My grandfather, who was a pastor in the army, also died of a botched hernia operation. :^(
My grandfather must have been around 50. The operation was a simple, routine one. The surgeon's hand slipped and....
2008-11-11 02:26 pm (UTC)
I found this record of Dick Allen: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=allen&GScid=2153709&GRid=14068598&
Do you have the photo of your grandfather Allen to post?
Was grandfather Grist training to be a pilot?
Any more info? It's so interesting to hear what your forebears did.
(that's funny the Captcha thing to prevent spam on this comment asked me to type in "Bishop Allen"!)
I looked Dick up on the Commonwealth War Grave Commissions Site. They have a spectacular photo of the Sangro River cemetery.
I doubt that your great-grandfather Grist was training as a pilot, but I could be wrong. He was an engineer by trade- so better fitted to be ground staff. He went on (I don't know if you know this or not) to be a director of Blaw Knox Limited. He was an impressive man- self-educated, coarse, overbearing, well read, enquiring. I loved him very much.
I don't have photos to post. Have you ever been through Granny's boxes of photos? She's the keeper of the family records. :)
My father was with a Royal Naval bomb disposal unit in WWII. Now that was brave.
And, like most veterans, he never bragged about it.
The real heroes never do. My Uncle Horace, WWII (Pacific), went through much, was much decorated, put the medals in the back of a drawer and never took them out again. After the war our Government sent him for R&R (rest and rehabilitation) at Lake Placid, New York to be re-civilized. It worked. He was always a gentleman. While at Lake Placid one of the nurses there formed a relationship with him. They married, had one daughter and stayed together in love until he died in 1998 at the age of 75 or so. My aunt, his wife, died last year.
That's a good story- the record of a life well-lived.
There was a story they were telling on TV the other day about a guy who was seriously wounded in WWI and always pretended to his family that his injuries were the result of an industrial accident and that he'd never even been in the army. The truth didn't come out until long after his death.
Both of my grandfathers were in WWI. Grandpa W was an infantryman in the US Army who got gassed somewhere in France and had a groggy heart ever after. Grandpa C was in the US Navy, probably as an ordinary seaman. Various great-uncles (of whom I had many) were in it too. Charlie was in the US Navy as a purser. Cecil was in the RAF, and I have a necklace made from a medal his team won in a RAF cricket match during the war. I don't know any details about the others, except that one was too young to fight.
WWII, Dad and all of my uncles served in various things --- Navy, Marines, Army. DH's paternal grandmother was a plane-spotter on the Washington coast. Nobody got killed, but all of them lost friends.
As was quite common in vets of those wars, none of the ones who I knew talked about their experiences except to tell slightly off-colored stories about their exploits on leave, pranks they got up to on base, and such little things; never about the big stuff, never anything serious. Which means I don't know much about what any of them did. It's sad, really, but I can't say I don't understand it.
I belong to the first generation of 20th century Englishmen who didn't have to even consider putting on a uniform. War for me has always been something that happened long ago and far away.
The nearest it ever came to home was when my youngest son was serving in Iraq.
It was more personal for my brother, who is a bit less than 3 years your junior. He was up to be drafted for 'Nam when they discontinued the draft. He also had friends who were vets, and friends who didn't come back. It was a hard time in the US for young men, as indeed it is today. (I've got two cousins in Iraq right now.)
One of my grandfather's was almost in the Great War. He had just finished basic training and was about to ship out when the armistice was signed. Curiously, his children and most of the rest of the family had no idea that he was technically a veteran until his death in 1988. His baby brother served in WWII - peeling potatoes, apparently - and made a career of it: twenty years in the Army's quartermaster corp and twenty more as a civilian working for the military. His son continued the military tradition and rose to the rank of colonel in the Green Berets, during Vietnam.
My other grandfather did not serve, but his brother, though prevented from enlisting for health reasons, nonetheless served as a technician in North Africa, working for one of the aircraft companies during WWII. My father had just finished basic training in the Air Force when the ceasefire was declared in Korea. I don't think of ours as a military family, but we do seem to have a fair share of veterans.