Nice story ! Here's mine (I'll leave out the more recent family military history out since this is for the old folks)
Well, my mum's, mum's dad, fought in both WW1 and WW2 in the RAF (and it's army predecessor before the RAF was formed), having lied about his age to get into the army, (I think he was 15 or 16) he served right through untill the late 1950s or 1960s (I believe he did either 40 or 50yrs service in the RAF before retiring) as a medical officer. He reached the rank of wing commander having got a commission at some point, most likely as a Warrent Officer.
Unfortunately I'm not sure how he got to become a medical officer and what jobs he did on the route up (I highly doubt he was a doctor untill he was an officer) because nobody really knows, but he was supposidly a very kind hearted man who loved his family very much and used to have his RAF photos from over the years smartly lined up one after another in his hall-way of his house and had his RAF No1 dress (most formal) uniform with his cap smartly hung up with all his medals in his cuboard.
My mothers, fathers dad, fought in the trenches in WW1 as an infantryman for the entire 4yrs of the war, right up untill a few weeks before when he got injured by a shell and was sent back home.
Unfortunately nobody really knows about his time there as he never really spoke of what he saw again, apparently the few times he spoke about it, he really did tell eye opening stories.
He was very critical war and how his mates were pointlessly killed so some general somewhere could use them as mince-meat. I wish i'd met him, he must have seen so much in his life and would have presented a true view on the worst of war.
The grandfather on my mothers side was, like his wifes father (my RAF great-grandad was my grandads wife's dad), in the RAF as a radio operator / gunner on the bombers (Wellington bombers and later on the Lancasters) and reached the rank of Flight Sergeant before being discharged in 1947.
Ofcourse he flew missions over Germany. I did get to speak to him and he seemed to paint a very balanced view on war, he admited he had no joy in saying he killed civilians in doing his job, but said that losses like that are made in war. He was neither anti, nor pro war and was more than happy to talk about his RAF days.
Now unfortuntaely he had a very long, slow and painful death from cancer, as it took over his body, while Alzheimers took over his mind, so for the last 2yrs of his life, I had to witness this once great man, who I admired so much, be decayed away.
The one thing that came out of this which makes me smile, is that he knew I loved him telling me stories about his RAF days, and a few days before he died, I put up his final RAF photo, in his No.1 dress, with his medals and rank on. Now, the last time I saw him, he pointed to the photo, whisperd 'I never regret it, enjoy life my boy and do me proud, I know you will', with this, he tightend his grip on my hand, smiled and went back to sleep.....24hrs later he was dead.
I don't think I've been so proud yet so sad. I think he knew it was the final good-bye.
The other (on my dads side) was an aircraft engineer, also in the RAF, from just before the end of the war in 1945 to sometime in the 1950s. He's a very smart man and sees his experiance as nothing but positives, but is not pro-war. He has a very good sence of humour and is my last family link to the war and me and him have had many long conversations about his life.
|Quoting LHStarAlliance (Thread starter):|
Is it the military that makes mens to be so ? I admire it so much , this strong character , this force to deal with every situation , always so energetic until dead . It is not like other Professions , where you finish at 65 and then it's over , if you are military you're it for live ! Am I right ?
Yes, it's exactly that, the friends you form in the army are mates for life, and they're nothing like civilian friends. You go through so much, that you simply form a brother like bond. You're in situations where your life is in their hands and visa-versa. There's so much trust, loyalty and honesty that you simply don't get anywhere else.
And yes, you're right, everyone I know who's in the military, is a better person for it and still has traces of military in them, well polished shoes, well ironed shirts, sit up-right, have a respect for authority and are almost always, very humble about themselves.
You see, the thing is, you have nothing to prove to anyone, because you've been there and done that.
Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..