1. Things you need to know about the new ‘Conversations’ PM system:

    a) DO NOT REPLY TO THE NOTIFICATION EMAIL! I get them, not the intended recipient. I get a lot of them and I do not want them! It is just a notification, log into the site and reply from there.

    b) To delete old conversations use the ‘Leave conversation’ option. This is just delete by another name.
    Dismiss Notice

People you’ve known or met who could remember furthest back in history.

Discussion in 'off topic' started by TheDecameron, Sep 28, 2021.

  1. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    My maternal grandparents were born in 1901, my paternal grandfather in 1892 though he had died before I was born. When I was 17 I was stuck in hospital for months and most of the patients (an adult ward) were elderly men, some at the end of their life.

    Their stories were fascinating, particularly one man who had survived the trenches as a teenage scout in the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1916 reporting directly to the Battalion Commander, one Winston Churchill. He said that on at least one occasion Churchill had gone out with them at night into no man’s land. Others could remember grim poverty as miners in the same era- one on land owned by the Duke of Hamilton who had a cutting made so that miners couldn’t be seen from the windows of the colossal Hamilton Palace.
    Le Baron likes this.
  2. JensenHealey

    JensenHealey pfm Member

    My Maternal Grandmother, born just before the end of the 19th C, talked of going to school a few miles away by dog cart. Even my mother, her daughter, remembers the steam thresher coming to the farm at harvest time.

    My Paternal Grandfather had stories of his 1st World War time in the Balkans - fighting with bayonets fixed. He was under age too - and was injured/invalided out after a second go.
  3. Barrymagrec

    Barrymagrec pfm Member

    Both my Grandfathers were born before the turn of the century and fought in the first world war, sadly they both died relatively young and I was too not old enough to be told stories or ask questions.

    I could have asked my father, who died last year at 96, about his time in the Middle East and Greece towards the end of the second world war but he never seemed keen to say much except about annoying officers.
  4. alanbeeb

    alanbeeb pfm Member

    My maternal grandfather was in the first world war and was gassed, suffered respiratory problems for the rest of his life The only thing he ever mentioned about it was the smell of dead horses everywhere.
    My grandmother (his wife) was born in 1901 and told me about her childhood before WWI. Three of her brothers died in the same night - not sure now if it was diptheria or TB.
    hifinutt likes this.
  5. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    My grandparent are probably the ones who reached back the longest into the past. But, alas, I never really asked them much about that and they died when I was young. Fortunately I did ask my parents, and indeed, recorded them. e.g

    has info and recordings from my Dad. He was born in 1904. Joined the army to get away from a brutal stepfather. Served in India, Ireland, etc. Not yet processed the ones from Mum.

    My materal grandfather was in WW1 and was gassed, but would never say anything about the war. I only learned about it after he died.
  6. Bob McC

    Bob McC Living the life of Riley

    All my grandparents were born in the 19th century.
    My maternal grandmother was born in the early 1890s.
    The youngest of 13 she was given away to another family.
    she lived with my parents until her death.
    My maternal grandfather died before I was born as did my paternal grandfather.
    My paternal grandmother made the best peas pudding in the world.
    I was an 18 year old pall bearers at her funeral in a very cold Newmilns in Ayrshire.
  7. mjw

    mjw pfm Member

    My maternal grandfather was born in 1881. His wife died giving birth to their child, along with the child.
    He was a joiner so when he volunteered in WW1 he was set to work constructing props for the undermining of the German lines at Messines etc. - think Birdsong. The props had to be capable of being assembled without attracting attention by hammering.
    Later he got his Blighty wound in the legs and survived the war.
    He then met and married my grandma and they had a boy, twin girls then my mum who is now 91.
    Jack Ward died in 1964 when I was 8, obviously too young to have meaningful conversations with him. My uncle Joe, with whom he lived toward the end of his life told me later that he wasn’t reluctant to speak of the war but would get a bit weepy and say, “they were just young lads” - grandad was almost twice their age.
    Grandma, although 20 years younger than him died not long after him.
  8. narabdela

    narabdela who?

    I have childhood memories of one of my great-grandfathers who died in the 1950s.

    I've just checked the family history and found that he was born in 1865.
    Le Baron likes this.
  9. Wolfmancatsup

    Wolfmancatsup Empire State Human

    Apologies for briefly derailing the thread, but I find this clip fascinating. I was one year old when this was broadcast so there is a sort of overlap between this chap’s life and mine even though I never met him:-

    As you were!

    NotOneIota, myles and narabdela like this.
  10. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    My maternal grandfather was born around the turn of the century and was an engineer/electrician. He installed the first electrical systems in the local theatre and fridges in the Ice Cream Parlours. As consequence of his skills, they were an artisan family they had cars before the WW2 which was far from the norm. Stories were recalled about trips to the West Country before WW2 from East Anglia where some hills were so steep that they had to go up in reverse as the car, fully laden, couldn’t manage in first gear.

