Welsh school seeks WW1 relatives

Captain Angus Buchanan VC MC (left) Photo: IWM

A Welsh school is looking for relatives of 76 pupils who lost their lives during the First World War.

Monmouth School for Boys plans to re-dedicate its war memorial on Armistice Day, Monday, November 11. It hopes to trace as many of the descendants of the fallen and invite them to the ceremony.

The war memorial was originally unveiled in 1921 by former Monmouth pupil and Victoria Cross (VC) winner Captain Angus Buchanan.

Captain Buchanan won his gallantry award while serving with 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers in September 1916.

The VC citation reads: “During an attack an officer was lying out in the open severely wounded about 150 yards from cover. Two men went to his assistance and one of them was hit at once. Captain Buchanan, on seeing this, immediately went out and, with the help of the other man, carried the wounded officer to cover under heavy machine gun fire. He then returned and brought in the wounded man, again under heavy fire.”

Buchanan was shot in the head by a sniper in 1917. Although blinded by the wound, he went on to study law at Jesus College, Oxford, rowing in the college VIII in 1919.

Anyone who has a relative listed on the memorial should email: boys.headsPA@habsmonmouth.org

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Two unknown Royal Fusiliers to be buried near Ypres

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Troops in a wood near Ypres in May 1915 (Imperial War Museum)

Two unknown soldiers from the Royal Fusiliers will be buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s New Irish Farm Cemetery on 9 October.

Remains of the two men were discovered in 2014 during building work near Ypres. Researchers think they have narrowed down the pair’s identity to four soldiers who were reported missing in June 1915, but they have been unable to positively identify them.

The four possibles were private Henry Wolf (22) of Bethnal Green, Private James Hodges (25) of Islington, Private George Smith (29) of Bromley and private Louis Walker of Hackney.

It’s thought all four would have been reservists or members of the Territorial Army prior to entering 1st Battalion Royal Fusiliers, with which they were serving in June 1915.

CWGC will install headstones on the graves commemorating them as soldiers of the Royal Fusiliers ‘Known unto God’.

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New WWI memorial for London suburb

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Troops from the London Regiment on the Western Front (Imperial War Museum)

A memorial commemorating local people who lost their lives in the First World War is to be unveiled at Herne Hill station in south London.

Funded by Southeastern railway, the monument is due to be on show before Remembrance Day this November.

Created by calligrapher and stone-carver Mark Brooks from Welsh slate, the memorial will be placed in the ticket hall.

According to the Hearne Hill Society, the suburb currently lacks a dedicated war memorial commemorating all those from the local area who lost their lives.

In addition, many soldiers would have passed through Herne Hill on their way to the south coast and the Western Front.

 

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Welsh church seeks families of local WWI soldiers

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Members of the South Wales Borderers on the Western Front (Imperial War Museum)

Members of the congregation of a Welsh church are looking for relatives of two former parishioners who served in the First World War.

Llanmerewig Church in Powys is hoping to trace family members to attend a service to unveil a new memorial that commemorates the pair.

Private Thomas Clement Evans served with the South Wales Borderers and died aged 35 on 14 February 1919. He was the husband of Mary Ann Evans, of Brook Cottage, Llanmerewig.

John Albert Edward Parry died on 9 September 2020. He was a member of the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry during the war.

For more information email: cwmmule@hotmail.co.uk

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Missing British soldier reburied in Belgium

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The body of a British infantry officer, missing for more than 100 years, has been reburied in Belgium.

Second lieutenant Eric Henderson was serving with the 8th Battalion London Regiment (Post Office Rifles) on 7 June 1917, when his unit went over the top on the first day of the Battle of Messines.

The battalion was tasked with attacking a portion of the German front line and a blockhouse known as the Dammstrasse. However, many were hit by machine gun fire both from this objective and also from German troops dug in within the grounds a large house known as the ‘White Chateau’.

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Identity disk

Second lieutenant Henderson’s remains were discovered during road works. Several distinctive items helped with his identification, including a silver coin engraved with his name, rank and unit.

He was born on 10 November 1895 in Heckmondwike, Yorkshire, the son of Reverend Joseph Graham and Emily Alice. He had a brother, Charles and a sister, Elsie. The family lived in Barnet, Hertfordshire and Charles also served in the First World War.

Judith Leyman, Charles’ grand-daughter and Eric’s great niece, said on behalf of the family: ‘Being here in Ypres, and knowing Eric’s resting place, means an awful lot to us. He wasn’t a dusty memory in our family, but part of our mental landscape.’

The newly placed headstone bears a moving personal inscription: ‘Tread softly o’er my beautiful Eric’s grave for a mother’s love lies here.’

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War Horse to return to London stage

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War Horse, the widely acclaimed stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s First World War novel, is scheduled to return to the National Theatre later this year.

Productions are due to coincide with the centenary of Armistice Day (in November) and are set to run from 8 November until 5 January 2019.

War Horse charts what happens to a farm worker and his horse when both are drafted into the army during the First World War. Its innovative stage sets and props have seen it hailed as one of the most innovative shows of the century.

The production is currently on tour. For dates and venues, click here.

 

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WW1 archeology exhibition in Ypres

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Ypres’ In Flanders Fields museum is focusing its attention on the subterranean relics of war this year.

Entitled Traces of War, WW1 Archeology the museum’s fascinating new exhibition explores the strata of buried First World War remains that lie less than half a metre beneath the surface of the farmland of modern-day Belgium and France.

History unearthed

Highlights include numerous artefacts that have been recovered over the past 10 years and the light they shed on everyday life in the trenches.

The displays also tell the story of some of the soldiers whose remains have finally been recovered and identified in recent years.

The exhibition runs from 17 February until 26 August. To find out more both about it and the In Flanders Fields museum, click here.

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