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.


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.

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.

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.

The Last Post Ceremony underway, Menin Gate, May 2010

The regimental history of the 2nd Munsters recorded the following:

“On 14 November the enemy tried a new ruse. A number of men were sent forward as of to surrender,with their hands above their heads,rifles in hand.Our men shouted on them to drop their rifles and come in.A number did so,but a few yards from the trench,on a pre-concerted signal being given,suddenly dropped as one man,a deadly fire being opened by the second wave concealed behind. A number of our men who had incautiously exposed themselves to this treacherous attack were shot down,but the remainder simply avenged their comrades’ loss.”

The Munsters recorded no fatalities for the 13th of November despite the above and it is thought that they recorded the date as the 14th as this was when the battalion formed part of the brigade reserve at Hooge.

One of 6 Munsters with a recorded date of death as the 15th of November but believed to have been actually killed in the incident of the 14th was Thomas Dillon of Kerry who is now remembered on Panel 44 of The Menin Gate Memorial.

Menin Gate,May 2010

The 2nd Battalion if the Highland Light Infantry had fought all the way through the 1st Battle of Ypres and had held the crucial Gheluvelt – Polygon Wood Sector despite attack after attack by the Germans.

However their losses were devastating and when they finally left Ypres on the 16th of  November there were barely 30 men left of the near 1000 who had left Aldershot three months previously.

They left behind Duncan McPhail; killed in Polygon Wood on the 13th of November 1914 and listed on Panel 38 of The Menin Gate Memorial.