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Remembered Today:

Relatives who died in WW1


bkristof
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Hi,

today - 87 year my great uncle, Rijkaart Blieck,Nr.:157, private, 7th art. loopgraven artillerie (trench mortars) was killed during a shell bombardement. Age 22...

Gee I really can't imagine that! He was 20 when he joined.

He survived 2 years already!

It always gives me a very strange feeling... sad, guilty, powerless.

I also have so many questions.

How was he? What was he doing? How was the weather? ...

I am leaving now to visit his grave. Always a very emotional moment to me.

How do you lads / lassies deal with it? What are your feelings?

greets,

kristof

ps.: i will post a picture of his nice grave today...

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bkristof

Even though I cant wait, Im not looking forward to the day next March when I visit St Quentin and Poziers (1st time) for the same reasons you lay out.

Whilst the Regmnts, battles, conditions, atrocities, bravery, humanitarian stories and all the 'essense' of this subject are fascinating in themselves, I find the picture they build is often extremely powerful, as together, they allow you to understand the emotional and phsychological side of it all more.

The number of times Ive been in tears reading or understanding something about the story Im trying to put together is incredible. But even stories that arent anything to do with what im sniffing at have had that effect; have felt sorrow, sadness, amazement, pride and the lot! If people who know me well (in person) knew that, many would be gobsmacked!! Yet the feelings are so powerful, as you say yourself!! Strange subject to say the least, and Ive hardly scratched the surface yet :rolleyes: !!

Cant say for sure why, but I just 'get this' if you know what I mean? Seem to be understanding it in ways Ive not grasped other subjects previously, and in empathetic ways rather than just understanding the subject.

Personally I deal with it in private mate, but then again I can!! Let them roll out when theyre there and the conditions allow; a form of healing in its own way really?

And thanks for sharing it with us kristof, I hope the day is perfect mate.

Steve

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Hi Steve,

I really understand you and i believe you understand me.

Strange enough I fell also proud. It was really satisfying to visit him today.

It was something i needed to do.

the picture is his grave, today...

greets,

kristof

post-1-1096484408.jpg

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Kristof

You were with Jackie and myself to the first and second visit to The Last Post ceremony last June. As you know that Jackies Great Uncle is listed at the Menin Gate, he has no known grave but what a fitting tribute to him being remembered and all as I call them "Comrades in Arms" listed on the Menin Gate every night at 8 pm. It is a ceremony that I will never ever forget , I'm getting emotional just writing about it.

John

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I aggree John, it is emotional.

It is strange how some of us are so close to the fallen. Even when we have no grave to visit.

We certainly didn't forget them and i think they would be pleased by it.

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Hello friend

I think anyone who has researched a relative who served in the Great War always feels a range of emotions and cannot quite explain why. Everytime I find out a little more detail I have to spend time on my own thinking it through and putting everything in to context.

For me, the end of October will be an emotional time as I travel the final journeys of 2 of my Great Uncles in France. I know where, when and how they met their deaths and what the weather was like! They were brothers-in-law, 1 German, 1 English.

For me the tragedy is mankind never seems to learn from its mistakes with the inevitable consequences that loved ones and families suffer the most!

Let us never forget.

Hilary

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Lots of service, some serious wounds but no deaths in my 'immediate' family tree.

But I do know this .. after roughly nine months of digging and scratching for info on the men from my home town, I fel I've come to 'know' quite a few of them.

When I go to the Memorial Park on Armistice Sunday, I can't help feeling that it may be an emotinal occasion.

I've written about them, studied their pictures and rejoiced when members of this forum have chipped in with more info about them.

Not to be too dramatic ... but I reckon I'll be seeing their faces VERY clearly when they play 'Flowers of the Forest'.

Any other 'home town/war memorial' researchers had the same feelings?

Des

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more pics of steenkerke cemetery...

also British graves of the RFA and royal navy artillery.

post-1-1096489534.jpg

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the entrance...

post-1-1096489573.jpg

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an overview

post-1-1096489660.jpg

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the side where the grave is (with the cross)

post-1-1096489770.jpg

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Kristof.

Sorry if this is a stupid question but where is Steenkerke in relation to Ieper? I think many of us on the Forum have, probably not surprisingly, a very Anglo-centric view of WW1 and the impact on Belgium is often forgotten. I don't think I have ever visited a Belgian cemetery although I have been to French and German and find them all very moving.

I can really understand the emotions that you and Steve, and I am sure many others on the Forum, feel but they are emotions we struggle to explain given that they involve people we never knew.

I certainly feel closer to my great uncle than many of my more recent relatives and I don't know why - although the fact that we share a birthday may be a factor.

Best wishes.

Neil

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Steenkerke is near Furnes (Veurne) to the coast line...

Most of the buried there are killed near Nieuport (Nieuwpoort) and the Brit, Belgian, French; Yser river defence line. Yes also Brits. Mostley Naval divisions.

Less know battles, but not less important to me. It killed a part of my family! :(

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Kristof,

Interesting question you raise.I have to say at the outset I have visted one Uncle once and the other twice.

My first Uncle is commemorated by name on the Arras Memorial.Possibly we did too much on the day.We visited my second Uncle,called in at Vimy,then negotiated Arras!

Although a peaceful setting,I found the Memorial impersonal but it brought home to my children the amount of loss that occurred during the War.

My second Uncle is buried in Sailly-sur-La-Lys Churchyard.A small Cemetery in the centre of the Village.I felt I had paid a debt of honour to my Grand-Parents and his surviving Brother(my Father) and Sisters who never had the opportunity to visit the Grave.It was also an "eye-opener" to my Son to see his name on a Gravestone dated 1915.

Because the Cemetery is in the centre of the Village I gained a sense of peace because my Uncle is surrounded by Village life e.g.local people having their lunch in the Restaurant next to the Churchyard.I can recommend the meals there and it is a handy stopping off point on the way back to Calais.Hence the reason for the second visit!On my first visit a couple were doing a bit of innocent courting in the park next to the Churchyard,again, to me, it felt that my Uncle was not detached from current life.

I appreciate it is difficult to express in words,emotions so these are just my thoughts.

George

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I have visited one great uncle twice and his brother once. I was with my father on all three occasions, and whilst I was deeply moved at finally being at their graves I think the sight of my father weeping himself on to the ground was even more moving for me.

Both brothers (see signature below) were my father's mum's brothers, and he feels that he missed out on two uncles who were (as the family always refered to them) 'two of the most lovely boys you could wish to meet'.

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Kristof

Sounds like we get each other mate, probably in many ways. A pleasure to 'meet' you.

Well mate, sounds like a lovely day was had. I havent seen a war graves cemetry with my own eyes yet, but I found the pics rather moving! Bit of a problem when youre the boss at work though :rolleyes: ! Luckily this is the last day Ill be on line at work!! Thanks for posting them.

In the coming weeks and months, Im gonna get to visit several sites relating to my Gt Gramps and am thoroughly looking forward to it, but reading this has inspired me to get to the first place over this weekend. And why not indeed?!

Oh, and Lee, Hilary, Des & George; youre not helping me look controlled and all 'boss-like' Pals!!! (not that I usually manage to achieve that anyway ...!!).

Take care all

Steve B)

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Alas, I only wish I was able to visit the graves of my relatives but France and Belgium are on the other side of the world and outside my reach at this point in time. Perhaps sometime in the future I will be able to gather the funds to make the trip and pay my respects - the first family member to do so since they were buried all those years ago.

On that day, I cannot imagine how I will feel, but I am sure alongside the undoubted emotion there will be a sense of satisfaction, having finally made my pilgrammage.

If by chance any of you happen to visit either of the following cemeteries, could you possibly stop and let them know that there is still someone back home who remembers their sacrifice.

2719 Private Frederick James LYCETT, 46th Battalion, AIF

Underhill Farm Cemetery, Ploegsteert, Belgium.

Grave Reference B.26.

6360 Private Victor George HILL, 22nd Battalion, AIF

Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, Somme, France

Grave Reference IV E 5.

Thanks,

Tim L.

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tim,

if you want you may send me a little poppy cross, with your message and i will place it in Ploegsteerd for you. I know it is not excatly what you want, but maybe it give you some satisfaction.

greets,

kristof

ps.: mail me or pm me for my address

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I've always had a "pull" towards the sacrifices made in the Great War and although I knew of no family members who served have felt for a number of years that someone wanted to be found again.

Having embarked on my family history a year ago I discovered this week of two family members who died as a result of the conflict.

The feeling when I read the information given was one of realisation that I could now bring them back into memory and that they were possibly the reason for my desire to absorb as much information as possible on the Great War as I could since childhood.

I revisited some books to find out specific information about the German Spring offensive in 1918 and the realisation of what I was reading swept over me. It was no longer just a factual account. This was reality and the last moments for so many brave men of many nationalities, some barely beginning to live and for many the opportunity removed forever.

I understand your feelings fully and hope to visit the Arras Memorial soon to say thankyou.

Best wishes

Atholl

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My family never mentioned i had a great uncle killed during the Great War. It wasn't until four years ago i discovered the fact. I can only presume it would have brought back sad memories for my nan and therefore never discussed.

I visited my great uncles grave in France a few years ago. I was the first family member to do so. I am not ashamed to say i was in a way relieved. I am not also ashamed to say i cried at his grave. I always remember him every 11 November.

Bill

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When my great grandmother was alive i remember stories she told me as a very young boy which stuck in my head. My mom hated her as she wasnt a nice person, and my mom had to live with her when she first got married.

My nan, my greatgranmothers daughter lived about a 100 miles away, so never got to talk to her much about things.

Years later, about 9 years after my nan had died, we opened a box which had come from my nans house and in it was photos of my grandad George Ernest Green. It was kind of eirie, as no one had ever mentioned him much as he died in 1930 and my nan remarried and moved from Birmingham to Liverpool. But something was always in my mind about him.

Last year i decided to do something about my family tree being as i was now on the internet. So started searching, and by extreme chance found someone else who was searching my family as well, a cousin who i never knew i had Steven.

He filled me in on some stuff on his side, but there was that nagging thing in my head about my grandad and my great grandmothers husband who she had told me about. So i searched again, and found my greatgrandad buried in Kenya which was a surprise as i thought he was buried in France. Then with the help of Steve Eeles from the forum the jigsaw came together with the stories i remember from my greatgrandmother in the 1960s, and also his previous life in the USA Army as a Cavalry soldier, i now have quite a bit on my great granfather Harry Bird but no photo, but a few months back i had a photo of his grave out of the blue, and you might think this pathetic but boy was i happy man that day.

But my granddad George Green was still a bit of a mystery. My mom sent me the photos over and i repaired them and enlarged them, it was eirie. I had told Steven my long lost cousin about this, and he went to Witton Cemetry in Birmingham, and found George's grave. What a sorry state, it was a right wreck, which will be put right soon i hope as the poor man had lay there forgotton about for 70 years. Not only that but his life was terrible when younger, his parents split and threw him in an orphenage, he was then rescued by an Aunt who reared him and his sister. When he was 12 he joined the Navy, then the Army in 1914, was wounded twice, was awarded the MM, and then booted out of the Army in 1927 as he had caught TB. Before he died he bought a grave plot for 3, him, his wife and son, and then got totally forgotten about because of distance circumstances until recently. Shame.

When my nan died ( Georges widow ) at the funeral in Liverpool in 1987, i remember her next door neighbour telling me how nan wished and wanted that she had seen more of me as i got older ( adult ) as i hadnt seen my nan for about 7 years----I now know exactly why----because i looked so much like my grandad George Green when we were the same age, and of cause she knew that, and she was the only one who could, and now you know what that eeire thing was when i saw his photos for the first time 9 years ago

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Seeing the photo, with a man who looked like you must,be a super strange experience... :o

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This is George Ernest Green's grave, the one which is sunk with the urn lying down. Never a poppy put here, never a rememberence service, but his photo is on the internet and his photos around my house, and he is remembered every day now.

Yes Kristof, and thats him on the left, the avatar you repaired to fit, he looks a bit different than that though, but he is on the Royal Worcesters web site http://www.worcestershireregiment.com/wr.php?main=inc/photos in all his glory

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We must keep on remebering them and tell the children about what happend. Like that a part of them will live forever...

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As an extra to my earlier posting, here is something else I did.

Prior to my first visit to Ypres and to Edward Swain's grave, I wrote to the owners of the house he'd lived in before going to the Front. I asked them if they'd be willing to send some earth from their (small) front garden so that I could spread it on Edward's (and later William's) graves, so that they'd always have a little piece of home with them.

I didn't expect a repsonse, but was delighted when the plastic bag I'd sent was returned, full of earth, and a note asking for as much info on the brothers.

I sent the owner everything I knew and also photos of the brothers, which they were very pleased with.

The house, in Southall Middlesex, was lived in by the Swain family from the very late 1800 until the year I went to Ypres (2001).

It was quite a feeling to be able to take a little piece of home to Edward (in 2001) and William (in 2003).

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