Me and some of my collection

Augustus Stanley Dennis Caines 1888-1989

My grandfather was born in the Radstock area in January 1888. He was one of three children but only he survived to adulthood.

His father was the Station Master at Norton Hill Station at Midsomer Norton. At age 16 in 1904 he went to work in Bristol in the Goods office of the Bristol Midlands Railway.  He always spoke happily of his time as a young man in Bristol, enjoying the music halls, concerts, girlfriends, cycling and outings.

He had just married Edith Rose Hancock in June 1914, when eight weeks later, war broke out. He did not volunteer immediately, but joined up in1916 and was assigned to the Royal Engineers.

My grandfather, like many others, did not talk very much to his family about the war. In the 1990s he was interviewed by Chris Howell who produced a book called 'No Thankful Village'.

My brothers and I do remember him talking about the ammunition trains that he took to the Front. Derailments were frequent because the lines were laid quickly and also attacked by the enemy. The only way that they could get a train back on the line was by finding enough men to lift the train back on the tracks! He was always amused and so were we, that he was given the task of moving trains around because of his childhood experience of playing in a signal box!

Throughout his life he enjoyed engines and gadgets. In the 1920s he was one of the first people in the area to have a motorcycle and sidecar,

When war ended my grandfather came home on leave but returned to Europe to help with the big clear up. He took his camera with him. The pictures show some terrible destruction and desolation, but he also took pictures of trains, derailments and groups of his fellow soldiers. 

In the albums he uses stamp paper as labels. Even in the 60s he would still use stamp paper for sticking things.

My grandparents were married for 74 years and my grandfather died just two weeks before his 102nd birthday. 

He never went to the Continent again but enjoyed many motoring trips in the UK. He became colliery Secretary at New Rock colliery at Stockhill, Chilcompton, retiring when nationalisation came in.

In my view he came home and got on with his life, making the most of what came his way. Like many others, he had seen many horrors and it made him value what he did have and enjoy the things he liked.

Jan Shone. June 2014.

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Published 4 years ago by Jan Shone

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