The Rocking Dog Remember Me Project

Remember Me,Rocking Dog

Remember Me

Real Live Rocking Dog and I have been walking together for a glorious ten years now. Many of our walks have taken us close to the war memorial on Whiteshill Common, Hambrook. I have often stopped and looked at the names on the edifice, many of the surnames have seemed very familiar to me. Having been brought up in a village close by I have more than likely rubbed shoulders in years gone by with the sons, nephews, grandsons and maiden aunts etc.. of those commemorated on the memorial.

For a while now I have been wanting to research those 53 WW1 names on the memorial to link in with next years Armistice centenary. Then my plans became more bold, I decided I wanted to visit the graves/memorials of these fallen soldiers. The challenge has begun.

As we are heading through France and Belgium next month I have started to research the resting places of all those inscribed names. I am ashamed to say I was incredibly naive to think that the majority of these servicemen would be in a couple of cemeteries. Thus far I will need to visit 18 French cemeteries and 2 in Belgium. There are some Commonwealth graves in local churchyards and one that I will visit in the Rhondda, Wales. Others are off limits due to their location or security risk (Iraq (formerly Mesopotamia), Azerbajan, Israel, Gallipoli and Greece). The biggest of the cemeteries I need to visit is the Thiepval Memorial with over 72,000 casualties. Meanwhile other cemeteries to visit have only 100 or so casualties. I am wondering which I am going to be most moved by, the enormity of Thiepval or the intimacy of the smaller cemeteries. Thiepval is the largest Commonwealth Memorial to the missing in the world. Most of those commemorated there died during the Somme Offensive of 1916.

I have been using Ancestry.co.uk, the Commonwealth Graves Commission site and local archives (including Frenchay Museum) to conduct my research. The research has led me to war memorial plaques at Marlborough College and the Australian War Memorial. It has also uncovered stories of the near blind villager who knitted a large quantity of woollen mittens and socks for those in the trenches at Gallipoli. There are stories of a villager housing many Belgian refugees and other locals who were instrumental in organising & sending out Christmas parcels to the soldiers of the villages. These parcels were an amazing morale boost for the men at the front. Others nursed at a temporary hospital tending the wounded, whilst others managed poultry to lay eggs for the patients.

As 2018 beckons I want to start compiling A4 sheets (which will be laminated) of the lives and deaths of these soldiers. With the current householders’ permissions I hope to attach one of these “Remember Me” sheets to a door or gate where the soldier was bought up, schooled, worshipped or worked. I will hopefully be able to track down photo’s and personalise each history. These soldiers will simply not be allowed to be just a name on a war memorial. Thank you to kind friends who are knitting poppies to attach to the histories. Pretty please sometime later I would love to buddy up with anyone who has a super duper laminator!

I am hoping that the culmination of all this will be a vintage tea next November. The icing on the cake would be if ancestors of those commemorated came to pay tribute to their relative, and of course to eat Rocking Dog cake.

I include photo’s of my Great Aunt Susan who was called up to be a nurse with the Expeditionary Force in the first few days of the war. Another photo shows my two great uncles, one of whom (David Cresser) served in Gallipoli with the Anzacs. He also had the honour of raising the Union Flag in German occupied Samoa. Finally another photo shows my Grandfather John Warrington Scott (top right, bit of a lad!) He served with Royal Engineers and was very badly gassed in the trenches. Thankfully all these relatives returned home to Scotland and New Zealand.

Have you got relatives who served in WW1? As the 2018 centenary beckons let us Remember Them.

Have a good week and stay cosy, autumn seems to have arrived! Love Rocking Dog x

 War Memorial Rocking Dog

War Memorial,

Frenchay Church,Rocking Dog

Frenchay Church

Commonwealth Grave,Rocking Dog

Commonwealth Grave

Royal Engineer Grandfather,Rocking Dog

Royal Engineer Grandfather

My Great Uncles WW1,Rocking Dog

My Great Uncles WW1

Gt Aunt Susan WW1, France,Rocking Dog

Gt Aunt Susan WW1, France

10 Thoughts on “The Rocking Dog Remember Me Project

  1. What wonderful research Liz… such fascinating stories. And that reminds me… I have some poppies to finish!

  2. Maxine Warn on September 18, 2017 at 11:05 am said:

    What an incredibly fascinating and worthy project! Happy to be the laminating buddy! You’re so right – these heroes and their stories are so important and they should be remembered.

  3. Such a thoughtful and moving project Liz. Happy to help with some poppies if my crochet skills are up to it!

  4. Jeremy C Scott on September 19, 2017 at 12:01 pm said:

    If I can persuade Susan to show me how to crochet I will make you a little border full of poppies.

  5. I am so impressed with your plans —I came across this from Fan My Flame. Good for you. I think too often we lose touch with the young men whose names are on memorials. Some years ago (I live in Winnipeg) I came across a grave of a young man- a flying officer – who had died in a training accident during WWII along with 8 other young men – 2 planes collided in a horrific night training exercise- the young men were from different commonwealth countries. His name was David Renfrew Petrie and I wrote an article about him for Remembrance Day. He has a lake named after him and his sister had not known about the lake until my article -which gave me a small measure of satisfaction. But ultimately his story touched my heart. I hope to read more of your inspirational plan.

    • Thank you Jean from Winnipeg! Somewhat embarrassedly I had to look up on my map where Winnipeg is and now I know! How interesting that you wrote a piece on the Flying Officer and his comrades. Thank you for your lovely comment and yes please do follow my “Remember Me” trail. We head to France/Belgium en route to Italy next week and I hope to visit as many of these brave servicemen’s memorials and graves as I possibly can. It may be a little while before put up a post. Thank you and greetings to Winnipeg. The autumnal colours must be truly spectacular. Rocking Dog aka Liz (who thinks she has rather bitten off more than she can chew!!)

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