When in 1914 what came to be called the Great War broke out, men of our families, mine and Greg’s, enlisted and fought for their country. This happened again in the war that followed the war to end all wars.
Taken together their determination to serve had a measurable affect on the shape of the conflict and its outcome, of course, but in each case their personal decision also had deep private consequences for their friends and family. Mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, children, girlfriends, mates, and acquaintances all became willing or unwilling partners in a man’s choice to join up, and one way or another they all suffered for it.
At the very least the father, son, husband, brother, or friend was taken from their lives for a long time, and it very soon became clear that the person finally returned to them, if he returned, might now be a sad maimed and crippled shell of the young man who had gone away.
Both Greg’s grandfathers fought in WWI. Both were wounded and returned to ordinary life more or less incapacitated, a burden to themselves and their families. Greg’s paternal grandfather Cecil lost a brother, a half-brother, and a cousin. His maternal grandfather Arthur Sullivan came back wounded and ‘shell-shocked’, to use the euphemism of the day.
Greg’s father signed on in WW2 and was sent to New Guinea. He didn’t like to talk about it.
All four of my great grandfathers fought in WWI. All were wounded or became ill. Both my grandfathers fought in WW2.
Greg’s paternal grandfather Cecil Young (1898 – 1975) fought along with the following relatives.
- John Percy Young 1896 – 1918 brother
- George Edward Tunks 1894 – 1983 cousin
- Leslie Charles Fish 1895 – 1988 cousin
- William Alfred Fish 1890 – 1917 cousin
- Leslie Leister 1894 – 1916 half-brother
- Ernest James Young 1878 – 1942 uncle
Greg’s grandmother Elizabeth Cross had two brothers and a cousin fighting.
- Frederick Beswick Cross 1893 – 1959 brother
- George Murray Cross 1890 – 1962 brother
- William Stanley Plowright 1893 – 1917 cousin
Greg’s maternal grandfather, Arthur Sullivan (1891 – 1975) fought. Also fighting were a brother and brother-in-law.
- Henry Sullivan 1894 – 1969 brother
- Edward Blakeley Clark 1879 – 1947 brother-in-law
The brothers of Greg’s maternal grandmother, Stella Esther Gilbart Sullivan née Dawson (1894 – 1975) were all too young to enlist and her sisters did not marry until after the war. Her husband fought. An uncle was killed in action and a cousin of her mother’s also fought.
- Stanley Gilbart Edwards 1889 – 1917 uncle
- Francis Walter Roy Rawe 1889 – 1969 cousin of mother
On my side of the family my father’s paternal grandfather, Constantine Trent Champion de Crespigny (1882 – 1952), fought as did three of his brothers, one of whom was killed. There were also several maternal cousins who fought, however because his mother had died when he was young, I am not sure that he would have known these cousins well.
- Francis George Travers Champion_de_Crespigny 1892 – 1968 brother
- Hugh Vivian Champion_de_Crespigny 1897 – 1969 brother
- Philip Champion_de_Crespigny 1879 – 1918 brother
- Arthur Philip Chauncy 1897 – 1954 cousin
- Auschar Philip Lamothe Chauncy 1888 – 1937 cousin
- Clement Lamothe Chauncy 1893 – 1917 cousin
My father’s paternal grandmother was Beatrix de Crespigny née Hughes. Her husband fought as did two of her brothers; the other brother had been rejected on medical grounds. One brother was killed. One of her cousins also died. Two cousins of her father’s also fought.
- Cedric Stuart Castlereagh Hughes 1893 – 1953 brother
- Vyvyan Westbury Hughes 1888 – 1916 brother
- Selwyn Goldstein 1873 – 1917 cousin
- Cyril Hughes 1875 – 1916 cousin of father
- Harry Wynne Hughes 1870 – 1945 cousin of father
My father’s maternal grandfather, Arthur Murray Cudmore (1870 -1951) fought. He had quite a few cousins and a nephew fighting.
- Arthur Sexton Cudmore 1897 – 1972 cousin
- Collier Robert Cudmore 1885 – 1971 cousin
- Ernest Osmond Cudmore 1894 – 1924 cousin
- Francis Alexander Cudmore 1892 – 1956 cousin
- John Cudmore Sprod 1879 – 1923 cousin
- Milo Massey Cudmore 1888 – 1916 cousin
- Frederick Cudmore Andrews 1895 – 1975 nephew
My father’s maternal grandmother was Kathleen Cudmore formerly Cavenagh-Mainwaring née Cavenagh. Her husband fought as did two of her brothers; the other brother was rejected. Her brothers-in-law also fought.
- James Gordon Cavenagh-Mainwaring 1865 – 1938 brother
- Wentworth Rowland Cavenagh-Mainwaring 1869 – 1933 brother
- Owen Francis Gillett 1863 – 1938 brother-in-law
- Thompson Horatio Millett 1870 – 1920 brother-in-law
- William Edward Blackwood Magee 1886 – 1981 brother-in-law
Both of my mother’s grandfathers served in the German army and were wounded.
- Fritz Hermann Boltz 1879 – 1954
- Emil Wilhelm Manock 1883 – 1966
101 years after the armistice was signed on 11 November 1918 we remember those who fought and those who died in the war.