We were incredibly lucky to be able invite Rory H’s grandfather to meet the History Society and those about to head off on the battlefields trip.
Fresh from grandparents’ day at Ardvreck, they brought Rory’s great-grandfather’s MC to show to the interested pupils. As it is normally stored securely in the bank it was the first time that Rory had seen it, too. Captain James Humphrey was a member of the Canadian force and, although wounded in 1916, he was the first Canadian Officer to volunteer to go back to the front having been invalided home. In 1918 he went on to win the Military Cross. Mr Humphrey told us how he remembered the scars that had been left upon his father’s arm and he was also able to show us both contemporary newspapers and some letters. These included both his summons to Buckingham Palace from the King in order to have his MC conferred but also some letters describing life at the front. The pupils were struck by the way that he was so uncomplaining and the resilience that was shown. Indeed, he even told his mother that the bed he had been given in a local farmhouse was much comfier than his bed back home!
The battlefields trip was based around Ypres where Capt Humphrey was wounded in 1916. Those on the trip held a special service in St George’s Chapel, Ypres to officially dedicate a brass plaque as a permanent installation to remember the 157 OGs who died in the First World War.