Those who have followed my blog for awhile may recall several posts about researching my family history: here, here, here and here. I’m often asked if I found a proverbial skeleton in the closet. So far, there are no embarrassing facts about any ancestors. Although, I discovered a forgotten ancestor who in my opinion, is a war hero.

I learned that my paternal grandfather had a sibling. In the 1912 ship manifest of my grandfather’s journey to America, the name of his closest relative in his homeland is listed as brother, Michael living in Dublin. I nearly fell off my chair when I read this as no one knew he existed. The family thought Grandpa was an only child, as he evidently never mentioned his older brother to his three children. My Dad definitely would have talked about his uncle had he known, as he often mentioned a younger brother who was stillborn and a maternal aunt who lived in Dublin. When I asked my older brothers and cousins, they never knew about Uncle Michael either.

I discovered that my grand uncle chose to stay in Ireland and when WWI broke out in 1914, Uncle Michael joined the British Army. He was a corporal in the 6th Battalion of the Royal Irish Rifles, which was deployed as part of the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign.* Sadly, my grand uncle was killed at the Battle of Sari Bair in August 1915 at age 30, just one month after he married. How I wish Uncle Michael had sailed with his brother to the United States in 1912!

Why had Grandpa never told his three children about his only sibling? That is still a mystery. My guess is possibly Grandpa’s way of dealing with his grief was to never mention his brother. It is documented that during WWI, large numbers of the young men in a town who went off to war perished. Many of soldiers are buried in France, Turkey and other battle areas, so there was usually no funeral or outward grieving. Bereaved families and surviving soldiers repressed their emotions and coped with their grief in silence.

As we near another Memorial Day and honor those who gave it all … I remember my grand Uncle Michael, who is no longer forgotten and holds a prominent branch in our family tree. I also remember other brave, British ancestors: another paternal grand uncle, Edward, a Royal Irish Fusilier and maternal cousins, Charles and Daniel, brothers who were Royal Scots in the Scottish Infantry, all who died in WWI.

*In early August 1915, the 6th Rifles landed at Anzac Cove and fought in the desperate battle to take Sari Bair Ridge. The 6th Rifles also held the dubious honor of having one of the highest Gallipoli casualty rates of the Division. They were the only Royal Irish Rifles battalion to fight alongside the ANZACS [Australian & New Zealand Armies] at Gallipoli. [Source: Never Retire (The 6th Royal Rifles at Gallipoli), By: Gavin Hughes & David Truesdale]

These simple pear cookies are accented in gold. Some were done with the swipe of a paintbrush and others were speckled with the flick of the brush.

Pear Cookies
Pear Shortbread Cookies
Royal Icing for outlining, flooding and detail tinted Butter Yellow with AmeriColor Egg Yellow and Wilton Ivory
Royal Icing for detail tinted Pale Green with AmeriColor Egg Yellow and AmeriColor Leaf Green
Disposable piping bags & couplers
Squeeze bottles
Wilton Decorating Tip #2
Wilton Leaf Tip #352
Wilton Star Tip #24
Rainbow Dust Metallic Light Gold Food Paint

Outline cookie with #2 tip in yellow icing. Flood with yellow icing. Let dry 30 minutes.

Pipe leaves with leaf tip #352 tip in green icing. Let dry overnight.

Using fan paintbrush, add gold accent.

Speckle others with gold paint. Paint leaves with gold food paint.

Mix detail yellow and green icing. Pipe flowers with star tip #24. Let dry overnight.



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  1. I always enjoy your family stories! =)

    These cookies are lovely.

  2. That's a fascinating story, Joan> I'm glad that your uncle has a place to be remembered in your family history. Beautiful cookies, as always!

    1. Thank you Amy. I glanced at your recent posting about The Vessel and other unusual sites in NYC. I will spend more time reading about them once I get caught up.

  3. What an interesting, yet sad story. I think your uncle would be glad to know he is part of your family tree. Thanks for sharing. Stacey

  4. What brand of paint did you use to paint the cookie?

  5. I used Rainbow Dust Metallic Light Gold Food Paint (listed above) for the cookie. Thanks for your inquiry and have a nice day!


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