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You are born 100 years earlier, but in the same place; what do you do with your life?

Yokai Man

Well-known member
Like most of my family ancestors at that time,I probably end up as an Aromanian shepherd and mostly likely die during WW1 or in the Thirties after having disagreements with some other members of my family and community who joined the Holy Guard.

That or I die during WW2 or get deported to Baragan after the Communists get into power,also possibly dying there.If I survive that as well,I’ll probably be forcefully relocated in a village or a city and work the fields or in a factory til I die, occasionally listening to Radio Free Europe like everyone else.Best case scenario is that I become a teacher after WW1 and somehow survive everything,but end up forcefully retired from the profession by the communist authorities or get relocated teaching kids in a forgotten village as punishment.
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Tsar of New Zealand

Where people are one and they get things done
If it's my mother's side, I'm born a yeoman farmer's son in Otago and probably get shot at Gallipoli or gassed on the Western Front. If I survive and don't die of Spanish flu, I return home, find a wife, and either become a country lawyer or a farmer.

If it's my father's side, I'm born a peasant's son in Bessarabia. Assuming I survive to adulthood, things get real interesting around 1914 and the likelihood of (and exotic circumstances surrounding) death only rises from there.

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
Surprisingly parallel lines for me.

Born East End of London in March '53. By 13, working with a criminal gang (be it the Krays or the Fagins - 1853 birth puts me square into Oliver Twist territory). Assuming survival, and with some scrapes to my name, I join the Armed Forces to be able to support the family for which it is the source of income. Closest recruiting point to birth place in Dagenham puts me into the Rifle Brigade in 1866 (cf Royal Marines 1969); that puts me as a sergeant during the Anglo-Zulu war of 1879 (cf Falklands War of 1982). From there, things depend on the coin tosses of fate. I could quite easily justify being a "blunt instrument" in the Great Game post 1879, meeting Kipling in India, and somehow ending up in journalism.

It is distressing just how parallel it can be written.

Of course, by the time Big Mistake 1, 1914-18 comes around, I'm in my 60s. I'm safe from the 4-year holiday in northern France, so - and assuming my 100 years earlier self somehow has similar accidents of fate to me, I'll somehow end up involved, possibly on another more exotic front.

Alex Richards

A musical Hubble Space Telescope
Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
Well, my parents are quite unlikely to meet considering how geographically spread the family is, but otherwise it's probably a toss-up between training in industrial ceramics or something similar, or getting a leg up in the grammar school system through sponsorship from the more middle class clerks and Dons on mum's side.

Either way WWI's going to see me at 21-25 as either a conscript or junior officer, so probably dead.

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
I would note for all those assuming being in the trenches and dying in the trenches of WW1 that the two phrases are not synonymous. Depending on details of deployment and timing and which national army you are with, you've an upper limit of around 25% death chance. You're not all going to die there.

Edit. Some of you will live to write dreadful poetry about it.
Trying to work out what my parents would have been doing in Kuwait in the 1890's, and can't think of any reason why they'd be there.

Grammar school seems reasonably likely, and then? Shall we go for metallurgist, in which case I probably sit out the war on the home front, working on the steel for tanks. Probably get laid off in the '30's, but might end up doing work for Austin. Die in 1948 of a bout of apoplexy brought on by the foundation of the NHS.


A jpeg stock photo of gas station flowers
Published by SLP
Teignmouth, Devon
Let's see, born 1886 to, let's say teachers and keep the economic class what I grew up in. I'd likely get fascinated by the occult but have limited access to information about it. By 1914 I'd be an ardent pacifist and likely not a Marxist but a "fellow travellor". I'd be unwilling to fight in World War I but also unwilling to go to prison because both are far too masculine environments. I'd probably end up a stretcher bearer or something and hang out with the Quakers. I'd be fascinated by eugenics and the whole idea of making fundamental changes to humanity. The Kibbo Kift's love of camping wouldn't appeal to me even if other aspects did and I'd likely end up in the Communist Party. By WW2 I'd be 59 and likely very angry about a lot of things. I could see myself leaving the Communists over the Soviet occupation of Poland, if not before that. Without antidepressants or medicine for dysphoria I'd be reliant on alcohol and tobacco to get by and I'd likely die due to this at some point in WW2. If I somehow survived I'd likely end up in OBOD.

But fuck it, maybe I'd get lucky, end up in prison in World War I, and have an interesting time stuck around a bunch of men who are exploring homosexuality and think I'm one of them. Drift towards the disorganised occultism of Spare and such, join the Kibbo Kift, hang out with Angus McBean's crew and write some articles that feature in a future thesis, get involved with the crew who went onto form OBOD and live to see the sixties and be enamored with the idea that the kids are going to be alright.


Too young to fight in the First World War. I probably end up a Tyneside Tory given where I'm from, but both Cuthbert Headlam and the Grattan-Doyles were unpleasant enough for me to end up being one of the people who tried to get William McKeag to stand in the 1940 Newcastle North by-election. Maybe I become a Liberal after that.


Hello Tony, I am 1952
Published by SLP
Born in the docklands of London’s East End in 1897 to an Irish Traveller dad and Italo-Jewish mum, I probably end up a dockworker or a railwayman (more likely the former) as the First World War begins. I try to get exempted from service but fail, whereafter I spend most of the war scrambling about in the trenches and generally waiting for something to happen. I keep thinking of deserting but I’m too much of a coward to do that. I am likely a member of Dock, Wharf, Riverside and General Labourers' Union and the Labour Party after the war, spending the 1920s going to socialist political seminars and organising on the docks during the 1926 General Strike.

