Wednesday, 6 August 2014

WWI centenary and William Brazear's Journal




Just to recap, this journal was handwritten by my husband's grandfather, telling of his life from 1895 when his father died, to well into the second world war.
 
Bill was taken prisoner in Germany during WWI and when he died the journal was photocopied and passed around the family.  It was very difficult to read, and I decided it would be an excellent project for me to copy out in order to learn how Microsoft Word worked, when I got my first computer.  It turned out so well that I added some photographs and had it bound and copied for other members of the family.
 
When I discovered Kindle, I thought it would be a good thing to have it published and to serve as a memorial both to Bill and to all the men and women who gave their lives in what was known as The Great War.
 
Now it has been one hundred years since the beginning of the Great War and tributes are being paid, but there was a soldier mentioned in the journal, one Captain Roy, whose death Bill Brazear reported.  He was mentioned on the tv recently during a ceremony and I had this from my sister-in-law, Bill's granddaughter:

"I thought I would write to you today, as I’ve tied up a loose end concerning Grandad Brazear’s journal. He mentions how bravely Captain Roy fought and died in the Battle of Mons and I’ve always thought how good it would be to be able to tell his family how brave he was. I’ve been searching for Captain Roy today and, of course, without initials, it’s an impossible task. Then, amazingly, I glanced at the TV (where there was a WW1 memorial service from Belgium) and there was a grave with a picture on of Captain Kenneth J. Roy, who died 23rd August 1914! I googled it immediately and it is definitely the right man, he was killed near Obourge Station, which Grandad was defending. Then, even more amazingly, the article says that he was presumed missing at first, but then an “officer” who had been taken prisoner reported that he had fought bravely and been killed. This was almost certainly William Brazear, as he writes in his journal that he wrote to the Regimental Office with that information, but they had never replied to him. It is good to think that Captain Roy’s family did know how brave he was after all. What an amazing coincidence, eh? I’d wondered about Captain Roy for so long."

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