Before Monday 2nd December 2013 I had never seen a war grave and over the next two days I found myself standing in several First World War cemeteries where I listened to the moving stories told by military experts about the soldiers who lay beneath my feet.
My interest in the First World War has come from a personal place. My Great Grandfather Harold James Page was badly injured with shrapnel wounds in his jaw during combat in Northern France in November 1916. He died the year I was born and I missed meeting him by a few months.
The grave of Roger Rawlence: Albert Municipal Cemetery
Ironically as I sat down for an evening meal in the centre of Albert’s attractive market place I discovered my Great Uncle Roger Rawlence was buried in the main Albert Municipal Cemetery. He was a casualty of the Second World War who had been shot and killed by a sniper in the market square at the age of twenty-four.
My Grandfather Michael Page (son of Harold Page above) was a brilliant man who I was incredibly close to. He survived active service throughout the Second World War. He met his wife-to-be in Algiers, got married, had two children, five grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. He lived a long and prosperous life and died in his nineties. He was awarded the Military Cross in the breakthrough of the Germans Gothic line in Italy and survived being blown up in a tank on a bridge in Tunisia when the driver was killed and his Commanding Officer, whose tank it was, was badly injured.
See my tribute to him here.
His obituary was written by the late Patrick Shovelton and appeared in the Independent. You can read it here.
Captain Thomas Ingram
I recently discovered (2016) that my Great Great Uncle was a casualty of The Battle of the Somme and was awarded the DSO and MC. Read more about him here.