More Letters from the Front

John Adams SnrRemembrance Sunday is a good day to write this post, inspired by Julia’s post earlier.

A few weeks ago, my brother recently received a package from the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum in Armagh, containing copies of a number of letters written to my great-grandmother, Mary Anne Adams during the Great War. My Dad had donated them to the museum in the 1980s.

We had not seen quite a few of these letters before, and they have helped us fill in some blanks in my grandfather’s experiences of the War, training in Ireland and England, fighting near the Somme in France and Ypres in Belgium, getting wounded (twice – 1916 and 1918) and even working on a farm near Rouen while recuperating from illness.

The letters tell nothing of the fighting, but do indicate what it was like for young men to be away from home for over four years, and illustrated how letters from home were a lifeline. The modern equivalents (email, text, e-blueys) are probably equally important to today’s front-line soldiers.

We’ve been able to update the site with the new letters, and also use other documentary sources to give an idea of where the events happened (reading beyond the “somewhere in France”). Read the whole story on the updated Letters from the Front website.

Bye Bye Bawn

After almost 84 years, the Adams family bid farewell to Hamilton’s Bawn today, with the completion of the sale of my Mum’s house.

My grandfather and grandmother first moved to the village in 1926, my father was born there and lived all his life there, and me and my brothers grew up in the village. My parents built a new bungalow on a greenfield site opposite my grandparent’s house in 1967, moving in in 1968, and lived there for the rest of their lives.

Building Site 1
The house as a building site in 1967

hamilton's bawn
The house in 2010

My grandfather and father were heavily involved in the local branches of the Orange, Black and Masonic orders, they were both founding members of the local Silver Band in 1947 and they had a really strong personal identity with the area.

However my brothers and I all moved away in our late teens and have lost our connection with the village on the death of both our parents. While I am really pleased that we’ve been able to sell the house to a young family and we hope that they’ll be very happy there, the sale breaks that 84-year link between our family and “The Bawn”.

There’s something about our identities that will always mean that we’re from that particular place. We’ve been shaped by it’s history, particularly during the troubled times of the 1970s and 1980s, but also by the history of our family in that small area. The view from the front of the house across to Garvagh Hill is imprinted on my brain and I’ll never ever forget that I’m from “The Bawn”.