To celebrate the Free Weekend, we've put together a few of our favourite photos sent in by Findmypast users.
Have a look at the slideshow below for heart wrenching tales of love, loss, sacrifice and bravery.
My father won his RCAF wings during WW2. It seems criminal sending off a newly qualified pilot across the Atlantic in a Martin Marauder, such a notorious killing machine that the Americans forbade their nationals to fly in the early versions of the aircraft. Almost inevitably they went down off Natal (Brazil) and have never been heard of since.
- Anthony Lyman-Dixon
My uncle, Gordon Howard, joined the army in 1942, aged 18. That is how he looked when I first saw him at the end of the war. He was very modest and never spoke of his wartime experience but, as he was only 18 years older than me, he was always my hero, especially when he gave me a ride on the crossbar of his bicycle.
- Verity Leary
The Davies Family
This is my grandfather's brother and family who I found out about while I was stuck with a brick wall in my research and I went down a branch line in the family. He was a life time officer with the Salvation Army as was his whole family. I enclose a photo of them all taken in 1918. One of his daughters became a Commissioner and travelled the world setting up units in Canada, India, Ceylon and other places around the world.
- John Royston Davies
Albert Henry Tuddenham
My Great Uncle Albert Henry Tuddenham went off to fight in WW1. He fought at Gallipoli was sent to Mslra to recover, before eventually being sent to France where he fought and died for his King and Country. He sent beautiful letters to his dear sister, my Grandmother (Eveline). He told her of the horrors of war and begged her not to let my Grandfather join up.
- Jan Shine
John Ernest Moth
My grandfather, John Ernest Moth, died at the Battle of Loos on the 13th of October, 1915, and his death caused the adoption of my father by a friend of his. Before the war, in the 1911 census, he was a bus conductor. I've managed to find a segment of the war diary from the day he died, that describes how John went over the top into machine-gun fire.
- Shirley Moth
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Daniel and Betty Barnett
Daniel, my father, spent the whole of his life in Worcester after leaving Leek. Except for WW2 when he joined up and survived the Battle of Dunkirk, after which he was posted far and wide in Britain with his wife, my mum, Betty Barnett. Even surviving the night of the bombing on Coventry.
- Jackie Hollis
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William Harold Story
My grandfather (back row, wearing the bandolier) was in the RFA. He was taken POW in March 1918 during the last push by the Germans. He was released later that year after the Armistice. He befriended a German soldier whilst a POW and they both survived the conflict. Granddad was a changed man after the war and had many nightmares, my mother told me.
- James Robinson
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Private John Jones was killed in action on 10 July 1916. We found letters and other info in a kitchen roll holder at the back of my mum's wardrobe.
- Karen Smith
The searchlights all over the sky at night were spectacular to watch, until the sirens went: then we ducked down into the shelter. My father was usually the last one down, as he was deaf and stayed outside looking up at the sky, oblivious to the shrapnel falling all around and hitting the shelter roof. We had to shout at him to come down in case he got a lump of it on his head.
- Extract from the diary of Daisy Lengthorn, from her daughter, Brenda Edlington
When my grandfather was reported missing in action, his mother, Mary Ann Patterson suffered a cerebral haemorrhage due to the shock of being informed, and died. When he returned home from Germany, all the letters that he had wrote and sent to his mother arrived all bundled together, so sadly she never got to read them and find out the fate of her son.
- Sid Patterson
George and Elizabeth Brown
My wife and I were engaged on Christmas Eve 1953 while I was in the Royal Air Force, then in 1954 Christmas Eve we were married. At that time Christmas was not as much of a holiday in Scotland, our holiday was New Year. We have been asked many times here in the US, why did you get married on Christmas Eve?
- George Brown
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Frederick James Wellman
On another occasion, when my cousin was young, he remembers going through some old family photos, and asked our granddad, Frederick (pictured here, top right), who that was. Granddad took the photo off my cousin ripped it up and threw it on the fire and said it's my brother and I don't want to talk about him. My aunty thinks the rift was due to granddad's brother George telling the authorities that granddad was under-age in joining up. Could it be, that after seeing the HORRORS of The Trenches, that this was George's way, of trying to stop his brother from joining up?
- Michelle May
William John Broom
My grandfather and some mates came out of the coal mines and signed up in September 1914. In 1918 he was taken to Giessen POW camp in Germany. They recognised the blue marks on his body that coal miners have from coal dust getting into cuts and they sent him to work in the coal mines. He returned home in March 1919 and went back down the coal mines.
- Paul Evans
Tom and Mary
Mary went home that night and instructed her elder brother Charles: "That awful man from the chemist is going on our cruise too. If you see him anywhere near me, don't for goodness sake leave me alone with him!" True to his word, on the cruise brother Charles stuck like glue to his little sister. Only problem was by the time they arrived in Madeira, Mary had discovered that possibly Tom wasn't so bad after all. Then they couldn't get rid of Charles!
- Susan I
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