If you had an old trunk passed down to you and it started ticking, what would you do?
“It started ticking, which I thought was quite spooky, because I thought he was perhaps up there sort of looking down on me saying: Carry on doing this.” -Graham told Caters Clips
71-year-old Graham Underwood, from Wellingborough, was bequeathed with an unusual heirloom – a trunk full of his grandfather’s memorabilia dating back from the First World War.
The First World War, or The Great War, is an international conflict that embroiled almost all of Europe along with Russia, the United States, and even as far as the Middle East. The gruesome war was fought from 1914 – 1918 and fought over different fronts including France, Belgium, Prussia, and the Caucasus.
Men and women were called to serve and such was Fred Deighton, Graham’s grandfather, who would serve in various fronts including the hard-fought Somme and the Passchendaele.
He served under the Royal Army Medical Corps, which would have placed him in the position of preserving life amidst the seemingly unending death toll.
“He is very funny, really. He was a little man and he always had a very good sense of humor.” -Graham told Caters Clips
Although Fred never spoke about his experiences, he left Graham a very rare glimpse of the life he has lived when he left him a box full of photographs, letters, and trinkets after he died in 1976.
It was only 30 years later that Graham finally had the chance to reveal the contents and piece the wartime stories of his grandfather.
As a member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, Fred left Graham with a bandage that was over a hundred years old. The item was wrapped in paper that was stained by age, but still contained the instructions on how to use it.
Along with the bandage were pictures of him with his friends that served with him, personal photographs with people who were close to him, and trinkets like a pair of binoculars that was rusting and a bit chipped up.
Graham’s personal favorite, though, might be the same thing that creeped him out.
Through all these years, his grandfather’s pocket watch is still ticking, counting the years that have passed tucked away inside a box.
As he recounted, Graham mentioned that his grandfather was a stretcher bearer who served on various fronts in Europe. He was shot in the head during one of the battles which Graham didn’t realize until he got his grandfather’s army records.
It was not the end for Fred, because after he recuperated, he went back to the front once more.
Graham has always been fascinated with history but his grandfather’s heirloom gave him an intimate connection to one of the most pivotal moments in history.
While the Great War was a hundred years behind him, Graham was treated to a rare glimpse, following the footsteps of a soldier who started from the United Kingdom and ended up as far as Germany.
The box was not only a mere collection of trinkets but a memory of a hero and the event that turned him into one.
Watch how Graham recounted the life of his grandfather and what the box meant to him through the video below.
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