American actor Matthew Broderick traces his roots, discovering the extent of his grandfather's bravery and attempting to solve a 150-year old mystery.
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Hollywood and Broadway actor Matthew Broderick
found fame at the age of 24
when he starred in the cult movie classic
Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Since then, he's appeared in over 40 films,
including the Civil War epic, Glory,
The Producers and Godzilla,
as well as winning many awards on Broadway.
He's lives in New York with wife Sarah Jessica Parker,
son, James Wilkie,
and twin daughters, Tabitha and Marion.
Family has always been important to him.
I was very, very attached to my parents.
My mum was raised in New York as well.
She died in 2003.
That side of the family I knew and I love,
but my dad's side is the biggest mystery.
My father died when I was 20.
So I didn't have all that long with him,
but I adored him.
'When my son asked me about my father's side of the family,
'I've realised I know so little.
'I want to use this opportunity to try and learn more about my father,
'to learn something about his family
'that will help me understand him and myself,
'so that when my kids ask me where we come from, I can tell them.'
Dad was in the Navy during World War II and then he became an actor.
In fact, I think I became an actor because I grew up watching him.
I was as happy as anywhere, for me, was to just be in a dressing room
while he was getting ready.
'It is strange not to know who he comes from.
'You know, I mean, what made him the way he is.'
He was, uh, he was quiet about some things.
I think his father was extremely quiet with him.
'I'm going to visit my older sister, Janet, in Jersey City,
'to see if she knows anything that can get me started on this journey.'
'My sister remembers my dad's parents, May and Joe,
'but I never met them. They were gone by the time I came around.'
It's all filled with newspaper stuff and everything.
-I know. It's great. You won't believe it.
It's a gold mine. Look at this.
-That's me and you.
-Oh, wow. That's cute.
-And that's, remember when I was sleeping in your room because...
-..I was too scared to sleep alone down the hall.
-This is your room.
What do you want to know?
Really a big black hole, I think,
is our father's... I don't know anything about that,
-that line of our family.
I think that's our grandfather. And that's our father.
Look how little he is.
-His mother's name is May?
Martindale was her maiden name.
I remember that May was, seemed strict.
She was very Catholic.
-Born in Connecticut?
-And this is May.
-And that's May looking happy.
But I have no idea who her parents were,
-what her whole line was.
And what hardships did she have?
I'd like to know how his parents turned into the people they were.
If Joe was quiet, why was he quiet?
I know. I think he was... I heard he was quiet,
that he could be bad-tempered, and that when he played cards,
if he got a bad hand, he said, "This is not a hand, it's a foot."
Which Mum thought was an incredibly dumb joke.
But used it her whole life.
-Her entire life, she used it, yeah.
-So that's Joe.
That's Joe holding me.
You see, that's a Broderick nose and a Broderick forehead.
-Totally, with the little bulbs and everything.
-Yep. And big feet.
Yeah, that's right. It's true.
-Joe was a postman.
He was in the First World War,
and he apparently did something with Germans.
-Either captured them, or... He got gassed.
Mum said he got money because he'd been gassed.
Wow, that's incredible. Did he... I never knew anything about him.
Yeah. Right. Yeah.
Well, this I have to find out about. I am very curious about that.
I know. I know. He's a veteran of a foreign war
-and we know it's the First World War.
We can contact the Veterans Administration
and tell them that our grandfather, here's his name,
and we'd like to know if they can find out about that.
We have to put some pressure on our congressman,
that's the only way to get answers on this kind of thing!
My best hope... You know, I hope there's nothing really embarrassing,
but I'm very open to learning anything.
I hope it's a good story.
But where it leads to, I am... I'm ready for anything.
Matthew has returned to New York. He's come to the National Archives
to look for his grandfather James Joseph Broderick's military service record,
which should contain details of where he was posted during the First World War.
James Joseph Broderick, Private, First Class.
His occupation before is a conductor, a train conductor.
Enlisted on June 1916.
Embarked from Montreal, September 26, 1917,
and arrived at Le Havre.
So he was in France.
Transferred to medical, I think, department.
That I didn't know.
102 Infantry, 26th Division, March 1918.
And, uh, now, what happened there?
It doesn't say.
Did he fight or see action? I don't know what he did over in France.
This is my father's father,
so it's extremely close.
So I'm dying to know what happened.
Matthew's heading to the battlefields of Northern France,
in search of some record of his grandfather's active service there.
The United States entered the First World War
on 6th April 1917.
Within weeks, American troops started to arrive in France.
Although initially small in numbers,
their presence provided a much-needed morale boost
for the exhausted British and French soldiers
who'd been fighting on the Western Front for almost three years.
Among them was Matthew's grandfather, James Joseph Broderick,
who arrived in France in October 1917.
Matthew knows his grandfather served in the medical department.
He's come to Verdun to meet First World War expert Taff Gillingham.
-Good to meet you.
-Nice to meet you too.
Well, here we are.
This is where the American army first found itself in France.
So my grandfather, I guess, would have come here for the Medical Corps?
And to begin with, he's attached to a field hospital,
so that's a big organisation in preparation for the casualties that are going to come,
and all the standard medical training.
The fighting on the Western Front had produced casualties on an unprecedented scale.
By 1917, over a million men had been killed and wounded.
In this industrialised warfare, medics like Joe Broderick had to deal with horrific injuries.
The kit that they had to carry in combat, very little compared to the infantry soldier,
but it was enough to do the job. The very basics of it.
This set of equipment here,
each of these ten pouches would have had bandages in them.
-I see. They would wear this on their arm or something?
The medics, it's the only protection they had, really.
-And this would hopefully keep him from being a target.
That was the idea. But the only thing they've got to protect them is a Red Cross armband.
-Right. And he had to deal with gas probably too?
-So he would have had one of these exactly like that.
-To protect himself.
-So they'd have to bandage a person while wearing all this stuff.
It's one thing to say, "I've managed to do that."
But by the time you've spent several hours wearing one of these,
everything becomes more difficult. You can't see very well.
-So he went from being a 22-year-old conductor to this?
So how do they get him ready for that?
I don't think any of that really prepared them for
the whole business of going over the top and getting into no-man's land,
-all around you, soldiers are getting killed.
And you've got to say, "My job is to save the men who will survive."
Oh, my God, what a terrible thing.
After his training, Joe saw action at the Meuse-Argonne Offensive,
an important part of the final push by the Allies to break the German lines on the Western Front.
The fighting lasted for six weeks
and was the largest and deadliest battle that the American forces took part in,
resulting in 26,000 deaths and tens of thousands wounded.
Matthew is meeting World War One historian Peter Barton
to find out what happened to his grandfather during this battle.
Come into the woods over here.
The moment you step off the track, into the woods, you're stepping back in time.
-These are shell holes.
-Oh, my God.
One of the German lines actually ran through here.
The headquarters of your grandfather's battalion
was actually in this wood. They would have attacked through these woods, just wipe these trees away.
They didn't exist. It was just splintered stumps and undergrowth.
-You can see the trenches everywhere.
-I sure can.
So you're on the spot where your grandfather was...
91 years ago.
Your grandfather's 26 Division arrived here on the 18th of October, 1918.
-It was their job to take the German defences on the top of this ridge here.
They were formidable defences.
The Germans knew this attack was coming and they concentrated...
-So they dug in?
-Yeah. It was a devastating attack for them,
because they had machine gun fire coming from the hills over here,
and machine gun fire coming from the hills over there.
And this is converging and crossing these fields. So, in order to reach the German trenches,
you have to walk through a stream of bullets.
So if we have a look at your grandfather's duties...
He'd follow the infantry into battle and he would be the first man on the scene
of an injury, with the shells and machine guns.
You wouldn't be able to hear yourself scream.
He couldn't hear the men shouting for help,
he would have to see that. He is totally exposed
and his job is utterly, utterly critical,
because he had to stop haemorrhage, from bullet wounds or shrapnel wounds,
-and splint people if they had badly shattered legs or arms.
Before the stretcher-bearers came,
it was a position of huge responsibility.
The thing you have to know, Matthew, is that every single man in that Company
would have totally depended upon your grandfather,
to save their lives.
And this is where certain things happened to your grandfather,
which probably affected him for the rest of his life.
I've got something else to show you here,
which I suspect you might not have seen before.
-Is that right?
Wow. I... This is incredible.
So this is... He was wounded?
That's right. It's this document that tells us where he was wounded
and that's how we can place him here, by the date of this document.
-Because you know where his group was on 10-27-18.
Wounded on 27th October 1918,
Joe Broderick was decorated with a Purple Heart,
the American military medal given to soldiers who are either wounded
or killed in action.
"Broderick, James J. Wounded in action, Private, Medical Department.
"Awarded Purple Heart. Wounded in action October 27th, 1918."
Boy, this is no small thing, you know?
Well, bless his heart.
I wonder how bad it was.
