Dear Blog, A lady who helped change military history in Great Britain after her son was killed on duty, has died recently. Edna Wallace and her late husband Jack, fought to see their son's body brought back from Aden after he died there in 1965.
I had never heard of this lady, until I heard a piece on the radio a couple of days ago, and thought she was certainly worthy of a mention on my Blog. Edna's second-born son, Eddie, was just 17 years old when he died whilst on duty with the Royal Anglian Regiment - just three days after being posted to Aden in Yemen.
Edna was cooking the evening meal when she received a telegram saying that her son had been killed. They were told to ring the War Office between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday to Friday if they wanted any further news. How callous is that?!
The couple were told that the funeral would be held within hours, and it was made clear that they were not expected to attend. Edna and Jack, however, knew they had to be there, and scraped together £500 (a lot of money at that time) and secured a flight with the help of the British Red Cross.
On their return home, they started a campaign to change the way the war dead and their families were treated. They wrote literally thousands of letters and appealed directly to the Queen. In 1967 it was announced in the House of Commons that, in future, news of a soldier's death would be broken to families by a senior officer from their Regiment and that soldiers' bodies would be brought home.
After arriving at RAF Brize Norton, the soldiers' bodies are driven through the small market town of Wooton Bassett, where the people turn out each and every time in honour of the brave men. So far, this exceeds over 300 times.
And all this, thanks to Edna Wallace.