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