Sunday, 8 November 2009
From Al McQ
The photo is of my Granddad’s two brothers Albert & Mark, aboard the latter’s 500cc Triumph – the first motorised vehicle in their village. Both died in WW1.
Albert served in the Middlesex Rgt, Football Bttn. A "pals" outfit comprising footy players and those, like Albert, who wanted to serve alongside their sporting heroes. They first saw action during the Somme offensive of 1916 and were subsequently involved in the battle of Passchendaele (Ypres). In each of their first four major engagements their losses were 50%; every time Albert was in the fortunate half, until his luck ran out in autumn 1917.
Mark was a despatch rider attached to the officer commanding Royal Engineers Q (Special) Coy involved from 1915 onwards in gas warfare. A letter written by his officer to his bereaved family tells how he frequently had to get from the front line to rear areas and return under shellfire when all other communication methods had failed. Against the odds he survived until the end, only to die of influenza in the pandemic of 1918 - 1919.
They are buried in the same cemetery in St Omer, France. I think of them every year when I buy my poppy and wear it with pride.