Jose Railton’s two great-great-great-uncles died fighting in the First World War.
She took her family to visit them – Charles Young Mitchell, who is buried in France, and Augustus Holland Mitchell, who is buried in Belgium.
Here, she tells Sky News what it was like visiting the graves of her distant relatives.
For over 30 years our family had talked about visiting the graves of our relatives who lost their lives during the First World War… but we never did.
As children we had holidayed in Snettisham, Norfolk, visiting the war memorial in the village and the church, looking at the names of relatives that had passed away, but not really fully knowing their individual stories of how they had come to be commemorated in such a way.
Later, when our first child was born, a girl, it felt fitting to name her Poppy Leigh in tribute.
As an adult I found myself performing the same rituals with my own children; stopping off at Snettisham on our way back home from a day trip to the seaside; observing the minute’s silence on Armistice Day and attempting to explain the complexities of WWI and the parts members of their family had played, despite knowing little of the facts myself.
Earlier this year I became aware of the Snettisham 45 project. I introduced Poppy (now aged nine) to the website and she read eagerly about her great-great-great-uncles Charles and Gus Mitchell – where they lived, what regiments they belonged to, and when and where they had died.
She began asking questions, which led to further research, conversations over dinner and the whole family becoming re-enthused about finding out more details.
I contacted the people organising the Snettisham 45 project to say thank you for all of their work, little realising that within months this would result in us as a family visiting both France and Belgium.
As we drove in the car towards the Honourable Artillery Company Cemetery outside of Arras, the children began to point out cemeteries, (easily identified by the Cross of Sacrifice).
Poppy commented on how many there were and how similar they appeared.
I felt nervous.
I knew where we were going, even what it looked like, as I’d seen photographs, but I wasn’t sure what my reaction would be.
H.A.C Cemetery, Ecoust St-Mein, is situated on raised ground.
We walked up the steps carrying our poppy crosses, wreaths of Norfolk lavender and letters in hand.
What first struck me was the uniformity and scale of the site, and the difficulty this presented in finding the grave we were looking for.
I felt lost at where to begin, having travelled all the way to France, the prospect of finding Charlie’s grave felt no closer.
As we walked the rows of burials the children began to read the ages of the soldiers that lay there.
We all agreed that it was incredibly sad, not only had so many people died, but also that they were very young.
Some not much older than children themselves.
Many of the headstones had the same dates, indicating that many of the men would have been fighting together.
The sense of loss was overwhelming and I began to cry.
Charlie had been 27 when killed in action in 1918; we reflected on how he was just starting out in life, newly married but yet to have children. Upon identifying Charlie’s burial we stood and spoke of his life, about the things we did know for certain, the things the children wanted to find out. But we understand that much of what had happened will remain unknown.
Jon and the children continued to look around the site allowing me a few moments to gather my own thoughts.
As I looked around I was very aware of how much the scenery reminded me of Norfolk.
This gave me some comfort.
I also thought of my father who had passed away some years before.
He never made this visit, and will never know the stories uncovered as part of this project.
But I’ve now been able to share them with my children in the hope that they pass this information on to their children.
Later that day we drove to Rifle House Cemetery, Ploegsteert, Belgium; to pay our respects at the burial of Augustus (Gus) Mitchell.
Gus had drowned in 1915.
We knew no details and could only speculate as to what may have happened. He was recorded as being 22 at the time and engaged to be married.
Rifle House Cemetery, although still maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, has a very different atmosphere to that of H.A.C Cemetery.
The H.A.C Cemetery Ecoust St-Mein is situated on a roadside and is very open; Rifle House Cemetery on the other hand is very secluded, accessed via a single access track deep in Ploegsteert Woods.
This felt fitting as both Gus and Charlie had been gamekeepers.
I also felt much calmer and more collected at this site, it was much smaller and felt more natural an environment in which to be paying respects to a relative.
We realised during our visit that, in a way, we have many more questions than we did at the beginning of this journey, and that our research would have to continue.
On returning home we discovered many things including that Herbert, the children’s great-great-grandfather, had married a WWI widow, her first husband having lost his life in 1917 at the battle of Scarpe.
The great-uncle I had known growing up, was her child from this marriage.
We also discovered that Charlie had most likely been killed via German machine gunfire and that Gus had drowned while bathing.
Tragically another young soldier had also lost his life attempting to save him.
The visit to the war graves and learning the individual stories of family members has been an invaluable experience for all of us.
The children have been able to explore and get a better sense of their family history and the experiences of those who fought during the war, as well as being able to reflect on the feelings of those that they left behind.
I am sure in years to come we will return to these cemeteries, and I’d encourage other families to do the same.
Deloitte Football Money League 2019: Real Madrid richest ahead of Barcelona and Manchester United | Business News
Real Madrid have replaced Manchester United as the world’s wealthiest club, according to the latest Deloitte Football Money League.
Manchester United slipped into third spot after generating £590m – representing a comparatively low two per cent year-on-year increase.
Meanwhile, neighbours Manchester City retained their fifth-place ranking with revenues of £504m – an 11 per cent rise from 2016/17 figures.
Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich ranked fourth for a second year running with £557m, while Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain climbed one place into sixth spot on £480m.
Premier League leaders Liverpool recorded the biggest income increase from clubs in the top 10, with profits soaring 25 per cent to £455m, while Chelsea also achieved an impressive 22 per cent growth with £448m.
Arsenal (£389m) dropped three places into ninth spot after missing out on Champions League football for the first time in 20 years, but narrowly trumped north London rivals Tottenham (£379m).
Everton (£189m), West Ham (£175m) and Newcastle (£179m) also made the top 20, with Rafa Benitez’s side recording a chart-topping 108 per cent increase in revenue – up from £86m in 2016/17.
Other clubs to make the annual index include Juventus (£350m), Borussia Dortmund (£281m), Atletico Madrid (£270m), Inter Milan (£249m), Roma (£222m), Schalke (£216m) and AC Milan (£184m).
Dan Jones, head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Real Madrid’s outstanding financial performance in 2017/18 is built on their long history of success on the pitch, most recently three consecutive Champions League titles.
“This has enabled the club to continue to drive commercial revenue as the appetite to partner with Europe’s most successful clubs remains stronger than ever.”
Five people killed in shooting at Florida bank | US News
Five people have been killed at a bank in Florida after a gunman opened fire.
The gunman, identified as Zephan Xaver, 21, called police after firing shots inside the SunTrust bank in Sebring, Florida, and eventually surrendered.
Karl Hoglund, Sebring police chief, said the shooting happened at about 12.30pm ET (17.30GMT).
Xaver called police to tell them he had fired shots, according to authorities.
Negotiators failed to convince him to leave the bank, at which point the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team entered the building and continued to speak to him.
He surrendered and is in custody. His motive is not clear.
Mr Hoglund said: “Today has been a tragic day in our community.
“We’ve suffered significant loss at the hands of a senseless criminal doing a senseless crime.”
No information has been released about the victims.
CNN reported there had been no danger to the surrounding areas.
Ron DeSantis, Florida governor, said he was asking the state department of law enforcement to help local police.
Sue Malliano, a spokesman for the SunTrust bank, said: “We are working closely with officials and seeking to take care of everyone affected at our Sebring, Florida branch.”
Troops return to Bulawayo with a vengeance | World News
A week of protest, violence and national trauma in Zimbabwe began last week in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo.
It was here on the morning of 14 January that protesters took to the streets after President Emerson Mnangagwa’s administration raised fuel prices by 150%.
Seized with fury, demonstrators blocked roads and occupied neighbourhoods – and their protests would lead to city-wide looting and rioting.
Shops and business in large swathes of the city were destroyed or stripped bare. I asked the owner of one supermarket in an area called Nkeita what had happened to the police.
“They came late, they were late. Everything was gone when they got here,” he replied.
Business owners told me that they were abandoned by the police and the army for the first three or four days.
Government critics, like lawyer and former opposition MP David Coltart, think that the authorities decided to hand over this independent-minded community to thugs and criminal elements.
“I have seen the destruction of food outlets on an industrial scale.
“Having represented the people of Bulawayo for many years, I cannot believe the people themselves would have done this because they would have harmed themselves.
“Some 80% of food outlets in working class areas were destroyed. The capacity of these businesses to open again was effectively ended.”
Zimbabwe’s president promised to prosecute members of the army or the police who were found guilty of misconduct.
Yet it is members of the public in Bulawayo who are now being rounded up and arrested as the authorities re-assert their control in the city.
Lawyers told us 500 people have been detained in the past few days. The city’s prisons, “are packed like sardines,” said one.
We found one woman called Noxolo Maphosa, outside the city’s stately magistrate’s court, carrying a toothbrush and some basic suppliers for her brother, Josephat.
Josephat Ngulube ran as a candidate in the last election but he was arrested over the weekend for trying to organise a protest.
“Now I don’t know what is going to happen to him,” said Ms Maphosa.
“I am just waiting for them to tell us what is going to happen but I don’t have hope. I thought we would get a trial date today but they keep on postponing. I am losing hope.”
The police and the members of the military are back on the streets and they are making their presence felt.
I heard and saw evidence of systematic raids and beatings carried out in the city’s suburbs.
Residents in an area called Marbutweni told us that troops turned up after 8pm on Tuesday and went door to door, administering beatings to men over the age of 14.
A resident called Clive showed us a series of blue marks and bruises covering his back, then turned around to address us in a quivering voice.
“I met those guys. ‘Where you coming from?’ (they said).
“I said ‘I am going home. It is after dark’.
“(They said) lie down and then nine guys were hitting me. Baton sticks and everything. Come on, is this Zimbabwe?”
We were given more testimony from a man called John, whose face was badly swollen.
“I was asking, ‘what did I do wrong?’ But they were continuously beating me and I don’t know what to do now because I am scared,” he told us.
These are arbitrary and unjustified attacks in a country led by a man – Emerson Mnangagwa – who is trying to sell it as a modern democracy. The people of Bulawayo are unlikely to forgive.
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