July 12, 2005
Nearly 9 decades ago
(Welcome Blackfive readers!)

I was going through a few old documents the other day and came across this piece of history. When I noticed the date of July 12, 1918, I knew that I would have my post piece for my blog that day.

In France, towards the end of WWI, my grandfather - an Irishman - was on the battlefield when a fellow soldier - an Australian - was injured.

In the crude circumstances of the day, they went to a makeshift tent where my Grandad donated a pint of blood for the injured man.

There were no adminstration groups, no formalized procedures, so the Corporal asked for a piece of paper. My Grandad had just a deployment form in his wallet, to which the Corporal wrote:

'This is to certify that on July 12, 1918, JM Webber gave 950cc of his blood to save the life of a wounded comrade'

The rest is hard to read and although I've tried to have it searched by a military researcher some years ago, it would seem to be lost to history.

Joe was just a few months past his 18th birthday. He had already been to Northern Africa and Italy fighting for the British after lying about his age to join the military. He once told the story of this moment and how crude and unsanitary the conditions were but that it was one of his proudest memories to be able to help out the Australian. Nicest bloke, he'd say...still was cracking jokes while his guts were saying hello to the frest night air. My Grandad had a way with words to say the least.

A few months later, it would be him on the receiving end of treatment when he was bayonneted in the stomach. He was left for dead on the battlefield and wasn't found until nearly 36 hours later by some French nuns. They carried him to a field hospital where much of his small intestine and part of his stomach would need to be removed. He was extremely lucky to have made it at all, but would suffer from severe pain the rest of his life. When he died at age 86, it was found to be the scar tissue from that event that eventually kinked and killed him.

I often think I would love to research his military history. I know parts, but not nearly enough. I have a few papers from his time in the war, as well as his stint in the Royal Irish Constabulary. Actually, that's what interests me most. The stories from RIC during 1918-1922 in Cork were fascinating, and tore his family apart. Even to this day, I get nervous talking about 'The Troubles' because it's ingrained in me how disasterous it was to his family and how he never spoke to his parents again because of things that happened during that time.

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.

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Turning thirty and a half
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