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Mumsnet users share the things they’re grateful to the First World War generation for with The Royal British Legion

270 replies

JustineBMumsnet · 29/10/2018 11:46


In light of the 100 year anniversary of the end of WW1, The Royal British Legion would like to hear about the ways you’re grateful for those who served, sacrificed and changed our world.

Do you have an appreciation for the incredible women who helped change women’s role in society, leading many more women to work in jobs outside the home? Are you grateful for the medical advances that were made out of necessity that benefit so many today, like plastic surgery and blood banks? Or perhaps you’re grateful for product innovation like the wristwatch, teabags or sanitary towels? Maybe you’d like to thank the children who took on extra responsibilities like helping MI5, even though it meant they grew up too fast?

If you’d like to find out more about the contributions made 100 years ago, please click here.

See what Mumsnet Co-Founder Justine Roberts is thankful for below:

If you have any family stories or photos that make you feel grateful for your ancestors of 100 years ago, please feel free to share these below.

All who post below will be entered into a Mumsnet prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher for the store of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck!


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Mumsnet users share the things they’re grateful to the First World War generation for with The Royal British Legion
OP posts:
AngelDog · 29/10/2018 17:22

I'm grateful for my grandad fighting in the First World War even though it cost him a lot. He was sent home injured from Galippoli and (like many men of his generation) would never speak to his family afterwards about the war. By WWII he was too old for active service, but took what must have been a very boring job as a nightwatchman at a local RAF base, in addition to his day job.

qate · 29/10/2018 18:30

I'm grateful for all those who sacrificed - not only those who made the ultimate sacrifice but also those who left and came back changed men and women who sacrificed their peace of mind and innocence. My grandad fought in WWII and by all accounts never fully recovered - I can't imagine facing something similar, and I'm so grateful to those who served and suffered.

qate · 29/10/2018 18:32

Obv I know we're talking about WWI here - my reference to my grandad in WWII is on the basis that it's only through his experience that I can even start to comprehend the sacrifices of those 30 years before in WWI who then, in many cases, had to live through something else that they imagined they'd prevented.

SouthWestmom · 29/10/2018 18:55

On a superficial level, I cherish a handmade necklace made by one of the brothers (my great grandad being one) who fought. Sadly he didn't return to the jewellery making business, lost in the war.

It's amazing to have something made so many years ago.

BristolMum96 · 29/10/2018 19:24

Grateful for everyone who went without, gave things up, made sacrifices etc..for us. For the future. Selfless and amazing.

Mightybanhammer · 29/10/2018 21:19

I am grateful to those who went and never came back. And to those who came back forever changed.
I am grateful to the women who stepped into the breach then stepped back again into domesticity when the men came back.
To the parents who lost children and those who lost lovers and fiancés before life was even started.
I am grateful to those artists novelists poets musicians and journalists who used their gifts to tell the truth.
I am so grateful to the survivors of both wars who built a system meant to eliminate war from Europe.
And I weep at how all of them are now being betrayed.
History is tragedy, then repeats as farce. We have learned nothing.

soloula · 29/10/2018 22:33

I visited the war memorial and cemetery at Verdun when I was on my way back from a school trip in the early 1990s. The endless rows of white crosses as far as the eye could see made an incredible lasting impression on me, even more so when we walked round and saw that many of the graves were for children, young boys the same age or younger than we were at the time. I'm incredibly grateful for the sacrifices made by those fighting so that we could have a better future.

GetKnitted · 29/10/2018 22:40

Grateful for the stretcher bearers running out unarmed and defenceless to take wounded soldiers from the battlefield

Noqont · 29/10/2018 23:14

I'm grateful to all of those who fought for our freedom.

JC4PMPLZ · 30/10/2018 08:22

I feel nothing but pity for those who fought in that war. Even today, most people could not say what it was for and just assume somehow plucky GB fought for freedom. It was about imperilaist carve up and the grab for power as various empires were exhausted. One grandfather of mine suffered shellshock after eagerly signing up as a boy. It affected
him badly his whole life long. My other grandfather was interned as an enemy alien, because he was a 'hun', even though he had campaigned gaianst the Kaiser and was here because he hated the German regime, He was lucky. Some were deported on ships that were torpedoed. It was thought he had been killed, because no news was sent through for weeks, So no, no sentiment. No gratitude about the war to end all wars, when there was another one 13 years later. Just a comittment to fight unjust war.

CraicMammy · 30/10/2018 08:33

I am sad that those Irish members of my family who gave their lives in WW1 fighting for the British are not remembered or memorialised by the British. Their lives were of equal value, their lose equally felt.

tierraJ · 30/10/2018 09:03

I'm grateful that my great grandmother Lily joined the Woman's Army Corp & served in France in 1918 doing admin & cooking for the troops, because that's how she met my great grandfather Charles!!

