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Family Respect

(46 Posts)
keriku Sun 14-May-17 21:14:45

My granny's father was killed in WWI when she was just an infant. She always dreamt of visiting his war grave in France, unfortunately neither her not her mother achieved this. Several years ago, after granny's death, my dad and his late brother visited the grave and paid their respects. It is now the centenary of his death and my dad and my brothers have spent ages researching and planning a trip, the culmination of which was to be to visit the grave and stand together with the war medals awarded to my great-grandad. However, when they asked my late uncle's family for them, they were given one lie after another regarding their whereabouts. They then advised my dad that they had in fact sent them to my cousin on the other side of the world the day AFTER he had asked for them!!(Despite already saying they had been there since my uncle's death....) They said my dad had no entitlement to them. While that may or not be the case legally, I cannot believe their sheer spite, that they wouldn't even loan them for the trip. I feel it is the greatest insult ever to my gran and to her late father. We have absolutely no idea why they have turned on us. To me it just shows a complete lack of respect for family.My dad is over 80, a truly decent man who always puts his family first and I have never known him to be to be so upset. Men did not struggle and sacrifice so that future generations could be so rotten. It is now too late to even get copy medals from the authorities! I just wondered what other people thought.

thatbags Sun 14-May-17 21:23:31

What a sad story, keriku! Sadly, some people are very possessive and untrusting.

suzied Sun 14-May-17 21:25:59

I would rise above this, take some flowers and take a photo of the grave with your tributes. You could,get a copy of the medals for your side of the family to inherit, but they are quite expensive. I treasure my grandfathers WW1 medals along with my great uncles ( who was killed) and my dads WW2 medals, in fact I've had them framed with their photos. If your GGFwas killed in the north of France you may find his name on the memorial at Notre Dame de Lorette, which is a WW1 memorial not far from Calais. This was completed in 2014, and lists the names of all who were killed in that region, British, French, Germans, in alphabetical order . It is worth a visit.

suzied Sun 14-May-17 21:31:56

Btw medals are worth a bit, so maybe they've sold them.

Anniebach Sun 14-May-17 21:32:45

How unkind. Take a photograph of your Grannie with you,

Such unkindness is being balanced by the actions of your Dad and this is who they died for too X

Anya Sun 14-May-17 21:45:03

Disgraceful behaviour.

However, you and your family are the ones who are going across to France to honour your great-grand father, visit his grave and pay your respects. That is the important bit and it is a memory your family will share and treasure.

vampirequeen Sun 14-May-17 21:48:39

That is so mean.

rosesarered Sun 14-May-17 22:41:08

I agree with Anya and would not worry about the medals.After all, your Great Grandfather never saw them.It's the trip there that counts.

keriku Sun 14-May-17 23:45:47

My granny collected her dad's medals posthumously as a small child. She had a photo of it. She always told us her gran had 4 laddies, 1 died as a child, the other 3 were killed in the war. How on earth did folk cope with the grief?

Starlady Mon 15-May-17 05:43:05

So sorry about this keriku. I'm inclined to agree w/ suzied - they probably sold them & want the money to themselves. Such greed and selfishness!

But I also agree with Anya that visiting the grave and paying respects is most important. God bless your dad and his brothers for having their hearts in the right place!

"She always told us her gran had 4 laddies, 1 died as a child, the other 3 were killed in the war. How on earth did folk cope with the grief?"

Idk, keriku, idk. So very sad.

morethan2 Mon 15-May-17 06:54:39

sad I expect it's really hard to see your much loved dad so upset. I hope he still takes the trip and takes comfort from the support of his own children's love and support. The whole story is very sad. Your right how on earth did that generation live with so much sacrifice, grief and loss. You all sound as if your a lovely family. I'd take a photograph of your dad and family standing by the grave and send it to the other side of the family, including the Canadian side and hope they feel suitably guilty.

cornergran Mon 15-May-17 07:23:25

A very sad situation keriku, please don't let this unkindness spoil the trip that means so much.

f77ms Mon 15-May-17 07:44:42

Could you ask for your cousins address/phone number ? I know it is not the same but maybe he would send your Dad a photo of the medals via the internet to take . This way you could also check if the story is true or if they have been sold .

Christinefrance Mon 15-May-17 07:58:33

That is so upsetting for your Dad Keriku, he can take comfort from the fact he is doing what is right and respectful to his fallen relatives.
I agree with others who said don't let this mar the trip and the reason for going, your Dad and the family will pay their respects and that is what matters not the actions of others however badly they behaved.

keriku Mon 15-May-17 08:26:52

When my auntie initially gave several versions of where they were, she said they could be with my cousin abroad, then said they were definitely there. My dad phoned my cousin and she denied having them! Next day we were told they had posted them on to her that day! God only knows what the truth is. My cousin has previously ignored requests to friend me on Facebook. Don't think she will accept a friend request now......

Nelliemoser Mon 15-May-17 08:45:35

That is very unfair. When my sister in law cleared her mothers house I eventually got given the medals and details of my husbands grandfathers brother's death in an accident on a WW1 warship. I don't think sister in law was at all bothered. (I was into family history then.)

I had these medals mounted with the citations and had them on my landing for years.
I did always realise that as these were nothing to do with my blood relations and as I got older I decided they should go back to the family, one of my mother in law's brothers who is now in his early 90s.

I sent him the stuff and he is delighted. I just hope one or other of his two children will take care and pass them down. The female cousin of my OH has no children.

DotMH1901 Mon 15-May-17 10:02:15

Families are funny things - I think your Dad should try to ignore this slight and perhaps instead take a framed photo of his grandfather and, if his service record survives, a printed framed copy of this with him instead. I am certain your gt grandfather would not want his grandson to be so upset, it is very petty of your relatives to do what they have done, especially given the age of your father, but he shouldn't let them upset him. Many service records from WWI are available from Ancestry - I have a subscription and would be happy to check if they are there for you if you let me know his full name and date of birth.

DS64till Mon 15-May-17 10:02:49

I would go , pay your respects. Unfortunately this happens quite a lot amongst families. Whether it's because they are scared they would get lost or not returned I don't know. There's obviously something amiss as they state you have no 'right' to them. Take comfort from knowing you tried to do the right thing

radicalnan Mon 15-May-17 10:12:00

I think grandad would be very proud that you are taking the trouble to visit the grave and pay respects from his loved ones.

The medals are nothing to do with that really, they are bits of tin he never had. He ceratinly loved his family more.

Candelle Mon 15-May-17 10:37:30

It won't help your current predicament but I also wonder if they were sent to a cousin far away or, as suzied mentioned, they could have been sold...

Can you ask the far away cousin if he has the medals? If he does, perhaps it would be possible for them to be returned in time for your trip and a sharing scheme put into operation, despite the initial refusal of cooperation?

If the medals categorically won't be returned, ask for a photograph 'to take with you'.......

If all of this is impossible, be glad that you and your father are 'doing the right thing' and celebrating this life, medals or not.

boggles Mon 15-May-17 10:41:56

Absolutely agree with you radicalnan

sunseeker Mon 15-May-17 10:54:49

If you can make contact with the cousin perhaps they would be prepared to loan them to you to take. You could offer to refund them the postage. You could offer to send them a photo of the grave.

This is very sad and I wonder why your Aunt has done this. As others have said the important thing is the visit to the grave to pay respects to a brave man.

Jaycee5 Mon 15-May-17 11:19:10

I agree with Suzied. I remember after my grandfather died, seeing the family around a table divvying up his medals. They shut the door when they saw me (my father was abroad and always felt that he didn't get his fair share of the estate - which I am pretty sure was probably true). They are worth quite a bit, particularly from WW1.
It is spiteful of them to say that they sent them after he asked for them but they probably didn't think of an answer quickly enough when they asked.
Hopefully, it won't cast a cloud over the visit.

chrislou Mon 15-May-17 11:20:31

Exactly what I thought, they aren't going to admit to selling them are they

Craftycat Mon 15-May-17 11:51:19

I'd bet on the fact they have sold them!

Just have a memorable day & don't worry about the medals- you know he won them.