Follow one crying eye on


Last night I attended a Concert of Remembrance in Richmond. It was a lovely event in a beautiful church I had never previously noticed before, despite having gone past it on the bus many times over the years.

The music was perfect for a thoughtful autumnal evening. I am particularly partial to Fauré’s Requiem and also his Cantique de Jean Racine, and there were many other pieces which encouraged quiet reflection.

Before leaving home, I had spent a couple of hours playing on I have an extensive family tree which I have pieced together on Ancestry over the past three years, with spurts of activity when other pastimes are in abeyance. I was keen to ascertain how many of my own ancestors had lost their lives in war. The most likely place to find such sad facts is in military records of World War 1. I can’t vouch for other wars, although nothing I have found in my searchings has suggested any other wars have claimed my family members, but in the Great War two of my great-uncles and two of my great-great uncles died.

Maurice Dancey 1888-1914 (great-great-uncle) 

George Dancey 1882-1917 (great-great-uncle)

Hubert James Cook 1892-1917 (my paternal grandfather’s eldest brother)

William John Francis – 1888-1918 (my maternal grandfather’s eldest brother)

It is not surprising to find this number of young ancestors cut down in their prime. So many of that generation went missing. What is particularly moving is that the first three names above were my great-grandmother Elizabeth Cook’s two youngest brothers and her eldest son.

I thought of these men, unknown to me and indeed to my parents, as I sat in the church listening to wonderful music. 

No tears, even behind the mask, but solemn reflection.

(And it took me a while to put that mask on – I was so hot! I had arrived, trotting from the train station and all wrapped up expecting the church to be as cold as our singing location on a Monday morning. I was wrong – they have new-fangled heating and I had to shed a few layers before I was cool enough to put the mask back on. I promise I didn’t breathe much until then…)

Follow one crying eye on