Outbreak of War

From Ngaire’s journal, 4th August, 1955

The anniversary of the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
I well remember as a child of 7 years, 11 months, standing behind my father at the breakfast table and reading the ominous headlines in the newspaper, “War in Europe”.  Everyone seemed quiet and scared, though they tried to hide it from us children, and I had nightmares for many nights about Dad fighting Grandad with a shovel, a most improbable thing.”

Simpson family - 1915 Ngaire's Grandad George, back left, Ngaire, 3rd from left (with doll), Ngaire's father William, 3rd from right.

Simpson family – 1915
Ngaire’s Grandad George, back left, Ngaire 3rd from left (with doll), Ngaire’s father William, 3rd from right.

It does seem unlikely that Ngaire’s father William, a choirmaster, would ever have fought his rather dapper father, with or without a shovel.

This photograph of the family was taken on Christmas Day, 1915.  A few months earlier, William’s wife Emily had died in tragic circumstances, leaving him to raise Ngaire, Phyllis and Keith.

The headlines Ngaire remembered so well were probably from the Christchurch Press. This copy of the paper is from Papers Past.

4 thoughts on “Outbreak of War

    • Hi Lea. It’s a very sad photograph. I think my grandmother (at the back) looks much older than her eight years. She was in her late forties when she learnt how her mother died. I’m planning to tell her story soon. Michelle x


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