The following extracts are pieces about relatives who fought or fell in World War One. The particular emphasis is on the rank and file soldiers of whichever army they fought for. What is especially important is information about those relatives that helps to give a wider understanding about their lives and personalities.
Due to 1st World War injury my dad was medically advised to emigrate from UK to SA, as the drier climate would suit his health.
My dad and mother both decided to emigrate and they wound up in Bloemfontein initially. This is where they got married in the Anglican church on the 10th October 1925. My dad Ralph Clifford Holme, and my mother Winifred Nellie McCarthy Stephenson.
His father was also Ralph Clifford Holme, his mother’s name was Edith Jane Holme (formerly Ferriman).
Like many of his generation he spoke little about his experiences, but would do so if asked (keeping much detail to himself).
I remember as a boy him telling me that during training he was found to be the best shot in the battalion and was therefore trained as a Lewis Gunner. This lead to him being promoted to Lance Corporal. But he didn’t finish the war as a Lance Corporal and wasn’t one when admitted to Canadian Hospital when gassed.
He once told me about a ‘field prison, surrounded by barbed wire’. In this were British troops. He said that they were locked in there because they had venereal disease.
The curved ceiling of the Menin Gate Memorial with the rebuilt town in the distance.
A detail of Panel 11 of the Memorial with Joe’s friend Fellowes among those without a grave.
Army map of 1st Ypres 29th October, 1914 – source, copy in the 'In Flanders Fields Museum', with permission. Where Joseph Garvey was captured is circled.