There's a rumour it may have been gas but here, it's more likely to be shell-fire or bullet wound.
Amazing, it's incredible.
I never would have known.
Well, I found out, I guess, quite a bit about his experience in World War One and what it was like.
He was this very brave man who never spoke about it.
I didn't even know he had this Purple Heart. It's shocking to me.
And I'm very proud of it.
Matthew and Peter are going to the Meuse-Argonne cemetery,
the final resting place for over 14,000 American soldiers,
most of whom died during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.
Amongst these men are the dead from the battlefield.
And here's some of them. These are all from your grandfather's Division.
Same infantry regiment,
102, 26 Division and you can see the date - October 24th.
And he's from Ohio.
So, this man here was serving with your grandfather.
The key thing here is, these men could have been men who your grandfather treated
-but who didn't make it.
-Here's a man, John Corder...
So he was not as lucky as James Joseph Broderick.
That's right, he was very, very lucky to be wounded on that day.
That's probably what saved his life.
I just can't imagine how it would have felt to be in his position,
to be responsible for so many lives and at risk at the same time.
-I've got something here for you to have a look at.
See what you find.
"Recommendations for Distinguished Service Cross,
"Private First Class James Broderick,
"being attached to Company K as first aid man
"performed his duties to the upmost, giving first aid to the wounded,
"under heavy shell and machine gun fire,
"fearlessly and with absolute disregard for personal safety."
Wow. Distinguished Service Cross?
That's a big medal. It's the second-highest award for gallantry
you can receive.
Noble act and probably a very noble man.
It's my father's name.
I always thought of him as Joe.
Joe the postman.
'After hearing all my grandfather went through,
'I can see why he didn't like to talk about it with my dad.'
I'm very impressed... that he would even be there.
So close to the front lines was enough but that he's...
"Performed his duties to the upmost, giving first aid to the wounded,
"under heavy shell and machine gun fire,
"fearlessly and with absolute disregard for personal safety."
Which is a really lovely sentence, too.
So I will cherish having that, you know?
This was six days of absolute bravery in the worst possible conditions.
He didn't talk about it, but I now know about it.
It's been found out and I'm enormously proud of him.
'I have to take some time with this because it's...'
It's like learning that you're a different...
There's something different in your being than what you always thought.
Something has been filled in that I didn't know was blank.
Now Matthew wants to learn about his grandmother,
Joe's wife, Mary Martindale.
So he's heading to her home state of Connecticut.
He's starting at the state archives, where he's meeting the head of the History and Genealogy Unit,
How would I find more out about Mary Martindale?
This is a listing of various censuses down here.
So we're going to be looking for the 1910 census.
And then we know she's in Connecticut,
so for residence, put Connecticut.
So if you click on search,
-and if we scroll down...
-Hope I don't faint.
Keep going down...
And we keep going down...
-Keep going down.
-Oh. Mary Martindale.
This is saying she's single,
she's white and she's female.
-We've got her age.
-And who's under it?
-So, would that be a sister?
-That could be a sister...
-It can't be a daughter, she's a teenager.
but it could well be a sister. Look at their ages.
15 and 12.
Yep. Right ages for sisters.
Household members, that many? Look at that.
Why would there be that many people in a house?
Let's see. Let's scroll back up to the top again and see what this is about.
This is a bunch of kids living in a home for...children, does that say?
Yes. The New Haven County Temporary Home For Children.
This was like a county orphanage, back at that time.
So she was an orphan?
It looks like she and then all these kids are living in the temporary home,
Wow, that's amazing.
So we don't know when the parents left the picture...
Actually, we do have some clues. In order to do that,
we have to look at a few other things.
-You have clues to that?
-We do. If you want to follow me, we can go into the vaults...
I do want to follow you, yes.
"New Haven County Temporary Home.
"Record Of Children, Volume Two."
"Mary Martindale. June 15, 1895."
So right now she's 15.
So she's actually been admitted to this orphanage on this date here.
On April 2nd, 1910, and then what is this?
"Particulars to first family home"?
-"Michael F Grove. Name of person taking child."
-So, she was adopted.
but she goes out with this family for a little bit.
"Child is returned to Temporary Home and transferred to..."
This is the second family, so she went away twice and kept going back.
And here's Nellie, and somebody else.
-Somebody else picked up her sister...
-Oh, they got separated.
Her little sister must have been petrified.
Matthew's grandmother, Mary, and her sister, Nellie,
were sent to live with families as servants.
It was a common practice at the time.
