It is often surprising to me. It shouldn't be by now because well, this project, this piece of research has surprised me in so many ways. That Wars Last Goodbyes has revealed aspects of peoples' lives that have been hidden, sometimes under plain sight, for years and decades. That these final farewells sometimes find pieces of family history that have been lost. And that even when you think you know - you don't.
So here I was in Pershore Cemetery in Worcestershire intrigued by another soldier, another memorial to a lost beloved when my knees buckled and I almost tripped - and I looked down. And to be honest, I would probably have missed it but for the words 'died of wounds'. And as I peered downwards, I saw the memorial to a man lost to the First World War.
Also of Capt G. Meysey Hammond M.C. M.M.
28th Batt A.I.F.
who died of wounds
June 14th 1918
And to be frank - the name meant nothing to me. But a man who had won both an Military Cross and a Military Medal - that piqued my interest. A man of the Australian Imperial Force and an officer. Photographed and documented. I moved on with my exploration.
It was not until later when I began to go through Pershore's photographs when I began to feel a somewhat frissance of real excitement. Although excitement was the wrong word - more a sense of massive surprise that Pershore and this man had a connection.
My first brief foray into this man Capt. G. Meysey Hammond led to a wealth of information. And then more. For George Meysey Hammond was a true Australian hero from the First World War.
As I wrote on his entry on this website:
He was rapidly promoted from Sergeant to Captain, wounded badly in the arm thus making it unusable, saw action at Gallipoli, Pozieres, Polygon Wood, Flers and demanded his return to lead his men when he heard of the casualties. He was frequently seen ahead of his men, his cane under his injured arm and his watch in his hand. His loss to his men and to the Australian troops he led must have been great. All this for a boy who rowed home to Pershore at weekends from Worcester to Pershore, crossing Severn and Avon rivers. At his heart, Meysey Hammond was an adventurer and an officer who cared for his men.
There is much more I could say about this man. A man who won an MC and a MM. A man who had a very exciting life before war found him. A man whose roots were from England but whose spirit was perhaps enhanced and broadened by the Australia that he found in those pre-war years when he seemed to both sail and farm his way across the West.
But here in Pershore Cemetery in a quiet corner, a final goodbye from his family to one lost to war. Captain George Meysey Hammond of the 28th Australian Imperial Force. He was killed, shot by a sniper, and died at a Casualty Clearing Station near Vignacourt, France and was buried nearby.
But I implore you, if you've never heard of this man, check him out. He was just one of those who was made by the war - made into one of those heroes, those heroes who never actually wanted to be heroes but yet still were.
To those interested, Wars Last Goodbyes pays a tribute to this man George Meysey Hammond here:
If you're interested in other Wars Last Goodbyes from Pershore Cemetery: