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Passchendaele

(76 Posts)
Wafflingwell Sun 30-Jul-17 22:28:58

Anyone else touched by the fact that every evening since 1928, the Belgian town of Ypres have, off their own bat (ie not a state or army undertaking) paid tribute to the fallen men of the British Army and its then Empire who died at Passchendaele?

I've just been watching the BBC coverage. Some shocking statistics - did I hear this right - that of all the British men (and soldiers from all over the French, Belgian and British empire such as Nepal, India, Morroco to name but a few) who died in the first world war, one quarter of them died at Ypres shock

Wafflingwell Sun 30-Jul-17 22:33:56

500,000 troops dead on both sides in about three months ...shock

Mrstrumpalot Sun 30-Jul-17 22:49:32

I know. I watched it with tears in my eyes. My great uncle went off as a 19 year old and never came back. It doesn't bear thinking about if anything like that were to happen again.

DonkeyOaty Sun 30-Jul-17 22:53:00

We will remember them.

outabout Sun 30-Jul-17 22:54:42

So many spent best part of 4 years dying over a strip of land a few miles long and about half a mile or less wide. So utterly pointless.

Wafflingwell Sun 30-Jul-17 23:04:29

Yes, the tragic waste of a whole generation of men. Apparently there were huge numbers of soldiers under eighteen years of age; a few unbelievably between 12 and 15 years who lied to the recruiting officers.

Really sad about your great Uncle MrsTrumpalot. Have you ever thought of visiting Ypres and trying to find his name on the Menin Gate? The coverage tonight has made me think about looking in to my own family history.

MarciaBlaine Sun 30-Jul-17 23:09:40

The local fire brigade play the last post at the Menin Gate every single night. It is so moving. The names on there - so very many of them - are the one not found. I think they did a marvellous job tonight with the programme.

Wafflingwell Sun 30-Jul-17 23:13:21

Yes a terrible terruble waste of life Out about although I got more of a sense tonight of why that land was so symbolically important; the whole of the rest of Belgium was occupied by Germans, and that strip of land lay between the front line and the coast. I agree though, in hindsight, a horrific, tragic waste.

Indeed Donkey

Wafflingwell Sun 30-Jul-17 23:16:22

Marcia I was really touched when they said two decades ago, there would be hardly any spectators there at 8pm, but still the nightly tribute continued. Determined to visit now some time in the middle of winter, when there is just a man and a dog in attendance!

TressiliansStone Sun 30-Jul-17 23:25:58

2nd Bn The Royal Scots

War Diary

1917 Septr 24
Moved up from Camp at YPRES South into support and relieved the 4th Royal Fusiliers. The Companies were disposed on either side of the YPRES-ZONNEBECK Road with Battalion HQ at SQUARE FARM.

...

1917 Septr 26
Zero hour was fixed for 5:30 am, and all arrangements had been made. Our barrage came down well up to time and the Battalion moved forward in good order.
There was a thickish mist making it rather difficult to keep direction but the railway embankment made a good guide.
At 6 am the German barrage came down heavily in the valley just behind our old front line and round Battalion H.Q.

...

Octr 1
The Battalion moved back to Camp at VALMERTINGHE, reaching it about 3 am.
Casualties
Officer:
Killed
Captain WDA Berry
2/Lieut EG Elenshe
Wounded
2/Lieut HC Mackay
2/Lieut PEC Honeywood
2/Lieut OJL Purves
2/Lieut CG Richards
2/Lieut W Peacock
2/Lieut A M Yuille

Missing:-
Captain A G Thomson
2/Lieut W.A M'Intosh

Other Ranks:-
Killed 45
Wounded 278
Missing 66

TressiliansStone Sun 30-Jul-17 23:30:28

One of my family was one of the 278 other ranks missing. I've wimped out of transcribing the horror, calmly enumerated minute by minute, of what happened to the Battalion from 6 am onwards.

TressiliansStone Sun 30-Jul-17 23:31:40

We will remember them.

