When I logged on last night I saw that since I was last there, Ancestry have made available the British Army service records from World War I. I started rummaging and searching and without really noticing I lost a whole evening reading the records of my ancestors who had fought in the war.
By far the best document I found was this citation for a DCM, or Distinguished Conduct Medal, awarded to my Great Grandfather in 1920.
My Great Grandfather was awarded the medal:
"For gallantry and devotion to duty. He served at Ypres from June to December 1915, on the Somme from July to September 1916, at Nieuport in August and September 1917, during the operations at Passchendaele from September to December 1917, during the enemy offensive and our subsequent advance in 1918."
That reads like my old school history textbooks. He fought in every major offensive of World War I. And amazingly, despite two separate injuries (one of which was a 'gunshot wound to the head') he returned to the front again and again, survived the war, and lived on to be an old man, dying in the mid 1970s just a year or two after I was born. The things he must have seen and experienced don't bear thinking about.
I looked up from my computer screen at nearly half past midnight and saw that the date was November 11th. I told C and O about my finds when we got up this morning, and as we walked to school we tried to imagine how Ray Renwick felt this time ninety one years ago. Very, very thankful I think.
As are we all.