November is a particularly poignant time for remembering those lost in war; we tend to think of remembrance as focussing on both World Wars, but in reality, conflict has never gone away and we are assailed daily by disturbing images from Syria and of displaced people fleeing conflict.
My mum’s grandfather served in France and Belgium in the First World War. We have a small archive of black and white photographs of him, and one in particular is a family favourite. It shows my mum as a very small girl, sat on her granddad’s knee, enjoying his lovely, generous warmth and humour. His party trick was tugging at the end of her nose and pretending to pull it off. There is no hint of the horrors he experienced, eventually returning home with shrapnel embedded behind his ear, causing him loss of hearing for the rest of his life. My great grandfather fought at Ypres, was invalided out twice, and met his future wife, my great grandmother, at the field hospital where she worked, looking after the wounded men.
We all have people who we remember; loved ones, significant others and friends. Family photographs from any era offer unique insight into past eras. Ensuring the preservation of these images for future generations can provide an invaluable legacy.