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1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

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1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by Tony Bennett on 01.07.16 9:21

I attended the commemoration service in Harlow at 7am this morning of this deeply tragic event.

Tragic because the war was caused by German territorial ambitions.

Tragic because millions of soldiers and many civilians on both sides lost their lives in often appalling circumstances.

Tragic because the generals in charge of the battle made major miscalculations which led to hundreds of thousands of British soldiers under their command being bullet fodder, over a period of 3 months, for a net gain of about 3 miles of territory.

Harlow was a town of about 4,000 in 1916. Thirteen of its citizens died in that battle.

Scenes from Harlow town centre today:

                                A Nepalese Gurkha soldier, barracked at Colchester, who has served Britain in Bosnia, Afghanistan and elsewhere


  
The bugler


  
The Chairman of Harlow Council lays a wreath

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by sallypelt on 01.07.16 16:56



Above is a photograph of my Great Uncle "Tom", who died on the Somme. He died when a shell hit his dugout and he was blown to bits. He has no known grave, and his name is one of  72,195  soldiers on the Theipval Memorial.

I voted OUT, and how could I vote anything other than out, when a 20 year old young man, along with hundreds of thousand others,  give their lives to keep this country free?  What we have witnessed over the past 40 years is a scam. I supported the Common Market 100%  because I believed in the ideology of sharing scarce resources in an ECONIMIC union, with the hope that we would never again, have to go to war to fight over scarce resourced. But it's been like staring at the face of a clock. You can't see the hands move, but in a short period what one sees is something completely different to what one saw an hour before. What began as an economic union slyly crept along into a POLITICAL DICTATORSHIP, with 40 years of BRAINWASHING in our so-called British schools. But the majority of the British people woke up and said NO WAY, we want OUT!



I hope those who are still bitter and smarting from the result of the Referendum will take a few minutes to reflect, on today of all days, and remember that over 19 thousand British soldiers sacrificed their young lives for the sole cause of defending this Island of ours.


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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by sallypelt on 01.07.16 17:02

I have been away for a few days, and I am just catching up, so can anyone explain why we now have to enter a code to make a post?

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by aquila on 01.07.16 17:12

I'd like to pay tribute to my ex-husband's grandfather who I loved dearly. He was in the cavalry at the Somme and survived. He joined up early and lied about his age to fight for his country.

Also to his brother in-law who was gassed and shell-shocked fighting in the trenches and whose life was blighted as a result.

How dare history be forgotten by libertarians who only have the right to speak because of the sacrifice of our ancestors.

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by Tony Bennett on 01.07.16 17:21

@sallypelt wrote:I hope those who are still bitter and smarting from the result of the Referendum will take a few minutes to reflect, on today of all days, and remember that over 19 thousand British soldiers sacrificed their young lives for the sole cause of defending this Island of ours.
Lovely, if poignant post @ sallypelt

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the nation's politicians and teachers have failed to educate the youth of today about our island history, and about principles of democracy and freedom such as trial by jury, no detention without being charged, innocent until proven guilty, freedom of speech, MPs answerable to the voters etc.

Instead, they've stuffed reams of European Union propaganda into the minds of the young to brainwash them into thinking that the highly undemocratic E.U. is a 'Good Thing'.

Not only did your great uncle and his comrades fight for this island, @ sallypelt, they also fought on behalf of the people of other countries like Belgium  and France to keep them free of the German yoke.

AND they had to do exactly the same 21 years later when German imperial ambitions struck again in the last century. And that was, originally, not for our island, but for the Poles, whom the Nazis had invaded. 

They died willingly for the next generation.

We must always honour their memory 


The lying, deceiving Conservative Prime Minister got us into this mess. Today's Conservatives had better get us out of it smartish

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by aquila on 01.07.16 17:34

@Tony Bennett wrote:
@sallypelt wrote:I hope those who are still bitter and smarting from the result of the Referendum will take a few minutes to reflect, on today of all days, and remember that over 19 thousand British soldiers sacrificed their young lives for the sole cause of defending this Island of ours.
Lovely, if poignant post @ sallypelt

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the nation's politicians and teachers have failed to educate the youth of today about our island history, and about principles of democracy and freedom such as trial by jury, no detention without being charged, innocent until proven guilty, freedom of speech, MPs answerable to the voters etc.

Instead, they've stuffed reams of European Union propaganda into the minds of the young to brainwash them into thinking that the highly undemocratic E.U. is a 'Good Thing'.

Not only did your great uncle and his comrades fight for this island, @ sallypelt, they also fought on behalf of the people of other countries like Belgium  and France to keep them free of the German yoke.

AND they had to do exactly the same 21 years later when German imperial ambitions struck again in the last century. And that was, originally, not for our island, but for the Poles, whom the Nazis had invaded. 

They died willingly for the next generation.

We must always honour their memory 


The lying, deceiving Conservative Prime Minister got us into this mess. Today's Conservatives had better get us out of it smartish
The lying, conniving Tony Blair took our troops into a spurious war with Iraq for which he will no doubt be exonerated in the Chilcott report. Blair is now suggesting he can somehow mediate in the Brexit decision of UK within the EU. I feel sick.

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by Mirage on 02.07.16 10:18

I found the Somme commemorations overpoweringly emotional.

My uncle ( yes uncle) died of his wounds on the 29th April 1918. I had previously thought he must have died at the Battle of Scherpenberg. But doing some research, I came to the conclusion that he was probably wounded 10 to 12 days earlier at the First Battle of Kemmel, one of the Battles of Lys. He is buried in Lijssenthoek Cemetery where those who died of wounds were routinely buried. I have the feeling he may have died at Popheringe, perhaps removed there to be treated at the centre of the British Expeditionary Force. My father sometimes spoke of "Pop" with a wistful look.

 My father clearly idolised his older brother but never spoke directly about his feelings. I remember only oblique references to him in the family. Then one day my aunt had given me a square of chocolate when she suddenly confided how my uncle had had a weakness for chocolate. I was about seven years old and so I can't  recall all she said. But what I was left with was a sudden and overpowering sense of loss that she was sharing with me. This glimpse of him has stayed with me down the years. I can remember the exact spot in the town's street where we both stood as she stopped to tell me about him. I can remember feeling time had mysteriously stood still. This man-child (to me) that she was speaking of was my uncle. She was effectively introducing him to me for the first time.

 She also told me something else which is too emotional and private to share. But it was something self-effacing and humble he had said of himself after Sunday School when he had been a child of my age. I have carried this kernel of knowledge of him all my life with tender love.

I have one small photo of him dressed in his post office messenger boy uniform. He must have delivered telegrams of bad news all round the district before enlisting. From the Devon Yeomanry he went to the Royal Cheshire Regiment. I only discovered yesterday that the consecutive number to his belonged to a lad my father spoke of. This lad was killed at the Battle of Scherpenberg so they both actually died on the same day. My uncle of his wounds aged nineteen,  and his friend killed outright. Buried in different cemeteries.

On the day my father died he pointed upwards and his eyes suddenly filled with tears. "I'm going up there to be with Freddie," he said. Then he broke down and cried like a baby in my arms. The first and last time I ever saw my father cry.

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by Mirage on 02.07.16 10:33

@Get'emGonçalo wrote:Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story with us, Mirage roses
Thank you. I am a bit overcome at the moment. But thank you.

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by Tony Bennett on 02.07.16 12:02

@Mirage wrote:I found the Somme commemorations overpoweringly emotional.

My uncle ( yes uncle) died of his wounds on the 29th April 1918. I had previously thought he must have died at the Battle of Scherpenberg. But doing some research, I came to the conclusion that he was probably wounded 10 to 12 days earlier at the First Battle of Kemmel, one of the Battles of Lys. He is buried in Lijssenthoek Cemetery where those who died of wounds were routinely buried. I have the feeling he may have died at Popheringe, perhaps removed there to be treated at the centre of the British Expeditionary Force. My father sometimes spoke of "Pop" with a wistful look.
Yes, many thanks indeed for sharing and writing up this very personal set of recollections so sensitively.

A few years ago, my wife and I stayed for a night at Talbot House, Poperinge, I'm sure I don't need to explain what that is. So much to ponder about while we stayed there. Despite talk of class differences in British society, Talbot House was a place where the lowest and highest ranks would socialise.

On another occasion we attended the Menin Gate ceremony at Ypres. I had no idea that this amazing and solemn ceremony took place daily nor that so many people attended:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fz3V4jITWVQ

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by aquila on 02.07.16 17:50

@Mirage wrote:I found the Somme commemorations overpoweringly emotional.

My uncle ( yes uncle) died of his wounds on the 29th April 1918. I had previously thought he must have died at the Battle of Scherpenberg. But doing some research, I came to the conclusion that he was probably wounded 10 to 12 days earlier at the First Battle of Kemmel, one of the Battles of Lys. He is buried in Lijssenthoek Cemetery where those who died of wounds were routinely buried. I have the feeling he may have died at Popheringe, perhaps removed there to be treated at the centre of the British Expeditionary Force. My father sometimes spoke of "Pop" with a wistful look.

 My father clearly idolised his older brother but never spoke directly about his feelings. I remember only oblique references to him in the family. Then one day my aunt had given me a square of chocolate when she suddenly confided how my uncle had had a weakness for chocolate. I was about seven years old and so I can't  recall all she said. But what I was left with was a sudden and overpowering sense of loss that she was sharing with me. This glimpse of him has stayed with me down the years. I can remember the exact spot in the town's street where we both stood as she stopped to tell me about him. I can remember feeling time had mysteriously stood still. This man-child (to me) that she was speaking of was my uncle. She was effectively introducing him to me for the first time.

 She also told me something else which is too emotional and private to share. But it was something self-effacing and humble he had said of himself after Sunday School when he had been a child of my age. I have carried this kernel of knowledge of him all my life with tender love.

I have one small photo of him dressed in his post office messenger boy uniform. He must have delivered telegrams of bad news all round the district before enlisting. From the Devon Yeomanry he went to the Royal Cheshire Regiment. I only discovered yesterday that the consecutive number to his belonged to a lad my father spoke of. This lad was killed at the Battle of Scherpenberg so they both actually died on the same day. My uncle of his wounds aged nineteen,  and his friend killed outright. Buried in different cemeteries.

On the day my father died he pointed upwards and his eyes suddenly filled with tears. "I'm going up there to be with Freddie," he said. Then he broke down and cried like a baby in my arms. The first and last time I ever saw my father cry.
Thank you for telling the very real story of your family. I still have tears for the loss your father felt and the beautiful words he gave to you.

I spoke to a person in my own family yesterday. I didn't realise that my Scottish grandmother had lost five brothers in the first world war. She was the only one left in the family in a small village. In the second world war her first born son was taken prisoner of war in Italy whilst her own family were relocated to the Midlands for the war effort.

Oiks of today have no idea how much pain our ancestors endured to give freedom in our country.

Bless you Mirage for telling your family's story. xxx

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by Mirage on 02.07.16 20:59

Thank you all for your very kind comments. I often think the country never got over the Great War. We owe those brave souls such a debt.

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Re: 1 July 1916 - 2016 The 100th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of the Somme

Post by Verdi on 02.07.16 21:45



In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 

In Flanders fields. 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872-1918)

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