MY FAMILY AT WAR
WW1 WAR MEMORIALS
Since 2007 I have made frequent visits to the WW1 Battlefields of France and Belgium. Whilst the countryside has returned to its prosperous farms and crops there is still much evidence of that war a century ago in the form of memorials to the men and women of Great Britain, the Dominions and their Allies.
These pictures are a collection of those memorials which I have visited with a brief description of what they commemorate and when they were erected.
In the year 2014 as we commemorate the centenary of the beginning of the Great War, these pictures are a fitting tribute to those who sacrificed their lives .
THE THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932.
The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates casualties from the forces of Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and United Kingdom who died in the Salient. THE YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, was unveiled by Lord Plumer on 24 July 1927.
Those United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in November 1917. The TYNE COT MEMORIAL now bears the names of almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial, designed by Sir Herbert Baker with sculpture by Joseph Armitage and F.V. Blundstone, was unveiled by Sir Gilbert Dyett on 20 June 1927. At the suggestion of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, the Cross of Sacrifice was placed on the original large pill-box.
On the opening day of the Battle of Arras, 9 April 1917, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting side by side for the first time, scored a huge tactical victory in the capture of the 60 metre high Vimy Ridge. After the war, the highest point of the ridge was chosen as the site of the great memorial to all Canadians who served their country in battle during the First World War, and particularly to the 60,000 who gave their lives in France. It also bears the names of 11,000 Canadian servicemen who died in France - many of them in the fight for Vimy Ridge - who have no known grave. The memorial was designed by W.S. Allward. It was unveiled by King Edward VIII on 26 July 1936.
The AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL MEMORIAL erected to commemorate all Australian soldiers who fought in France and Belgium during the First World War, to their dead, and especially to name those of the dead whose graves are not known. The Australian servicemen named in this register died in the battlefields of the Somme, Arras, the German advance of 1918 and the Advance to Victory. The memorial stands within Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, which was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from other burial grounds in the area and from the battlefields. Both the cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The memorial was unveiled by King George VI on 22 July 1938.
The INDIAN MEMORIAL at Neuve Chapelle commemorates over 4,700 Indian soldiers and labourers who lost their lives on the Western Front during the First World War and have no known graves. The location of the memorial was specially chosen as it was at Neuve Chapelle in March 1915 that the Indian Corps fought its first major action as a single unit. The memorial takes the form of a sanctuary enclosed within a circular wall after the manner of the enclosing railings of early Indian shrines. The column in the foreground of the enclosure stands almost 15 feet high and is surmounted with a Lotus capital, the Imperial British Crown and the Star of India. Two tigers are carved on either side of the column guarding the temple of the dead. On the lower part of the column the words ‘God is One, He is the Victory’ are inscribed in English, with similar texts in Arabic, Hindi, and Gurmukhi. The memorial was designed by the celebrated British architect, Sir Herbert Baker, and unveiled by the Earl of Birkenhead on 7 October 1927. Lord Birkenhead, then Secretary of State for India, had served as a staff officer with the Indian Corps during the war. The ceremony was also attended by Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Rudyard Kipling, and a large contingent of Indian veterans.
The DELVILLE WOOD Memorial is a flint and stone screen, with a shelter at each end and in the middle an arch, surmounted by figures of a horse and two men representing the two races of the Union of South Africa in bronze. It was unveiled by the widow of General Louis Botha on the 10th October 1926. The Memorial recalls the conquest of German South-West Africa in six months by South African troops; the conquest of German East Africa by a South African Commander at the head of an Army mainly South African; and the great record of the South African Brigade in France and Flanders. In Delville Wood the three Battalions employed in the capture and defence of the Wood were all but completely destroyed. At Arras and at Passchendaele, in April and September, 1917, they successfully overran the enemy defences. During the Great War, the Union sent out on service 229,000 Officers and men. Of these, some 10,000 were killed in action or died of wounds or sickness; and their names are written in a book kept at the Delville Wood Memorial, on the site where their first great sacrifice was made.
The ARRAS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom, South Africa and New Zealand who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and 7 August 1918, the eve of the Advance to Victory, and have no known grave. The most conspicuous events of this period were the Arras offensive of April-May 1917, and the German attack in the spring of 1918. Canadian and Australian servicemen killed in these operations are commemorated by memorials at Vimy and Villers-Bretonneux. Both cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, with sculpture by Sir William Reid Dick. The memorial was unveiled by Lord Trenchard, Marshal of the Royal Air Force on the 31 July 1932.
THE FLYING SERVICES MEMORIAL is adjacent to the Arras Memorial, designed by Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens. It is an obelisk with a globe which forms a finial on the top. The four sides of the obelisk are inscribed with the names of the airmen killed on the Western Front and who have no known grave.
It was unveiled in July 1932 by Lord Hugh Trenchard, Marshal of the Royal Air Force, and a senior commander of British air forces throughout the war.
The LOOS MEMORIAL commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave, who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay. On either side of the cemetery is a wall 15 feet high, to which are fixed tablets on which are carved the names of those commemorated. At the back are four small circular courts, open to the sky, in which the lines of tablets are continued, and between these courts are three semicircular walls or apses, two of which carry tablets, while on the centre apse is erected the Cross of Sacrifice. The memorial was designed by Sir Herbert Baker with sculpture by Charles Wheeler. It was unveiled by Sir Nevil Macready on 4 August 1930.
The PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL commemorates more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave. The memorial serves the area from the line Caestre-Dranoutre-Warneton to the north, to Haverskerque-Estaires-Fournes to the south, including the towns of Hazebrouck, Merville, Bailleul and Armentieres, the Forest of Nieppe, and Ploegsteert Wood. Most of those commemorated by the memorial did not die in major offensives, such as those which took place around Ypres to the north, or Loos to the south. Most were killed in the course of the day-to-day trench warfare. It does not include the names of officers and men of Canadian or Indian regiments they are found on the Memorials at Vimy and Neuve-Chapelle. The memorial was designed by Harold Chalton Bradshaw, with sculpture by Gilbert Ledward. The memorial was unveiled by the Duke of Brabant on 7 June 1931.
The VIS EN ARTOIS MEMORIAL bears the names of over 9,000 men who fell in the period from 8 August 1918 to the date of the Armistice in the Advance to Victory in Picardy and Artois, between the Somme and Loos, and who have no known grave. They belonged to the forces of Great Britain and Ireland and South Africa; the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand forces being commemorated on other memorials to the missing. The memorial was designed by J.R. Truelove, with sculpture by Ernest Gillick. It was unveiled by the Rt. Hon. Thomas Shaw on 4 August 1930.
The CAMBRAI MEMORIAL commemorates more than 7,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South Africa who died in the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917 and whose graves are not known. The Cambrai Memorial was designed by Harold Chalton Bradshaw with sculpture by Charles S. Jagger. It was unveiled by Lieut-General Sir Louis Vaughan on 4 August 1930.
The LE TOURET MEMORIAL is a World War I memorial, located near Richebourg-l'Avoué, in the Pas-de-Calais region of France. The memorial lists 13,389 names of British and Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave who were killed in the area prior to the start of the Battle of Loos on 25 September 1915. The exceptions are Canadian soldiers, whose names are commemorated at the Vimy Memorial, and Indian Army soldiers, whose names appear on the Neuve-Chapelle Memorial. Those commemorated on this memorial include the Victoria Cross recipients Abraham Acton, William Anderson, Jacob Rivers, and Edward Barber. Also commemorated here are Clive and Arnold Baxter, brothers who were killed on the same day, 25th January 1915, in the Brickstacks area of Cuinchy.
Designed by J. R. Truelove, the memorial is a loggia surrounding an open rectangular court. The inscription is over the entrance, and given in both French and English. The memorial was unveiled on 22 March 1930 by Lord Tyrrell, a diplomat who was present in his role as British Ambassador to France.
The SOISSONS MEMORIAL commemorates almost 4,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom forces who died during the Battles of the Aisne and the Marne in 1918 and who have no known grave. The memorial was designed by G.H. Holt and V.O. Rees, with sculpture by Eric Kennington. It was unveiled by Sir Alexander Hamilton-Gordon on 22 July 1928.
The LA FERTE-SOUS-JOURRE MEMORIAL commemorates 3,740 officers and men of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) who fell at the battles of Mons, Le Cateau, the Marne and the Aisne between the end of August and early October 1914 and have no known graves. The monument is constructed of white Massangis stone and surmounted by a sarcophagus onto which military trophies are laid. At the four corners of the pavement on which the monument stands are stone columns supporting urns which bear the coats of arms of the four constituent nations of the United Kingdom. The memorial was designed by George H. Goldsmith, a decorated veteran of the Western Front, and unveiled by Sir William Pulteney, who had commanded the III Corps of the BEF in 1914, on 4 November 1928.
Close to the bridge on both banks of the river Marne stand the stone columns which make up the 4th Division ROYAL ENGINEERS MEMORIAL. The columns are surmounted with the flaming grenade of the Royal Engineers and mark the spot at which British sappers constructed a floating assault bridge under German artillery fire on 9 and 10 September 1914.
NOTRE DAMES DE LORETTE. This site was chosen as the final resting place of those French soldiers who fell on the Western Front in Artois, Flanders, Yser and on the Belgian Coast. Twenty thousand bodies were identified and given an individual grave; however the remaining twenty-two thousand unknown soldiers were placed in eight ossuaries, making Lorette Spur the largest war cemetery in France. A Neo-Byzantine basilica, designed by the architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier, was later added to the cemetery. The light on the lantern tower built above one of the ossuaries is visible for many miles around.
THE MEMORIAL NOTRE DAME DE LORETTE. Located to the North of the City of Arras and next to the largest French WW1 cemetery stands the newest memorial to all those who died in the region of the Nord - Pas de Calais during 1914 to 1918.
Opened on 11th November 2014 by the then President of France, Francois Hollande and guests from across Europe, its panels of burnished metal contain the names of 580000 who died. What is so striking about this list is that the names are displayed in alphabetical order without any distinction of rank or nationality so that former enemies and allies are side by side.
The metal panels are slotted together in a ring which in one section hovers above the hillside upon which the French army heroically fought with great cost during the Battle of Artois in 1915.
The panels are etched in white with the names of 294000 British Empire soldiers, 174000 German soldiers, 106000 French and Colonial soldiers, 2300 Belgian soldiers, 2300 Portuguese soldiers and Russian and Romanians who died as POWs in the area.
Amongst the 580000 names I found those of four of my relatives whose stories are told on other pages of this website.
JARVIS ERNEST 1st RDF missing 24/4/17 Arras Memorial to the Missing Panel 9
JARVIS FRANK 5th BORDER KIA 2/10/18 buried in Bellicourt CWGC
LIVERMORE WILFRED WILLIAM 40th MGC died as POW 24/5/18 buried in Favreuil CWGC
MALTBY FRANK HERBERT 5th Yorkshire KIA 19/7/17 buried in Heninel Communal Cemetery extension CWGC
This incredibly unique and distinctive memorial was designed by PHILIPPE PROST who said of the shape "I chose the ring as a figure to bring together the names of the soldiers thinking of the circle formed by people holding hands."
This memorial formed by invention and engineering skills cost 8 million euros paid for by the French Government. It now takes its rightful place amongst the great monuments across the old Western Front. A plaque at the entrance to the memorial succinctly expresses its spirit of reconciliation in these words:
"This memorial was erected in a peaceful Europe in memory of a terrible tragedy which devastated a generation of young men"
KEMMEL HILL OSSUARY holds the bodies of 5,294 unidentified French soldiers, killed on the hill in April 1918. An imposing memorial to the French soldiers who fought on the battlefields of Belgium was sculpted by Adolphe Masselot depicting the Roman goddess Victoria. She has been nicknamed 'The Sad Angel of Kemmel Hill'
THE AMERICAN MEMORIAL. During the First Battle of the Marne (September 1914), the German troops were stopped at the gates of Meaux. This heroic action not only prevented the city from being taken by the Germans but also changed the course of the war. In 1932, in the place of the Battlefield, at the gates of Meaux, the United States of America erected a monument in the memory of the French soldiers fallen in action. Called, in French, La Liberté éplorée ("The Tearful Liberty"), the monument is popularly known among the French as Le Monument américain ("the American monument"). In 2011, besides the Monument, was built the World War I Museum (Musée de la Grande Guerre du pays de Meaux .
LES FANTOMES, a sculpture on the BUTTE CHALMONT near Oulchy-le-Château in the Aisne, is one of the major works of Paul Landowski, a French sculptor of Polish descent (1875-1961). It stands on the exact spot where the outcome of the Second Battle of the Marne was decided in 1918. The sculpture represents seven soldiers with different weapons and, in their midst, a naked youth, a martyred hero, rising up into the air. He symbolises the suffering of mankind plunged into war. Les Fantômes were sculpted in pink granite (their creator’s “eternal stone”) and unveiled in 1935 by President Lebrun.
STATUE OF FRANCE. Below the site of Les Fantômes, a statue of France, which is also by Paul Landowski, carries a shield bearing the symbolic figures of “Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité”.
ILS N'ONT PAS CHOISI LEUR SEPULTURE sur Le Plateau de Californie.
Le Plateau de Californie located in the heart of the Chemins des Dames is, just as Verdun, a place emblematic of the Great War in France. A genuine natural fortress in the heart of the German defensive mechanism, Le Plateau de Californie remained a strategic objective until 1918 : the plateau was crossed by tunnels leading to fortified caves like the Cave du Dragon. Le Plateau de Californie and the Chemin des Dames have long been associated with the resounding failure of the April 1917 offensive and of the mutinies of Craonne which followed it. In 1998, a sculpture four meters high and called “They have not chosen their burial" was erected on Le Plateau de Californie. This monument, sculptured by the French sculptor Haim Kern, celebrated the eightieth anniversary of the 1918 armistice . The French Prime Minister at the time, who inaugurated the monument on 5th November 1998 in his speech, wished that the French soldiers "exhausted by attacks condemned in advance, sliding into a hardened mud blood, immersed in a despair without substance", who "refused to be the sacrificed", victims "of a discipline whose rigor had to equal that of the hardness of the fighting, today, re enter fully, our national collective memory".
On 12th August 2014 this monument to the sacrifice of the French Poilu was stolen from its site with only the concrete base remaining.
IRISH PEACE TOWER MESSINES. The memorial site is dedicated to the soldiers of Ireland, of all political and religious beliefs, who died, were wounded or missing in the Great War of 1914-1918. Irish men and women served with the Armies of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States. It was constructed using stones from a demolished workhouse in Mullinger, County Westmeath, Ireland. The design is that of a traditional Irish round tower dating back to the 8th century.The Island of Ireland Peace Park was officially opened at 11:00 hours on 11th November 1998 by the then President of Ireland Mary McAleese in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth II and King Albert II of Belgium.
The ULSTER TOWER is a memorial to the men of the 36th (Ulster) Division. It is located very near to the famous Schwaben Redoubt (Feste Schwaben) which the Division attacked on July 1st, 1916. The Scwaben Redoubt was a little to the north-east of where the tower stands, and was a triangle of trenches with a frontage of 300 yards, a fearsome German strongpoint with commanding views.The tower, which is 70 feet high, was unveiled by Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson on the 19th of November, 1921, at a ceremony also attended by French dignitaries.
The NEW ZEALAND MEMORIAL, commemorating the actions of the New Zealand Division on the 15th of September 1916. The memorial is similar to other New Zealand memorials which can be found at Messines and near s-Gravenstafel, being in the form of a large obelisk. On the front is the inscription "In honour of the men of the New Zealand Division, first battle of the Somme, 1916", and at the base "From the uttermost ends of the Earth".
THE NEW ZEALAND MEMORIAL, The New Zealand battlefield memorial, similar in design to the New Zealand Memorial on the Somme, is located at the New Zealand Memorial Park outside Messines ( Mesen ). This memorial honours the soldiers of the New Zealand Division that fought in the Battle of Messines from 7 to 14 June 1917. The memorial park, which houses the remains of two German pill-boxes, overlooks the area from where the New Zealanders attacked on 7 June 1917.
The NEW ZEALAND MEMORIAL in Messines Ridge British Cemetery commemorates the names of 828 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who have no known grave and were killed in fighting on the battlefield sector of Messines Ridge in 1917 and 1918.
This memorial commemorates the NEW ZEALAND DIVISION’s participation in the Battle of Broodseinde on 4 October 1917. This attack by ANZAC forces successfully pushed forward the allied trench line in the early part of the Passchendaele offensive. The memorial was unveiled on 2 August 1924 by the New Zealand High Commissioner in London, Sir James Allen, who had been Minister of Defence in New Zealand during the war.
The NEW ZEALAND MEMORIAL to the Missing, designed by the English architect Charles Holden, lists 378 officers and men of the New Zealand Division with no known grave who were killed between September 1917 and May 1918 while serving in the Polygon Wood Sector or in the Battle of Polygon Wood.
The PORTUGUESE CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL is not a wartime cemetery; it was begun in 1924 by bringing in the remains of Portugese soldiers from a number of other cemeteries in Belgium and France. There are nearly 2,000 burials, and there is a small chapel.
The IJzertoren YSER TOWER is a memorial along the Belgian Yser river in Diksmuide. It was first built after the First World War by an organisation of former Flemish soldiers and was destroyed and rebuilt in the late 1940s.
THE CANADIAN UNKNOWN SOLDIER'S GRAVE. A part of the Canada Millennium Partnership Program was a project to create a tomb of the unknown soldier for Canada. They asked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to select one of the 1,603 graves of unknown Canadians buried in the vicinity of Vimy Ridge. Chosen was Grave 7, in Row E of Plot 8 of the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery in Souchez, France, near to the Canadian memorial at Vimy Ridge. The remains of the soldier buried there were exhumed on the morning of May 16, 2000, and the coffin was flown to Ottawa on May 25. On the afternoon of May 28, the body of the unknown soldier was transported to the National War Memorial on a horse drawn gun carriage. Then, with full military honours the body, in a silver maple casket, was re-interred in a sarcophagus in front of the war memorial.
Situated in St. Juliaan village at Vancouver Corner, the BROODING SOLDIER memorial is a 35ft-high statue of a Canadian soldier with bowed head and hands resting on arms reversed. The memorial was carved from a single shaft of granite. Designed by Chapman Clemesha and unveiled on July 8 1923 the memorial is famed for its moving simplicity. A plaque at the foot of the memorial reads "This column marks the battlefield where 18,000 Canadians on the British left withstood the first German gas attacks (from) the 22-25 April 1915. 2,000 fell and lie buried nearby."
The CANADIAN HILL 62 MEMORIAL - known as Mount Sorrel - is sited next to Sanctuary Wood museum in the Ypres Salient. The name 'Hill 62' referred to the area's height above sea level in metres The memorial comprises a block of white Quebec granite weighing almost 15 tons. The memorial bears the inscription: "Here at Mount Sorrel on the line from Hooge to St. Eloi, the Canadian Corps fought in the defence of Ypres April-August 1916".
The BOURLON WOOD CANADIAN MEMORIAL commemorates the attack across the Canal Du Nord on ground donated by the Comte de Franqueville, then Mayor of Bourlon. The great stone block is at the top of a hill and bears the message: THE CANADIAN CORPS ON 27TH SEP. 1918 FORCED THE CANAL DU NORD AND CAPTURED THIS HILL. THEY TOOK CAMBRAI, DENAIN, VALENCIENNES & MONS; THEN MARCHED TO THE RHINE WITH THE VICTORIOUS ALLIES.
Plans to honour an unknown Australian soldier were first put forward in the 1920s but it was not until 1993 that one was taken back to his home land. To mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the body of an unknown Australian soldier was recovered from Adelaide Cemetery near Villers-Bretonneux in France and transported to Australia . After lying in state in King's Hall in Old Parliament House, Unknown Australian Soldier was interred in the Hall of Memory at the Memorial on 11 November 1993. He was buried with a bayonet and a sprig of wattle in a Tasmanian blackwood coffin, and soil from the Pozières battlefield was scattered in his tomb.
FROMELLES AUSTRALIAN MEMORIAL PARK. This is the site of the action in which those now buried at Pheasant Wood Cemetery lost their lives. In the middle of the Park stands a bronze statue of an Australian soldier bringing in a wounded comrade. The statue is entitled "Cobbers", was sculpted by Peter Corlett and was unveiled in 1998. Beneath the statue is a plaque stating what the statue depicts; Sergeant Simon Fraser of the 57th Battalion whose company brought in many wounded men from the battlefield here.
THE AUSTRALIAN MEMORIAL LE HAMEL
This commemorates more than 100 000 Australians who served in the Australian Corps in France. Erected by the Australian Government on the site of the major Australian victory in July 1918
Outside the village of Bullecourt, south of Arras is the AUSTRALIAN MEMORIAL PARK with its statue of the bronze ‘Bullecourt Digger’. He gazes out over the fields of Bullecourt where in April and May 1917 the AIF lost 10,000 soldiers, killed or wounded, in their efforts to break into and hold part of the Hindenburg Line. The ‘Bullecourt Digger’ has stood here in Australian Memorial Park since April 1993.
After the war, the people and Government of Newfoundland proceeded to build memorials in France and Belgium where the Regiment fought significant engagements. Five monuments were constructed. The Government of Newfoundland acquired the land on which to build the memorials from grateful France and Belgium. It was decided that the memorials should be in the form of the CARIBOU, an animal indigenous and familiar to all in Newfoundland and Labrador, and which was the emblem used in the badge of the Regiment. The caribou memorials, as photographed above, were placed at: Beaumont-Hamel, Gueudecourt Monchy-le-Preux, Masnieres & Courtrai (Kortrik)
THE CHÂTEAU-THIERRY American Monument is a World War I memorial, located near Château-Thierry, Aisne, in France and was constructed in 1930. The memorial is situated upon Hill 204 and commands a wide view of the valley of the Marne River. It commemorates the achievements of United States forces that fought in the region during World War I. In 1918, the United States Army took part in heavy fighting around the area during the Second Battle of the Marne. The monument consists of a double colonnade rising above a long terrace as designed by Paul Philippe Cret. On its west facade are sculptured figures representing the United States and France. The sculptor was the French-American artist Alfred Bottiau. The English inscription reads, "This monument has been erected by the United States of America to commemorate the services of her troops and those of France who fought in this region during the World War. It stands as a lasting symbol of the friendship and cooperation between the French and American Armies."
NOYELLES SUR MER CHINESE CEMETERY Noyelles-Sur-Mer was the base depot of the Chinese Labour Corps in France, the site of their largest camp and of No 3 Labour (originally the Chinese) General Hospital. The Chinese Labour Corps was the outcome of an agreement made between the United Kingdom and Chinese Governments on 30 December 1916, for the employment of Chinese labour in France. The men were recruited in north China and the first contingent arrived in France in April 1917. At the Armistice the Corps numbered nearly 96,000 and even in May 1919, 80,000 were at work. Nearly 2,000 died during the war and when the cemeteries were constructed after the war was over, the headstones for these men were engraved in Chinese characters by a selected group of their comrades. One of the four following epitaphs were inscribed on the standard Commonwealth War Grave Portland stone gravestones for members of the CLC: "Faithful unto death", "A good reputation endures forever", "A noble duty bravely done" and "Though dead he still liveth", which are English translations of common Chinese proverbs for soldiers.
INDIA IN FLANDERS FIELDS
This memorial was unveiled in a ceremony in March 2011. It is dedicated to the 130,000 troops of the Indian Forces who served in Flanders during the Great War of 1914-1918. 9,000 members of the Indian Expeditionary Force died as casualties in France and Flanders, not only due to their injuries in battle but also due to the severe winter weather conditions.
The new GURKHA MEMORIAL on the Ypres ramparts faces the Menin Gate. It commemorates the hundreds of Gurkha soldiers from Nepal who fought and died in Ypres, especially on the 27th April 1915 at Pilkem Ridge.
Nepal was never part of British India but still today, Nepalese soldiers serve in the British and Indian armies.
This memorial was a project from the Nepalese Embassy with the support of the City of Ypres and the CWGC.
THE MEMORIALS INSIDE AMIENS CATHEDRAL
TO THE B.E.F.
TO THE CANADIANS
TO THE AUSTRALIANS
TO THE NEW ZEALANDERS
TO THE NEWFOUNDLANDERS
TO THE SOUTH AFRICANS
TO THE AMERICAN ENGINEERS
The Memorials shown above were erected by the various governments or governmental organisations to commemorate their nationals who fought and in many cases died in the major battles of WW1.
The Western Front also contains a multitude of memorials erected immediately after the War or more recently by individuals and old comrade associations to commemorate the involvement of Regiments or Divisions in specific actions during the Great War. Here are some that I have visited during my travels across the Western Front.
THE BLACK WATCH MEMORIAL AT POLYGON WOOD. A statue of a Black Watch soldier was erected in Belgium in May 2014 to commemorate more than 8,000 officers and soldiers who died and over 20,000 who were wounded in WW1. The statue of a kilted Highlander is the first and only memorial dedicated specifically to the Black Watch fallen of the Great War. The site chosen for the statue has been known as Black Watch Corner since the remnants of the 1st Battalion took part in a successful ground-holding action. Along with other withdrawing British forces they fought against a numerically stronger force from the Kaiser’s Prussian Guard in November 1914.This action brought to an end the First Battle of Ypres and their heroic stand was to prove decisive because it stopped the German advance to the coast. The imposing statue stands four and a half metres high, atop a base of Scottish granite and depicts a Black Watch soldier in First World War fighting uniform of kilt, jacket and bonnet with his Lee Enfield rifle and 18-inch bayonet. It was created by renowned Scottish sculptor Alan Herriot of Edinburgh.
WELSH MEMORIAL IN FLANDERS. A new memorial to the Welsh born soldiers who served in WW1 was unveiled in August 2014. In the village of Langemark which was completely destroyed during WWI, a Cromlech made of four Welsh Blue Pennant stones from the Craig yr Hesg quarry near Pontypridd topped with a Red bronze Dragon made in North Wales stands as a permanent memorial to all Welsh soldiers who died between 1914 and 1918. The designer is 31-year-old Lee Odishow from Tenby. In July 1917, Welsh soldiers advanced through this small village in war-torn Flanders on the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele. Among those killed in the battle was Welsh poet Hedd Wyn. Verse two of his poem RHYFEL:
Gwae fi fy myw mewn oes mor ddreng,
A Duw ar drai ar orwel pell;
O'i ôl mae dyn, yn deyrn a gwreng,
Yn codi ei awdurdod hell.
Why must I live in this grim age,
When, to a far horizon, God
Has ebbed away, and man, with rage,
Now wields the sceptre and the rod?
1ST AUSTRALIAN TUNNEL COMPANY HILL 60 YPRES
AUSTRALIAN 1ST DIVISION POZIERES THE SOMME
AUSTRALIAN 2ND DIVISION MONT ST QUENTIN PERONNE
AUSTRALIAN 3RD DIVISION SAILLY-LE-SEC
AUSTRALIAN 4TH DIVISION BELLENGLISE
AUSTRALIAN 5TH DIVISION POLYGON WOOD YPRES
1st DIVISION BEF CHAPEAU ROUGE
The hamlet of Chapeau Rouge is the place where the BEF 1st Division suffered from an enemy attack on 26th August 1914 during its retreat from Mons. This monument, inaugurated April 7, 1927 in the presence of Marshal Foch, pays tribute to the 16,000 British soldiers from the 1st Division who fell on the soil of France. It was designed by Richard Reginald Goulden.
7TH DIVISION YPRES
12TH EASTERN DIVISION EPEHY SOMME
14TH LIGHT DIVISION HILL 60 YPRES
16TH IRISH DIVISION GUILLEMONT SOMME
18TH EASTERN DIVISION THIEPVAL SOMME
18TH EASTERN DIVISION YPRES
30TH DIVISION LIVERPOOL PALS MONTAUBAN SOMME
30TH DIVISION MANCHESTER PALS MONTAUBAN SOMME
HULL CITY MEMORIAL. The Oppy Wood memorial to the men of Kingston-upon-Hull and all local units who gave their lives in the Great War. Many of the casualties of 31st Division who died at Oppy in May 1917 were from the Hull area. The ground on which the memorial stands was donated by the Vicomte and Vicomtesse du Bouexic de la Driennays in memory of their 22 year old son Pierre, an NCO of the French 504th Tank Regiment who was killed in action at Guyencourt on 8 August 1918.
37TH DIVISION MONCHY LE PREUX
38TH WELSH DIVISION MAMETZ SOMME
41ST DIVISION FLERS SOMME
42ND EAST LANCASHIRE DIVISION TRESCAULT
46TH MIDLAND DIVISION SOMME
46TH MIDLAND DIVISION HULLUCH
47TH DIVISION MARTINPUICH
47TH DIVISION HIGH WOOD SOMME
49TH WEST RIDING DIVISION ESSEX FARM YPRES
50TH DIVISION YPRES
51ST HIGHLAND DIVISION SOMME
55TH WEST LANCASHIRE DIVISION MEMORIAL GIVENCHY
58TH DIVISION CHIPILLY. The memorial at Chipilly is dedicated to those who died while fighting with the 58th (London) Division including during the Battle of Amiens in August 1918.
The monument depicts an artilleryman cradling the head of his wounded horse. This divisional memorial is unusual because it includes the figure of an animal, most specifically a war horse. The inclusion of the horse pays tribute to the millions of horses who served alongside the military in the 1914-1918 war. The memorial statue at Chipilly was created by the French sculptor Henri Désiré Gauquié (1858-1927).
62nd WEST YORKSHIRE DIVISION HAVRINCOURT
63rd RN DIVISION MEMORIAL GAVRELLE. The principle personality behind the erection of this monument to the Royal Naval Division is the author Trevor Tasker.
The memorial was inaugurated in 1991, and is a remarkable British war monument on the Western Front. It consists of an anchor, weighing 3 tons, the emblem of the division, surrounded by a broken wall, which symbolises the ruins of the village of Gavrelle.
At the time of the war, Gavrelle's houses were built of red bricks. The anchor came from a British naval vessel which had sunk at Milford Haven. The naval emblems of the division have been affixed to the walls. Stones and grenades have been piled along the walls surrounding the memorial.
LADY CECIL MEMORIAL TO THE GUARDS ON THE AISNE
FOOTBALLERS BATTALIONS LONGUEVAL SOMME
HEART OF MIDLOTHIAN BN CONTALMAISON SOMME
HIGHLAND BATTALIONS HIGH WOOD SOMME
HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY MEMORIAL YPRES
THE PIPERS MEMORIAL SOMME
MEMORIAL TO FIRST SHOT FIRED IN WW1 MONS
MEMORIAL AT THE POINT REACHED OUTSIDE MONS BY CANADIAN TROOPS AT 11 AM ON 11TH NOVEMBER 1918
SUFFOLK HILL LE CATEAU 26TH AUGUST 1914
MEMORIAL TO THE BEF 1914 TO 1918 MONS
ROYAL IRISH REGIMENT MEMORIAL MONS
MEMORIAL TO ROYAL IRISH LANCERS 1914/ 1918 MONS
ROYAL MUNSTER FUSILIERS ETREUX CEMETERY
COLDSREAM GUARDS MEMORIAL 25/26TH AUGUST 1914
CHESHIRE REGIMENT AUDREGNIES 24TH AUGUST 1914
ROYAL SUSSEX REGIMENT BOIS D’ABBAYE LOCK NO 2 4TH NOVEMBER 1918
DEVONSHIRE REGIMENT AUTHUILLE SOMME
TANK MEMORIAL FLESQUIERES CAMBRAI. On the hilltop just outside Flesquières is this monument which was unveiled on 24 November 2007. The ground was generously made available by Madame Jacques de Valicourt and Monsieur Bertrand de Valicourt and the monument built with the aid of the Royal Tank Regiment, the Royal Engineers and local involvement. The location is situated on part of the German trench system.
