At 100 years of age, Laetitia Hardie has lived through two world wars. She was born on 21 August, just a few months shy of the armistice on 11 November 1918. She is very alert and has a vivid recall, especially when it comes to remembering her childhood near the North Staffordshire barracks, growing up with her sister Patricia, mother Marion, and her “quiet and high principled” military father, Brigadier General Louis John Wyatt DSODL… The Wyatts lived in a house on a heath looking down over the barracks. “I could hear the bugles and the mules – I remember feeding the mules,” Hardie says. “My father loved the natural world, particularly birds – he always walked with his dog beside him. He was emphatic you should finish a job if you started it. He hated boasting, and he made lifelong friends.”
Wyatt, born in 1874, was a professional military man, having joined the army soon after leaving Aldenham grammar school. He joined the North Staffordshire Regiment in 1895 and fought in the Boer war, being injured at Jackfontein in 1900. He disembarked in France in 1914 as a major, and was awarded a Distinguished Service Order in 1916. By 1920 he had been promoted to the post of general officer in command of British troops in France and Flanders, as well as director of graves, registrations and enquiries.