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The British Private Ryans

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
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    Stirling, Scotland
    This rings a bell, unless I'm thinking of another story?
    "At the heart of the Hollywood epic Saving Private Ryan is a fictional family torn apart when four young brothers marched to war only for one to return home to his mother.
    But this nightmare was a reality for one tragic British soldier who was grabbed from the First World War trenches on the Queen's demands after his five older siblings were all killed in action.
    Wilfred Smith, 20, from County Durham, was returned to his bereft mother Margaret in 1918, who had already received five heart-wrenching telegrams informing her that her sons had died in the space of two years.
    Mrs Smith, from Barnard Castle, lost children Robert, 22, George Henry, 26 in 1916, John William Stout, 37, and Frederick, 21, in 1917, and later Alfred, 30, in 1918.
    After desperately telling friends: 'Don't have boys, they just grow up to be cannon-fodder,' her concerned loved-ones eventually begged the royal family to help return her youngest son to Britain safely.
    The local vicar's wife decided to write to Queen Mary asking for her to intervene and get Mrs Smith's only surviving son sent back home.
    Incredibly the Queen made sure that Margaret would not lose another son.
    In an astonishing letter from Buckingham Palace, the Queen's Private Secretary sent her sympathy and pledged to rescue Wilfred.
    'I am commanded by the Queen to thank you for your letter and to request you to be good enough to convey to Mr and Mrs Smith an expression of her majesty’s deep sympathy with them in the sad losses they have sustained by the death of their five sons'.
    The letter added that her remarks were sent to the body who would action his removal."
    Slipdigit likes this.
  2. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

    Sep 25, 2011
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    Nice ending to a sad story.

    I hope if they make a movie about it is is better than Saving Private Ryan
  3. LG'96

    LG'96 New Member

    Dec 14, 2013
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    The British have been quite Ignored sadly.

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