ARGUS COMMENT: War centenary is helping to uncover remarkable family stories

First published in Gwent news by

THE story of Robert Phillips is a remarkable one, but also one that is common to most families in Gwent.

Robert signed up to fight for his country 100 years ago, at the age of 21. He survived the horror of being gassed in the trenches, and the brutality of life as a prisoner of war.

But, like many of his generation who were both stoic and traumatised, he never spoke of his experiences.

Robert Phillips died when he was 40 in a mining accident in Bedwas.

We only know the details of his life and his war service because of the diligent research of his granddaughter Lynda Osborne.

Such research is taking place in families across the country, much of it inspired by this year's centenary of the start of the First World War.

People want to know what their relatives did in the war, how they died, how they survived.

And the digitisation of hundreds of thousands of wartime records makes it easier than ever to discover such information.

The idea of those who lost their lives in an horrific conflict never being forgotten has never been more relevant.

The more people discover about their ancestors, about people like Robert Phillips, the more they will be remembered for generations to come.

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