Valentine Joe Strudwick

711

This is Essex Farm Cemetery, just to the north of Ieper (Ypres).  It is a famous, and well-visited cemetery, for a number of reasons, not least that it was here that the poet John McCrae penned his ‘In Flanders Fields’ poem,…

710

…as the Albertina Marker above reminds us.

713

On entering the cemetery*, a pathway of plastic grass, suggesting that many feet have passed this way, draws us inexorably towards one headstone.

*You’ll get a full tour of Essex Farm Cemetery, where Baldrick and I have made a couple of visits, later in the year.  Or whenever I get round to it.

714

That of Valentine Joe Strudwick, known as Joe, and among the very youngest casualties to be found in the dozens and dozens of cemeteries that litter Flanders’ fields.

718

He was killed by German shellfire at the age of 15 years and 11 months on 14th January 1916 at Boezinge, not far from where he is buried.  Like the grave of Rifleman Albert French at Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery on the western edge of Ploegsteert Wood, Joe Strudwick’s grave is never devoid of tributes.  Nor grammatical errors.

IMG_6859

Back in Blighty, and a still afternoon in the market town of Dorking, in leafy Surrey.

IMG_6853

The war memorial in the churchyard of St. Martin’s bears no names,…

IMG_6901

…the Rolls of Honour to be found inside the church.

IMG_6893

On the right hand panel,…

IMG_6896

…near the bottom, we find young Joe, along with three other men of the Rifle Brigade from Dorking who lost their lives during the war.

IMG_0115

Not far from the town centre…

IMG_0121

…another war memorial.  There are 265 names inscribed here, and near the top of the panel to the right…

IMG_0117

..two Strudwicks, although not related as far as I can cursorily ascertain.

IMG_0089

732

Finally, back to Essex Farm, and I’ll leave you with the words of John McCrae.

This entry was posted in Miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Valentine Joe Strudwick

  1. Tim Atkinson says:

    Joe Strudwick’s grave features in my own current Great War project – a lightly fictionalised account following an army search team as they go about finding and burying the bodies abandoned on the road to victory. Perhaps you’d care to take a look? It’d be great to have the support of such a well-respected WW1 site! https://unbound.co.uk/books/the-glorious-dead

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hello Tim. Firstly, thanks for your kind words. Flattery always goes down well here! Secondly, a quote; ” The work of these men is one of the most original yet neglected aspects of this most compelling era in our nation’s history.” And isn’t that the truth. Your current Great War project looks most worthwhile, I must say. And, not surprisingly, of great personal interest, bearing in mind the subject matter of my site. (Btw, and to prove I have read it, I have spotted a typo: “The men dig, each shovel full of earth releasing the now familiar wet scent or cordite and decay”. Hope you don’t mind me pointing it out.). Happy to support your project in any way.

      • Tim Atkinson says:

        Thanks (and there’s never a problem pointing out a typo – point away!). Glad you like the idea of the book. Do you think there might be a post in it, for your blog? Either a guest post by me or maybe an interview with me by you? (Or anything else you think might go down well with your readers).

        • Magicfingers says:

          Tim, if it’s okay with you I will mail you off-site – I’m sure we can do a post – who, what, when, where and why. Those are (always) the questions.

  2. Liz Tobin says:

    You will also find Joe well remembered at
    https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4305619#stories
    but further details would help add to his story.
    Liz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *