I don't think of myself as an overly sentimental person, but when it comes to my paternal grandad, I certainly am. I didn't know him as he died nearly 10 years before I was born so my impressions of him are all secondhand. And they are all good. All the relatives who have mentioned him to me have done so with affection and speak of a quiet gentle man who would have loved his grandaughter. (My grandma never mentioned him - I suspect that Ethel didn't forgive Philip for widowing her!) I really would have loved to know the grandad I see in those old black and white photos - the dark haired boy in the starched collar, the apprehensive bridgegroom, the happy and relaxed holidaymaker and proud father of the bride.
Apart from these passed-down memories and old photographs I don't have anything of Philip Brown. My father has been very generous in handing on the family photo album and documents but he has quite rightly hung on to his father's medals and pocket watch. But this week I have grasped a little tangible link with my grandad and it arrived yesterday in the post.
Grandad was in the Royal Army Medical Corps for the duration of World War 1 (141st Field Ambulance). During the war women would sometimes wear sweetheart brooches given to them by their loved ones. These brooches were like miniature cap badges, mounted and attached to a pin. Some were made by the men themselves, but I believe that most were manufactured by jewellers - some are made of silver and gold, but most were inexpensive. So, thanks to that wonder of modern shopping, Ebay, I have successfully acquired an RAMC sweetheart brooch. It is small and sweet and I am already very attached (really quite literally!) to it.
I am grandad's sweetheart and he is mine.