PLAYING truant from Sunday school as a youngster could have saved the life of a First World War soldier from Stone, according to his son.
Walton-on-the-Hill pensioner Bob Jenkins, 81, spotted a photograph of his father Bert and uncle George in the Newsletter’s special First World War centenary supplement.
And he shared his memories of the pair, from Newcastle Road, Stone - who both survived the war.
“At the age of 10, my father was playing truant from Sunday school and got kicked on the leg by a horse while he was out and about,” Mr Jenkins said.
“It left him pretty much crippled in that leg.
“So when he joined the King’s Shropshire Infantry - who were famed for their fast marching - in 1914 he couldn’t keep up with their pace and they threw him out.”
But later in the war, young Bert enlisted again, under Lord Derby’s scheme to find roles for men who were less than fully fit.
He had been working as a driver, and was found a role driving lorries in the Army Service Corps.
That took him on a journey across the Middle East to Basra, in what is now Iraq, and through the Khyber Pass to Afghanistan.
“He ended up driving an ambulance with the Army Medical Corps,” Mr Jenkins said.
“He saw quite a bit of the world, and he said he enjoyed the voyage out to the Middle East because everyone else was seasick and that meant he had plenty to eat!
“He never served on the Western Front, so he avoided the worst of the slaughter.”
Meanwhile Bert’s younger brother George served as a gunner in the Machine Gun Corps.
But Mr Jenkins said his uncle’s worst war memory came from his time at the Army camp on Cannock Chase.
“They put him on his own, as a 17-year-old, to guard a giant ammunition dump at night. He admitted he had never been so scared in his whole life.”
After the war George worked on the railways and ended his career in charge of the level crossing gates at Meaford, near Stone.
Elder brother Bert also spent the rest of his life in Stone.
“Like a lot of the returned soldiers, he struggled to find work at first, and walked the countryside selling hardware door to door,” Mr Jenkins said
His father later found a settled job in the pottery industry, selling china and earthenware.
“It was nice to see their photograph,” Mr Jenkins added. “The lad they are pictured with is one of the Sansom boys, also from Stone - there were four brothers and I’m not sure which one this is.”