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11-18 Magdalena Scott – Serendipity Surprises

Thursday, April 23, 2015

STORIES THE HISTORY BOOKS NEVER TOLD - WW1 CENTENARY - MARGARET TANNER

WORLD WAR 1 CENTENARY - MARGARET TANNER
As this is the Centenary of WW1, I thought this would be appropriate.

In a few days time, it will be April 25th. April the 25th is ANZAC Day, commemorated in Australia and New Zealand.

On the 25th April 1915, Australian and New Zealand Forces (later to be known as ANZACS) Landed on the beaches of Gallipoli in Turkey. It was our baptism of fire, but no-one could have envisaged the sheer carnage, the bravery, or that this place would be embedded in the minds of Australians and New Zealanders for a hundred years. Without exaggeration, ANZAC Day is one of our truly sacred days. It is said we won our nationhood on the bloody beaches of Gallipoli, where the Aegean Sea turned red with our blood.

A few years ago my husband and I also visited Gallipoli, a place I have always wanted to see, and I wasn’t disappointed. ANZAC Cove was different to what I expected, much smaller. At the Lone Pine memorial we found the name of one of my Dad’s relatives, as this boy has no known grave.  It is really quite a sad story. He came out to Australia from England with his two older brothers in about 1910. When the war broke out, he wanted to enlist but was under age. His older brother refused to give his consent, so he approached his other brother who signed the consent papers for him. A few months later he was dead. How sad is that? It tore the family apart, the older brother blaming the other brother for signing the consent papers which turned out to be a death warrant.

We also visited the battlefields and cemeteries on the Western front with our son.

Our pilgrimage commenced in Amiens where we were met by our guide Colin who runs tours of the French and Belgium battlefields. Colin is an Englishman, who with his wife also run a B & B situated on the battlefields at Pozieres. We stayed there for 2 nights, while we told him what we wanted to see.  He was virtually our private guide.

It was an eerie feeling sleeping on the battlefields. I didn’t see any ghosts but I am sure there were some restless spirits floating around.

Colin had a wealth of knowledge regarding the battlefields. You would have to say he was obsessed with it. Using war time trench maps, and the information we gave him, he was able to point to within a hundred yards or so, where my grandfather’s cousin (on my mother’s side), was wounded, on The Somme battlefield in April 1917. Chills ran down my spine, I felt as if a hand was gripping me from the grave.

After being wounded this soldier was picked up by a field ambulance unit, taken to a Casualty Clearing station, and then put on an ambulance train and finally he was admitted to a large military hospital in Rouen where sadly he died a few days later.

We made our own way up to Rouen and found our relative’s grave. He left behind a wife and two small children. And here is a really sad thing, in about 1920, his little girl was killed in an accident. I mean, how could that woman bear so much? Husband killed in the war, and her child dying a few years later?

These are the stories that the history books never tell so they are all the more poignant in my opinion.

Margaret Tanner writes historical war time fiction as well as historical romance.
 
THE LOVES WE LEFT BEHIND – SPECIAL WORLD WAR 1 CENTENARY EDITION
 A three novel collection, depicting the tragedy and triumph of three different women during World War 1.
A hundred years ago, from the far flung corners of the British Empire, young men rushed to fight for Mother England. They left their wives and sweethearts behind. Many of these brave women waited in vain for their men folk to return. How did they cope with the loss and heartache? Could they ever hope to find happiness with another man? Three full novels, each telling a brave young woman’s story of triumph over tragedy and adversity. Allison’s War, Daring Masquerade and Lauren’s Dilemma.

 
 



 

2 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

My cousin is visiting next month. She is now the oldest on my mother's side of the family and I'm next. She just became a grandmother and I'm soon to be a great grandmother. Her father delved into the Rawson family history and created a wonderful book with genealogy chart going back to the days of Charlemagne.

I woke this morning thinking about the Rawson book with genealogy chart I was gifted with many years ago. Somewhere between 2004 and now it disappeared. I've no idea where it went. I've searched and searched over the years but ...

Within the pages are snippets of stories. My great great grandmother, Janet Turner Rawson, divorced her husband and moved from the Midwest to Oregon in the early 1900's. One of the reasons she moved west was because she was shunned in the small town where she lived.

I used to say mine was the first divorce in the family - not by decades!

Thank you for sharing your family stories. They certainly are ones that need to be told, if not to the world through your books, then written down so your family has them and knows their past.

Paty Jager said...

This is interesting. Ever since watching the movie Australia I've been interested in how you folks dealt with the wars. Your book looks fascinating. Looks like another to go on the TBR pile. ;)