Happy Memorial Day and thank you to all of those who have served and paid the ultimate price to protect their loved ones and their country.
When I began my genealogy journey 20 years ago I was very aware that my father and my uncles Jim and Jack both served in World War 2. All of them returned from battle, although none were the same when they returned. However, they all did return to their families. I was not aware of any other members of my family who had served in World War I or World War 2 - never mind wars that occurred before that.
I made it a mission to try to find out as much about the names added to my family tree as I could. Over the years I have discovered multiple family members that not only served their country, but lost their lives defending it.
For a couple of years I have wanted to do a personal In Memoriam post to celebrate those family members that I never knew and many whose names have been lost to the family members who came after them. Most of them resided in the UK but there is one who lost his life on the USS Arizona.
William 1938 - 1940 1st cousin 1x removed: December 12/13 1940 saw the first major bombing blitz of my home town. Little William was with his baby sitter and not with his parents. The house he was at received a direct hit and he was killed. William was just 2 years old when the German bomb hit the house he was visiting.
William Taylor - 1899- 1916 grand-uncle : The story of William struck a major chord with me. He wasn't even 18 when he died. William's name is one of 72,335 that appear on the Thiepval Memorial. Most died in the early days of the battle of the Somme. Most of the 72,000 plus are British soldiers and some from South Africa. William was just 17 years old when he was killed. His older brother, Samuel, survived to return home to his parents.
James Moody 1895 - 1917 - 2nd cousin 3x removed: Killed in Action on the 30 July 1917 in Flanders. No other information is available on James. He was 21 years old when he was killed.
Albert Pinder 1891 - 1917 - 3rd cousin 2x removed. Albert was injured at the Battle Of Messines Ridges and died of his wounds days later. He is mentioned at the Mendinghem Military Cemetery. Albert was 26 when he died.
Joseph Ducker 1895 - 1918 - 1st cousin 3x removed: Killed in Action on the 21 March 1918. Joseph is mentioned in the The Arras Memorial at Faubourg-D´Amiens Cemetery, Arras. Joseph was 22 years old when he was killed.
William Peavey 1919 - 1941 - 3rd cousin 1x removed: Killed in Action on the 7 December 1941. Thanks to the amazing record keeping of the US, we know a little about William. Billy Peavey was an aspiring graphic artist and had been sending samples of his work. Right before the attack he was informed he had a position at Walt Disney Studios once he was discharged. William Howard "Billy" Peavey's brother, Robert Peavey, had been in the Navy before the war. He was a water tender aboard the USS Salt Lake City. After the attack he immediately volunteered and eventually served as water tender aboard LST 822 at the Philippine invasion, Okinawa and the occupation of Japan. Billy was 22 years old when he was killed.
I wish I could find out more about those that lost their lives but, sadly, so little information survives. There is a famous quote - one that was put into popular culture by none other than the great artist Banksy and it is one that struck a strong chord with me when I realized that many of these mentioned here died over 100 years ago.
"There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time."
In this post the names of William age 2, William Taylor, James Moody, Albert Pinder, Joseph Ducker and William Peavey live on.
I've posted this poem penned by my best-friend Pam a couple of times over the years. It's called The Photograph. I could only find two photographs for my cousins who were killed and I chose to use the one for Albert Pinder as he was born very close to where I was born and as this poem is written in Yorkshire-ese, I thought it appropriate. And, although the poem is not about Albert, his image represents the millions of men who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2.