Today was to be very different from what many people had planned. So many events had to be cancelled but that wouldn’t stop us remembering those who made the country what it is today.
My grandad , William Clement Eade was born on the 3rd September 1914. William met my nan, Olive and married her in January 1940. A bible was given to her by Will on 24th December 1938 and I am fortunate to still have it in its original box. I also have a lovely letter given to me by my grandad explaining about a key he had made my nan for her 21st Birthday on the 28th August 1939, a year before he was reported missing. Grandad was a soldier in the Kings Own Scottish Borderers.
His regiment had surrendered to the Germans in June 1940 and he was reported missing on August 16th 1940, found to be captured and taken to the Hohenfols Stalag camp in Germany.
As you can see from the news article, Will was filled with determination and escaped on a few occasions. Swimming icy rivers and eating turnips, dug with his bare hands from the frozen fields.
The camp was liberated at the end of the war but he remained in Germany for a while helping the sick and wounded before returning to my nan and his daughter Pauline who he had yet to meet.
Grandad left the army in 1946, becoming a teacher before becoming a civil servant working at the Air ministry in Worcester. Olive and Will also welcomed the birth of my dad, Royston in April 1946. Then Colin, five years later.
In 1957 he was promoted to Sergeant Major and relocated to Kent.
Olive passed away in 1993 and after living back in Worcester grandad moved to London where he became a Chelsea Pensioner at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. I have fond memories of him visiting me at my place of work in Knightsbridge in his smart red uniform and having many tourists asking to have their photos taken with him.
I welcomed Ben in April 2004 and grandad was over the moon to become a Great grandad. He doted on Ben and would show him off to all his friends when we visited Chelsea. What a Great Grandad to have and be proud of.
Sgt Major William Eade, died age 92 as the last surviving member of the army to hold the rank of WO3
We are so privileged to have been part of his life. He didn’t really talk about his time in the war but at least we have some history and memories to share. We are extremely proud of him and we remembered him today by sharing stories with Ben and sharing an afternoon tea with Champagne at safe distance from our neighbours. Thank goodness for gardens and outdoor spaces in these strange times. Thank goodness also for the internet and video calling in these isolated times, something they didn’t have the privilege of 75 years ago.