In January 1917 the armies on continental Europe were still recovering from the Battle of the Somme which had been fought from 1st July to 18th November 2016. More men were preparing to go to France to make up for the huge numbers of men who had been lost in that terrible battle. One of those men was waiting on a farm in a small Lincolnshire village. Ted carried on working on the farm and being with his wife Emma who was expecting their second child. He had been given special permission to delay his departure to join his regiment until that second child was born.
Their elder child, a son, was just two years old and all three of them were eagerly anticipating the birth of a brother or sister for him. On 25th January Emma was safely delivered of a daughter.
The little girl's baptism was arranged very quickly. In those days children were always baptised when they were just a few weeks old but Ted and Emma's child was even younger than most as Ted wanted to see this important ceremony for his beloved daughter.
A couple of days later he left for France, not knowing if he would ever see Emma and their children again. He was a fine musician and so he became a bandsman (needed to keep morale up) and as was usual for bandsmen he was also a medical orderly/stretcher bearer. Over the next few years he doubtless saw some dreadful sights as he carried men to the casualty stations but he told Emma nothing of such terrible things. Instead his letters were of love and enquiries about their son and daughter, the thought of whom sustained him for the next couple of years. His son was four and his daughter was nearly two when next he saw them.
And how do I know? That little girl, born ninety nine years ago today, was my mother. I still miss her.