For Remembrance week Ancestry.co.uk have been offering free access to WW1 Service Records.
I knew that my maternal grandmother's father had served in WW1 and had been told by my Nana that due to the effects of gas he had been invalided out of the army at the end of the war and had died shortly afterwards. So with great curiosity I searched for his military records. The records showed that he had indeed been invalided out of the Army in 1919 and awarded an Army pension as his ill health was attributable to the War. There was also a record of the widow's pension that was awarded to my great grandmother in 1920.
There was also a surprise however.
We had always thought that my Nana was one of three children left fatherless on his death, but according to the records there were five children.
My Nana was the eldest child, she is pictured below aged about 3 years old.
Of course my curiosity was aroused and I felt the need to do a little more digging. My Nana died when I was in my early twenties, so I couldn't ask her, and when I asked my mum she said that she was totally unaware of the existence of any other children so this meant taking out a 14 day free trial on the site. This led to the discovery of not just two additional children a boy and a girl, but a third child a boy, who had died aged 1 year. I have been unable to find details of the deaths of the boy and girl who are mentioned in the military files, but we assume that they must have died quite young if my Nana never mentioned them to anyone.
This has really brought home to me just how lucky I am in my life today. It has also piqued my curiosity to find out more about my ancestors, a task I am finding very addictive!