He was also serving in France, they fell in love & got married.

She was a poor weaver from Manchester who left school as a child, he was a richer older man from Norfolk- if it wasn't for ww1 they would never have met.

user1497863568 · 30/10/2018 09:54

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ginghamstarfish · 30/10/2018 10:01

I'm grateful for all those ordinary men and women who did their 'duty' to fight for their country or serve in other ways. Going to war was not their decision, but they stepped up as did those in other countries. Pity it's never the politicians and generals on the front line.

raeray · 30/10/2018 10:06

For brave regular humans going about their daily lives to suddenly have to go to fight a war is unimaginable.
For those who lost their lives and for the families that lost loved ones.

I will wear my poppy with pride.

ohlittlepea · 30/10/2018 11:08

My great grandma's first husband died at the battle of the Somme. A young Lance Corporal, I can only imagine what he went through. I am grateful to him and the many others who fought alongside him for our freedom. I'm grateful for freedom of speech and a free press. I'm grateful for an education system that encourages children to question and have their own political and religious views. My Dad carries the name of Jack in memory of him. He always tells us of visiting his grandma as a child and her often saying how very very grateful she was that in the second world war her son's returned safely. She always said 'My boys came home! My boys came home!' As a mother that really speaks to me and reminds me of the sacrifices so many made. Thank you.

UtterlyDesperate · 30/10/2018 11:29

I'm grateful for all those who fought to keep the UK free, and who fought to keep elsewhere in Europe free also. My great grandparents fought throughout the Middle East and Europe during WW1. My paternal GGF was institutionalised from 1919 until his death, aged 97, in 1957. He was above the age for conscription and in a reserved occupation, but he believed that everyone should value and stand up for freedom. He paid for our freedom with his mind.

frogsoup · 30/10/2018 11:42

But the first world war wasn't fought to keep Europe free! I've looked on the RBL page for the contributions made by WW1 veterans. I think it's great we have wrist watches, and various incidental benefits of war such as greater roles for women. But I think the key thing we should be remembering about WW1 is how millions of men went to miserable painful deaths because they were sent there by incompetent fools. The glorification of 'sacrifice' by organisations like the RBL is actually incredibly distasteful.

I think it's rather timely that Blackadder goes forth is being reshown on the BBC right now. Blackadder: 'The guns have stopped because we are about to attack. Not even our generals are mad enough to shell their own men. They feel it's more sporting to let the Germans do it.'

sharond101 · 30/10/2018 11:44

I am grateful for their courage and bravery as without them my family would not be as privileged.

Helmetbymidnight · 30/10/2018 11:58

I'm not sure if grateful is the right word.

I feel huge and tremendous respect for those who suffered in the most terrible ways during the First World War and of course those in their millions who didn't come back home.

It was a horrible, horrible war that destroyed a generation of young people.

There were incredible developments in medicine, technology, transport, science, etc, made because of the war, and it produced some remarkable poetry, art, music and novels. We saw a massive shift in understanding of what women were capable of, leading to the women's vote, and a hastening of the break-down of class hierarchies, and a change in the balance of power in Europe, leading to fall of empires, but that's to try and look on the bright side: it was mostly a war of tragic, heart-breaking waste.

UtterlyDesperate · 30/10/2018 12:16

frogsoup the trouble is, what "everyone knows" about WW1 is largely incorrect, mainly down to the influence of things like Blackadder Goes Forth (although it is good entertainment). And people like my GGF absolutely did believe it was about freedom - about not allowing Europe to fall under the imperial yoke of the Kaiser.

Helmetbymidnight · 30/10/2018 12:25

I don't think saying 'what everyone knows' is largely incorrect makes sense.

What do you think we know, and what is it you know better?


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frogsoup · 30/10/2018 12:48

What soldiers believed about what they were doing is neither here nor there. And if you think ww1 was fundamentally about freedom, I suggest you reread any GCSE textbook. Fundamentally, I find it both bizarre and distasteful to trumpet the amazing benefits of ww1 (wristwatches, wtf!) while neglecting to mention the millions who died in terror and misery because the leaders of countries thought that the wholesale slaughter of young men was an acceptable price to pay for furthering territorial ambitions.

DioneTheDiabolist · 30/10/2018 13:40

I am grateful to them for teaching me to never trust what the government and media tell you when it comes to "the enemy". They lost their lives fighting for the greed of the powerful and wealthy. I learned the lesson they taught me and I am teaching it to my children.

Lulabellx1 · 30/10/2018 14:04

I am thankful to all those who fought and lost in the fight for our freedom. We will never endure what they have had to endure for our futures.

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