Shrap­nel was Dad’s sou­venir

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS -

My fa­ther signed up to the Royal Horse Ar­tillery in Alde­burgh, Suf­folk, in July 1911 at the age of 16. As a coun­try lad, he had ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with horses. He was 20 when war broke out and he served as a Cor­po­ral Gun­ner with the 2nd Reg­i­ment, Royal Horse Ar­tillery.

They were or­dered to France on Au­gust 1, 1914, with their 456 horses.

The unit was with­drawn af­ter the Bat­tle of Mons on the French bor­der, due to the great loss of men, horses and am­mu­ni­tion, but dur­ing the re­treat, a piece of shrap­nel en­tered my fa­ther’s skull be­hind his left ear.

It was too much of a risk to re­move it. He was deemed fit to re­turn to France in May 1915, and his last ac­tion was on Novem­ber 11, 1918, in Ar­tois, north­ern France.

He was mar­ried to my mum Winifred and they had three chil­dren.

Doc­tors later told him they could re­move the shrap­nel, but he re­fused. He said: “No, that’s my sou­venir from the war. I’ll carry it with me un­til I die.”

And he did. He died on Au­gust 2, 1962, at the age of 69.

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