Priory Post 39 – Unsung Heroes

Posted: 19th August 2015


Part I of Family Histories from WWI

1914 marks 100 years since the start of World War I.  We have asked people to contribute any family histories they may have from that war to Priory Post.  Whether civilian or military, from any part of the world, the story of each family member is important, the story of ordinary people caught up in traumatic times.

Here we have two accounts.  The first, from the family of Eleanor (Upper IIA) and Caroline (Nursery) Minasian.  Their mother, Dr MacKenzie, reports the following remarkable story from the sea:

‘Eleanor and Caroline’s great-grandfather, Malcolm Mackenzie, was torpedoed twice in World War I.  The submarines didn’t have torpedoes as we know it so they would surface and use the cannon on top to blow ships out of the water.  On both occasions the Germans allowed all on board to get into lifeboats and, once clear, blew up the ships.  An uncle of ours, Hugh, also said that on one of these occasions the German submarine crew told the men in the lifeboats how far they were from Gibraltar’.


The next narrative covers a family history from both sides of the conflict.  Dr Carleton says:  ‘My great-grandfather, Karl, received an Iron Cross Second Class, for being someone senior in the Post Office service in Cologne in World War I.  I have no idea what he did, but I think they handed out these medals in large numbers at that time.  On the English side, both my grandfather, George, and my great-uncle, Frank, served on the western front.  Both made it home intact’.


If you would like to share your family’s history from World War I we would love to hear from you.

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