The families received free child labour and the state saved money
from bringing up poor children like Matthew's grandmother.
-These are hard, hard times.
-Very hard times.
I'm particularly disturbed that they ended up in different towns.
You somehow like to think of them going through the ordeal together.
-Clearly they didn't.
Matthew wants to know why his grandmother Mary Martindale was an orphan.
The mother of Mary Martindale is Mary Martindale.
-She is not alive.
-From a liver ulcer.
So, um, William Martindale, her father,
uh, West Haven, same man, and it says he's killed in 1908.
"Deceased was employed by
"the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company.
"There was a spill of...ten timbers.
"Fell over onto him."
-Is that what that says?
-That's what it says.
-So he was crushed by timber.
I've read novels where little girls go to the state home and stuff,
but it's my grandmother. It's sort of amazing.
It's a very hard, unimaginably hard, life.
What it does is that these cold little facts I guess, you could say, get more and more human,
as you... As you put them together, you get a story of a life of a human being.
My father was so close to such a hard life,
I wonder if he knew all this, too.
Did she tell him about the Temporary Home For Children,
because I've never heard it before.
Matthew's curious about Mary's whole family line.
He's starting with Mary's father, William Martindale.
He was killed in a rail accident in 1908.
He's meeting Mel Smith, an expert in the History and Genealogy Unit
at the Connecticut State Archives.
This is the 1870 census.
We're trying to find William Martindale as a child,
living in the New Haven area,
-perhaps with his family, brothers, sisters...
-So it might list his father...
-There's a whole family here.
-Is that William?
-That is William.
Along with his mother and all his brothers and sisters.
And now I know his mother is Charlotte Martindale.
And does it have his father?
It does not list his father.
But once again, using the census records,
perhaps we can leapfrog back in time
to see if we could find the father.
Here's the 1850 census.
And once again, we're looking in the New Haven area.
There's a Robert Martindale.
And Charlotte. Wow.
Now, wait a minute.
-This man is 27?
-So Charlotte, that's his wife?
She's 22, which works out properly, because it was 42 in the other one.
-There's a one-year-old, two-year-old, five-year-old kids.
They have them very quickly.
-He's my great-great grandfather.
-That's a lot of greats.
Yeah! OK, so...
The entire family is missing from the 1860 census.
But by 1870, the rest of the family, including five children, is back,
only without Robert.
So what was going on he could potentially be involved with?
-Civil war, is that...?
Oh, my God.
In the spring of 1861,
America was in turmoil.
The northern and southern states were in direct opposition on the issues of slavery,
liberty, and states' rights.
Following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860,
11 southern states broke away from the union in the north
and formed the Southern Confederate States of America.
In response to the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter,
President Lincoln called for volunteers to suppress the rebellion.
This marked the beginning of the Civil War.
which turned into the most devastating conflict on American soil.
We do have an index here. Individuals that served in the war,
the Civil War, by town.
J, K, L...
Oh, I just saw it.
Robert Martindale. Wow.
Private Company B, 20th Regiment, Connecticut Volunteer Infantry.
So what happened to him there?
Well, we have some, um, Civil War records here for you to look at.
Oh, my God, that's amazing. What are these things?
These are enlistment records.
Yep, Robert Martindale.
-1862, that's when he went in to sign up?
This is the actual document that when he walked into a room somewhere,
and said, "I want to be in the Civil War."
That's the actual document.
"I, Robert Martindale, do solemnly swear
"that I will bear true faith and allegiance
"to the United States of America.
"Sworn and subscribed to, at Ansonia
"this fifth day of August 1862."
That's his writing, I bet, right?
-That's his signature.
-That's his very signature.
That is absolutely fantastic.
"This soldier has grey eyes, brown hair,
"dark complexion, is 5'5" tall."
And so we know a lot more about him than we did.
-We know a little bit what he looked like.
-It's a lot to take in.
And, uh, so... I am astounded that I have a relative
who was in the Civil War.
-I'm just... I'm shook up.
A lot of Americans, if they were able to look back,
would find they had relatives in the Civil War.
But I never, for some reason, dawned on me that I was one of them.
I did a movie, had a Civil War uniform on.
So to find that I had a great-great grandfather in the Civil War,
I should have thought of it, but I never did.
The character I played in Glory was from a New England regiment as well,
and his name was Robert. Robert Shaw.
He was a colonel.
And, uh, apparently my grandfather was just a private.
So I imagine they had very... That's the end of their similarities.
Is there a way to find out anything about his record during the war?
There is. These are muster rolls.
