A Tour of the Messines Ridge Part Fifteen – 19th (Western) Division Memorial


Just before we arrive at the final cemetery on our tour, we pass this roadside memorial, known as the ‘Butterfly Memorial’, to the men of the 19th Division.


Now look, I know these are rubbish photos – believe me, it was considerably darker than it appears – and at some point I shall replace them, but for the moment it was these or nothing.  So you get these.

333          332

330          331


The Oosttaverne Line ran through the fields close behind the memorial…


…and the British would have advanced across these fields from right to left when they attacked it on the afternoon of 7th June 1917.  From here, as you can see, it’s only a hundred yards to our final stop; Oosttaverne Wood Cemetery, with the wood from which it takes its name beyond.

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6 Responses to A Tour of the Messines Ridge Part Fifteen – 19th (Western) Division Memorial

  1. Lesley Whitehead says:

    Great Uncle Charles Cotton (7th Loyal North Lancs) was killed on 8th June 1917 and transferred to Lijssenthoek field hospital and then buried in the cemetery there. Until finding your website, I have been unaware of where he died. I now wonder if, from the date and time (10pm) that Charles would have been involved in the battle as far as the Oosttaverne Line? Thanks for the information and detail here. It’s been very moving to read. I am visiting again in September and will be adding the memorial to my places to visit.

  2. Magicfingers says:

    Excellent Lesley. I am glad you appreciated these posts, and thank you for your kind comments; you will find your visit to the area well worthwhile. I am actually off to Belgium tomorrow – I tell a lie, later today – for three days but I shall far from Oosttaverne on this visit. Nieuwpoort and Fromelles, if I have my way!!

    • Lesley says:

      Our visit is over. I used your notes throughout the trip following The 19th Western Division (Great Uncle Charlie) and the 20th Light Division (his brother Great Uncle Walter). The information was excellent, thank you. We’ve just been to The Last Post at the Menin Gate, a fitting end to our trip. Thank you again.

      • Magicfingers says:

        Lesley, thanks so much for letting me know how your trip went. Honestly, I am so pleased that I could be of help. It makes all the work involved in this little site worthwhile. Glad you had a successful time, and as you say, the Last Post at the Menin Gate sounds like the best way to end it. I last visited the Menin Gate in January, but I have to admit it is quite a few years since I have been there for the Last Post. Anyway, if you are interested, there will be a huge Menin Gate update on this site at some future point. The photos are taken, the text remains to be written.

  3. Lesley Whitehead says:

    Hi there. Off on our travels again. More research has shown our Great Uncle was fatally wounded not far from this memorial as we expected. We were so close. We are in a motorhome again. Verdun, Albert, Lens and Ypres. Then back in Oct wth a brother in tow to show him round.
    You may be unable to believe this story. When we parked up at London Road cemetery, a butterfly constantly flew into the passenger window. When I was walking round the cemetery a butterfly (maybe same one??) flew into my chest twice and flew off. It flew in a straight line (unusual) and I had to check it out. When I got there, the row was all of Charlie’s battalion. Unbelievable!! If ever there was a sign he knew we were there?!? I had said that morning that I wondered if he knew we had visited him several times. How strange don’t you think?

    • Magicfingers says:

      Hi Lesley. Long time! Thanks for coming back! Hey, who am I to diss (I believe that is the modern vernacular) such a fabulous story. Joni Mitchell once noted that on the day the great jazz musician Charles Mingus died in 1979 at the age of 56, 56 whales beached themselves on a South American beach. Coincidence. Or something more? No idea! But I’m with you and the butterfly.

      Hope you are having a wonderful trip – I am most jealous.

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