Tuesday, 11 November 2014

We will remember them

We will remember them, and they'll be in our hearts for ever.

On a sunny day this year, whilst on holiday, my husband and I were walking around Wick, in northern Scotland. It's a place we both like very much, and we have visited several times over the years, in all weathers, to look at the harbour, go to our favourite spot for tea and cake, walk the streets and stock up on camping supplies. It is a unique place, with its slightly bleak face, grey buildings and quiet roads, but its story is really rather interesting, and my family have history there.

We had a free day, and were looking for something to do, so I decided to try and go on a family treasure hunt; I wanted to know more about the family members that had lived in that chilly and unforgiving corner of Scotland, and see what I could find to make them real in my mind. So I called my wonderful grandmother in Sussex.

As I walked, she gave my husband and I some vital information to go on - birth dates, marriage locations, names - and led us on a brilliant tour of the town. She is a veritable font of knowledge, and so when we went the lovely archivist at the library, I found - amongst others - my great-great uncle, Magnus Swanson.

Yes, Magnus. Amazing.

Magnus was a soldier with the Black Watch, the Royal Highlanders, and not only was he a soldier but he was also in charge of a platoon during the First World War. At just 27 years old, he took his men over the top at Passchendaele, and was killed in action on October 12th 1917. He was my grandmother's uncle, and until that day in Wick, I didn't know that he even existed.

However, now I do, and we found his name on the War Memorial in Wick, proudly displayed. It was an emotional moment; all those brave men, giving everything to give others a future. He may just be one of many, but he's our one, and I'm so glad that we found him.

God bless them all.

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