A local volunteer has shared her family’s story of World War One following a campaign launched by SSAFA, the Armed Forces campaign to keep the nation’s history alive this Centenary year.
Jane Jennings, a former SSAFA volunteer for Gloucestershire has shared her great Grandfather’s story with the charity after she examined his medals from the First and Second World War.
The mystery deepened, when she realised that her great Grandfather had been 50 years old in 1914 when the First World War broke out. Albert Osborne Hildyard was from an Army family and signed up to serve the Royal Artillery in 1880 and served in the Boer War and was promoted to a Sergeant Major in the Royal Field Artillery.
In November 1914, Albert re-enlisted and was given the honorary rank of Lieutenant an and was promoted temporary Quartermaster, who supervises stores and distributes supplies and provisions. By July 1916, he was Acting Adjutant in the School of Farriery at Aldershot and worked with the commanding officer with unit administration.
In early 1919, Albert was attached to the Royal Army Ordnance Corps as Captain and Quartermaster and was in Calais and Rouen before being demobbed in Rouen in September 1920, aged 56 years old.
Jane’s Grandfather, Albert’s son was awarded the Military Medal in WW1 for bravery in battle and his sister joined and fought with the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in WW2 and was awarded an MBE.
Jane Jennings worked as a SSAFA volunteer caseworker for Gloucestershire for almost thirty years before recently retiring. As a caseworker for SSAFA, Jane visited veterans and their families in the area to provide friendly advice and discuss the support they might need.
Jane joins celebrities including Antony Cotton, Helen McCrory, Joanna Lumley, Dame Kelly Holmes, Fleur East and Dan Snow who shared their family stories and photographs for SSAFA’s WW1 Centenary campaign.
Together, they are now urging everyone in Gloucestershire to do the same, by speaking with older relatives to uncover stories from their own family history as we approach the Centenary of the end of World War One.
SSAFA is appealing for stories to be shared via ssafa.org.uk/world-war-100 or by using the hashtag #WW100 in the hope to receive at least 1,000 family memories by the end of 2018.
SSAFA was the only national Armed Forces charity in operation during World War One. At the outbreak of the war, the Government called on SSAFA to take care of the families of soldiers going to the Front Line. SSAFA was there for our Armed Forces and their families then and is still here for them now.
Justine Baynes, Director at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, says:
“The further we move away from World War One, the more important it is for us to keep the stories of bravery and courage alive to commemorate the 700,000 British soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country.
“It’s wonderful to hear all about Albert Osborne Hildyard and his involvement in the First World War – and we’re incredibly grateful to Jane for sharing her story. SSAFA is now calling on families across the country to share their stories so that they will be forever celebrated and never forgotten.
“SSAFA is the UK’s oldest military charity and was the go-to charity to help Forces families during the Great War. We have been there for our Armed Forces community for over 130 years and will continue to be there for many years to come.”
To find out more about how you can fundraise, volunteer or share your story to support SSAFA, visit ssafa.org.uk/world-war-100
Notes to editors:
SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, has been providing lifelong support to our Forces and their families since 1885. Last year our staff and team of volunteers help more than 73,000 people, from Second World War veterans to young men and women who have served in more recent conflicts.