I first became interested in our family history after Dad died in 1983. I was his executor and amongst Dad’s papers I found the results of some of his early investigations into the family history. These included a reference to a document that he had seen but had not photo-copied that was entitled “A letter to my Grandchildren”, and had been written by his father, John Bolton Bigg (JBB).
My grandfather lived from 1867 to 1958. During his long life he kept a fairly detailed log of the major happenings which he wrote down in a small black notebook. When he retired in 1930 as a spritely 63 year old, he wrote this autobiographical letter. Although it was addressed to his grandchildren, I think that it was really written for Hazel, his first grandchild, of whom he was particularly fond. He typed the letter himself and bound it together with cardboard and brown sticky tape to make into a book. He then gave it to Hazel.
The letter gives a fascinating insight into what it was like to grow up in Victorian England. It also describes what it was like to be a parent during WW1 with two sons on the front line, and is something I am sure many in the family will be interested to read.
Also interesting from a family point of view is the biography of J Bryan Bigg, my uncle, written by his son-in-law, Ambrose Barcroft. Ambrose concludes by saying “When we think of Bryan being in the trenches seven times, wounded twice, bombed twice, surviving the most disastrous battle in the British Army's history and the heaviest bombing by aircraft in the Second World War, and then leading a most active life for 94 years until 22nd April 1989 - we are remembering a very exceptional man.” It speaks volumes for Bryan's modesty that this was all new to me!
1st December 2021