-And "mustered" means gathered and counted...
So this shows the strength of a company at a given time,
and it follows the regiment throughout the war,
-So each one of these should have him in it?
Let's take a peek.
July through August of '63.
And now are these... Oh, there's Martindale.
-So there he is.
Something area... Gettysburg.
Oh, my God. Um...
"And placed in the line of battle."
-They fought in Gettysburg?
-He was at Gettysburg.
-He survived Gettysburg, more importantly.
In July 1863,
Confederate General Robert E Lee
decided to invade northern territory,
believing a victory there would pressure the union to end the war.
Lee's plan brought his army to Gettysburg in south central Pennsylvania.
After three days of battle and 50,000 casualties,
the Confederate army was defeated.
It was a turning point in the Civil War
and the battleground became the future site
of President Lincoln's historic Gettysburg Address.
So we know they're in Gettysburg. Where are they going next?
This is June '64.
"Joined in pursuit of the enemy to within three miles of Atlanta."
In Atlan... In Atlanta?
-Far from home.
So I could probably, if I wanted, find out more about that battle.
I might find a little more detail about what kind of fighting it was.
The muster rolls show that Robert's regiment
moved through the south from Tennessee to Savannah, Georgia
and the city of Atlanta.
Matthew's on his way there to meet Gordon Jones,
curator of the Atlanta History Centre's Civil War exhibit.
Matthew, what I have here is an original .58 calibre
US issue rifle musket that was used in Atlanta campaign.
-I want you to hold that.
-It would have to be fired right-handed.
-Which is like that.
And a good soldier would be able to fire that
about three times a minute.
Wow. He must have been a tough, tough dude.
This is an original Civil War, what they called a mini-ball.
Made of lead.
-And here's one...
-That's already hit something.
This is from hitting a person? Oh, my.
So, he would have been in the fight for about two years by now, when he got here?
-So what sort of state do you think he might be in?
He'd be a hard, tough man.
He had seen all kinds of hardships,
he had lived on half-rations, he had seen all the horrors of war.
-And the longer the guys were in the army, the more battles they saw,
the more that things like seeing bloody wounds
and arms and legs amputated and parts of bodies all over the battlefield,
-the less they noticed it.
So would Robert Martindale have been fighting up here?
Not actually right here. We're at Kennesaw Mountain,
which is about 15 miles north west of Atlanta.
Union army is attacking here from the north,
this is the way they get to Atlanta.
You got to have Atlanta because it is this critical railroad junction.
We have four railroads that converge right here in Atlanta.
And here's where your ancestor, Robert Martindale, comes in.
Right up here at Peachtree Creek.
So the Confederates are attacking this way,
as the Union is crossing down here. So it was a very intense fight.
The Federal army continues its advance on Atlanta
and on the 23rd of July, Robert Martindale
is detailed as a skirmisher.
Now, a skirmisher is basically like a guard.
I have a document here that will tell us what happened
on July 23rd.
"Inventory of the effects of Robert Martindale,
"Company B of the 20th Regiment, Connecticut.
"He died on skirmish line in front of Atlanta, Georgia,
"on the 23rd day of July 1864
"by reason of musket ball through the head."
That would have been a very violent, bloody wound.
But it would've been quick.
It probably would have been painless.
If you were going to get it, that's the way you'd want it to happen.
So, that's it. That's very, um, very final.
I was... I was, uh, pulling for him.
'He had survived Gettysburg and all these horrible battles
'and then just took a shot in the head.'
It's sad, but to follow in my own flesh and blood's footsteps
through, you know, this very field,
it's amazing, it's wonderful.
What would have happened to him, to his body?
I don't know that for sure but I know a guy who does.
Robert Martindale, died on the 23rd of July, 1864.
It was another six weeks before Union forces won Atlanta.
By the end of the war in April 1865,
over 600,000 Americans had died.
Matthew's on his way to downtown Atlanta to meet Brad Quinlan,
who has spent years studying Civil War burial grounds.
-How are you?
Where we're sitting right now,
the original trenches are to our left.
And when Robert was put out on picket duty,
on July 23rd, he would be in this vicinity,
-within a few hundred yards of where we're at right now.
-His friends would have retrieved his body.
His body was just taken and buried right on the battlefield.
-Just where it was safe behind the Union lines.
-That's where they would do it.
They were taken there and then... It's not very far from here.
-I'd like to take you to that area where I think he was buried.
-I would love that.
The men that were killed on this line, they were brought back to this area,
and taken to a section of ground that was open,
-and buried in makeshift graves.
