Men of the Middlesex Regiment, three privates and a lance corporal, later in life.
And here, from left, a sergeant and two privates. George, on the left, would receive a shrapnel wound in his left leg at some point during the war, from which he apparently recovered well enough, because he would eventually be discharged in February 1919 after four and a half years service. The onset of thromboangiitis obliterans (Buerger disease) in 1931 would result in the amputation of both legs, and he would die in 1950, aged 70.
I don’t know the protocol with these things, but it’s interesting, or not, that his death was reported to the coroner, all those years later, ‘in view of shrapnel wound’ (above). The man in the centre, Bertie, would contract malaria in Salonika in 1917, and later be yet another diagnosed with disseminated sclerosis, and Joseph, on the right, would suffer from ‘valvular disease of the heart (mitral stenosis) due to War Service (1914/18)’ in the 1940s. Born in May 1897, he had served for four years & seventy eight days when discharged from the army on the last day of December 1920. Meaning he enlisted, or more likely was conscripted, in October 1916, at the ripe old age of nineteen.
This card is a very rare medical card indeed. The card, from the 1950s, is for a man who earned a Victoria Cross during the Great War. Redacted, by me, it still wouldn’t take you too long to discover his identity, should you so wish. His citation, published in the Supplement to the London Gazette on 25th November 1916, reads as follows, ‘For most conspicuous bravery and resource. His part of the line was held up by machine-gun fire, and all officers had become casualties. There was confusion and indication of retirement. Grasping the situation, on his own initiative [he] dashed out alone towards the gun, which he knocked out with bombs. This very gallant act, coupled with great presence of mind and a total disregard of personal danger, made further advance possible and cleared up a dangerous situation.’
And then there is this gentleman, whom some of you will have met before. Military Cross winner (inset) on the first day of the Somme (I have read, quite recently, that a total of 208 M.C.s were awarded that day), later prisoner-of-war, and Middlesex Regiment survivor who would live until the 1970s. Good old Uncle Dudley. Not so much of the old.
These are the men who came home.