Before endeavours fade
This year of course marks the Centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. We have just been designing a new commemorative advert for our client the Victory Services Club (VSC) in Marble Arch. For many family histories there is a significant chapter covering the impact of the First World War. Although the conflict did not affect the civilian population to anything like the extent of the Second World War due to of the absence of tangible invasion threat and the only very limited airship and Gotha bomber air raids. Many more families however had loved ones serving and many of course failed to return from the trenches in France and Belgium, the Middle-East and of course from serving on the high seas.
My own grandfather volunteered in 1914 and served in France and Palestine with Princess Louise’s Kensington Regiment. He survived, despite being buried twice from shelling in the trenches – was a messenger. His brother however was not so fortunate, he was killed in Gaza fighting the Turkish with the Welsh Regiment. I have a picture of his grave from the CWGC.
This story is completely unexceptional. However I do consider myself fortunate that the renowned war artist Eric Kennington (the accomplished portrait painter and sculptor of some striking memorials (including the sublime tomb-like effigy of TE Lawrence in Wareham) actually served in my grandad’s regiment. So I can look at his works, including the famous painting on glass of ‘The Kensingtons at Laventie’ showing the battle weary tommies in the snow and feel some personal pride.
In this Centenary year I wonder how many more of you have taken time to reflect on the ‘war to end wars’ and it’s influence on your family? Who do you think you are?
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For more information on WWI Centenary events go to www.1914.org