Wednesday, 11 November 2009

1st World War heroes

Today I am remembering my grandmother's only brother, Horace Ingham MC, who was killed in 1918, in France. He was the only son of his father, and brother to four sisters. His father was a successful businessman in Manchester and I wonder how many hopes he had of Horace joining him in the business.

We have a tin box at home containing the original telegram from the War Office giving the news of Horace's death, and all the letters of condolence from friends and colleagues, many of whom had also lost sons and brothers. One can sense the real feelings of grief and despair behind the formal rather masculine words. We also have Horace's notebook from the trenches, with mud on it. Not very interesting reading in itself, but a personal link with such a terrible loss of life.

When my grandmother was ill in hospital in 1976 suffering from dementia she confused my father with her brother Horace. After nearly 50 years she still thought of her older brother and missed him. How many other women must have grieved for brothers, husbands and boyfriends for all those years.

Sadly there are many today going through the same painful bereavement. I hope that what our troops are doing in Afghanistan will not be in vain, and that their brave work will make the world safer for all of us.

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