We Will Remember Them
Updated: Nov 18, 2020
We've just completed our 6th house move in 5 years, this time it was our civilian house in Worcester. It's the place I've lived (apart from moving around with the military) with my parents for the last 27 years.
The house holds so many memories, not only mine but those of my parents, grandparents and even great grandparents! During the packing process I was pretty excited to get into the loft and see what treasures I could find!
I was not disappointed in the slightest because I came across something incredible... My granddads medals which he had earnt in World War Two. I also came across a few diaries which he'd kept whilst at war and some pictures as well!
I can't explain how thrilled I was to find all of this because I've been trying to find out more and more about Grandad as I've been getting older and especially now that I have such an interest in the military. I wanted to know everything that I could about him and his time in the Army!
My Dad said that he never used to talk about the war much which is understandable and because of that, I didn't really know much about it either. Now, however reading through his diaries I've learnt a little bit more and it's just incredible!
He writes a lot about his letters to my Grandma Eileen and his excitement to receive letters back. I can just imagine how amazing it must have been to receive mail from your loved ones whilst being so far away from home fighting a war.
Grandad was in the Army before the war had started, so I believe he's what you would have called a career soldier.
I won't attach all of them, but below are a few excerpts from his diary that I thought would be nice to share, especially on the eve of remembrance Sunday.
"War declared by Italy on the Allies commencing at 0001hrs this morning. Now the fireworks will start.
Complete blackout tonight, now I know what it is like in England."
"Office till 12:30am.
Posted letter by boat mail. Air mail suspended.
Still no mail, I am worried about the ring which Eileen is sending or has sent.
News is very grave France may stop fighting anytime from now.
"Office 8.30 till 2pm
Guard all night
Another air mail today but none for me. Something must be wrong at home. I hope to god that it is not Serious"
"Letter to Eileen
Day and night off.
Air raid at 9.30am just outside Khartoum. (Sudan) Omdurman 3 native children killed. Also now confirmed 3 women and 3 men injured. 5 high explosive and about 20 incendiary bombs"
"Office 8.30 till 2pm
Lt Orchard and Pte Tainton killed in action. Pte Stanton, Thompson and Langford wounded.
All infantry Worcestershire regiment."
Those are just a few excerpts from his diary and I hope you'll agree, it's fascinating to read! There are so many more incredible excerpts in there, and with my Dads permission I might transcribe them all on here at a later date.
So onto his medals...
- 1939-1954 Star
- Africa Star (Clasp - 8th Army or 1st Army or North Africa 1942-43)
- Italy Star
- Defence Medal
- War Medal 1945-1945
On top of finding these medals, we also found a sweetheart brooch that my Grandad gave to my Grandma. These were small brooches depicting the service crest of a soldier/airman or sailor that were worn by the wife or girlfriend.
I think it's so lovely the way he has her name carved into the bottom. I can't tell what it's made from. I think it may be bone.
This idea of a sweetheart brooch is actually something that you will see on TV very soon with me and my wife Kelly. I can't say any more about that but watch this space!
It was so incredible finding all of this in the loft of our old house and learning a little bit more about my Grandad Alfred Harry Keen.
There was only going to be one thing that could possibly top this and that would be to find his dad's medals, my Great Grandads medals... That's exactly what happened!
I couldn't believe it when we found another dusty looking box in the corner of the attic.
It wasn't just one of my Great Grandads either, it was BOTH of them. Both of them had fought in the First World War and both of them had received their medals.
- Pte Spencer Walter Keen
- Pte John Henry Linforth
They both had the same set of medals from WW1!
I think this has been my favourite blog to write ever, I'm so proud to be able to share all of this with you and in doing so I've felt like I've been able to continue their memory and in a way make them live on.
We will all be remembering so many people on Remembrance Sunday, those brave souls who gave everything so that we can enjoy the freedom that we have today.
I have always and will always for as long as I live be wearing my poppy with pride and remembering these incredible people.
Lest We Forget