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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • HIS MASK KEEPS HIM ON THE JOB
 

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Private J.E. McIntosh: WWI

Private J.E. McIntosh: WWI

My grandfather, James Edward McIntosh, 13th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps (with the 5th Division) in his uniform.

At one point, he was declared "missing and presumed killed". He and his men had gone in to collect the wounded in an area that had been previously held by the Germans. There was a shelling and someone reported that they had seen a shell land where my grandfather and his men had been seen walking. It took them three days to get back to their unit and in the meantime, a telegram had been sent to my great-grandmother. My grandfather tried to get a telegram to his mother but there was a "push" on and no personal messages were allowed. It was another few days before he could send a telegram telling his family he was alive and well. View full size.

The 5th Division.

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My Mom

My Mom passed away, at the age of 94, after breaking her hip in a fall in September of 2018.

Mom and the medals

Thanks to Patrick (paddywack), my Mom has had the chance to see and touch her father's WWI medals for the first time.

I am sure that my mother never saw my grandfather's WWI medals while my grandfather was still alive. She never mentioned them and I know she would have if she had seen them. It is entirely possible that my grandfather simply gave them to his parents or one of his sisters and that they ended up in house contents when they died. We'll never know.

I suspect that for my grandfather, who was at Divinity school when war broke out and went on the the ministry, the experience of war was enough. I doubt the medals meant anything beyond a reminder of an experience he would rather not have had. He did his duty, he survived, he moved on.

For us, they are a tangible link to him. It is also a link to a history none of us can really touch.

Like my 2nd great-grandfather's Civil War medals that ended up in a junk store and were bought by a collector, they eventually found their way back to us.

Medals

Patrick and I made contact and he kindly offered me the medals!

The mails being slow as molasses, in January, they are somewhere in transit. I will post when they arrive. It is incredible that I will soon be in possession of two of the few tangible pieces of my grandfather's life.

Strangely, it was serendipity that enabled me to come into possession of my GGGrandfather's (on my Dad's side) Civil War medals, a few years ago, too, after I found that a collector had purchased those at a junk shop. I can't help wonder how both these treasures ended up being discarded/sold. I am just very glad that they ended up in safe hands.

Medals

I only just spotted this post. I sent a message as per tterace's suggestion. I included my email address.

I just hope I am not too late.

J.E. McIntosh medals

I bought a set of medals on eBay recently and when I came across your post I suspect they're your grandfather's. Looking at his medal index card he seems to be the only James E McIntosh in the RAMC. I'd be happy to return them back to you/your family; let me know if you're interested!

[You can try contacting the user directly via the contact form; click the user's name and then the "Contact" tab. -tterrace]

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