Over 3 days in October Mike, his brother Graham, and Jane & Digby visited the battlefields and cemeteries of the Western Front including Ypres and the Menin Gate; the Somme and Thiepval Memorial; and Passchendaele, where the fallen are remembered in the Tyne Cot Cemetery, which alone contains 12,000 graves.
Tyne Cot Cemetery
There are 11 servicemen recognised on the Village War Memorial in Cagefoot Lane who died on the Front, and we managed to find the memorials to all of them during the visit. Ten of them have no grave as their bodies have never been recovered, but they are recognised on one of the battlefield memorials. A poppy cross was laid for each of them inscribed "Still Remembered in Henfield".
Thiepval Memorial remembers 72,000 of the fallen, including
- Oliver Bowley - killed 1st July 1916
- James (Arthur) Reeves - killed 11th July 1916 (middle row, 3 names up)
- Archibald Wells - killed 20th August 1916 - aged 22
- William Lewis Southon - killed 4th February 1917
The Menin Gate contains 54,000 names, and here we attended the daily Last Post Ceremony at 8pm.
- Cecil Burchett - killed 14th June 1917 - aged 21
- Stephen Coppard - killed 30th October 1914
- Frank Muzzall - killed 13th November 1914 - aged 29
- Harold Walter Wade - killed 29th October 1914 - aged 23 (in centre of photo below)
The Tyne Cot Memorial
- Percy (Gilbert) Newman - killed 7th January 1918
- Alfred Sturt - killed 16th August 1917
The picture at the beginnning of this article shows us laying a cross at the only actual grave of a Henfielder - that of Joseph James Newberry - who is laid to rest in the Menin Road, South Military Cemetery, Ypres. He was killed on the 14th February 1916.
This report makes no attempt to describe the magnitude or the horror of what it must have been like on the Western Front 100 years ago, which is well-documented elsewhere. The visit was sobering, thought-provoking and fascinating. Should anyone want more details, or would like to see for themselves, please contact Mike or me.
We hope to see you at Henfield's Remembrance Day Service on Sunday 9th November. More details will appear in BN5, the Parish Magazine and on the Henfield Hub.
With thanks to Graham Morgan and Jane Stephenson for the photographs.