So this, this is... Here?
Right around here is where they would...would take him?
Right. Right in here is where he was buried.
-Immediately after he was killed.
-But this is not the end of the line.
Why is that?
In 1866 and 1867,
over the entire area of the Atlanta campaign,
men came down and they very carefully
and very meticulously went to these makeshift cemeteries.
They would take these men and reinter them.
Is that right? So he might have been moved?
He might have been moved from this area and placed into a national cemetery.
Where, in Washington or something?
About 20 minutes up the road is where many of these men were taken.
Is that right?
The Marietta National Cemetery.
-Can we go there?
-We sure can.
-Oh, my God.
Wait, I'm going to take, silly as it is, a rock or something.
So I can...remember I was here.
I'll take two rocks.
Is that allowed?
Well, I'm not going to tell anybody.
Established after the Civil War, the Marietta National Cemetery
is the final resting place for around 10,000 Union soldiers
killed during the conflict.
Although great care was taken in moving the bodies,
3,000 graves remain unidentified.
When they came back in 1866 and 1867 to reinter these men,
they documented every grave they went to.
and then when they brought them here and reinterred them,
they put all the documentation together,
and they are in books in the national archives.
Now, this morning we talked about Robert being buried in a cemetery downtown.
-Near the train track.
And I've compiled a complete listing of every single man
who was killed with the 20th Connecticut in the Atlanta campaign.
The next thing we had to do is we had to prove, one at a time,
all the burials of the 20th Connecticut.
-So you're trying to eliminate the ones that you know?
We've only one man we have not accounted for 100%.
This is the documentation that shows the men
who were pulled up from that cemetery and brought here.
We're looking for a 20th Connecticut.
You might, take a look, this says...
Oh, my gosh. Yep. "Unknown."
"Supposed to be a member of 20th Connecticut..."
"Buried two miles north of the car shed down at the Marietta Road."
Where we were this morning.
Yes, and he was brought here into this cemetery.
-Into where we're sitting now.
So we have eliminated every single man
in the 20th Connecticut except for...
We've proved that that grave today
is section D, grave 2469.
Wow. Good job.
That the documentation still exists.
Yeah, and the, uh, and the smarts to know how to use it. Yeah.
-He's just down the hill.
-Let's go see him.
OK, let's go.
I am speechless. I am gobsmacked.
It's nice that somebody bothered to find
and make unanonymous Robert Martindale.
Section D in front of us.
Section D. We are looking for 2469.
-So we just start looking? Is that what you do?
-Just start looking. Yes.
Is that a 6?
-I think that's it.
-Just an ordinary soldier, you know?
Simple little stone after a long journey.
-That's a nice little stone.
I kinda like it.
Well, that is great to have.
It's a great thing to have.
Yeah, I wish my father was...
I wish my whole family was here.
5'5", brown hair...grey eyes.
Well, bless his little heart.
-It will be noted, what you came up with?
-It is going to be noted.
-I'm going to submit all the paperwork to the VA and the cemetery
and it will be noted for all future generations.
He deserves it.
what a complete journey it turned out to be.
It all gets to here, you know, and now to have his great-great grandson
stand on his grave.
'I've been lucky enough to be born in a time
'where I didn't have to make these sacrifices myself
'and I hope my son doesn't, or my daughters.'
I can't even express how much I admire people brave enough to do that.
I think my grandfather and great-great grandfather
helped make a world that my kids can be so comfortable in now.
We're all related to the generations that happened before us,
what they went through shapes our time.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Despite being extremely close to his father, Matthew knew very little about his paternal grandparents, James Joseph Broderick and Mary Martindale, both of whom had passed away by the time Matthew was born. He had heard rumours that his grandfather was a World War I hero, but were they true? Of his grandmother, Mary Martindale, the family agreed on one thing - she was a complete mystery.
Following in his grandfather's footsteps, Matthew heads to the battlefields of northern France, where he uncovers the extent of his grandfather's bravery. He is amazed to discover that his grandfather took part in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, which would prove to be the largest and deadliest battle that the American Expeditionary Force was involved in during World War I.
Back in Connecticut, Matthew starts to unearth the story of his grandmother Mary Martindale's tough childhood. Digging deeper into the Martindale history, he stumbles upon another military hero, his three times great-grandfather Robert Martindale, union soldier in the American Civil War. Intent on honouring Robert's bravery, Matthew sets out to solve a 150-year old mystery; what was Robert's fate in the war, and where is he buried?