Huntingdon man to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather across First World War battlefields

PUBLISHED: 07:46 09 May 2017 | UPDATED: 07:46 09 May 2017

Andrew Bish serving as a Royal Marine

Andrew Bish serving as a Royal Marine

Archant

The grandson of a First World War solider will walk in his footsteps across the battlefields of Europe for charity later this year.

Andrew Bish, 55, and his brother Steve, 58, plan to trek 100km of northern France and Belgium in memory of their grandfather, William Bish, who served from 1914 to 1918.

“He was quite a character and died a few years before I was born,” Andrew said.

“He joined the army before the First World War and served for a number of years and when the war broke out he rejoined and trained as a medic and served with the Royal Army Medical Corps.”

Andrew understands he served in the trenches in Belgium as well, also sailing on a hospital ship to South Africa where some of the wounded were taken.

Born in Nottinghamshire in 1886, William Bish moved to Ramsey to work as a labourer where he met his first wife.

He later settled in Wistow and married again, dying in 1955. He was a father to 15 children – five of whom also joined the armed forces.

The walk takes place in October, and will also commemorate the 35th anniversary of the Falklands War – a conflict Andrew was involved in as a former Royal Marine.

“Doing this walk has really spurred me into that. It’s about reconnecting with the family,” he said.

“It was a wonderful experience [in the Falklands] and it was a brief and brutal conflict, but I was very proud to go. My grandfather was not around to see me join up but I think he would have been very proud to see his five sons join.”

The walk will also raise money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, and Andrew needs to raise half of his £1,200 target by June.

“I think he would be very touched and proud [of the walk]. People went through a terrible time in the First World War, and it’s not forgotten.

“He suffered, not just physically but I’m sure mentally too, and that generation never talked about it. To have had five sons go off, that must have been a terrible strain on him.”

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Andrew-Bish1.

Cheques can also be made payable to ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and sent to Andrew Bish, The Garden Apartment, 1 Walden House, George Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3AD.

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