Lest We Forget: Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge

My cousin Simon (Hamish’s brother) stopped at the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge on his way back home from North Uist (outer Hebrides) in late August. He took the photographs below that includes the following plaque remembering those who died during Operation Herrick in Afghanistan, which lists my nephew Sam Alexander (see Wiki entry):

Continue reading “Lest We Forget: Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge”

First World War sculpture unveiled in Trafalgar Square

live on poppyI went to Trafalgar Square today with my sister Serena. It was a very surreal and moving event as she was unveiling the Every Man Remembered sculpture with the artist Mark Humphrey. She was a Legion beneficiary after her son Sam (my nephew) was killed on patrol in Afghanistan having been awarded the Military Cross (MC).

Continue reading “First World War sculpture unveiled in Trafalgar Square”

Lt. Col. Horace Augustus Kirby, D.S.0., M.C.


Here’s a little snippet to accompany my WW1 Revisted post. Augustus George Kirby (1847-1926) was my great great great uncle. I found a record for his son Horace Augustus on the Army List July-December 1940 under Lieutenant Colonels. It shows that he was awarded both the Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross. I’m not sure when he was awarded the MC, but he is listed in the London Gazette on 3 June, 1918 as having been awarded the DSO as a Major with in the Royal Garrison Artillery. I found a few other bits like his attendance at a funeral and mention in probate announcement, but nothing much else.

WW1 Revisited

Lieut. Norman Birtwistle
Lieut. Norman Birtwistle

Few things have prompted this post. Firstly, it seems like that the cavalry sword of my great uncle Norman Birtwistle has been found (more on this soon). Looks like my sister Serena will be helping launch some new Royal British Legion campaign, and also I found this blog on Great War from one of my Pawle relatives. Lastly, it doesn’t seem like my children are studying WW1, so I thought I put this post together for them given the 100th Anniversary.  Continue reading “WW1 Revisited”

A poem for Sam and Claire on their wedding day

A poem written and read by my mother Angela at the wedding of my nephew Sam to Claire in 2009. He was awarded the MC the following year and they had a baby boy together called Leo. Earlier this year he was tragically killed in Afghanistan. I have lots of other material to add about Sam, including his entry in the Clan Maitland year book. In the meantime, you can read the poem his mother and my sister Serena wrote and read at his funeral here. Continue reading “A poem for Sam and Claire on their wedding day”

Marine Sam Alexander’s death announced

Marine Sam Alexander receiving MC from The Queen

News of my nephew Sam Alexander’s death was announced today with reports on the BBC and The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Express, The Mirror, The Sun, The Independentand many more. His father Stuart Alexander paid tribute to Sam but also questioned the UK’s Afghan Role, which was published on the front page of The Independent (Was my son’s death in Afghanistan a price worth paying?). The story was picked up by the BBC and The Telegraph among others. My sister has sent through the tributes from his family and army put together by the MoD, and I have included it below. I’d like to remember happier times so have included a photo of the Kirby and Alexander Clans at his wedding together with a poem my mother wrote for the occasion. Continue reading “Marine Sam Alexander’s death announced”

RIP Sam Alexander 1982-2011

Sam Alexander 1982-2011

Sad news, my nephew Sam Alexander was killed in Afghanistan yesterday. He’s one of the unnamed marines mentioned in the BBC’s Afghanistan blast kills Royal Marines report. He’d been awarded the MC for bravery back in 2009, as reported in The Independent,  ‘Military Cross for Marine who charged at Taliban‘. They reported earlier that year how he’d rescued ambushed comrades after having been shot in the head,  ‘Marine saves unit after bullet in head‘. There had been other accounts in the press about the incident, including one by his father Stuart Alexander, The Independent’s sailing correspondent, who described life with a son at war, ‘I wait by the phone around the clock for news of Sam‘.  RIP brave lad and nephew. All our love to your family.

Oswald Ostmaston MC

Oswald Camplyon Hutchinson Osmaston

As mentioned earlier, I’ve been leafing through a scrap book of my great great aunt Agnes Fox. It’s full of clippings of those that died in WW1 and many seem to be relations. There’s one for Oswald Camplyon Hutchinson Osmaston, who received the Military Cross in WW1. He was the grandson of Agnes’ uncle John Osmaston, the son of my ancestor Francis Wright of Osmaston Manor. I think the following is from the London Gazette, July 1917: Continue reading “Oswald Ostmaston MC”

More family medals and awards

My sister has correctly informed me that her son Sam (see Military Cross for Marine who charged at Taliban) and our great uncle Norman Birtwistle (Lieut. ;119th ‘Queen Alexandra’s Own Royal’ Hussars) are not only members of the family to win MC. Norman’s brother Albert E. Birtwistle 1894 – 1973 was also awarded MC but I can’t find reference. His other brother (Major) William aka ‘Bertie’ (210th Brigade Royal Field Artillery) was awarded the DSO. Our great uncle (Lieut.) Cyril Marwood (301st Bty., B.F.A.) was also awarded MC in WW1. He’s the brother of our mother’s mother.

She’d also found some Kirby’s who had been decorated, but I’m sure how we are related: we seem to be the only Kirby branch left as far as male descendants of George Goldsmith Kirby are concerned and although we haven’t had it confirmed yet is only other sibling was a sister. Continue reading “More family medals and awards”