About this Blog

Playing Soldier circa 1907

Postcard: Star Series: published by G.D.&D. London. Shared on Flickr Creative Commons by Pellethepoet

I am questing  for some answers. And that suggests something is missing. There a gap in my knowledge when it comes to history, one I purposely created myself . My first post explains why. I’m trusting TV documentaries to fill me in about the official big picture, what I’m pursuing  is a  human connection through a man and a time I do not know.

It’s been one hundred years since the Great War – I know why everyone thought my grandfather went to war –For King and Country. But isn’t that a cliche answer — the one they used on enlistment posters. Does anyone believe that now we’ve had a century to look back over the circumstances? Did they even believe it then?

I’m taking on a research and learning journey using my grandfather as a conduit and hoping to get to know him on the way. I think I’m trying to find out:

  • Who did you have to be to sign up and sail away to fight?
  • And who did you become?

I’m searching through personal memories and collective memories, stories and history, documents and photos. Each source is quite different,  all  of them unreliable to some degree — open to interpretation, exaggeration, idealization. I’m finding my skills unreliable at times too, but the process is absolutely fascinating.

Wish me luck!

 … history does not exist, all we’ve got is the fossilised remnants of history in the present. We string them together in our minds as a dream-like narrative that’s not real.             Shaun Tan

2 thoughts on “About this Blog

  1. Anne Connor

    HI Cathy, good luck on your journey of researching and getting to know your grandfather. Yes, I know, the line ‘For King and country,’ is at the forefront as to the reasons why men and many boys signed up for WW1. My sense is that the lure of travel and adventure was instrumental in the enlisting. They didn’t know what was in front of them. How could they?

    In my research in to WW2, I found the website Trove helpful. As my journey is the Australian one, the Australian War Memorial in Canberra shone a light on the times. Is there an equivalent in Canada? No doubt, your rigorous research skills would have covered that one.

    I look forward to reading your blog. All the best Anne Connor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Catherine Hainstock Post author

      Thanks Anne, the answer to ‘why’ is never a simple one and that has been strongly reinforced as I continued to work on this project.
      Trove is so appropriately named -it is a treasure trove – sadly Canada has nothing that even comes close. Digitisation of historical newspapers is very fragmented and much of it is behind paywalls. We are so lucky here in Australia.
      Thanks for dropping by and all the best to you too!



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