On this Memorial Day, I would like to pay tribute to the soldiers in my family:

My maternal grandfather, Jack Wallis, who was a radio operator in the Royal Navy in the North Sea during World War I.  He was 17 when he enlisted.

Jack Wallis

My paternal grandfather Henry Victor Smith, who also enlisted at age 17, and took care of the horses for the British army in France and Belgium.  Perhaps his happiest memory from the war was stumbling across a nest with eggs which he shared with his starving comrades.  My grandfather didn’t suffer fools gladly.  After the war, he ran into his commanding officer in Derby.  His CO had ordered his men into battle, but instead of leading them, he stayed back behind the front lines while they advanced.  My grandfather “didn’t half give him a bollocking,” cursing him out in the middle of Derby for being a “coward.” I’m sure his CO never forgot this.

Henry Victor Smith, British army, WWI

Henry Smith’s brother, Norman Smith, also served in the army during World War I.Norman was gassed by the Germans and developed a weak heart which troubled him his entire life and led to an early death.

Norman Smith

All four sons of my maternal great-grandmother, Alice Durward, fought in World War II:  Reg, Eric, George, and Jack Durward.

Reg Durward, Royal Army Medical Corps, WWII

Reg Durward, Royal Army Medical Corps, WWII, ambulance corpsman and one of the last men off the beach at Dunkirk.  He suffered from a weakened heart from his wartime experience.

Eric Durward, British army, WWII

Eric Durward, British army, WWII.

George Durward, British Army, World War II

George Durward, British Army, World War II

John (Jack) Durward, Royal Air Force ground staff, WWII

John (Jack) Durward, Royal Air Force ground staff, WWII, who enlisted at age 17.

Luckily, all of these men came home, but one, Bert Dewar, a Scottish cousin, did not.

Bert Dewar, of the King's Own Scottish Borderers

Bert Dewar, of the King’s Own Scottish Borderers, on the right

In honor and in memory of our troops who served in our military, were wounded, or were killed.  If you have links to posts about your own family members in the military or want to write about them below, please let us know about them.  Thank you.
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