Archive for November, 2010

On 25th December 1914 the famous Christmas Truce between British and German troops took place near Ploegsteert Wood. They played football,exchanged gifts and for a short while escaped the war.

This scene was not repeated the whole length of the front though. 5 miles away, near Spanbroekmolen, the 3rd Worcesters were holding the line and recorded  that “casual sniping continued as usual throughout the day. One of those killed was Joseph Stanley and his name can be found on Panel 34 of The Menin Gate Memorial.

The Menin Gate Memorial, June 2009


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The Menin Gate Memorial, August 2009.

Michael John William McCann

As his regiment endured the hellish worst of a Flemish winter in positions near Wulverghem, Michael McCann was wounded by a sniper on the 19th of December 1914 and died the next day.

His name is listed on Panel 5 of The Menin Gate Memorial.

Henry William Springett

On the 21st of November 1914 the Germans opened a heavy bombardment on the positions held by 1st DCLI opposite Messines Ridge. Henry Springett, a native of  Bodmin, was hit by sharpnel and died where he lay.

He is commemorated on Panel 20 of The Menin Gate Memorial.

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The Menin Gate Memorial, August 2009

Born in Long Buckley, Northampton, Arthur Munns had joined the Grenadier Guards in 1896. On reaching the rank of Cpl he transferred to the Irish Guards in 1900.

He arrived in France in August 1914 and shortly before his death he had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his actions near Ypres on November 6th.

On 18th November following his death his Company Commander wrote to the Irish Guards Regimental Colonel :” This is just a line to tell you that CSM Munns was killed yesterday. He is a very great loss and was my one stand by. I cannot tell you how gallantly he always behaved and I recommended him for a mention in despatches only the other day. I do not know what we shall do for senior NCO’s. Sgt Major Rodgers and the CQMS are the only ones left now…”

Arthur Munns is remembered in Panel 11 of The Menin Gate Memorial.

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When visiting Becourt Military Cemetery I noticed relatives of Cpl McGowan at his grave. I asked if I could take a picture and they were happy for me to do so.

L/Cpl. J. A. McGowan M.M., 7th Bn. Cameron Highlanders, died 9th Oct. 1916 aged 22. I. X. 24.

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Pte George Wigg's grave,Becourt Military Cemetery,August 2010

Information on George Wigg’s grave. August 2010.

Photo on George Wigg's grave. August 2010.

Pte Wigg is buried in the same cemetery as my Great Uncle so when I saw photographs on his grave I thought I’d take some pics on the chance that his relatives might see them. George was the son of the late William and Mary Jane Wigg, of Frostenden, Wangford, Suffolk.

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Pte H Woodward,Berks Cemetery Extension, Aug 10

Pioneer battalions bore the brunt of many of the work details and tasks essential to the British war effort on and near the front-line. The 6th South Wales Borderers undertook many during the early months of 1917: improving defences,repairing a light railway line,building stables and constructing huts for bath units.

Not surprisingly given the strain of war and their endless fatigue the soldiers involved were sometimes the victims of accidents. Pte Woodward died of accidental injuries received near Ploegsteert on the 13th of February 1917.  He is buried in Berks Cemetery Extension.

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