Wafflingwell Sun 30-Jul-17 23:39:37

Gosh Tressilian no words are adequate really. Your post (and that timed account) brings it very much to life.

PerspicaciaTick Sun 30-Jul-17 23:39:44

I only learned a few days ago that there was a tradition of naming babies (girls and boys) after the battles where their fathers and close relations died.
Ella Passchendaele was interviewed on BBC, her middle name has been passed down through the family and commemorates the death of her great-grandmother's cousin who was just 24 when he died.
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40645645

Wafflingwell Sun 30-Jul-17 23:59:24

Fascinating Perspicacia I've never heard or read about that before. Thank you for the link.

TressiliansStone Mon 31-Jul-17 13:36:57

Remembering:

– Capt Graham Hardie Wade, Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, died 25 Apr 1915 nr Ypres. Age 41.

– James Rennie Moncrieff, Black Watch & Labour Company, killed by shellfire 11 Jun 1917 at Messines nr Ypres. Age 26.

– Pte Robert Petrie, Scottish Horse attached to Black Watch, killed in action 31 Jul 2017 (100 years today) nr Ypres. Age 28.

– Pte John Ross England, The Royal Scots (bantam regt), missing presumed killed 26 Sep 2017 nr Ypres. Age 21. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing.

– Pte James Hay, Cameron Highlanders & Labour Corps, killed in action 30 Nov 1917 nr Ypres. Age 41.

– Pte, Eric Blakeley, South Lancashire Regt, died 31 Dec 1917 nr Ypres. Age 19. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing.

– Pte Frederick George Johnstone, Gloucestershire Regt, presumed killed 10 Apr 1918 nr Ypres. Age 23. Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the missing.

TartanDMs Mon 31-Jul-17 13:40:46

DS17 went out there last year with cadets for their annual camp. He came back very moved and was watching last night. I think the daily service is very touching; he saw that happen and said it's just like the services here on 11 November, just a smaller scale.

TartanDMs Mon 31-Jul-17 13:42:17

Firstworldwar.com has war diaries, well worth a read.

MorrisZapp Mon 31-Jul-17 13:45:12

I didn't know they had a daily service. Bloody hell. I'll watch it on catch up.

Wafflingwell Mon 31-Jul-17 13:45:47

Thank you for the link Tartans I will take a look.

A very moving list indeed Tressilians.

Wafflingwell Mon 31-Jul-17 14:03:16

Every evening at 8pm Morris

TressiliansStone Mon 31-Jul-17 14:10:53

Apologies to 2/Lieut Ernest George Elmslie (not Elenshe), whose name I mistranscribed from the Royal Scots diary last night, and who was killed on 26 Jul 1917. He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, so has no known grave.

I also mistranscribed 2/Lieut Percy Ewen Clunes Honeyman, who I'm pleased to say survived his wounds. He joined up as a private at the outbreak of WWI, was wounded three times, and stayed in the army after the war before retiring to become a teacher at George Watson's College. He rejoined his regiment as a Lieut-Colonel in WWII, and died in a Scottish military hospital in February 1945, age 50.

weegiemum Mon 31-Jul-17 14:21:29

Both my dd1 and ds have been to Ypres as part of a school trip and attended the service at the Menin gate. In my dd1's case, there were 3 boys who play bagpipes (and play them well!) and were invited to play in the ceremony, which she said was so moving - the young generation honouring the old, and the young boys like them who never came home - they were 14/15 at the time.

sleepyhead Mon 31-Jul-17 14:36:37

My mum inherited a locket from her grandmother which contained a picture of her grandfather and a silver sixpence carefully filed down to fit.

One day she removed the sixpence to take a closer look and found a tiny photo of a boy. On the back "missing 14-18".

A childhood sweetheart? Who he was and where he fell we'll never know, but we remember Thomas Brown.

Helenluvsrob Mon 31-Jul-17 14:55:15

I knew Avery elderly lady names Arras after the battle.
My son has also been on a battle fields tour and seen the menus Gate ceremony.

He also found the two relatives who died 😢 Basically the same age as him and his fiends. ....

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