Blencowe Families' Association Newsletter Vol. 19 No. 4 December 2004

Five Blencowe Brothers in Five different Armies

Amongst my late mother's effects I found two old photographs (see cover) and an interesting press cutting from the Midland Daily Tribune of 5 Nov 1947, it was headed:

Naturalised American Re-visits his Native Nuneaton

It told how Alfred, my grandfather's youngest brother had travelled to England on the Queen Elizabeth as a member of a goodwill mission of the American Legion led by Col. Paul Griffith, its National Commandant. In London the group was welcomed by the Foreign Secretary, Mr Ernest Bevin. They went on to France, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland and Italy and in the Vatican were received by the Pope. Visits were made to cemeteries of American soldiers killed during the recent war.

Alfred had left Nuneaton in 1913 when he was seventeen and ‘after many travels and experiences in Canada’ joined his elder brother (Albert) in California. In 1917 he volunteered for the American Army and sailed to France with the 28th Massachusetts Engineers. He was wounded in the Spring of 1918 and was in the military hospital in Rouen at the time of the Armistice.

Alfred recalled that he and his four brothers had served during the 1914-1918 war in five different armies: George in the Indian Army, Richard with a New Zealand contingent of the ANZAC Force, Albert was with the Canadians, Walter (or Harry?) with the British. Providentially, all survived.

Alfred died in Long Beach, California in November 1969.

I also found a field postcard written by Richard from France on 12 April 1917 to his sister. In it he sends her his condolences on the death of her baby, asks for the address of his brother George and closes, “I am expecting to go up to the firing line any day now.”

Clive Blencowe
Worcester, November 2004

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Blencowe Families' Association   Vol. 19 No. 4 December 2004
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updated: 30 July 2005