WW1: A nation remembers, a family grieves.

With the war memorial services of the last week, I thought that I would share just one or two of several family photos related to WW1.

Ernest Heard with Annie Heard and Granddad

Private Ernest Heard with Annie Heard and my Granddad, baby Harold Heard.

Though I already knew of many of their stories, I did quite a bit of research into those family members that fought and more often than not, died in WW1.  I came across around 7 or 8 close family members who did not return home during the war.      This is Ernest and Annie Heard with their little boy Harold who was my Granddad. Private Ernest Heard of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment was one of many who died in Iraq (25th Jan 1917) due to a pompous glory seeking general with many thousands dying not just from wounds but also disease as poor Ernest did from drinking filthy water. He is buried in Amara, Iraq and we don’t know if Saddam ruined his grave (we think he did). My Granddad never met his dad after this photo was taken but he too was sent to Iraq in WW2 so at least got to visit his Dad and one day I hope to also. Granddad was born on 5th March 1916 so it is likely this photo was taken later that year.

Enlistment Forms 1 This is one of several enlistment form into the British Army for WW1 for my Great Granddad, Robert William Liddell. Happily he survived the war though his brother didn’t. What an awful war, what a huge family I’d have had without it. The regiments of northern England suffered especially appalling loses and the men were particularly gutsy even for WW1 times.

The Tower

Nearly 1 million ceramic Poppies are being planted at the Tower of London, one for each casualty in WW1.


James Arthur Heard II USA

James Arthur Heard II of Oklahoma serving in the U.S. Army during WW1

The photo above is interesting as it is of James Arthur Heard II who was the cousin of Ernest Heard (see first picture). Both were born in Lancashire around the 1880s but James Arthur moved to Oklahoma. He fought in WW1 but in the U.S. Army.

William & Gwen Cusack

William & Gwen Cusack

The photo above is of two of my Great Grandparents, William and Gwen Cusack.  William made it through the war and lived until 1963.

Sgt Ruel Dun of the Royal Flying Corps

Sgt Ruel Dunn of the Royal Flying Corps

Long time readers of my blog may remember one of my early posts about my relation who fought the Red Baron.  At the time I wrote that, I didn’t have a photo of my family hero Sgt Ruel Dunn.  He was one of what became known as the 20-minuters.  As this was the life expectancy of new British flyers in WW1.  He served in the Royal Flying Corps, the precursor to the RAF.

Sgt Dunn is my 3rd cousin removed (I believe) and was himself an accomplished flyer.  Him and his pilot had kills to their name and were performing important reconnaissance work when on 2nd April 1917, Bloody April, he had the misfortune to bump into not just the Red Baron but his entire squadron.  After a valiant battle against the odds, his plane was grounded but rather than surrender, Sgt Dunn broke the convention of the time by continuing to fire his machine gun from the ground as a sitting duck.

He badly damaged the Red Barons plane forcing the most victorious fighter pilot of WW1 to attack again.  Sgt Dunn was mortally injured but taken to a German military field hospital.  So impressed was the Red Baron by Sgt Dunn’s bravery, he gave him the honour of visiting him in hospital that evening shortly before he died.

I am returning to the ww1 battlefields in September and hope to visit the grave of my family hero.  He was shot down in a field 300 yards east of Givenchy, I’d very much like to visit this place too but there are 3 Givenchy’s in that part of France and though I can take a guess at which is the correct one, I can’t be certain.   I’m hoping to find out before I visit.

Lest We Forget

My easy to understand but comprehensive history of WW1 in Kindle and Paperback.

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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13 Responses to WW1: A nation remembers, a family grieves.

  1. yurtsevyarici2013 says:

    Reblogged this on Çanakkale Şehitlik Turu.


  2. Francis says:

    This is a fascinating post. Your research is impeccable and I truly enjoyed reading it.


  3. Pancho says:

    Wonderful post. I blogged about my great-grand-uncle’s participation in WWI (http://peopleofpancho.com/2014/05/26/honoring-ernst-on-memorial-day/) based on some old photographs in my possession, but it was totally guesswork. I need to read your book.


    • Thank-you. I enjoyed your post too. I wonder is there a similar organisation to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in the USA? The CWGC are incredible and with just a tiny amount of information they will tell you exactly where any fallen soldiers are with photos and maps of the area too and brief details as to what happened to the serviceman.

      If you do read my book, do let me know what you think of it 🙂


  4. Boyer Writes says:

    Very interesting family history. I have your WWI book and reading it slowly. When finished, I will write you a review. Blessings. Nancy


    • Thank-you. I made a little progress yesterday over the likely village that my relation got shown down next to as I found the official mission notes and also the official records of the Red Baron.

      I hope that you are enjoying the book Nancy!


  5. blantonn says:

    Very interesting Stephen, and that aerial of the poppies is so dramatic! Thanks.


    • Thanks Nancy! I actually walked right past them on Sunday morning as I was giving a tour and we all stopped and looked at them for quite a few minutes despite it pouring with rain. They look incredible.


  6. Pingback: PS. Thanks for being my hero | Stephen Liddell

  7. Pingback: PS. Thanks for being my hero | Thomas Becket

  8. Ray Newton says:

    I am planning a visit to my father’s brother’s trench area where he was killed on the 26th April 1918 just before his 21st birthday. He was a signaller, Lnce.Cpl. Bob Newton with the Lancashire Fusiliers, 2/5 and, according to an account from a colleague who was with him at the time, he was shot as he dropped back into the trench after volunteering to fetch more ‘bombs’ (grenades).

    As they were under heavy attack at the time, and not strong enough to hold the position just recently gained, so had to withdraw, I guess his body could not be recovered, and probably lost from continual shell fire, so now he has no known grave, and is listed on the Loos memorial.

    It was at Givenchy – the one near Festubert, slightly north east of the village of Givenchy. Yes, it can be confusing as there is more than one village of that name.

    I am hoping to visit there this Spring and would like to find accommodation, perhaps ‘airbnb’ close by.
    Although I never met my father’s brother, he was so close to my father (just older than), that my dad spoke often about him that I feel I knew him.

    Liked by 1 person

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