The layout of the paths represent the Union Flag, each cross pointing towards part of the battlefield. In the centre a block of concrete represents the defences of the Hindenburg line crossed by the tracks of a tank advancing towards Cambrai. Around the tracks can be seen the footprints of the supporting infantry.
To the rear are flagpoles bearing the (modern) flags of all the nations concerned in the fighting. Two in particular may seem unusual: The United States and China. Railway engineers from New York were responsible for bringing the tanks up to the battle zone and the often forgotten Chinese Labour Corps worked throughout to assist in preparing the tanks.
On the wall are six plaques listing the units involved in the Battle of Cambrai.
Hill 60 is a World War I battlefield memorial site and park in the Zwarteleen area of Zillebeke south of Ypres, Belgium. The site comprises two areas of raised land separated by the railway line; the northern area was known by soldiers as Hill 60 while the southern part was known as The Caterpillar.
In the collapsed tunnels beneath Hill 60, many British and German dead are buried. The Belgian government made the hill and the surrounding enclosure a battlefield memorial site and to preserve it, far as nature permits, in the state in which it was left after World War I. The park at the memorial site is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC). The memorial park also has the remains of several bunkers and craters from the fighting from 1915–1917.
The plaque reads:
Hill 60, the scene of bitter fighting, was held by German troops from the 16th December 1914 to the 17th April 1915, when it was captured (after the explosion of five mines) by the British 5th Division. On the following 5th May it was recaptured by the German XV Corps. it remained in German hands until the battle of Messines (7th June 1917) when, after many months of underground fighting, two mines were exploded here; and at the end of April 1918, after the battles of the Lys, it passed into German hands again. It was finally retaken by British troops under the command of H. M. King of the Belgians on the 28th September 1918. In the broken tunnels beneath this enclosure many British and German dead were buried, and the hill is therefore preserved, so far as nature will permit, in the state in which it was left after the Great War.
BRETON MEMORIAL TO THE FRENCH 87TH AND 45TH DIVISIONS, April 1915. The memorial commemorates French troops killed and wounded in the German gas cloud attack on 22nd April 1915 and those who fought in the Second Battle of Ypres.
Memorial in Ypres town centre to BELGIAN 13TH FIELD ARTILLERY which was attached to the BEF from May 1915 to May 1917.
Memorial to the 27TH AND 30TH AMERICAN DIVISIONS who fought within the BEF in the Ypres Salient during August and September 1918.
Memorial to the ARTILLERY AND ROYAL ENGINEERS of the 34th British Division who fought in the Ypres Salient during October and November 1917.
Memorial to the soldiers of the SHERWOOD FORESTERS NOTTS AND DERBY REGIMENT who died on the Western Front 1914 to 1918. Memorial is located outside of Tyne Cot Cemetery in the Ypres Salient.
Memorial to the Officers and Men of the BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT 1914 to 1918. The memorial is located outside of Tyne Cot Cemetery in the Ypres Salient.
Memorial to all who served in the KING’S OWN YORKSHIRE LIGHT INFANTRY between 1914 and 1918. Memorial is located outside Tyne Cot cemetery in the Ypres Salient.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT GHELUVELT YPRES
SOUTH WALES BORDERERS GHELUVELT YPRES
WORCESTERSHIRE REGIMENT GHELUVELT YPRES
A new MEMORIAL TO THE 1ST ESSEX REGIMENT AND ESSEX YEOMANRY was unveiled in the village square of Monchy Le Preux on Saturday 21 May 2016. The memorial was the brainchild of Dr Ted Bailey, whose grandfather served in the 1st Essex Regiment in WW1. It commemorates the actions of the Essex Yeomanry and 1st Battalion the Essex regiment during the Battle of Arras 1917.
On 11 April, the Essex Yeomanry, as part of a mounted division, bravely attacked Monchy in a snowstorm, galloping into the village but were met with heavy fire and lost 135 men, 29 killed in action, and most of their horses. Machine Gunner Lance-Corporal Harold Mugford doggedly defended the position under severe enemy pressure although severely wounded in both legs which were subsequently amputated. He was awarded the Victoria Cross and survived the war with distinction.
On 14 April, the 1st Battalion Essex Regiment attacked east of Monchy into a wooded area aiming for their objective, some high ground known as Infantry Hill. Initial success, with ground captured and prisoners taken, was reversed by a heavy German artillery barrage plus a simultaneous counter attack The battalion suffered 661 casualties, so many that a temporary battalion had to be formed with the Newfoundland Battalion, named the ‘1st Newfoundessex’, comprising only 400 men.
SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS MEMORIAL ARRAS. The 2nd Battalion Seaforth Highlanders took part in an attack on Roeux on 11th April 1917 from the sunken lane north of Fampoux. During this operation Lieutenant Donald Mackintosh was a warded a posthumous Victoria Cross.
The design of the Memorial, a Celtic Cross, had already been used by the regiment for the 78th Highlanders Indian Mutiny Memorial on the Esplanade, Edinburgh Catsle, and the 2nd Seaforths Boer War Memorial in Dingwall.
The inscription reads:
IN MEMORY OF
THE OFFICERS WARRANT OFFICERS AND NON-COMMISSIONED
OFFICERS AND PRIVATE SOLDIERS OF
THE SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS
ROSS-SHIRE BUFFS THE DUKE OF ALBANY'S
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR THEIR KING AND COUNTRY
IN THE GREAT WAR
1914 - 1918
FORT GARRY HORSE MEMORIAL. On June 11, 2004, during a visit by Fort Garry Horse, a monumental stone was unveiled at Masnières, Northern France, to commemorate the charge by 'B' Squadron on 20 November 1917, the opening day of the Battle of Cambrai, and the actions of Lieut. Harcus Strachan during the charge, which earned him the Victoria Cross.
TUNNELLERS MEMORIAL. On the morning of 22 June 1916, Sapper William Hackett and four other miners of 254 Tunnelling Company were driving a tunnel towards the enemy lines below the cratered surface of the Givenchy sector of northern France. At 2.50am the explosion of a heavy German mine (the Red Dragon) blew in the tunnel, cutting the five men off from the shaft and safety. After two days of digging an escape hole was formed and the tunnellers contacted. William Hackett helped three men to safety but he refused to leave until the last man, seriously injured 22 year-old Thomas Collins of the 14th Battalion, the Welsh Regiment, was rescued. His words were said to be, “I am a tunneller, I must look after the others first”. The gallery collapsed again, entombing the two men. Both still lie beneath the fields of Givenchy today.
The Tunnellers Memorial was unveiled on 19 June 2010 .The dimensions were designed to match the standard interior proportions of mine galleries constructed by Tunnelling Companies in the Flanders clays; they precisely match those in which William Hackett and Thomas Collins were working in June 1916 . The Memorial is orientated so that the view through the central axis of the yellow glass T goes exactly to the site of the original shaft head.
The new memorial stands in celebration not only of William Hackett VC self sacrifice, but the endeavours of all his military mining comrades from around the world; men from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa whose critical but clandestine role in the Great War has been long overlooked.
MEMORIAL TO PRINCESS PATRICIA’S CANADIAN LIGHT INFANTRY. The memorial was unveiled in 1958 by Mrs Hamilton Gault the widow of the Battalion’s founder and is situated on the ground where they fought on the Frezenberg Ridge in May 1915.
