The Green Howards Museum’s Fiona Hall shares her thoughts about Edward Methuen Stone, her maternal grandfather:
“This picture shows my grandfather, Edward Stone, with my Mum on her wedding day in 1960.
Edward was born in St Mary le Bow in London in about 1900; in the 1901 census he is shown as living with his parents and three older sisters – Eliza, Emma and Julia, and a brother, John in Armagh Road.
There is absolutely no existing anecdotal information regarding Edward’s war service within our family. My older cousins, who knew their granddad as young children, can’t remember anything ever being said about it. My grandfather died ten years before I was born, and I can only remember my Mum saying what a kind and gentle father he was. My great uncle John was ten years older than Edward. It seems he served in the Royal Engineers and also survived the war.
No service record exists for Grandad Stone, so we do not know when he enlisted or was demobbed, or precisely where he served, his medal card shows he was a Private in the Norfolk Regiment. A researcher at their regimental museum managed to find just one intriguing reference to him. On the 10th of October 1916 he is recorded as being in 23 Base General Hospital, Amara, Mesopotamia with a ‘slight gunshot wound’. That’s it. There’s nothing else. The boy from Bow was in what’s now Iraq! Needless to say my cousins are gobsmacked. How could we not have known? Why would we have known? Now we’ll never know.
I think it is intriguing, at this time of remembrance, how we are all encouraged to think about a period in a relative’s life which, in modern times has reached a level of huge significance, but actually, in many cases, like in our family, seems to be totally unknown. Perhaps they themselves decided they would rather forget about it, or at least not deem it interesting or noteworthy enough to share and discuss so it could be passed down through their family. As someone who works in a museum, and sees families visit with a wealth of stories and paperwork about their relatives to share with us, I am often left moved, incredulous and envious!
Interestingly, mum’s brother, my Uncle Ted is the one soldier in the family we all know about. He lied about his age to serve in the Second World War. Three letters written to his parents at the time of the Normandy landings are precious to me. What must Grandad Stone have been going through, remembering his own experiences of less than 20 years before, while his eldest son was fighting his way through northern France in 1944?”
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