Edna Liptrott only ever spoke with her father once about his tour of duty on the Somme.
He told her of the grisly duties he carried out collecting up bodies from the battle fields of the First World War.
“He said he would go round with a bag and pick up body parts, he never knew which belonged to whom, so he just got them together and put a name on them.
“That was all he ever said, but he had a whistle which he blew to send the troops over the top into the line of the German gunners. You cannot imagine what that must have been like, ” Edna said.
Edna, who lives in Horwich where her father, Seargeant Major Hugh Green, grew up, and her brother, Ron Green, of Adlington, near Chorley, were visiting the Europeana exhibition at the Museum of Lancashire in Preston last Saturday.
They brought the old whistle, medals and certificates from their father’s campaign which will now make up part of an online archive being assembled by the organisation to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
Ron said: “We have his DFC medal and certificate, but it was actually my father who recommended Private Albert Hill, the Manchester soldier who collected the Victoria Cross, for his award.
“A soldier had to be recommended by a senior officer for the VC and it was on my father’s recommendation he went forward for it and was awarded the medal.”
For Bill Shuttleworth, 76, the trip to the museum on Stanley Street was a return home having been brought up on Alfred Street, Deepdale. He now lives in Lostock Hall and brought the campaign medals of his father, also called Billy, who signed up at the age of 17 and fought in the artillery.
Bill said: “He signed up for the Home Guard in the Second World War and they used to meet in this building (the Museum of Lancashire) when it was an old drill hall. I will never forget the only thing he ever told me about the First World War was that because he was bald, I was fretting about going bald myself and he said to me, ‘I lost my hair because of wearing a tin helmet’.
“That is all he ever said.”
During his visit at the weekend, Bill met Frank Drauschke, whose father was in the German artillery during the conflict and travels with Europeana to exhibitions. Bill said: “It makes your mind boggle to think, I am stood talking to him today and his father and my father were in battle together, they wanted to kill each other. It is so important that we have things like this, just to remember those who have fallen and why they fell – if someone can learn a lesson from knowing about it, it’s worth it.”
First World War re-enactor Adrian Warrell, of St Annes, was among those meeting people visiting the exhibition.
He has personal experience with his grandfather, Thomas Firth, having fought in the seventh battalion of the Manchester Regiment before being wounded and convalescing in Southport.
Adrian adds: “My great uncle, Frederick Warrell, was aboard the minesweeper HMS Sapper when it was torpeoed in the English Channel in December 1917 and he died. I now do this (re-enactments) professionally and go to museums and schools in Lancashire and talk about the War.
“For the children, they cannot see beyond the glory but I think it gives a sense of what we mean to each other. I tell the children to play their ‘shoot-em-up’ games, when they are killed, switch the game off and stop playing – real life.”