Looking back into my dim and distant childhood, I remember with fondness the Christmas's when all the family got together.
My grandfather served in the Great War and was a stretcher bearer during the battle of the Somme. Immaculately dressed he was
always resplendant in his collar and tie. Wilf, was another face one could see on this annual pilgrimage, like my grandfather Wilf had
also served in France during the Great War.
My grandfather also served in the second world war, and I can still remember a photograph of him wearing the uniform of an RAF sergeant, which
perched precariously on the mantlepiece which looked like the picture and frame would shortly be taking flying lessons.
My parents occupied the sofa, dad was a Petty Officer Gunnery Instructor and had served in the Royal Navy during WW2 similarly my mother was
an ex WRAAF telephonist.
It was inevitable that with such a pedigree both myself and my two brothers would end up serving the colours. My two brothers joined the Army and
I, the Navy.
Later in life, having married i found out that my wifes geat grandfather had served in the Lancashire Fusiliers and was killed in 1917 at Paschendale, having served in
Gallipoli and Egypt. ( Thanks to Alan) . We visited Tyne Cott for the second time, this year, to pay our respects.
Sadly I cannot recall talking to anyone in my family about their experiences and regret now all the missed opportunities that can never be regained.
The last "Tommy" has passed and soon another generation will join them.
Thankfully there are those on this forum who have taken an interest and are able to make up for all the times when first hand information was available.
It isn't until one starts to do a bit of research that you fully realise what you have had and sadly what we have lost.