Yes, I know about the movie

But who knows with storytelling, eh?

He had four sons, three of whom served in the Second World War.

Philip Curtis, who also served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (now the Green Jackets) was killed by a land mine in Italy in 1943.

Richard Curtis was an RAF fighter pilot who was shot down and killed over France in 1944.

To his anger, Brig Peter Curtis was posted to Scotland at the time of D-Day, so not to risk a third son from the same family being killed, though he later went on to serve in Africa.

There is also that story of the woman with x number of sons who wrote to the War Office – “You’ve had six of mine serving, you’re not getting the seventh” to get the reply “We quite agree with you Madam”.

An interesting question being, well, how much effort was made to ensure that entire families weren’t wiped out. Was this, for example, something more common in the officer class?

Yes, I know the movie’s about a Private but……

11 comments on “Yes, I know about the movie

  1. In WWI the Army didn’t have any hang-ups like that. That is obvious because quite a few War Memorials list a complete generation of one or two families (visible because most list them simply in alphabetical order. Also I can state it from personal knowledge because my grandmother’s two brothers both volunteered, both were wounded (while Captain and Lieutenant respectively), both returned to service (although the elder joined the RFC instead of going back to the trenches).

  2. One of the big lessons from WW1 was the end of Pal’s Battalions so they may well have looked at a policy of not recruiting all of one family. My guess is that if they did the parents would have to apply.

  3. “Brig Peter Curtis was posted to Scotland at the time of D-Day, so not to risk a third son from the same family being killed, though he later went on to serve in Africa”

    Given Tunis fell in 1943, being posted to Africa after D Day was hardly the front line.

  4. @ Jim
    If you read the whole article Brig Curtis won his MC in the front-line in Africa in 1943. Some sub-editor doesn’t know that D-day came in 1944.

  5. My paternal great grandfather and 3 of his 4 sons were killed in WW1. The 4th son survived the war but died young. I have no reason to believe he was invalided out. The story was passed down through the family to me by my father, his mother having been the only daughter in that generation. Old family photos show great-grandad and his sons.

    Dad, who subsequently was a 19 year old WW2 POW, was generally reluctant to talk about these matters beyond “ God willing you will never go though it yourself”.

  6. As BiND said, I seem to remember reading that after WW1, and the disaster of the Accrington Pals, the army decreed that only a certain percentage of each unit could actually be from the same area.

    I’m sure our forces types will be able to correct me though.

  7. “An interesting question being, well, how much effort was made to ensure that entire families weren’t wiped out.”

    Honestly? Not a whole lot.

    Its not like there were ‘minimum number of siblings’ requirements or limits on how many from a family the military would take.

    From what little I’ve seen, basically if you had 6 kids and lost 5 – and you could get some publicity – then they’d take pity on you and either not take your 6th or put him someplace safe. But if you only had one or two . . . they’re in the meatgrinder with everyone else.

  8. “An interesting question being, well, how much effort was made to ensure that entire families weren’t wiped out.”

    Doubt they’d have the systems to automatically identify last surviving siblings until recently, so it would only be if the family kicked up a fuss.

  9. Just struck me that in these days of only 1 in or 2 children that argument couldn’t be allowed to work in the unlikely event conscription is needed to fight a way.

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