For Remembrance Day 2021, I am sure that everyone has their own story of heroic family members who served during the 1st world war. Today we want to tell you the story of Matthew Lester’s ancestor, Albert Edward Lester. He was 2nd Lieutenant in the British Army, 13th Battalion London Regiment.
World War One was one of the deadliest conflicts in the history of the human race, in which over 16 million people died. The total number of both civilian and military casualties is estimated at around 37 million people. The war killed almost 7 million civilians and 10 million military personnel. The largest battle of World War 1 was called “The Battle of the Somme” and it is known as one of the bloodiest battles in history. It was fought by the French and British against the Germans on both sides of the River Somme in France and lasted for more than five months. Over a million men were killed or wounded during this battle, and it was the first time that a tank was used in combat.
Great Uncle Albert joined the City of London Regiment in October 1914 as a Sargeant. He was posted to Gallipoli, Egypt & France before becoming an Officer in 1916. He was twice mentioned in despatches before being awarded a Military Cross. This was awarded for “for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when in command of a raiding party”.
Sadly, at the young age of 22 he was reported wounded and missing, after leading a raid, overcoming the enemy with his expert leadership and saving many lives in the process. He had been at war since he was 18 years old.
If you think about how young and brave the men were, and how we are all still here today due to their sacrifice, it is pretty amazing. I hope that everyone will continue to share their stories and honour the soldiers on Remembrance Day and this Remembrance Sunday.
What was it like in the trenches?
- 5am ‘Stand-to’ (short for ‘Stand-to-Arms’, meaning to be on high-alert for enemy attack) half an hour before daylight
- 5.30am Rum ration
- 6am Stand-down half an hour after daylight
- 7am Breakfast (usually bacon and tea)
- After 8am Clean selves and weapons, tidy trench
- Noon Dinner
- After dinner Sleep and downtime
- 5pm Tea
- 6pm Stand-to half an hour before dusk
- 6.30pm Stand-down half an hour after dusk
- 6.30pm onwards Work all night with some time for rest (patrols, digging trenches, putting up barbed wire, getting stores)
Soldiers only got to sleep in the afternoon during daylight and at night for an hour at a time. During rest time they wrote letters and played card games.
Remembrance Day 2021- hear more stories from the team about relatives who have served in varying conflicts by clicking here