The memorial takes the form of a memorial seat of Belgium Blue Granite with bronze inscription panels fastened to its backrest.
An inscription on the base of the memorial states:
Here 8th May 1915, the Originals of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry commanded by their founder Major A Hamilton Gault held firm and counted not the cost.
That cost was almost 400 casualties — the battalion being reduced to just 4 officers and 150 men.
MONMOUTHSHIRE REGIMENT MEMORIAL. The memorial is dedicated to Second-Lieutenant Henry Anthony Birrell-Anthony and all officers and men of the 1st Monmouthshire Regiment who fell in the Second Battle of Ypres in May 1915.
2/Lt. Birrell-Anthony was one of 7 officers and 176 other ranks who died on 8th May 1915. An eighth officer died in German captivity at Roeslare a little later from his wounds. Birrell-Anthony's remains have not been found and he and many of his comrades are commemorated on Panel 50 of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres. The Monmouthshire Regiment monument is located on the south side of Roeselarestraat north-east of Ypres.
The LIVERPOOL SCOTTISH MEMORIAL is a World War I memorial erected in Belgium in 2000. It is located in Railway Wood on the Bellewaerde Ridge a little north of Hooge. The area was the site of intensive fighting in the First World War.
The Liverpool Scottish fought in the second wave of the "Battle of Hooge", officially known as the "First Attack at Bellewaarde", in June 1915. This action, in defence of the Ypres Salient, was not altogether successful and resulted in the depletion of the unit. Many men from the battle are buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery.
The memorial is made up of three parts - a carved stone, the inscription tablet in black marble and the flagstones around the memorial.
The carved stone, showing the badge of the 10th (Scottish) Battalion, The King's (Liverpool Regiment), was originally the keystone of the Fraser Street barracks of the unit. When the barracks were demolished in 1967 the stone was salvaged and placed into storage. In 1999, it was decided to move the stone, as part of a new memorial, to the Ypres area.
A black marble inscription, describing the actions at Bellewaarde, was placed at the base of the stone. The flagstones surrounding the memorial were donated by Liverpool City Council and amount to 2 tonnes of cobblestones from the streets of the city.
KITCHENER’S WOOD MEMORIAL. On the night of 22 April 1915, the Germans launched the first poison gas attack of the war on the Western Front The object of their attack was the Ypres Salient and they concentrated their initial attack on two French divisions, the 45th (Algerian) and 79th (Territorial). Attacking in the evening of the 21st, the two French divisions found themselves ill-prepared to cope with the chlorine gas and promptly broke, leaving a gap in the line four miles wide.
The 1st Canadian Division which had been in France since February, was hastily pulled out of reserve and ordered to seal the line. In particular, a position known as Kitcheners' Wood was ordered reinforced, and two Canadian battalions were selected for the job - which in the event turned out to be a major counter-attack, and the first major offensive operation of Canadian troops in the war.
The memorial , recently refurbished, depicts an oak leaf and stands on the site of a wood which was known by the French as Bois de Cuisiniers namely cooks hence Kitchener’s Wood .
TORONTO REGIMENT MEMORIAL. A new memorial located close to the Kitchener’s Wood memorial in Ypres commemorating the 3rd Battalion Toronto Regiment who were involved in the action on 22nd April 1915.
R E GRAVE RAILWAY WOOD . The Royal Engineers grave at Railway Wood marks the site where twelve soldiers (eight Royal Engineers of the 177th Tunnelling Company and four attached infantrymen) were killed between November 1915 and August 1917 whilst tunnelling under the hill near Hooge during the defence of Ypres. The men were trapped underground and their bodies not recovered, and after the war, the memorial was erected on the hill.
The site is unusual for being both a cemetery and a memorial. Because the bodies remain underground, the cemetery has no individual gravestones, and the names of the twelve men who died are inscribed on the Cross of Sacrifice instead. The inscription across three sides of the Cross of Sacrifice reads: Beneath this spot lie the bodies of an officer, three NCOs and eight men of or attached to the / 177th Tunnelling Company Royal Engineers / who were killed in action underground during the defence of Ypres between November 1915 and August 1917.
QUEEN’S WESTMINSTER RIFLES MEMORIAL GAVRELLE. This plaque is located outside the Town Hall in the village of Gavrelle near to Arras and commemorates the action fought by the Queen’s Westminster Rifles during the German offensive of March 1918.
HOOD BATTALION MEMORIAL Inside the church at Gavrelle. This original wooden cross commissioned and paid for by Arthur Asquith ( son of Prime Minister Herbert Asquith ) the commanding officer of the Hood Battalion part of the 63rd RN division which took the village of Gavrelle in April 1917 during the second part of the Battle of Arras.
The 85TH CANADIAN INFANTRY ('NOVA SCOTIA') BATTALION memorial is located near to Passchendaele and commemorates the battalion's involvement in the Passchendaele offensive .The memorial is located at the position reached by the battalion on 30 October 1917. One side of the memorial lists the names of servicemen killed during the Passchendaele actions.
Statue commemorating French fighter ace GEORGES GUYNEMER in Poelkappelle Belgium. The last fight of the French aviator Captain Georges Guynemer occurred four or five miles inside the German lines northeast of Ypres and opposite the British lines in September 1917.
MEMORIAL TO THE NEW ZEALAND TUNNELLERS (THE EARTH REMEMBERS). The City of Arras has recognised the work done by 500 New Zealand tunnellers in the Arras quarries during WW1 with a sculptural monument located near to the entrance to the Wellington Quarry Museum. The sculpture is in bronze, three metres high, with grass on the top, designed and made by New Zealand artist Marian Fountain, resident in Paris. It was unveiled at a dawn ceremony on 9th April 2017 commemorating the centenary of the opening day of the Battle of Arras.
In this sculpture, one of the First World War graves is raised from the earth as though it has been lifted out of the soil of France. It is a piece of land representing one New Zealand soldier in his lemon-squeezer hat, as though each man gave his life for what amounted to a small piece of land.
Visitors are able to walk into the ‘dug out’ shape of the New Zealand tunneller who is no longer there, and are confronted in the head-space with a large crowd of men which stretches up to a hole at the top representing the ‘exit’ of the quarries where the men left to fight. In the lower part the visitor can read the soldiers’ letters to their families and children.
With the NZ Lottery Grant providing $181,000 towards this monument, New Zealand has recognised Arras’s contribution to the memory of the New Zealand troops of WW1.
The New Zealand Soldier by Jan Dieusaert unveiled on 25/4/2014. In the square at Messen (Messines)
CHRISTMAS TRUCE DECEMBER 1914
The Christmas truce (German: Weihnachtsfrieden; French: Trêve de Noël) was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front around Christmas 1914. In the week leading up to the holiday, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk.There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing.The first truce started on Christmas Eve 1914, when German troops decorated the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres.
Many accounts of the truce involve one or more football matches played in no-man's land. This was mentioned in some of the earliest reports. The truth of the accounts has been disputed by some historians; the most likely place that an organised match could have taken place was near the village of Messines: In 2014, two memorials were unveiled to commemorate the centenary of the truce both having a football theme.
PROWSE POINT PLOEGSTEERT
LT COL JOHN McCRAE "In Flanders Fields" Essex Farm Ypres.
John McCrae was a Medical Officer. He treated wounded during the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915, in a bunker dug in the back of the dyke along the Yser Canal north of Ypres. McCrae's friend Lt. Alexis Helmer, was killed in the battle, and this inspired the poem, "In Flanders Fields", which was written on May 3, 1915 and first published in the magazine Punch. It is now world famous.
NOEL CHAVASSE DOUBLE VC - BRANDHOEK YPRES
Noel Godfrey Chavasse VC & Bar, MC (9 November 1884 – 4 August 1917) was a British medical doctor, Olympic athlete, and British Army officer. He is one of only three people to be awarded a Victoria Cross twice.
Chavasse was first awarded the VC for his actions on 9 August 1916, at Guillemont, France when he attended to the wounded all day under heavy fire. Chavasse's second award was made during the period 31 July to 2 August 1917, at Wieltje, Belgium after which he died of his wounds.
HARRY PATCH “ The Last Fighting Tommy”
Henry John "Harry" Patch (17 June 1898 – 25 July 2009), was "the Last Fighting Tommy". In October 1916, he was conscripted into the British Army and posted to the 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry, as an gunner in a Lewis Gun section. He arrived in France in June 1917. He fought in the Third Battle of Ypres and was injured when a shell exploded overhead on 22 September 1917, killing three of his comrades. He returned to England on 23 December 1917 and was still convalescing on the Isle of Wight when the Armistice was declared in November 1918
The memorial in Belgium was commissioned by Harry Patch to honour his fallen comrades and the one in Wells by the City Council to honour him as the “Last Fighting Tommy.”
MAJOR W REDMOND
William Hoey Kearney Redmond (13 April 1861 – 7 June 1917) was an Irish nationalist politician, lawyer and soldier, who fell at the Battle of Messines June 1917. His grave is outside the Locre Hospice CWGC cemetery near to the village of Loker south of Ypres.
THE CELTIC POETS
Killed on the same day 31st July 1917 the first day of the Battle of Passchendaele
HEDD WYN (born Ellis Humphrey Evans, 13 January 1887 – 31 July 1917) was a Welsh language poet who was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I. He was posthumously awarded the bard's chair at the 1917 National Eisteddfod. Evans, who had been awarded several chairs for his poetry, was inspired to take the bardic name Hedd Wyn (Welsh: blessed peace).
FRANCIS EDWARD LEDWIDGE (19 August 1887 – 31 July 1917) was an Irish war poet from County Meath. Sometimes known as the "poet of the blackbirds", he was killed in action at the Battle of Passchendaele during World War I.
POLITICAL SONS WHO DIED ON THE SAME DAY 15TH SEPTEMBER 1916
RAYMOND ASQUITH was an English barrister and son of British Prime Minister H. H. Asquith. A distinguished Oxford scholar, he was a member of a fashionable group of intellectuals known as The Coterie, notable for unconventional lifestyles and lavish hospitality. He was initially commissioned, on 17 December 1914, as a second lieutenant into the 16th (County of London) Battalion, London Regiment. He was transferred to the 3rd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, on 14 August 1915 and assigned as a staff officer, but he requested to be returned to active duty with his battalion, a request granted before the Battle of the Somme. While leading the first half of 4th Company in an attack near Ginchy on 15 September 1916, at the Battle of Flers- Courcelette he was shot and died on his way to a Casualty Clearing Station.
DAVID HENDERSON, was the son of Arthur Henderson the Labour politician who was a member of Asquish’s war cabinet in 1914. David joined the Public Schools Battalion in September 1914 was later transferred to the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps given a commission in February 1915 and was promoted to Captain in June. He was later attached to the Middlesex Regiment, but was transferred to the 19th London Regiment. On his arrival on the Western Front, he was ‘full of brave, cheery, enthusiastic optimism’. He died on 15th September 1916 during the 47th Division attack on High Wood. He is buried in London Cemetery Longueval.
POZIERES THE SOMME
GEORGE SAINTON KAYE BUTTERWORTH, MC was an English composer best known for the orchestral work The Banks of Green Willow and his song setting of A Shropshire Lad. At the outbreak of the First World War, Butterworth joined up as a private but he soon became a Subaltern in the 13th Battalion Durham Light Infantry. During the battle of the Somme in August 1916 he was shot through the head by a sniper. His body was never recovered and his name appears on the Thiepval Memorial.
ALBERT BALL, VC, DSO & Two Bars, MC was an English fighter pilot during the First World War. At the time of his death in May 1917, he was the United Kingdom's leading flying ace, with 44 victories. After the war the British discovered Ball's grave, which had been behind enemy lines buried by the German Air Force in the Annoeullin Cemetery. The Imperial War Graves Commission were working at the time to consolidate the British war graves into fewer cemeteries; British bodies in graves in the location where Ball was buried were moved to the Cabaret Rouge British Cemetery, but at his father's request Ball's grave was allowed to remain. Albert Ball Sr. a mayor of Nottingham, paid for a private memorial to be erected over Ball's grave, in what later became the Annoeullin Communal Cemetery and German Extension. Ball's is the only British grave from the First World War in this extension, the rest being German.
HENRY LANGTON SKRINE. Born on 12 November 1880, Henry Langton Skrine was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford, gazetted into the Somerset Light Infantry in 1901 and was en route for South Africa when the Boer War ended.
Skrine rejoined his Regiment on 7 September 1914 and was promoted T/Captain on 24 October. As 'A' Company commander he went to France with the 6th Battalion (43rd Brigade, 14th Division) on 21 May 1915.
Prior to the second attack either side of Bellewaarde Farm on 25 September the Battalion, was attached to 42nd Bde. After a heavy night bombardment of Railway Wood and the trenches beyond, the three attacking companies of the Brigade went over. Shortly afterwards the Somersets were ordered to re-inforce the line just north of the Wood when the enemy retaliated and drove the attackers back. Captain Skrine, two other officers and eleven men were killed,. No grave was discovered after the War, but his damaged wooden cross was found lying at Gully Farm in 1920. Skrine's sister, Dorothy, and his widow bought the 1500 square metre field where he had fallen and erected a memorial by the roadside in his memory.
GEOFFREY VAUX SALVIN BOWLBY. Born in London on 1st December 1883, Geoffrey Vaux Salvin Bowlby came from a military family;. Educated at Eton and Sandhurst, he excelled at polo, was promoted Captain at the early age of 24.
Bowlby was in France from the beginning of the War and distinguished himself at Wytschaete at the end of October when , he took command of a composite battalion and was mentioned in despatches. Returning to the 'Blues' he commanded 'A' Company and was killed leading a successful afternoon counter attack up the hill across open country near Gully Farm Menin Road after part of the Brigade had been driven out of their trenches earlier in the day.
After the War his grave could not be found. His widow, the Hon Lettice Bowlby, , determined to commemorate her husband on the spot where he fell. She found that the field had already been bought by the sister of Captain Henry Skrine for the same purpose, but arranged to buy the strip of land concerned and in due course the two memorials were erected, some 150 yards apart.
The memorials are now looked after by the CWGC.
POPERINGE, known as ‘Pop’ to the soldiers who rested there, was a forward base for the Ypres Salient from autumn 1914 onwards being only 12 kilometres away from the front line.
The town hall in the Grote Markt contains the courtyard where soldiers condemned to death were shot by firing squad.
The ‘Shot At Dawn’ memorial is placed next to the execution post where seventy executions took place – 50 British soldiers and 20 French. A short distance from the memorial but still within the Stadhuis are two cells where the condemned were held.
I could not look on Death, which being known,
Men led me to him, blindfold and alone.
From Epitaphs of the War 1914-18 by Rudyard Kipling
FACES OF THE BATTLE OF ARRAS EXHIBITION APRIL to MAY 2017. To commemorate the centenary of the Battle of Arras 1917 The City of Arras Tourist Information Office and the Carriere Wellington organized an open air exhibition consisting of photographs and profiles of 120 people who in different ways had been involved in the Battle of Arras. Family members from around the world were asked to submit photographs and other documents together with a profile of the person . From these the organisers selected 120 to be in the exhibition. I was very please and extremely proud to be told that my Great Uncle Ernest Jarvis had been chosen to be one of these Faces.
Plaques to commemorate two of my relatives killed in the Battle of Arras 1917, FRANK MALTBY and ERNEST JARVIS, placed on the new walk way at the Lochnagar crater in the Somme as part of a project to allow people to commemorate anyone who fought in the Great War.
Also placed on the walkway at the Lochnagar crater is a plaque to commemorate my grandfather, GEORGE MALTBY, who fought in and survived the latter part of WW1.
NIMY BRIDGE MONS
WFA WILFRED OWEN MEMORIAL ORS
WFA BUTTE DE WARLENCOURT SOMME
WFA RIQUEVAL BRIDGE
There are many Mememorials in the UK and this section contains references to those which are unusual or of special interest to me.
PRIVATE HERBERT COLUMBINE VC MGC (CAVALRY)
On March 22 1918 at Hervilly Wood France, Private Columbine took over command of a machine gun and kept firing from 9 am to 1pm in an isolated position with no wire in front. During this time wave after wave of the enemy failed to get to him, but at last with the help of low flying aircraft the enemy managed to gain a strong foothold in the trench. Private Columbine told the two remaining men to get away whilst he continued to fire his gun inflicting big losses on the enemy, until he and his gun were blown up by a bomb.
Herbert Columbine has no known grave being commemorated on the panels of the Pozieres Memorial and by a new statue of him in his home town of Walton on Naze, Essex paid for by public donations.
MALDON CIVIC WW1 MEMORIAL ESSEX, The Avenue of Remembrance on Maldon’s Promenade Park originally consisted of 180 numbered trees and was dedicated on 27th November 1935. Each chestnut tree was planted by friends and relatives of each of the fallen. It was said that the trees would act as “a remembrance for many centuries to come to be cherished and cared for by the townspeople and guarded with loving care”
THE CHATTRI WAR MEMORIAL BRIGHTON UK
India was part of the British Empire during the First World War, and more than 800,000 Indian soldiers fought for the Allied Powers] During the four years of fighting, thousands of wounded combatants were brought to Britain to be treated in military hospitals. Three were established in Brighton; one was the town's famous royal palace, the In December 1914, 345 injured soldiers were transported to Brighton by train and were transferred to the hospitals.
Although the great majority of soldiers recovered from their injuries, some died. The bodies of 53 Hindus and Sikhs were taken to a remote location high on the South Downs above Brighton, where a ghat (funeral pyre) was built so they could be cremated and their ashes scattered in the English Channel.
In August 1915, soon after the last cremations at the ghat a memorial was planned in memory of the Indian soldiers who had died in Brighton. Construction work started in August 1920 and continued until the end of that year The Chattri was unveiled on 1 February 1921 by Edward, Prince of Wales.
The Chattri takes the form of a tall, domed pavilion, rising to 29 feet (8.8 m) The plinth bears an inscription in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu;
To the memory of all Indian soldiers who gave their lives for the King-Emperor in the Great War, this monument, erected on the site of the funeral pyre where Hindus and Sikhs who died in hospital at Brighton passed through the fire, is in grateful admiration and brotherly love dedicated.
EDITH LOUISA CAVELL (4 December 1865–12 October 1915) was a British nurse. She is celebrated for saving the lives of soldiers from both sides without discrimination and in helping some 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during the First World War, for which she was arrested. She was subsequently court-martialled, found guilty of treason and sentenced to death. Despite international pressure for mercy, she was shot by a German firing squad. Her execution received worldwide condemnation and extensive press coverage.
The IMPERIAL CAMEL CORPS MEMORIAL is located in Victoria Embankment Gardens, on the Thames Embankment in London. The unit of mounted infantry was created in December 1916 from troops that had served in the Gallipoli campaign in the Dardanelles.
The memorial was sculpted by Major Cecil Brown, who served in the corps. Two bronze plaques list the names of all 346 men who died while serving with the corps in Egypt, Sinai and Palestine. One face of the stone plinth bears a dedicatory inscription:
To the Glorious and Immortal // Memory of the Officers, N.C.O.s and Men // of the Imperial Camel Corps – British, // Australian, New Zealand, Indian – who fell in action or died of wounds // and disease in Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine, 1916, 1917, 1918.
THE NATIONAL SUBMARINE WAR MEMORIAL is a memorial to Royal Navy submariners who died in the first and second world wars. It is set against the wall on the Victoria Embankment, near Charing Cross, London, England.
The memorial artist was Frederick Brook Hitch. The architect of the memorial was A. H. Ryan-Tenison and the foundry, Parlanti's Ltd, carried out the casting. The memorial was unveiled on 15 December 1922.
At the top of the memorial is the inscription "Erected to the memory of the officers and men of the British Navy who lost their lives serving in submarines 1914–1918 and 1939–1945". On the left hand side is a list of the submarines lost in the 1914–1918 conflict and on the right a list of submarines lost from 1939 to 1945.
THE ANGLO-BELGIAN MEMORIAL, is a war memorial on Victoria Embankment in London. It was a gift from Belgium, as a mark of thanks for assistance given by the UK during the First World War, and in particular for sheltering thousands of Belgian refugees who fled from the war. The memorial was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield. Its main feature is a central bronze sculpture by Belgian sculptor Victor Rousseau, who himself spent time as a refugee in London during WW1. The inscription says "To the British nation from the grateful people of Belgium, 1914–1918"
These busts are to be found in Trafalgar Square London. JELLICOE was the commander of the Grand Fleet and BEATTY his assistant. On May 31st 1916 they engaged the German High Seas Fleet in the only major sea battle of WW1, the Battle of Jutland, the outcome of which is still contentious today 100 years on.
The TOWER HILL MEMORIAL is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission war memorial on the south side of Trinity Square Gardens, in London, England. The memorial commemorates those from the Merchant Navy and fishing fleets who died during both world wars and have "no grave but the sea". The memorial was designed by Edwin Lutyens with sculpture work by William Reid Dick, the Second World War extension was designed by Edward Maufe with sculpture work by Charles Wheeler.
The First World War memorial takes the form of a vaulted corridor with 12 bronze plaques engraved with 12,000 names.
The Second World War memorial takes the form of a semi-circular sunken garden located behind the corridor. It contains the names of 24,000 British seamen and 50 Australian seamen, listed on the walls of the sunken garden. In the centre of the garden is a pool of bronze, engraved with a compass pointing north.
The UNITED KINGDOM 1914-1918 MEMORIAL stands at the end of the 1914-1918 Plot in the Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey, which is the largest CWGC cemetery in the UK. The memorial created in 2004, commemorates 252 Commonwealth service personnel who died in WW1 in the United Kingdom but have no known grave.
In 2015 a new WW1 Memorial was unveiled containing further names of British forces who died in the UK of wounds mainly in the care of their families and who previously were not recorded by the CWGC. The identification of these men and women continues.
The Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles was an infantry regiment of the Volunteer Force and Territorial Force of the British Army from 1798 to 1921; it saw active service in the Boer War and World War I as part of the London Regiment.
THE CIVIL SERVICE RIFLES WAR MEMORIAL is a war memorial that commemorates the service of soldiers in the Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles in the First World War. It was designed by Edwin Lutyens in 1923, and was unveiled in the quadrangle at Somerset House in London in 1924. It was relocated to the terrace beside the River Thames in 2002.
MELLS CHURCH SOMERSET
Mells is a small village near to Frome in Somerset . It was the home of the Asquith and Horner families who had prominent positions in politics and society during the period leading up to WW1.
Within St Andrew’s church are memorials to members of these families.
One to Raymond Asquith , son of Prime Minister Herbert Asquith who was killed in September 1916 during the battle of Flers- Coucelette and another to Edward Horner the eldest son of the family killed during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917.
This statue of Edward Horner on a horse is one of the most striking memorials to any individual to be found in a church. It was created by Sir Alfred Mannings ,the equestrian artist.
EDWARD HORNER’s original wooden grave marker, inside Mells church.
Memorial to RAYMOND ASQUITH designed by Edward Lutyens, inside Mells church.
Men from Mells who died in WW1. Memorials inside and outside Mells church.
MARSHAL FOCH STATUE - BUCKINGHAM PALACE ROAD, LONDON, UK. Opposite Victoria station, across Buckingham Palace Road, is a copy of the statue at Cassel, France, of Marshal Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929) by Georges Mallisard. It was unveiled by the then Prince of Wales in June 1930 and commemorates France's most famous general and Allied leader of the Great War, who was made a field marshal of Britain and given the Order of Merit. On the side of the plinth are inscribed Foch's words:
I am conscious
of having served England
as I served
my own country