1964 At Brookwood

That’s me, in 1964, by the grave of an uncle I never met. My father, and five more uncles (two paternal, three maternal) returned from WW II, but Andrew Stewart Duke was killed in a military accident and lies in Brookwood Military Cemetery in England. Another uncle, Daniel Harrison, died when his bomber went down in flames over Hamburg in 1943, a month after the birth of my cousin. I don’t know where he’s buried.
WW I took an even greater toll. Four great-uncles and my step-grandfather were lost in that one.
They were:
Frederick Giddings, who was killed in action in WWI, April 3rd, 1918 leaving a wife and two small sons.
Charles Giddings, who was killed in action in WWI, April 13th, 1918, ten days after his older brother, Fred.
Harry Giddings, who survived the war itself, but died of its effects shortly afterwards.
Frank Giddings, who died on December 2nd, 1918. Since this was after the November 11th armistice, I assume it was of wounds sustained before then. A bitter blow for my great-grandmother, who had already lost two sons that year. She wore black for the rest of her life.
Arthur Sims, who was killed in action on an unknown date. My grandmother remarried a few years later, but she kept his picture – and his watch.
In war, all sides suffer loss, and the pain of it is the same for all, so regardless of what side your family members fought on, share personal family stories of loss or survival with children this Remembrance Day. It will make that aspect of history much more meaningful.

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