More than 100 years have elapsed since that fateful shot rang around the world and lit the blue touch-paper to one of the most climactic events of the 20th Century. It is inevitable that many people will be moved by this centenary, and their minds will turn to their own family history and to try and discover, what exactly did happen to great uncle Fred ? how, and where ?
I can help you fulfil that dream. With my knowledge of the period, and knowing where to look, and what to look for, I can help you discover that missing part of your family's history and perhaps give closure to events which have haunted the mind and lingered in the collective family memory.
I have led many sucessful tours where the objective was to walk in the footsteps of a long-lost relative, and clients have been astonished at what we have been able to uncover and what there is still to see more than 100 years later.
It is often possible, by careful and diligent research, to find where the relative met his end, what he had been doing at that fatal moment, and where he is commemorated.
This includes soldiers lost in the Great War as well as those who fell in the Second World War, aircrew downed over Berlin, or Infantry lost in the mud of Flanders.
There are many and varied ways of finding this information, and all of this can be done for you as part of your tour.
I am fortunate to have amongst my professional acquaintances someone who has made a study of soldiers' war records and is a frequent and experienced researcher at the National Archives. Once provided with the basic information from you, he will dig out what there is to find and enable us to locate the site of action so that we can truly walk in the last footsteps of your relative. You may be required to sign a consent form for him to act as next-of-kin to obtain a copy of your relative's service records.
German bunker in Polygon Wood where a client's relative was killed in 1917
All this will be included in the price of your tour, as will suitable remembrance material. Every pilgrim will receive, free of charge, a commemorative scroll, a replica of the scroll sent to every bereaved family by the King, and where possible, a replica of their arm of service badge (cap badge) framed for you to keep as a momento of your trip. I can also obtain replica medals where an original has been lost with the passage of time. These can be mounted at a small additional cost.
I would be delighted to be of service to you in this endeavour and to provide you with a lasting and emotional souvenir of your journey into the past.
Two satisfied customers on their pilgrimage to Ypres, 2004
There will no doubt be many special events and services of commemoration during this period and I will ensure that you are fully briefed on what is happening and when. If you have a relative buried or commemorated in the Ypres Salient I will arrange for you to lay a wreath at the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate in Ypres, as well as personal tributes at the actual place of burial, if known.
Please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01842 862014 or write to me at: Past Endeavours, 18 Pashford Close, Lakenheath, Suffolk IP27 9ED if I may be of service. This is something which won't come around again in our lifetime, a truly once-in-a lifetime opportunity !
"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them "