Radio 4 Article

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard about your blog on 'Broadcasting House'. My attention was grabbed immediately, partly because of my general interest but more because my grandfather, George Burleigh, also served at Passchendaele in 1917. He volunteered on the outbreak of War and tried to get into the Navy. At 16, he was under-age and they wouldn't take him. The army, however, had other ideas! He was with the Rifle Brigade and was a Bugler and, like Harry, spent at least part of his time as a Lewis Gunner. Sadly most of the Rifle's records have been lost so we have not discovered exactly where he was. Anyone who was at that terrible battle would never have come out the same person they went in. My grandfather never spoke to anyone about his experiences, except me but unfortunately I wasn't really old enough to appreciate how valuable this might have been. I do remember him telling me that he once spent a night is a broken tank which he said was called 'Charlie Chaplin'. Although there seem to be no letters, I am delighted that I have a number of artifacts from his time in the Rifle Brigade. There are his badges and medals (he was mentioned in Despatches but for what I don't know), his bugle, pay book and some postcards and silk cards which he sent back to my grandmother (they were childhood sweethearts and married in 1922). His father was in the King's Royal Rifles and I do know they met up while they were over there, my great-grandfather arranging for a birthday cake to be made for him! Other than that I have very little information about his war service. He was always extremely proud of his Regiment and a bit of this pride has transferred to me! Your posting of Harry's letters are a wonderful idea, especially as it is exactly 90 years to the day and date. Now I've caught up with the story I'll be checking daily to get the latest. Well done and many thanks for sharing this with us.

David Burleigh.

1:51 PM

Blogger El said...

Yeah, I heard about it on Radio 4. Brilliant idea. I'm an English teacher and I'm always trying to think of ways to use blogs (although we don't have access to a class set of computers at the moment). I could do a wartime project with a novel set in a war and letters home from the character whilst looking at your blog every lesson. Even when we know the ending I could just do a month per lesson or something so I could make it into an annual thing.

Sorry, perhaps you all didn't need to know about that!

1:14 PM

Anonymous greg's granddaughter said...

about using blogs in school - I have tried to access this blog in the classroom, and find that all the blogspot sites are filtered out (primary school) presumably because there is open access to undesirable blogs.....

2:52 PM

Anonymous me me said...

verry nice blog

good work

4:05 PM

Blogger Bill said...

It's wonderful to see the First World War still has a following. Sometimes I feel, there was a period where the hopes and fears of the soldiers fighting there had been lost in the shadow of the Second World War. I love reading the letters from any of those fellows somehow keeping it together. Thanks!

12:55 AM

Blogger Bill said...

I'm very pleased to see your blog. It's wonderful to see any letters or journals from this forgotten heros.

We just recently had a memorial dedicated to Canadians at Passchendaele within our House of Commons. In Canada, most of the population speaks of 'Vimy', but have long ago forgotten some of the more horrific battles our lads took part in.

Please vist my blog-Canadians in the Great War.

It's my small attempt at providing a venue for historians looking for information and an outlet for discussion on this subject.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, it's Ruth again. I get a little confused as to where to go to post but I found this so here goes. Anonymous doofus - very funny name - yes, since you and I are children of WWI soldiers, this does bring it close to home. I found the note I had that has some of the battles he was in. They were the Chateau Thierry (sp?), Black Forest and the Argonne Forest. He was in the 42nd Rainbow Div, Battery 150-E. I didn't even learn this info until recently when an elderly cousin wrote me. Like I said earlier, my dad was very quiet about it all, he was glad to have come home. This give me goosebumps to think that 90 years later, I might be in touch with a fellow soldier's son. Wow. I'd also like to add to the trench foot story. Trench mouth was another malady, a real soreness and infection of the gums. It has a clinical name, but people still get it sometimes and some still call it trench mouth.