Today we observe Armistice Day, also known as Remembrance Day, a national day of memorial to remember and honour service men and women who lost their lives in the war. The anniversary is used to remember all the people who have died in wars, not just world war one.
A two minutes silence is held at 11am to remember the people who have died in wars around the world.
We asked our fellow colleagues to talk about their ancestors that would have served in the first world war, representing our country.
‘My Grandad, Stanley Gibson. He was enlisted with the Royal Marines in February 1940. He had previously been employed as a machine hand and then joined the forces at the rank of Marine. Thereafter, he was quickly promoted to the rank of Corporal (A/TY). Briefly, he was captured by the Germans on the island of Crete, then spent the rest of the war in as a prisoner of war in concentration camps. He was reported missing in 1941 and was held as a prisoner until February 1945. He was repatriated from the German Prison Camp Marlag & Milag Nord in August 1945.’
‘My maternal great grandad, Frank Thomas Harris, pictured here after World War 1. He was blinded from the blast of a bomb in the second battle of the Somme. After, he learned to read in braille and trained in joinery. Due to the impact of the Somme on his mental state, he died from alcohol related problems in the 1930s’
‘My maternal Grandad, was in the Army, he was sent to Italy in the Second World War as a radio operator. He was on the front line with the soldiers but he wasn’t fighting, he had to carry a radio around so that the commanders could keep in touch and send out their orders.
His Dad (my Great-Grandad) had died on the second day of the Somme in the First World War, when he was sent over the top from the trenches. He was only 22. His wife had been pregnant when he left so he never met my Grandad.’
Both my Grandad and my Great-Grandad were called Stanley and that is my son Max’s middle name in their honour.’
‘My maternal Grandmother worked in a factory in South London that had been changed as part of the war effort into making weapons and ammunition. She was only in her teens when the war broke out and she always said she had a great time despite the war, hanging out with her friends in underground stations when there was an air raid siren.’
‘My paternal Grandad stayed in the UK working for the government and part of his role was setting up fake targets to distract the Germans. He used to make dummy airfields complete with runways, lights and old unusable planes, to make them look realistic from the air that they would be bombed so the real airfields were saved. He used to place tree trunks so they stuck out over the cliffs along the coast, and drape them with cargo nets, so the Germans thought we had more weapons than we did because we were actually so short of defences.’