Mechelen War Memorial

It’s nearing midnight in Mechelen, and thanks to some very kind locals, who didn’t seem in the least perturbed by my nocturnal mission, and despite the racket coming from a couple of deejays working a large stage set up in the square on the other side of the cathedral, and the accompanying crowds, armed police (searched twice betwixt hotel and cathedral), and a steward who allowed me in to what was actually a vast cycle park (below), I can show you a few shots of Mechelen war memorial, because, long-time readers won’t be surprised to hear, none of that was going to stymie this late night excursion. Continue reading

Posted in Belgian War Memorials | 11 Comments

Demobilisation

Right, the war’s finally over, before Christmas too, just the wrong one, and me and my mates want to go home.  Sort it out please. Continue reading

Posted in 1919 | 8 Comments

The Menin Road – Hooge Crater Cemetery

Before we begin a new tour, which we shall be doing soon, there’s a cemetery, one of the largest to the east of Ypres, in fact the very first CWGC cemetery that I ever set foot in, back in 2005, that I have yet to show you round.  And it’s about time I did. Continue reading

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Dublin – Kilgobbin War Memorial & Kilternan Churchyard

A beautiful winter’s day, and this is the little cemetery at Kilgobbin, about six and a half miles south, and a little east, of Dublin City centre. Continue reading

Posted in Dublin Cemeteries with Great War Burials, Ireland | 4 Comments

The Dead Donkeys: The Myth of the ‘Château Generals’ Part Six – 1918

And so we arrive at the final part of this series.  1918 was the year when the nature of the war would change once more, as three years of trench warfare gave way to mobile warfare, with vast sweeping assaults, first one way, and then the other, and the arrival of the Americans en masse, eventually bringing the war to its conclusion.  The first British General Officer casualty of 1918 was Brigadier-General Gordon Strachey Shephard D.S.O. M.C., G.O.C. 1st R.F.C. Brigade, 1st Army (left), killed in a flying accident when he spun into the ground attempting to land at Auchel aerodrome on 19th January.  He was only 32, and is buried in Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, the highest-ranking officer of the British flying services to be killed in service during the war.  On 19th February Brigadier-General Herbert Ernest Hart D.S.O., G.O.C. 2nd New Zealand Brigade, New Zealand Division (right), was gassed at his headquarters in the Butte de Polygon (background photograph) in Polygon Wood, although he would return, and on 2nd March, Brigadier-General Geoffrey Chicheley Kemp, G.O.C. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division (not pictured), was wounded by a shell near St. Julien. Continue reading

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The Dead Donkeys: The Myth of the ‘Château Generals’ Part Five – 1917

The first General Officer casualty in 1917 occurred on 24th January when Brigadier-General Cyril (not Cecil, as many sources erroneously state) Prescott-Decie, C.R.A. 4th Division (left), was severely wounded ‘somewhere in France’, although he would recover, becoming B.G.R.A.* Irish Command at the end of the war, before retiring in 1920.  The first general to die, on the right, was Brigadier-General Walter Long D.S.O., G.O.C. 56th Brigade, 19th Division, killed by a shell on 28th January while inspecting the trenches in front of the village of Hébuterne on the Somme, the church tower of which you can see on the horizon of the background shot.  Long was 37 and the only officer casualty the division suffered during this particular tour of the trenches. He is buried in Couin British Cemetery, a few miles away to the west.

*Brigadier-General Commanding Royal Artillery

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The Dead Donkeys: The Myth of the ‘Château Generals’ Part Four – 1916

January 1916 saw the deaths of two British generals.  Brigadier-General Hugh Gregory Fitton D.S.O., G.O.C. 101st Brigade, 34th Division (above), forced to cross open ground due to the appalling state of the front line trenches near Ypres on the night of 19th January, was shot in both legs by a German sniper.  He died the following afternoon, the very first casualty of 101st Brigade, who had only disembarked on 9th January, and is buried in Lijssenhoek Military Cemetery near Poperinghe.  And Brigadier-General George Benjamin Hodson D.S.O., G.O.C. 33rd Indian Brigade, 11th Division, wounded in the head by a sniper while looking over the parapet at Suvla Bay on Gallipoli on 14th December 1915, as mentioned at the end of last post (where you will find his photograph), died of his wounds at Tigne Military Hospital on Malta on 25th January 1916, and is buried at Pieta Military Cemetery.  Both men were 52. Continue reading

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