We have all done it, so don’t feel guilty. I’ve done it, and I feel guilty. That is enough guilt.
So what is it I have done? It is very simple. I have followed the footsteps of…
This is how it is done.
- Name the soldier/unit
- Go to where they died
- Go to the grave/memorial, and say and here is the grave of/memorial to
- Go home.
Apart from a few steps the actual following in, is a bit vague. Soldiers were carried to, thrown in, or laid in their graves. They did not walk to the them. Most died elsewhere some nearby, some very close by, but elsewhere. So a few yards maybe. or, if feeling energetic a few hundred yards, and that is it. Don’t want to follow to closely.
So you want to follow in some one’s foot steps. Here is how to do it.
Gather as much information as you can. See if his Pension or Service Record survive Find out where your soldier lived. That is the first place you should visit. The school he went to, where he worked. Go and visit these places. Your soldier had a life before the army. Give that life back. Go to where he enlisted, then trained.Get hold of the war diary, follow it. How many people who followed their Gt Gt Grandad included Aldershot, Ripon, Salisbury Plain, Shorncliffe, or anywhere that soldiers trained before going to the war, in their trip? The soldier spent as much if not more in these places than they did at the Front. Find out where they left the UK from. Go there, they are great places to visit. Visit the places they stayed in on their arrival in theatre, Boulogne, Etaples, or wherever.
Then go to the grave and or memorial.
After which go home and be grateful it was them, and not you.
While it is more of a rant than a blog. There is just one other thing. The Grave, and or the Memorial is very often regarded as the end of the soldier’s story. For some maybe it is, for others death goes on, in memoriam. Going to write a blog about that. ,