Remembrance Sunday reflections

Charles Homer Bosworth was my great grandfather. In his face, I can see my Dad, my Uncle Bob, my Uncle Peter. My Dad was called after him. Known as Homer, he lived in Codford in Wiltshire. Born in 1888, he served in the First World War and gets a mention in the Codford Roll of Honour:

Charles Homer Bosworth served in the British Army during World War 1 and spent time in Russia as part of his service.

Until last year, that was as much as my sister and I and our cousins knew about his first World War Service. Then we got in touch with our Dad’s cousin in the US and he was able to tell us some more details. Apparently, Homer’s time in Russia involved being captured by the Bolsheviks and held in a cattle train car. Thankfully, he and his colleagues managed to escape, otherwise I would not be here today.

Homer continued to serve this country, joining the RAF. By the time World War 2 broke out, he was 51 years old and could have retired. Just two weeks in, he was one of 519 people killed after HMS Courageous was torpedoed off the course of Ireland.

From the Codford Roll of Honour again:

The Royal Air Force Muster Roll for 1918 records a C. H. Bosworth, Rigger (Aero) with the New Rank from Air Mechanic 2 to Air Mechanic 3 from 1/2/1918.

Charles Homer Bosworth, while serving with R.A.F., was posted to Egypt for 3 years.

When World War 2 was declared, Homer Bosworth was serving on H.M.S. Courageous with the rank of Flight Sergeant, in charge of a Maintenance Crew and was about to retire after 20 years service. He was among the R.A.F. personnel seconded to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and was part of the ship’s compliment aboard H.M.S. Courageous.

Flight Sergeant (237295) Charles Homer Bosworth was serving aboard H.M.S. Courageous when she was torpedoed and sank on 17th September, 1939 by German U-Boat 29. He was one of around 518 crew members that did not survive & was aged 51 years.

I know that my Grandma felt the impact of losing her Dad at such a young age, at just 19. Her younger sister, my Aunt Doreen, was just 18. She also lost her fiance later on in the war. She married an American serviceman and moved to Iowa, and her son is the cousin who told us about the Russian episode.

So many families have stories like this to tell.  Remembrance Sunday gives us a chance to reflect on those who lost their lives in conflict,  and to remember  those who have suffered life-changing physical and mental injury as a result of their service.  It’s a day to think about the impact of every single loss to a family, to friends, to their communities.

We also need to reflect on how we treat those who have been through armed combat and survived. The effect of that trauma, even if they suffer no physical injury, can be profound and long-lasting. It can permanently alter personality and capability. We need to make sure that we offer support to people in the way in which they can best receive it and in a way that works for them.

Please use the comments to tell the stories of family members, or people close to you,  who were killed or injured in war.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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2 Comments

  • Jayne mansfield 10th Nov '19 - 12:59pm

    As the biological daughter of a WAAF and a member of the Australian airforce based in Lincolnshire during the second world war, I am grateful for the ‘live today tomorrow you may die ‘ philosophy.

    My adoptive parents lost many relatives in the first and second world war, but given that I was born in 1945, I only heard them mentioned by family members and knew none of them.

    I wear my poppy to show my support for all those families who lost loved ones. I also make sure that every year I share the facebook image of those non `Brits who were also prepared to defend us, some losing their lives.

    There are the Polish airmen with the caption-

    ‘ Bloody Poles coming over here and saving our women and children.

    Or the image with the caption-

    ‘Muslim, Hindu and Sikh spitfire pilots defended Britain from the Nazis …. it’s their poppy too!”

    We should remember them all. We had reason to thank them in the past, and as is all too obvious from my visit last night to an Accident and Emergency department where a close relative was treated by doctors and nurses of different religions from across the globe, and this morning, the Polish pharmacist, who at the time when my family would have been paying our respects at a service of remembrance, dispensed essential medicines, we have reason to thank them now.

    We musn’t let them down in the current culture war. They didn’t let us down.

  • Strange thing about hero’s my Dad said the only one he knew was the man who dropped with the Parachutists at Normandy and worked his way back to the Beaches to show the assault troops the way. Bit strange really you’d think being part of a Beach Commando and a member of the Reconnaissance Corps he’d have run into lots, but they where part of a team, the man who dropped was alone and that a hero made according to Dad.

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