When history directly affects us in some way

History is often most interesting when it directly affects us in some way. A personal connection can often help us engage more fully with events in the past. This is evident in the two pieces included below, from two enthusiastic year 10 History Club and GCSE students. In these two fascinating pieces, Josh and Alec recount the exciting adventure stories of the lives of their great grandfather and grandfather respectively. Have a read and see what you think! Do you have any interesting family (his)stories to tell us? We would love to hear from you!

Victoria HarringtonTeacher of History

My great grandfather, Inocencio Alaguia Deza, was born in the Cagayan Province, northern Philippines, in 1898, the final year of the over three-hundred-year Spanish occupation of the Philippines. During the Second World War, in 1941, he was a civil servant during the American occupation, and his wife was a schoolteacher. During this time, he was assigned to the municipality of Bontoc, Mountain Province and Cabugao, Apayao Province, where he held the positions of Provincial Treasurer, paymaster, postmaster, liaison officer, etc. These provinces now belong to the Cordillera Administrative Region.

It was during this time when the war was raging in the country between the Japanese and the Philippine Guerrilla resistance groups that he rode on horseback, escorted by two constabulary officers. His job was to carry the provinces’ money to safety, and to avoid capture by the Imperial Japanese Army. In order to do this, he travelled only at night on dirt tracks to avoid being caught.

After that, he was assigned to Bongao in the province of Tawi-Tawi in southern Philippines. It was here where he encountered the ‘Juramentados’. The ‘Juramentados’ were swordsmen who belonged to the ethnic group of the ‘Moro’ people who would go on a killing rampage, hacking people to death with their ‘Krises’ (a type of Indonesian sword).

After the war, when he was Provincial Treasurer, he and his family moved to Tuguegarao, the capital of Cagayan Province where he retired from government duty in the mid 1960s and became the Town Councillor of Tuguegarao. He often made speeches that were broadcast over the local radio stations.

He remained in Tuguegarao until his death in 1994.

When history directly affects us in some way

Fort Benning, Georgia.
Home of the US airborne school.

Jon Vanden Bosch was born on 12 August 1933 in Chicago, Illinois and appointed to West Point from the 5th Congressional District of Illinois. He was in Company I 2 and graduated on 7 June 1955. He was
commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army in the Corps of Engineers. Graduating near the top of his 1955 West Point class, he went on to lead an exemplary military career.

He attended Airborne and Ranger Schools, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, the U.S. Army War College, and the Foreign Service Institute. Jon had command postings in Europe, Korea and Vietnam. In Vietnam, when the cease fire was negotiated, he was adviser to the Province Chief in his negotiations with the North Vietnamese team. During Jon’s 24 years in the U.S. Army, he served in managerial, advisory and instructor positions. Jon’s last military position was as District Engineer in the Galveston District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Texas.