If I’m as ambitious and curious as I am OTL (which, if my mum is even vaguely same, I’m sure I would be), then I’m probably going to end up becoming an official in the TGWU and a Labour councillor in West Ham. Given my great-great grandad was a docklands boy born in 1897 who became a Labour MP, I’d like to think I get there too - if not elected in the Thirties, then I’m elected in a WW2 by-election as a ‘Crippsite’ candidate. Given he lived until 1969, I’ll take that as my death date - had a hard life, after all. If I’m lucky, a leisure centre in Canning Town will be named after me in the ‘70s and I am remembered when the members of Canning Town Synagogue on Barking Road say Yizkor (until it closes in 1977).


Patreon supporter
Published by SLP
The circumstances of my parents meeting are very specific to the later 20th century (Northern Ireland and RAF bases), unlikely to be replicated in the 1880s, but I'll play:

Born 1889, several weeks premature with complications, >99% likely chance I'm dead within days if not hours.

Assuming I somehow survive birth I'm brought up by an upper working class family in a small west-country town which still retains some Regency nostalgia and has some decent-ish schools. There's a chance at some social mobility breaking me into the clerical middle classes. If not there are the railways, the cranes, the earthworks... If academia works out for me there's a very strong chance that I become a teacher.

Assuming I'm not killed by some industrial accident, or by the periodic flooding that afflicted the working class areas of the town up until the OTL 1950s, by 1910 I'm likely a strong supporter of radicals within the Liberal Party, and fired up by People vs. the Peers. Maybe I'm distraught to see Don Maclean lose his seat, maybe I'm more disillusioned by him and Asquith not being radical enough. In my youthful idealism I can't wait until a proper radical like Winston Churchill takes over.

On the flip side, I've very much gone against environmental factors and drivers in OTL - a hundred years earlier in a far more conformist society, I'm probably one of the Liberals who ultimately goes anti-socialist in the 20s.

Maybe I have the same urge to emigrate to New Zealand, as a near contemporary of Sir Walter Nash and the other immigrant members of the First Labour Government. This is probably an easier ambition to fulfil in the 1910s than the 2010s.

1914-1918 is going to be unpleasant, unless I'm medically exempt (possible) or in a reserved occupation (teaching perhaps, or something coal or railway related).

Assuming I survive that, and the influenza, I'm probably very disillusioned by the status quo, and really rather excited by all these New ideologies coming to the fore:

Utopia world - I visit Berlin and Hirschfeld, become involved in the early flowering of LGBT rights, and specifically trans rights; somehow by the 1930s I'm able to provide a refuge in Britain for those who need to flee continental Europe, allowing Hirschfeld to re-establish his institute in the west of England and thereby avoid the Dark Ages. I don't know if changing history beyond the personal is allowed in this challenge, but I'm taking that.

Dystopia world - I'm literally a fascist.

By 1939 I'm 50, very keen to Do My Bit and Follow The Rules. I've become more disillusioned, one way or another. I probably write a lot of pamphlets that nobody ever reads, but ultimately feel quite optimistic about the new world we can build once this is all over. I'm delighted by '45, even though I've spent the last 10 years criticising Attlee.

If I live long enough to see the 1960s, like Sideways I'm probably happily assured that the kids will be alright. I don't have time for people who grumble about the fecklessness and self-absorption of the Boomer generation.

Maybe I ask questions about the things that don't quite feel right about who I am, but in OTL the medicine and the support communities just aren't there. Quite possibly there's always a gnawing unhappiness or uncertainty that I can't quite understand, a failed sham marriage or two, and an early death at my own hands; but that's been the way for most LGBT people throughout history.

The past is a fascinating place to study and speculate on, but I really wouldn't want to live there.

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
I'd probably end up a stretcher bearer or something and hang out with the Quakers.
You might want to look at A Nurse at the Front, the First World War Diaries of Sister Edith Appleton.

She has some interesting things to say about Conchie Stretcher Bearers, mostly positive.

Also Elsie and Mairi go to War, by Dr Diane Atkinson.

Sometimes the collective view of the period differs from what the people at the time seem to have thought in what they wrote at the time.

It's also the case that the Board views on Conscientious Objectors varied widely, and could be much influenced by how much of a history COs had with Pacifism. The Boards tended to regard with some suspicion those with no history of Pacifist views prior to conscription. There were various categories of CO status:

Those who will not kill, but will serve as medics and labourers in the trenches.
Those who will not wear uniform, but will carry out essential war work (mining, working on farms, etc).
Those who would do no work related to the war in any way.

Boards varied in their allocations, but generally speaking, it was the last group who ended up in jail. By and large, the Boards were keener on getting people into useful war work than into prison.

The Red

Well-known member
Published by SLP
Being born into an Irish Catholic household in Lanarkshire in the late-nineteenth century is...probably better than being born into an Irish Catholic household in the mid-nineteenth century? Life's likely to revolve around working in the pit and probably illiterate as well so any hope of a writing career in the future probably isn't credible. I'd hopefully have enough of a head on me to stay out of the trenches although the Lanarkshire pit villages were hit hard by the promise of adventure and, more importantly, escape from the pit so it's hard to say if I'd avoid the allure.

Politically the Miner's Federation would be thriving in the area and with any luck I'd be involved in that enough to keep me focused on what's important without being sacked/murdered. After the war I'd be able to vote but also in an area where for a while the lines between Communist and Labour were somewhat blurred so it would be a matter of voting for which party decides to stand at that particular election.
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Well-known member
In terms of parents meeting- ironically it’s probably more likely that my mining industry father would end up in Charters Towers to meet my mother, given it was a bit of a boom town in the late 19th century and spent much of the 20th in decline.

Oh, I’m also a bastard. How much of a stigma was attached to that a hundred years ago? Unless we assume different social mores compel my parents to get married prior to my birth.