This is one of the most poignant pieces of family history I possess. A tiny scrap of paper with granny’s beautiful handwriting that somehow survived a few flittings and clearances.

Family dates including call up of three sons
Three sons called up, death of husband and son

The first three lines above are eloquent in their brevity, fitting for this the anniversary of VE Day. Those three boys, Freddie, Walter and Jim, were my granny Walterina’s whole living family, her oldest son died in childhood. I can’t begin to imagine the cost to her and my grandfather John. Fortunately all three came back; not the case for many families. It’s fitting that we commemorate, not celebrate, VE Day and those who gave so much, valuing the freedom from war that Europe has mainly known since then.

The three sons are listed in reverse order of age above, but perhaps in correct order of the impact war had on them.

Freddie Ross, born 18 June 1923, served in France, Belgium and Egypt among other places, with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. Not yet 19 and a half when he was called up, he was in my father’s words “different” after the war.
My father, Walter Ross, born 28 September 1921, was in Canada and India for three of his five years in the RAF, an adventure in many ways for a young man who, like his brothers, had never left Orkney before. A month short of 20 when he left.
Jim Ross, born 26 April 1919. Enlisted on 16 October 1939 so almost immediately war broke out but did not go away until the following spring. Served in the Royal Artillery but was relegated to the Reserves due to poor eyesight, said to be the result of measles as a teenager, possibly also an early sign of MS from which he died aged 34.

Three young men from the Crockness area of Walls, Orkney.

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