Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sepia Saturday

My sepia Sat pic this week is of my paternal Grandfather, Michael Patrick Meehan, with his mates on a day out in Cairo, visiting the sphinx and pyramids on camels ! Mick is on the left riding the white camel, looking very pleased with himself ! He was a lovely man, spent his 20th birthday on board the boat taking him, other soldiers and their horses to fight in WW1 in 1915 with the Canterbury Mounted Rifles. It was the first time he had traveled out of NZ and reading his diary, you can get an idea of how exciting it all was for this group of naive, mostly young NZ men. It soon became obvious that it was no picnic !

My Grandfather came back from the war, married his lovely Rosa and settled down in the small King Country mill town of Ongarue, where my Father and his 4 siblings were born and raised. He was a gentle man, wiry build with a mop of black curls and a beautiful singing voice - he used to sing Irish lullabies to his children at night, being of Irish heritage was very important to him, even though he was born in NZ - my ancestors from Galway Bay in southern Ireland, arrived in NZ in 1842 - some of the earliest settlers.

Michael loved his wife and family, never spoke about his war years and never traveled overseas again. After Rosa died in 1974, he really just waited for his time to join her. Most days he would taxi up to the Taumarunui cemetery and sit by her grave until he joined her in 1981. I have very fond memories of Granddad Meehan, his lovely smile and twinkly eyes but mainly his gentleness. .

14 comments:

Meri said...

What a treasure that picture is! Not many people have photos of grands or great-grands on camels in front of the pyramids.

And how sad that Michael couldn't go on after Rosa's death to find another love. He certainly had the capacity, after all those years of loving Rosa.

Barbara said...

What a fabulous photo. He sounds like a wonderful man who could have probably told some great stories of that adventure.
Is that the Sphinx in the left of side of the photo?

Titania said...

This is a great photo. It must have been a great adventure for those young man to visit the pyramids.The war was a different story. Many men did not want to talk about it when they returned home.

Martin H. said...

Great to see these young men, relaxed and enjoying life overseas. We can't imagine the horrors that awaited them on the battlefields.

tony said...

A Loving Portrait .A Grand Man Well Remembered.

Your Genetic Genealogist said...

You are so fortunate that this photo made it home and down the years to you. He sounds like a lovely person. I'm especially glad that HE made it home to raise a family with love! Thanks for sharing!
CeCe

Nancy said...

The men come back from war and are seldom the same. It's wonderful that he didn't lose his gentleness. What a great photo, and even better that you have his diary.

TICKLEBEAR said...

nice to see those guys could have some R&R like this despite their duties...
it seems like irishes blend in well wherever they settle. we have a very old irish population here in QUEBEC and while the names remained intact or some were changed, they are all over and maintain an attachment for their heritage, of which to like to share generously. many quebecois can claim their filiation to that culture.
and come St-PATRICK's DAY, well, everybody is irish for the day!!

"singning lullabies to his kids", eh?!?
must have been nice...
:)~
HUGZ

Alan Burnett said...

Yes it certainly is a fine photograph. So full of memories and stories. Thanks for sharing some of them with us.

Marilyn said...

What a lovely photo and memories. My grandfather was with the Wellington Mounted rifles and spent time in Gallipoli and Egypt but sadly there aren't any photos of him while overseas nor a diary but I do have postcard that were sent to him during that time.

Christine H. said...

What sweet memories and what a fabulous picture. Simply amazing.

L. D. Burgus said...

He sounds like a wonderful man. The whole story is so great. Going to the cemetery was such an act of love.

Matron said...

What a lovely photo, and such an interesting story!

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