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Cradley Heath Grandson finds lost Grandad picture

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: September 02, 2014

  • Albert Brettle in uniform

  • Grandson - Ralph Jasper

  • The page in our We Will Remember Them book that stopped Ralph in his tracks

  • Albert Brettle's next of kin memorial plaque together with his posthumously awarded Victory Medal

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CRADLEY Heath grandson Ralph Jasper had a shock when he was reading The Bugle's World War One book - he saw a picture of his Grandad that had been missing from the family for nearly 20 years.

As Ralph reached page 12 of our We Will Remember Them he said: "The face of the soldier staring out at me from the page was familiar. I should have known straightaway, but when you least expect something it takes a few seconds to register. 'Well I'll be blowed' I thought. It was my Grandad Albert Brettle.

"I proceeded to read the full story with pride and realised my Mom had brought it to The Bugle's attention back in 1996.

"I may never have known my Grandad Albert, but I'm sure he would have been chuffed to know he'd been given a mention in such a terrific publication."

Ralph's Grandad served with the 9th Worcestershire Regiment and was killed on August 9, 1915. His last letter home spoke of hopes, not fears, and some of the words he chose would become prophetic.

He wrote: "The terrible heat still continues and water is as precious as gold. It must have been terrible for the first lot who landed here, but we are getting our own back now. I have had one or two close shaves, but with a bit of luck I shall get through all right."

Ralph's wife Josie, who is a Bugle employee, brought Albert Brettle's bronze next-of-kin memorial plaque into work to show us, a precious family artefact, and one of tens of thousands that were distributed to grieving families up and down the land after the war had ended.

She also added a chilling postscript to Albert's story and told us: "When Albert's wife, who was left to raise three young children on her own, received the formal letter with the news that her husband had been killed in action, some of the words were a stark reminder of those used by her husband in his last letter.

"It said that Albert had been killed by a sniper's bullet while in the process of fetching water."

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