52 Ancestors: Service

This week’s 52 Ancestors theme is ‘Service’. I suppose that this could mean military service, or perhaps somebody who was in service (I don’t know how wide-spread this term is, but here in the UK it refers to being in somebody’s domestic employ), or even somebody who was of service to their community.

We are not, as some are, a military family. My mum has two uncles who were in the Army and Navy during WWII, and of course both her American father and German stepfather were members of their respective armies. Her grandfather, Joseph, and his two brothers answered the call in WWI (and came home again). One of my grandmother’s aunts also met an irresistible GI and was whisked off to a life in upper New York State as part of Operation: Warbride.

Uncle Raymond with a selection of Wrens in WWII

On my father’s side, his father was also in the US Army, and his maternal grandfather was in the Royal Marine Light Infantry between 1879 and 1884 and so possibly might have fought in the Mahdist War (something I only know about because of references in the BBC programmes Ripper Street and, er, Dad’s Army) in Sudan as I know that the RMLI were involved. (But full details to be known once I can get to Kew and look at his record!)

Elsewhere, my husband’s great-grandfather Charles William Arnold (ne Badcock) fought in the 2nd Anglo-Boer War as part of the 12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s), and he was injured in the Cape Colony. He went on to serve in WWI and was later a fire watcher in WWII. Fun fact #1: his wife later went ‘mad’ and was found face-down in the River Thames after escaping from a mental institution. Fun fact #2: Charles’ sister, Emily, was the wife of Fred Tickner, the first person on TV to perform a Punch & Judy act and all round famed puppeteer, complete with work in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Staying in my husband’s tree, his maternal grandfather – and his brother – both served in WWII.

James Edward Joyce, unknown location, WWII

And I can’t not share a photo of my mother-in-law as a young girl in her Girl Guides uniform …

Moving back to my family, and moving back over the pond, my American sides also have their fair share of military links with the American Revolutionary War (aka War of Independence) and the American Civil War. Links that have, in fairness, gone unexplored by me up until this point. So this will serve as my nudge!

The only one that I am sure of is this guy, George Adams: the grandfather of my grandfather, Ellis Adams. So that will be my next task – American military service records, here I come!

The tight lips of my great-great-grandfather, George Adams

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