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Family Respect

(47 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.

Elrel Mon 29-May-17 14:53:45

Suzied - Good thinking!

Anneishere Wed 17-May-17 09:06:30

How upsetting! I somehow think possibly they have sold or lost them and cannot face telling you! Can you not get in touch with that cousin in Australia?

VIOLETTE Mon 15-May-17 22:35:11

That is so sad ...but your dad has his memories he will treasure .....have you asked the British Legion or the WAr Graves Commission for the location of any memorial ? I expect you have ...but if not you could research his regiment online ...I did this for an unknown relative who I found when researching my family history, and found his name on the Roll of Honour from his regiment which was lovely to have. I also did some research for my husband (not in WWI or II of course, but in the Navy and served in various conflict zones and received medals ...he is not into having medals, but a friend came over who he served with, and bought a car load of memorabilia and gave us info on a company (sorry don't remember the name) from whom you can obtain copy medals, and buy a display cabinet, medal ribbons, etc etc ...again the RBL will probably know about this//

The best thing is that your Dad can go and honour his colleagues ..that is fantastic ! Good luck !

Luckylegs9 Mon 15-May-17 22:16:39

How upsetting for your father, it is despicable. I also think they sold them. Shame on them .However, those brave, decent genes have come down from your great granddad, to your dad and his family. You are the people he fought for. I hope your dad and brothers do the trip and carry out what they intended, pay their respects, pity they dont have the medals, but don't let the lack of them spoil things. It just shows how people from the same family turn out on differently.

suzied Mon 15-May-17 19:07:40

Ask them nicely for a photo of the medals for your family. If they stall on that I would be a bit suspicious.

Janetblogs Mon 15-May-17 18:52:40

When my dad was going back to France with my brothers - he was a D day veteran -my brothers arranged for him to receive a medal from the French - my dad did take his campaign medals with him but there was a lovely ceremony
Is there anything similar you could arrange ?
I'm sure he'll love the trip in any event but the medals would have been nice
Personally I'd get duplicates at whatever cost if I could

keriku Mon 15-May-17 18:36:50

I never even considered that they have been sold. Apparently my cousin has personal letters from the war and wants the medals to go with them (according to my auntie). Yet when my dad spoke to my cousin she didn't sound that bothered. It's a horrible mess! God only knows what my granny would say to them!

keriku Mon 15-May-17 18:28:52

Thank you, that is very kind but my brothers have spent months researching the family & military history

Victoria08 Mon 15-May-17 17:56:15

Yes, definitely have sold them. It's quite obvious really.

EmilyHarburn Mon 15-May-17 16:26:07

I expect they sold them. they may have made up this story because they don't like to admit it. You must just go ahead, take your photos and possibly make an album and use some google images of the missing medals to decorate the album.

Its the good memories that matter and the photos you can pass down your family. Where the actual medals are does not in the end really matter. So sorry though that this happened to you an took the joy of the planning.

Jane10 Mon 15-May-17 15:45:58

Oh I do hope they haven't been sold. I can never understand how such hard won tokens of bravery can be exchanged for money. No respect.
You should go and take photographs. Make sure you send copies to those inconsiderate relatives. Might give their consciences a prod. I do hope so.

Direne3 Mon 15-May-17 15:33:35

How sad it is that there is so often a sizeable monetary value to medals nowadays, making it less likely that they will be handed down to future generations.

Tessa101 Mon 15-May-17 14:49:09

I'm thinking maybe they have sold them, as I saw an article back last year about them being worth abit.Do as others suggest and go and pay your respects anyway, it's a lovely thought.

Liz46 Mon 15-May-17 14:34:24

My father was a Battle of Britain pilot and after my mother died, I inherited his medals which I put in a cupboard. My husband said what a shame this was so we had them mounted (on Air Force blue) with a photo and a little brass plaque. They are on display in our hall now and I have confidence that they will carry on down the family. The Battle of Britain clasp is quite a rare and valuable little bit of metal.

M0nica Mon 15-May-17 14:23:27

Crafty Cat, I would agree with you. The family are telling OP all these conflicting tales, to hide the fact that the medals have been sold and possibly worried that the OP's family may ask for a share of the proceeds.

Four members of my family dies in WW1, three in 1915. I went over to Belgium in 2015 and visited all their graves. It was a very emotional experience, especially as, by visiting the museum in Ypres, I was able to find out a lot of detail on exactly where and in what circumstances they died. I decided against taking any medals with me, for fear of loss or theft.

Caro1954 Mon 15-May-17 14:01:46

Go and be proud. Don't let this situation spoil things and try to divert your Dad from thinking about it as it upsets him so much. I'm sure you will all feel so proud when you are actually there that all this nastiness will forgotten.

Norah Mon 15-May-17 13:40:05

It is such a lovely trip. We have been several time to the graves at the beach. It's very peaceful.

starlily106 Mon 15-May-17 13:14:21

I agree that it sounds like the medals may have been sold, but I hope your father doesn't let the fact that he can't take them with him spoil his trip. I have been to the Somme area of France and went to most of the cemeteries, but I wasn't looking for a special grave. I found it a very rewarding and sad thing to do, but very humbling . The best 'holiday' I have had... and the most enlightening.

gagsy Mon 15-May-17 12:20:08

So sad
When we all went to my great uncle's grave on the centenary we didn't take the medals but we did take a lovely wreath with a photo of him in the centre. The younger members of the family laid it and it was very moving and emotional

Legs55 Mon 15-May-17 11:55:56

I agree with others, do go & pay your respects & put this hurt behind you. I am lucky enough to have my DGF's medals (only normal medals handed out to every-one), 2 photos taken in Northern France where he served & his enlistment papers.

My DM was an only DD as am I. My DD never knew my DGF so I don't know if she will keep the medals but there is no-one else who is entitled to them.

My DGF was 1 of 5 brothers who served in WWI, 4 returned home whilst other was killed at Gallipolli. One of the lucky families

JanaNana Mon 15-May-17 11:55:09

Keriku. You have my sympathy over this. My granddad fought in WW1 and received medals for this. My dad being the only son with several sisters was given these when my granddad passed away. It was only years later when doing our family tree that one of my cousin's asked me if I would bring the medals with me the next time we met up so we could take photographs and make a memory book for each family member. He automatically assumed that I had been given them on my father's death.Not so. As my father remarried a few years after my mother passed away she as the widow received all his things. As there was no will it was at her discretion who was given anything. I was not her favourite person and received not one item of sentimental value or anything else. I had a very good relationship with both my dad and granddad so felt hurt not to have something with sentiment. I found out much later from a stepsister, that everything had been sold. My cousin had replacements made. As you say it is too late for you to have them in time but it would be nice to have them made as keepsakes.

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.

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

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

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.

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.