It may have been my family history and my grandfather’s part in both the First and the Second World War that sparked my interest in local military history, as in recent years I have gone on to make a study of local war memorials and graves.
My grandfather, Percy Webb, was too young to serve in the First World War; he was only 14 when the war finished in 1918. This is him in the photograph, but during the Second World War. However, he was in the Cadet Corps of his school in London. During that time there were Zeppelin raids on the city and he and his brother used to cycle round the streets when a Zeppelin was sighted. They had to blow their band cornets urging people to take cover and then they would blow the ‘all clear’ afterwards when the danger had passed. There was one air raid where many locals were killed and the Cadet Corps provided the firing party at the local cemetery for the funeral, where the dead were all buried in a communal grave. The war affected everyone, not just those fighting at the front.
My grandfather’s brother-in-law, Ewart Preece, was from Dorrington in Shropshire. He served in the Royal Field Artillery in the First World War. He was a blacksmith by trade and because of this was taken on as a shoeing smith. He went to the Western Front and finished the war as a farrier’s sergeant. I remember Ewart because he lived until 1974. I received several of his medals, buttons and badges after his death. You can view pictures of these and find out more about my research in: