the adventures that we have as Monkey makes his journey through school.We have a cat called Brewster who makes appearances and I’m a mad Ferrari Formula 1 fan, so that expect to hear about as each season unfolds.We love reviewing toys, games and books and would love the opportunity to look at anything that fits in with our family lifestyle. We are always out and about and offering an insight on the places we visit, with a passion for nature thrown in for good measure.If you like what you read please leave me a comment, I love to hear from people, and always try to reply. Enjoy the read.

15 thoughts on “A tale of two brothers

  1. Wow Mary what an incredible post. Absolutely fascinating and a really wonderful read. You must be so so proud, both sound like truly amazing men. Really great, thank you so very much for sharing #whatsthestory

  2. A great read and an amazing personal story. Great to have the information on these two great men back in your family tine. It makes Nov 11th that little bit closer to home. #PoCoLo

  3. It’s so interesting to find out about family members who were part of the war. And great when you get hold of photos. Brings history alive.

    We’ve got a letter written from the war from an 18 year old from our family who didn’t survive. so sad to read the hope in the letter, when you know they didn’t survive

    1. Yes, it really does bring it alive. Wish I’d known about it all when I studied that period of history at school. That’s so tragic, but at least a part of him will live on forever. We have the newspaper cutting that mentions my great uncle’s death – it’s wonderful to know he was so well regarded in his local community.

  4. Wow, I really enjoyed reading the tale of your two relatives. What lives. How we have no idea what they went through. Although I sort of do, you see my Grandpa wrote an amazing diary about his war service. He too was in the Post Office – in Egypt with the 8th Army in ww2 under General Montgomery. His story is touching and like you describe, he also came back after 4 years of war, a changed man. His story is typed up and now in the Imperial War Museum archives – for others to read – so it is never forgotten. For we should never forget these remarkable heroes. Our remarkable heroes. x

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