Staff Stories – Lily Middleton

April 24, 2014 3:48 pm Published by

Lily Middleton – Marketing & PR Assistant

As is the case with many families, information about relative’s experiences during the First World War can be difficult to come by.  Lily knows nothing of her mother’s side of the family’s contribution to the war, even though family members have been researching their family tree nothing has been discovered. Her Grandmother has stated that it was never discussed and sadly their stories were lost.

However more is known of her Dad’s side of the family during WWI. Although her Nan’s direct family were either too old or too young to fight, her Grandad’s Uncle, Charles Alvey, did fight. Unfortunately Charles was killed just months before the end of the war, at only 22 years old. He died on September 28th 1918 at the Battle of Cambrai. This was the first large scale use of massed tanks in battle. Charles is buried at Flesquires Hill British Cemetery. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have remembered Charles with the war grave and this document.

WWI Lily

“The Battle of Cambrai was the first large scale use of massed tanks in battle” (http://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-battle-of-cambrai)  and as a Sapper, Charles role would have likely included some engineering work although there is no proof of his exact duties during the War or this battle in which he lost his life.

Although she was not born until 1935, Lily’s Nan has memories of the lasting effects of WWI. She worked at the Players Factory in Nottingham in the 1950s and recalls a woman who worked in the office. She was in her late 50s and always wore an engagement ring as sadly her finace had been killed in the First World War and she never re-married.

Lily’s Nan also recalls her Uncle Tom who was gassed at the front and suffered health problems for the remainder of his life, which was cut short by the resulting illness.  Her memories of him are dominated by his awful cough and breathing problems which were caused by the gas, he died in 1952.

 

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This post was written by Lynn Scrivener

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