This is my Uncle Tony wearing the uniform of a Greek regiment during the Second World War...just one of the very many photographs and pieces of the family puzzle which slowly began to fall into place when I joined Ancestry.
I love the description of him written by one of his Commanding Officers...'A handsome and charismatic Irishman'

Daniel Anthony ffrench-Kehoe M.C. joined the newly formed S.O.E. the special operations executive, and became involved in all manner of skullduggery...he won his M.C. in a battle which resulted in him killing five enemy soldiers.

Tony never quite recovered from his war service...he took relatively menial occupations after he was discharged and wrote a book...out of print now, but oddly enough there is a copy held in the public libary in Chicago...until the day he used his service revolver to shoot himself.
His brother, Jarlath, died during an insurrection in India in 1946...

Ancestry holds all those secrets and lies which family hope never to surface...another Uncle...Dennis...was said to have died a heroes death on the battlefield...he didn't at all. He was a mounted soldier and his horse reared up and he fell off and was squashed under the fallen horse...

Neither Tony nor Jarlath were ever mentioned...Cousin Alaister has the M.C. in a drawer in his desk...but then Cousin Alaister didn't ever know of my existence nor I of his until eighteen months ago...neither of us had heard of Cousin Des, who has dragged the family skeletons kicking and screaming out of the dark cupboards where they've been lurking...

Perhaps calling omissions 'a lie' is too strong a description...perhaps there were good enough reasons at the time for Tony and Jarlath to be never mentioned...until Alaister told how his Mother lied about her place of birth...lied about her birth date even...my Mother held fast to the story she went away to school when she was six...she did not. She was a teenager went she went to boarding school and would have remembered her sister...Alaister's mother, and her two younger brothers perfectly clearly...she'd have remembered her three older brothers as well...

Fractured families are common-place of course they are, whether it was eighty odd years ago or in the present day...but while it's incredible to find that William the Conqueror was a distant cousin many times removed and a relative was unfortunate enough to be hung, drawn and quartered...we...that is the cousins and I,could have met with Tony. We'd have only been little...but we could have met with him. We could have known each other while we were growing up...

Goodness....this wasn't meant to sound so miserable...I suppose it doesn't matter much in the scheme of things anyway.

I've renewed my Ancestry account you'll be disappointed to hear, so I'll be poking about in old records again and finding some more odd-bods to tell you about.