A few years ago, we were decorating the house and admiring the Victorian quirks that are prevalent throughout -- y'know, wonky walls and doorways, lath and plaster ceilings, big skirting boards. We started wondering about who lived there just after it was built 100 years ago, what they did, how they lived, and who were they?
Whilst looking at house prices, we asked the internet about the house and the internet provided answers, many from the Herts At War website and Genes Reunited. They were sad answers, though, as we found that a family called Heskins lived here. Dad died in 1901, aged 28, leaving Mrs Heskins and her son Henry, who would have been a toddler at the time. Henry grew up went on to go to the trenches of World War One, where he died aged 19 -- the same age as my son at the time.
I tried to imagine sending my son off to the trenches, and it filled me with a whole metric tonne of mummysad. I get a bit teary thinking of it now. Poor Mrs Heskins, she must have been beside herself with worry :(
So, anyway, I like to remember the Heskins, especially today as it's the centenary of World War One. I feel a bit maternal towards young Henry for some reason, and tremendously sad at the terrible waste of life -- not only young Henry, but the rest of the poor lads who went. They probably went off to war with their mates out of a sense of duty, and for the adventure, babes, glory and camaraderie, like you do when you're young. Instead they had to face up to the reality of unimaginable horror, violence and death.
I will visit his grave in Calais one day (pictured above, credit: findagrave.com). It just seems right.