Sunday, 22 January 2017


It's been a bit frosty out!

Been slightly blown away by some family discoveries this week – and weird coincidences.... Let’s start with the Peaky Blinders. For those of you that follow, you’ll know this is a drama series following the semi real adventures of a gang in Birmingham, set after WW1. I love a good period drama and one with the added bonus of gorgeous vintage fashion, slightly edgy stories and the exceptionally handsome Cillian Murphy – well! I did miss the series when it first broadcast but DD treated herself to NetFlix and so endless TV is now a click away. We are most of the way through Season Two and there are regular flashbacks to the main characters experiences in WW1, along with associated effects of PTSD. They were tunnellers, an occupation which involving digging tunnels under enemy lines to plant explosives. Just look it up, the stories of their part in the war are truly unbelievable. I had only just had a conversation with a friend about how we can never really appreciate the conditions that any of those brave guys had to endure (all of them, not just tunnellers). We also wondered at the job the tunnel diggers had to do, and could you imagine having to do that. I hate enclosed spaces and would just be filled with fear at the thought of tunnels let alone explosives and fighting and the thought of breaking into an enemy trench accidentally!

Fast forward a week or so and I am sat at the computer working on my family tree research. I go back and forth to this as the mood takes me. I try to be organised but get distracted by random leads to follow... This particular evening I was following my paternal grandmothers line when up pops a William Redding, my 2x great uncle. He fought in the Boer War (a whole new piece of history that I shamefully know very little about) but then ended up joining the Royal Engineers 184th Mining Coy, He was a bloody tunneller in the First World War. From what I can make out he ended up near Arras when heavy German bombing caused massive damage and William was among the casualties. He was taken to Rouen hospital where he died from his injuries, aged 37, on June 8th 1916. He was buried in St Sever Cemetery, Rouen, in France. 
This weekend we took a drive out to see his name on the Roll of Honour at the churchyard in Little Marlow, Bucks. His name also appears on the War Memorial at Flackwell Heath but my incompetence and lack of Wifi signal meant that we missed seeing this too. Next time..... 

Roll of Honour at Little Marlow Church

William Redding - remembered.

I would like to be able to visit his grave in France too – I don’t know whether any of his family at the time would have been able to make the trip but it seems to be a small thing we can do to pay respects to one of those brave men that never came home. 
Lest We Forget x

1 comment:

  1. There is a very good film about the Battle of Hill 60 which features mainly on the tunnelling war, particularly the Australian efforts on the Messines Ridge. It gives a pretty gritty insight into what the tunnellers had to face.