I thought it was probably time to give those of you interested in Wars Last Goodbyes a bit of an update. Its been quite the quest. Something which began life as just a bit of a personal blog on local memorials has developed into something much, much more. Those original blogs and the blogs which I add as and when I can are still on the website - but owing to the depth of research and the interest in this little project of mine - I've endeavoured to push myself further and now Wars Last Goodbyes is more of a database for those farewells to people who lost their lives to war.
What was originally the men of the Great War - is now added civilians, service personnel of World War Two, and those who lost their lives on other wars not withstanding at present - the Crimean War, the Korean War, the Boer Wars... And more so, I have tried to make it easy to access - giving opportunties for those historians and researchers a chance to search on place, surname, regiment and more...
Its certainly not been easy and has some curious quirks but it has meant renewed interest in these people whose histories, whose final farewells were lost to those of the present moment.
For myself, I think the most interesting and engaging part of this has been the chance to see regiments decimate parts of the country on those certain days, certain weeks when they played a central part in the battles of the First World War - where a battlefield in France or Belgium left grieving families across the country... I have more ideas, more thoughts to use this pool of research for more historical analysis but for now, I intend to push farther, find more of those wars last goodbyes to add to the site. There are at present nearly 800 of them... but for me numbers mean nothing, it is these personal individual farewells that matter.
The last one I added was at Tetbury, the heartland of the Cotswolds, where Reg Riddick's final farewell by his loved ones simply said
Also our dear son
Who died in the Great War
In France 1918
Aged 29 years
They answered the call
Buried by the German forces, he now lives in a French military cemetery in the Ardennes. But there is something so human about these words.
It explains the purpose of Wars Last Goodbyes more than I could ever put into words.
So the quest continues, for Reg and for the others.
Jo - Wars Last Goodbyes