Archive for November, 2009

Cecil George Rushton,Larch Wood Cemetery,22 Aug 09

On the 16th of May 1918  Captain Rushton and his Sqn set off to bomb the U-Boat base at Zeebrugge. As he was flying at low altitude his plane became entangled in some cabling and crashed. Rushton and his 2 other crew members were killed.

The Germans buried Cecil George Rushton and his comrades at Steenbrugge but after the war they were exhumed and brought to Larch Wood where they rest still.


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Zillebeke Churchyard,22 Aug 09

The commune of Zillebeke contains many Commonwealth cemeteries as the front line trenches ran through it during the greater part of the First World War. Zillebeke Churchyard contains 32 Commonwealth burials and commemorations of the First World War. Fourteen (mainly officers) belonged to the Foot Guards or the Household Cavalry who died in 1914. Six of the burials are unidentified and special memorials commemorate two casualties whose graves were destroyed by shell fire. The Commonwealth plot was designed by W H Cowlishaw.

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William Reginald Wyndham,Zillebeke Churchyard,22 August 2009

During the First Battle of Ypres the Life Guards were involved in the heaviest of the fighting. On the 6th of November 1914 they found themselves fighting dismounted near the wood at Zwarteleen alongside French troops.The French were being pushed back and the Life Guards rushed forward to halt the German advance.

As they did they heard the sound of cheering to their right in a position near Hill 60.Trooper Arthur Grace heard Lieutenant Wyndham remark “Someone’s charging on our right!! Come on!! We may as well charge too!!”

The handful of men with Wyndham followed him immediately and charged at their enemy,Prussian Guards, who they routed.

William Reginald Wyndham was killed in the attack and he was buried in Zillebeke Churchyard. His originak grave was destroyed by later shell-fire and he is commemorated by special memorial.

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Dozinghem Military Cemetery,22 August 09

Westvleteren was outside the front held by Commonwealth forces in Belgium during the First World War, but in July 1917, in readiness for the forthcoming offensive, groups of casualty clearing stations were placed at three positions called by the troops Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem. The 4th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations were posted at Dozinghem and the military cemetery was used by them until early in 1918. There are now 3,174 Commonwealth burials of the First World War in the cemetery and 65 German war graves from this period. The cemetery also contains 73 Second World War burials dating from the Allied withdrawal to Dunkirk in May 1940. The cemetery was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

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William Crombie,Dozinghem Military Cemetery,22 Aug 09

Sergeant W Crombie was killed by a shell burst as he brought supplies to the front line on the 3rd of October 1917.

The regimental history described Crombie “one of the best men in the whole regiment.”

William Crombie is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery.

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Harold Saxon Walker,Dozinghem Military Cemetery,22 August 09

The Queen Victoria Rifles launched a raid on the German lines at Winnipeg Cross Roads on 8th September 1917.

B Coy under Capt Walker took Jury Farm and Walker himself killed 2 Germans with his pistol.However Walker and his men came under fire from a cemetery on their left which was supposed to have been taken by C Coy. Walker called for volunteers and set off to investigate. Rifleman Mills recalled:

“In rapid succession myself,Ellis,Farmer and Capt ¬†Walker were hit by machine gun fire that C Coy would have mopped up,had they been able to advance.Capt Walker then sent me back to the platoon for assistance and when I returned Ellis was dead and Capt Walker was being got onto a stretcher. I shall never forget his action after he was wounded;he lay on the stretcher directing us and we dragged him overthe rough ground,just 2 stretcher bearers and myself until we were back to our starting point. One could not judge from his quiet and decided manner whether he suffered any pain,but the rough ground and the shaking he got must have been all against him.”

In truth,Walker’s thigh had been shattered by machine gun bullets and he was suffering heavy blood loss.

Harold Saxon Walker died 4 days later at the Casualty Clearing Station in Dozinghem and he is buried in the Military Cemetery of the same name.

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William Campbell Douglas,Dozinghem Military Cemetery,22 August 1917

On 16 August 1917,the Third Battle of Ypres,also known as the Battle of Langemark commenced. The 2nd KOSB’s took part and on the first day not only captured al their objectives but also won 2 Victoria Crosses.

However the day was overshadowed for the Battalion when a shell landed in the Battalion HQ and wounded all personnel present.

Second Lieutenant William Campbell Douglas was wounded so badly that he was rushed to the Casualty Clearing Station at Dozinghem where he died the next day. He is buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery.

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