Remembrance Sunday

**First Published in Nov 2008 – re-edited for this year**

My Nana is 96 years old and she still talks about the First World War like it was literally the worst thing that ever happened.  This is a woman who lived in Central London, alone with a small baby in the Second World War being bombed every night in the Blitz; and she found this more bearable than her childhood memories of World War One.

I don’t think we can even fathom how awful it was, probably the closest (hopefully!) our generation will get to it is September 11 or the Iraq/Afghanistan Conflicts.  For those of you who haven’t studied WWI, overall it’s estimated there were 37 million casualities 16 million dead and 21 million injured, numbers impossible to comprehend now.

British Official Photographer
Credit: British Official Photographer - Battle of the Somme

The defining battle of WWI for pretty much all British people is the ‘Battle of the Somme‘, in the first day alone the British lost 57,470 men and overall there were 1.5 million casualties at the Somme. One of the men in that battle was my Nana’s father James Easter.   Although he survived he had been a career solider and apparently was never the same after the war.  He came back a quiet man, with lung problems from being attacked with Mustard Gas (chemical warfare started in WWI) and he eventually died in the 1950’s from his injuries

James Frederick Easter
James Frederick Easter before WWI

His brother in law’s weren’t as fortunate and never came home they are buried where they fell.

Private John Criddle

died 30th September 1915

aged 35

Battle of Loos

&

Alfred Alexander Criddle

died 22nd September 1918

aged 35

Buried MIKRA BRITISH CEMETERY, KALAMARIA

So for them and everyone else who’s been lost in a conflict since or are in one now think of them this week, they are heros.

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9 Comments

  1. Thank your for sharing your family’s history. You don’t hear a lot about the atrocities of WW1. But it is apparent that people were very much affected by it. Your Nana is obviously a strong women. We can all learn a lot from her.

  2. Wow…incredible that her memories of WWI are so much worse than WWII which was so horrible for London.

    Your great grandpa was such a handsome man…I love that you have that wonderful photo. Our rememberance day is Tuesday (Veteran’s Day) and I’ll be remembering all of the amazingly brave people who fought for the love of their country. It’s quite incredible, when you think about it.

  3. A lovely and contemplative post. Americans often don’t have an appreciation for how horrendous the war was as our troops entered it quite late in the game, but I was fortunate to spend my school years in Canada where we studied it quite intensively. I can’t imagine how it must have struck people, that exposure to war and death on an industrial scale that had never been seen before…and hopefully will never be seen again.

    I appreciate this reminder of how fortunate we are today, and of the great sacrifices that those who came before us have made. Thank you, Liz.

  4. I was going to say what The City Sage above did–that I don’t think WWI gets as much attention in the States as WWII does. Maybe because more Hollywood movies were made about the second one? I’m astounded by the numbers of people who died. It’s hard to get your mind around it. And that doesn’t include the ones who came home seriously injured or who died later as a result like your great-grandfather. Sobering to think about.