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Nellie Elliott, a 103-year-old Sunday Telegraph reader, writes of her wartime Christmas memories as a six-year-old living in Battersea, south London, and watching a Zeppelin being shot down while sitting on the shoulders of an African prince: We had a lodger who was the son of an African king who had been sent to London to study. Everyone was on the streets and being quite small, my prince lifted me up on to his shoulders and this was my lasting memory of seeing an airship being shot down. Everyone was cheering but I remember being upset and wondering about the men in the ship. My father was a C3 man — unable to go to the trenches because of his poor health. He was assigned to looking after the mules at Aldershot. But the Army found out he was a very good cook and he was given the duty of cooking for a retired colonel who had just returned from India. A few days before Christmas, my father wrote to my mother to tell her not to get any food for the Sunday lunch as he was able to bring home a meal. The whole family were looking forward to this luxury. Needless to say it was a curry that was so hot that nobody could eat it other than my father and mother, so we ended up eating bread and dripping. One Christmas, my father was given a very grand doll’s pram as a present for me. I remember my sister and brother filling it with manure and selling it round the streets to make some money for Christmas, the milkman’s horse supplying the necessary resources.
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Did your relative live through the Great War? Do you have any photos, newspaper clippings, postcards or letters from that period? Have you researched the names on your local or war memorial?
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We are very keen to track down these often forgotten documents and obtain photographs and transcriptions of the names recorded so that they will be available for all to remember.
Help us to build a database of information on those who served both at home and abroad so that future generations may learn of their sacrifice.
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