A BILSTON FAMILY IN THE 20TH CENTURY
Two World Wars had a tremendous effect on my family. Like everyone else we lost family members to the armed forces and we suffered the hardships of the home front. And several family members did not survive. Sadly I do not have photos of these heroic men, only one of a family member who survived.
Valentine Burke was a professional soldier in the Grenadier Guards. He rose through the ranks and at the outbreak of World War I was a Company Quarter Master Sergeant and later he became a Company Sergeant Major. He was awarded the Military Medal. He was killed on Tuesday, 31st July, 1917, aged 33, in the Battle of the Ypres Salient. I still have his campaign medals and the silver cup he won for shooting in 1913. But his Military Medal has gone. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, at Ieper in Belgium.
Thomas Johnson, my mother's brother and my uncle, was a private in the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment. He was killed on Thursday,16th August 1917. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, at Zonnebeke in Belgium.
Michael Kiely was a seaman in the Royal Naval Reserve on H.M.S. Euryalus. He died on Tuesday, 27th April 1915. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial on Plymouth Hoe.
|George Taylor, my father's brother and my uncle, was killed at Anzio in World War II. This is his grave||Frank Kiely, my brother-in-law, was in the Royal Navy in World War II.|
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