100 years ago

Welcome to The Corner Shop

Moderator: andysfootball

Post Reply
User avatar
sherri
Full Time Gobber
Full Time Gobber
Posts: 25107
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2003 10:14 am
Location: Melbourne Australia
Contact:

100 years ago

Post by sherri » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:53 am

Interesting article in the paper today.
http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinio ... f14d4cff15

Well worth a read. It's about the terrible losses suffered in WW1 battles, particularly by some Australian families.
Image

It struck a chord as (through ancestry records) I traced the fate of one of my grandfather's brothers. His name was Edward Waller and he died on 26th Sept 1917, but his battalion had not been involved in fighting that day-their battles were near Ypres on 20th Sept and again on 22nd Sept so I presume he was wounded in one of those battles.
Edward wasn't an Australian, he was British, from Hertfordshire, and he had just turned 19.

I think my grandfather may have been involved in the same battles or same area as he was shot in the face but survived.

User avatar
niagraa
Full Time Gobber
Full Time Gobber
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:58 pm

Re: 100 years ago

Post by niagraa » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:01 am

hey sherri, that link took me to the herald sun subscription page, so didn't get to read anything.

got another way to get to it ?

User avatar
sherri
Full Time Gobber
Full Time Gobber
Posts: 25107
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2003 10:14 am
Location: Melbourne Australia
Contact:

Re: 100 years ago

Post by sherri » Wed Sep 20, 2017 10:15 am

Thanks for alerting me to that, niagraa. the link did the same to me when I tried from this site.
I originally found it by googling the title of the article in the paper "Proud legacy terrible burden" and it comes up.

But here is a cut & paste.

THE Menin Gate Memorial stands triumphantly in the Belgian town of Ypres. At first glance, it resembles the dozens of other arches scattered across Europe — its soaring columns and vaulted archway commemorating a long-ago victory over a forgotten foe.
But unlike the Arc de Triomphe and the Brandenburg Gate, this memorial speaks as much about loss as it does about victory. Etched into its walls are the names of more than 54,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers missing from the horrific battles of World War I that raged around Ypres.

As I walked through the memorial, scanning the seemingly endless lists of names of boys from Bournemouth and Bristol, from Cape Town and Calcutta, I came to the Australian section.

Of the more than 6000 names here, a fraction of the 20,000 Aussies who fell in these fields in 1917, two stood out: GL and TR SEABROOK. It’s an unusual name, and the two located side by side surely couldn’t be a coincidence. A bit of research revealed that it wasn’t and told a story of grief that today is nearly impossible to comprehend.

George and Theo Seabrook were the oldest sons of William and f*nny Seabrook of Petersham, inner Sydney. They joined up in 1916 with their younger brother, William, and all three boys were delighted to be allocated to the same battalion, the 17th.
By 1917 they had arrived on the Western Front and they could tell that something big was in the air. The British were planning to break out of the Ypres Salient, the ring of trenches that had hemmed in Ypres since the earliest days of the war, and the Aussies were going to play a big part in the attack. On September 20, 100 years ago today, the 17th Battalion joined thousands of troops from Australia, Britain and New Zealand in an attack along the Menin Road.

For the Seabrook boys, it would be their first and last battle.

We don’t know exactly what happened to George and Theo — one account says they were killed by the same shell.

The upshot is that they went into the attack but never came out and were both listed as wounded, then missing, then dead. William had not heard the news about his brothers when he was wounded himself on the same day.

He died in a military hospital the next day and is buried in a nearby cemetery.

We can’t fully comprehend the crushing grief that landed on William and f*nny but we can get a glimpse of it — a faded letter in Theo’s service record, written in late 1917, pleads for information
In her spidery script, f*nny desperately seeks clarification about a telegram she has received and hopes it is a mistake — one son dead, another wounded. She would soon find out that all three of her sons were gone.

THE story of the Seabrook boys would be tragic if it wasn’t so common. By 1917 there was barely an Australian family who hadn’t lost a son, father or brother. A few years ago I compiled what I called a “grief map”, by marking on a map of a Sydney suburb the address of every house that had lost a soldier during the war.

The result was a sea of coloured pins. Some streets had six, nine, even 10 or 12 grieving families. The weight of that collective grief on Australian society can barely be imagined today.

And that’s the biggest change since the war. Australian families of the 1920s (and then again in the 1940s) shared an unimaginable burden of grief. To them, Anzac Day is not a celebration of what had been achieved but a reminder of what had been lost. And it was a loss that we never really recovered from — well into the 1990s Australian newspapers carried grief-laden In Memoriam notices dedicated to husbands and brothers lost in World War I.

Today those grieving families are gone. Anzac Day is no longer about wearing black crepe and the monotonous beating of the drum.

And the Diggers who came back from the war, mostly broken shadows of their former selves, are no longer around to march, to catch up with old mates, to have one beer too many and to come home angry.

I’m often asked why young Australians engage so readily with the history of World War I — part of the answer is they didn’t have to live through its aftermath.

So on days like today, on the centenary of the great battles of the Great War — and this month particularly Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde Ridge and Passchendaele — let’s remember the sacrifice of the Diggers who faced the guns and the thousands who never came home. But let’s not forget the ones who did make it back, and what they brought back with them — a proud legacy, but a terrible burden.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, let’s remember George, Theo and William Seabrook. Let’s remember William and f*nny, their grieving parents, and the thousands of families across the country just like them.

Let’s be proud of what they achieved, let’s shed a tear for what they lost and let’s hope we won’t have to go through it ever again

User avatar
niagraa
Full Time Gobber
Full Time Gobber
Posts: 503
Joined: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:58 pm

Re: 100 years ago

Post by niagraa » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:53 pm

sad story, grief like that for the parents must have been horrifying, it would kill some people.

reminds me of "saving private ryan" where 3 brothers were killed in the same battle and the hunt was on for the fourth brother and to send him home, that was when the yanks decided not to have members of the same family fighting alongside each other.

wonder if ww1 saw our military make that same decision..

whip
Full Time Gobber
Full Time Gobber
Posts: 4422
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:23 pm
Location: 3rd Rock From The Sun

Re: 100 years ago

Post by whip » Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:40 pm

If you ask any parent what is something they fear the most, they would say the loss of a child. The loss of a child goes against the natural order—children are supposed to outlive their parents.

Imagine the complete tragedy the Smith family from Barnard Castle in County Durham experienced when they learned five of their six sons were killed during the their time serving in the First World War—two in 1916, two in 1917, and one in 1918. Mr. Smith, the patriarch of the family died in 1918, which left Mrs. Smith to grieve the loss alone. The 1918 intervention of the local vicar’s wife in writing to Queen Mary, the wife of George V. could have very well saved Mrs. Smith’s only surviving son, Wilfred. Buckingham Palace contacted the War Office and Wilfred was saved from serving on the front line. Wilfred lived until the age of 72 and had five children.

The loss of five sons was not a unique occurrence. Queen Mary may have been stirred into action when Amy Beechey from Lincoln was presented to her and the King in April of 1918 after five of her eight sons were killed while in battle.
GB FIRST

Post Reply

Return to “The Corner Shop”