    He also ran a garage before WW2 and I can remember a conversation with him in the 1960’s where he was very scathing of so called ‘mechanics’ who he dismissed as mere fitters; a distinction I didn’t understand as a child. A mechanic in his world knew how to make the part the engine needed, not just fit it. He instilled certain practices regarding cars to all his daughters; always carry water, a tow rope and a blanket which was not bad advice. He always had interesting cars and the last one I remember him having was a Renault Dauphine.
  11. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    My paternal grandfather was born in 1884. He served in WW1 from 1914 to 1918, including the Marne and Verdun, and lived - but wasn't so keen about telling the tale. He died when I was 12, so I remember him quite well. Tough old chap, who was still working his farm and riding his bicycle well into his 80s. Although his formal education was quite short (he probably left school aged 14), his handwriting was beautiful (impeccable spelling, too). I used to be fascinated by the way he always brought his own folding knife to cut his meat at our table: our knives were useless, only good for city people. He also had a neat trick of popping out his dentures to scare us kids.

    I recently found a photograph of him taken at the end of 1914 during a relative lull in the fighting. He was in the artillery, and the picture is of the gun crew taking a break from sawing firewood. They are wearing authentic fatigues rumpled just so, they all sport glorious mustaches & beards and generally look very hip - would not seem out of place in a vegan eatery in Shoreditch.
    darrenyeats, narabdela and Le Baron like this.
  12. TheDecameron

    TheDecameron Unicorns fart glitter.

    People who had long lives that straddled very different periods are fascinating. Pablo Casals played for Queen Victoria and President Kennedy.

    The man who had an affair with Mahler’s wife designed the Pan Am building in New York.
    eternumviti likes this.
  13. Tantris

    Tantris pfm Member

    My paternal grandfather was in the Royal Navy during WW1, and was in HMS Russell when she sank after hitting a mine off the coast of Malta. Apparently he returned to the sinking ship to rescue one the ship's boys. After the war, he was a tram conductor in Belfast. He died before I was born, but his RN manual of seamanship was a book I frequently read when I was growing up. My maternal grandfather was a minister who baptised me, and I still have several of his books. At university, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to use his copy of Frazer's Folklore in the Old Testament as a reference for one of my dissertations. Important to keep the flame alive.
  14. tones

    tones Tones deaf

    My maternal grandparents were both born in the late Victorian era. My grandfather had a miserable home life and ran away and joined the Royal Navy as a Boy, lying about his age (Boys were admitted at 14, he was 12) - Granny always had to remember that his naval age was two years older than his real age when filling in the pension papers. He sailed through both World Wars, dying of a heart condition only months after the end of the second.

    Granny, a bitter old Prod with red hair and a temper to match, grew up in an Ireland that was still one country, but in which things were coming slowly to the boil. She grew up on the Shankill and went to work in a mill that was equidistant between the Shankill and the Catholic/Nationalist Falls (in places, the two are only 400 M apart). In the days leading up to the passing of the Home Rule Bill and Covenant signing in 1912, there was increasing bitterness between the two sides, and the Catholic girls at the mill would shout "Oul' Orange cat!" at her, to which she would tactfully reply "lift the Orange cat's tail and kiss it's a**e!" She would still say of anyone with dark hair and swarthy complexion, "Yon's awful Fenian-looking", and the very mention of the possibility of being ruled from Dublin would cause a major explosion, and out would come all the old standards . not an inch, Home Rule is Rome Rule, etc. I wonder whether she would survive the present Northern Ireland without having a stroke.
  15. PsB

    PsB Citizen of Nowhere™

    Bruno Walter, Mahler's assistant conductor in the late 19th century in Hamburg, was still conducting and recording in the late 50s/early 60s. There can't be that many conductors of the 2nd half of the 20th C. with such a direct connection to Mahler.
  16. tones

    tones Tones deaf

    But everyone had an affair with Mahler's wife:

    k90tour, martin clark and molee like this.
  17. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    My maternal grandfather, whom I knew well, knew Lawrence of Arabia. He was born in the late 19c and commissioned into the London Irish Rifles at the start of WW1 ( I don't know why because he wasn't Irish) and served in Greece, Egypt and Mesopotamia. His father had been a bank official in Cairo before the war and my grandfather had learnt street Arabic while they were living there. He, along with anyone else who had admitted to knowing Arabic, was 'volunteered' to be a junior liaison officer under T. E. Lawrence. My grandfather told me he bought a motorbike off Lawrence but I don't think it was a Brough Superior.

    I have a photograph of my grandfather and some of his fellow officers with Lawrence taking tea in the gardens of a posh Cairo hotel. I'll scan it and post it here if I can find it.
    Snufkin likes this.
  18. blossomchris

    blossomchris I feel better than James Brown

    My mother was told numerous stories from Napoleon, Socrates and God, mind you she was a spiritualist
  19. Le Baron

    Le Baron Well-Known Member

    Most of you fellows seem to be somewhat older than me. My grandfather, who died aged 94, was only born during the first war. However he did meet some some notable older people, including Gandhi who visited the cotton mills in Lancashire where he (grandad, not Gandhi) was a machine 'engineer'...that is he fixed them.

    Two of the oldest man I've met were one called 'Mr Dainty' who was 92 in 1979 and told lots of stories. My brother recorded some of his chit-chat on a portable mono cassette machine. He was also a bit of a perv towards my mother. The other was a student of both Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell in the 20s called Professor Wolf Mayes.
  20. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    One of my Grans born in the 19thC in the USA, spent WW1 registered as an alien in Birmingham before the US joined in and then road a motorcycle around as an insurance saleswoman - adventurous in those days

Share This Page


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice