(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday: my Grandad


Denis Joseph Kunkel (1880-1965). The original is held by Pauleen Cass.

Denis Joseph Kunkel (1880-1965). The original is held by Pauleen Cass.

I rediscovered this photo the other day, having forgotten it was given to me a while ago. It’s a large photo on hard board, bigger than A4 so it doesn’t quite fit on my scanner platen. There is no indication of the photographer.

It brought tears to my eyes because my grandfather looks so young and happy in it and I only knew him when he was in his 70s. I was very fond of him and found him to be a kind and gentle man.

My first thought was that it was perhaps taken as he left school and started work, but it is quite a formal photo. Then I had the delayed thought that perhaps it was his confirmation photo. I estimated his age as probably about 15, because of his feeble moustache, but perhaps he was a bit older. This would fit with either of the potential scenarios. Because the family moved around a lot he may have been confirmed a little later than is now usual.

Maybe I’m wrong about his age, and it was taken for his 21st birthday in September 1901, just months before both his parents died. His mother died on 20 November 1901 and his father on Christmas Day 1901. So three months and two days after Dinny’s 21st birthday, all their 10 surviving children were left orphaned.

 Help me out here….what’s your estimate on his age?

Rest in peace Grandad, I hope we meet up again one day.

Thank you one and all, the consensus seems to be it may have been his 21st.  Perhaps his eyes never had quite that look of youthful innocence after both his parents’ sudden deaths…he always looked a bit sad to me.

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17 thoughts on “(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday: my Grandad

    • Thanks Kerry, I’m taking everyone’s advice on board and going with it being for his 21st. If so it’s even more poignant because he was 21 in September, his mother died in November and his father six weeks later on Christmas Day.

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  1. What a lovely photo, a real family treasure. I’m going with the others, I’d guess he’s just out of his teens.
    Isn’t it fascinating and poignant to see pictures of people we only remember as being old?

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    • Yes I found it very poignant and tear-inducing though I couldn’t quite pinpoint why. It is indeed a treasure even though I have a few of him, even some formal ones. Interestingly there’s not a single one of him in uniform. I wonder if he ditched them all.

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  2. Beautiful photo. I have a 15 year old son so I see a lot of boys that age (usually hanging around my fridge), and I’d say your grandad was older. I’d go with the others and say around 20-21.

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    • Thanks Kristin -it’s been so helpful to have everyone’s perspectives. I think I was obviously overtaken by just how young, and in a way, innocent, he looked. I’m sure a photo taken three months later after both parents had died would have made him look much older indeed.

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