History is a fascinating subject. I should know I studied it for three years at university so it makes me something of an expert in the field. One of the most interesting areas, on an individual basis at least, is that of the family tree and the lives of unknown relatives. Certainly the success of shows like Who Do You Think You Are? is a clear indication that people discovering the stories of their family prove highly popular.
As such it was with great interest I received an email from a current family member with information on some research he'd done into my great grandfather's brother Cyril Hartley Moore. Through some clever emailing and tracking of information to Canada he'd been able to reveal a bit more light on his life, and the fact it was actually cut short in 1901 in the Boer War when he refused to surrender to overwhelming opponents:
"The Boers succeeded in cutting off the retreat of a small party of ten men he commanded. Three times the enemy called on him to surrender, but on Lieutenant Moore refusing to do so, he was shot through the heart," reads the report of his death.
Refusing to surrender three times despite clearly being beaten and ending up shot through the heart certainly sounds like the behaviour of someone in my family.
Overall, while I'm not going to cry about it (unlike the folks that go on the BBC show who the producers must surrounded with onions to produce the money shot), it's a fascinating and bizarrely profound insight into the life of someone who, while dimly related to me, is nevertheless part of my family's lineage and make-up.
Thursday 3 December 1663
5 hours ago