The centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, which was supposedly to be the ‘war to end all wars’, was marked across the world in 1914. The years of conflict left no family unscathed. How many of you know what your ancestors were doing at that time? Not only those of them in the armed forces or in nursing but those who remained at home, perhaps on the land or working in munitions.
Along with many other organisations, as the centenary of the war approached The Metcalfe Society initiated a new project to research our ancestors of that time, possibly turning this into a small publication in due course as we are aiming to run this project through until 2018 the centenary of the end of the First World War.
This cannot be done without your help and contributions. What family stories can you let us have? What photographs do you possess that put faces to the information? Work has started on research. This is opening up fascinating areas which need exploring and the more information we have, the clearer the Mecca involvement will be.
Take for instance a small selection of those Meccas awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal:
* Pte J.F. Metcalfe - Being engaged by heavy machine-gun fire from the flank, & his sergeant being killed, he immediately got his Stokes gun into action under very heavy machine-gun & rifle fire, ........ enabled the infantry to round up and capture the remainder
* Sgt J. Metcalf – Showed complete disregard for personal safety & unfailing devotion in rendering first aid to the wounded & organising stretcher parties ..... under an intense gas bombardment.
* CQMS J.W. Metcalf – While in charge of a party carrying rations to his company .... in a shell-hole position close to the enemy, his party suffered severe casualties, but he kept his men together & in spite of all difficulties & heavy fire delivered rations to every post.
* L/Cpl T. Metcalfe – Noticing the furze of a trench mortar bomb burning in the ammunition recess, near to which a party of infantry were standing, he picked up the shell, rushed along the sap leading from the trench, & threw it over the parapet where it immediately exploded..... undoubtedly saved many casualties
We would love to hear from you with information, stories, photographs or images of relevant records, particularly if connected to your own family. The Mecca Muster shows picture boards showing Metcalfes from that time which is a result of the collation and presentation of the clan’s involvement in the conflict. We look forward to hearing from you. Send any information or queries to the WW1 Coordinator (see Contacts).
Although most of the work has been drawn to a close on this project and the information collated into a pamphlet and database, we can still add to the data collected. If you find any stories as your research progresses, do let us know.