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Eternal Refuge
Because Everyone Needs Dreams.
Lest We Forget 
30th-Jun-2016 08:46 pm
WW1 Grave
I will admit this post is very much "copy and paste" from a link that Tim sent me.  Our Grandfather was one of those thousands who, 100 years ago tomorrow, went over the top at the First Day Of The Battle Of The Somme.

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For on July 1, 1916, following a seven-day British bombardment, some 120,000 men clambered from their trenches and went ‘over the top’ — to be met by a hail of German machine-gun fire that mowed down half of them. With 20,000 dead and 40,000 wounded, it was the bloodiest single day in British military history.

Relaxing before the carnage: Heartbreaking photos of our troops on the eve of the Somme 100 years ago shortly before they went 'over the top' on the bloodiest single day in British military history. The weeks leading up to the bloodiest battle in British history were gentle, compared with the horror that followed.

Rolling countryside north of River Somme was home to more than a million British servicemen, mainly volunteers. Haunting photographs from 100 years ago show the men relaxing, released to mark the centenary of the WWI battle. But the lush, green, springtime lands would shortly be turned into a muddy moonscape by the horrifying conflict.


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A welcome rest: Exhausted soldiers of the 9th Rifle Brigade take a break — and a chance to have a smoke — in a field away from the front line. From left, Second Lieutenant Walter Elliott, who was killed on November 20, 1916, Second Lieutenant Roger Kirkpatrick, wounded (date unknown), Captain Herbert Garton, who was killed on September 15, 1916, Lieutenant Evelyn Southwell, killed on September 15, 1916, and Second Lieutenant Herman Kiek, wounded on April 27, 1918. Southwell told his mother in a letter he was so tired he fell asleep while marching

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A chance to wash: Officers of the 9th Rifle Brigade bathing in a stream behind the lines are (from left, excluding obscured faces): Captain Arthur Mckinstry — wounded, Second Lieutenant William Hesseltine, killed August 21, 1916, Captain William Purvis, wounded September 15, 1916, Second Lieutenant Joseph Buckley, killed December 23, 1917, Lieutenant Morris Heycock, wounded August 22, 1916, Captain Eric Parsons, killed September 15, 1916, Second Lieutenant Sidney Smith (in background) killed August 25, 1916, and Second Lieutenant Walter Elliott, killed November 20, 1916

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Knee-deep in mud: Wading through a trench on the Somme are Major Beauchamp Magrath (left) of the 8th East Lancashire Regiment, killed on June 2, 1916, and Captain Paul Hammond, right, who died on February 25, 1916. The other two soldiers are not identified.

As you can see here, the water and mud were horrific - Granddad was lucky to survive with both his legs.

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Captain William Johnson, of the 18th Manchester Regiment, was photographed by a friend on the afternoon of July 1, 1916, walking along a captured German trench. He was killed six hours later

For more photos and information, here is the full article

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, or the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.

As a PS - here are Grandma and Granddad on their wedding day in December 1920
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And this is their Golden Wedding Anniversary ... and yes, that's the rest of the family in 1970! (I was 9)
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Mum, Tim, Me (!), Grandma, Granddad, Nick, Dad
30th-Jun-2016 08:13 pm (UTC)
I will be having a few moments of contemplation at the War Memorial in Blairgowrie tomorrow morning before I leave for Pride in Edinburgh, I will have a few thoughts for him when I do . Do you know what time he did go over the top?

30th-Jun-2016 08:19 pm (UTC)
He was actually in the first wave, so his guardian angel must have been working overtime.
30th-Jun-2016 09:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this. It's heartbreaking but I'm gad your grandfather made it home.
1st-Jul-2016 06:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks - these terrible days need to be remembered, don't they?
30th-Jun-2016 09:13 pm (UTC)
Those pictures are fascinating - and very poignant.

What a lovely wedding photo of your grandparents - you have a look of your grandma.
1st-Jul-2016 06:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you.

The funny thing is that Mum always used to say I looked like the other Grandma!
30th-Jun-2016 11:08 pm (UTC)
World War 1 was such a devastating war. I am so pleased your grandfather was one of the lucky ones who came home. *hugs* Especially since it means you're here. Thank you for sharing these amazing photographs.

1st-Jul-2016 06:55 pm (UTC)
Your comment made me smile ... yes if things had gone different I wouldn't be here! Amazingly my Grandmother had a boyfriend who died during the first months of the war.

1st-Jul-2016 06:29 am (UTC)
It really was horrific conditions wasn't it. Thanks for sharing.
1st-Jul-2016 06:57 pm (UTC)
Those photos certainly showed the conditions that they lived (or not) through.
1st-Jul-2016 04:19 pm (UTC)
Long exist the blanket of freedom that we live under, that was given us free by those heroes.
1st-Jul-2016 06:58 pm (UTC)
Their lives and what they fought to preserve should never be forgotten.
1st-Jul-2016 05:02 pm (UTC)
My great-grandfather (or at least the guy who got the blame anyway, it's a pretty sordid story that I shan't go further into) was at Verdun. Missing, presumed dead. He was German though. The Southern part of Denmark was German at the time, us having been thrashed rather forcefully by a far better equipped German army in 1864. Part of the reparations the Germans were forced to make after WW1 was the return of some of that area (some of it voted to remain German) to Denmark. My grandmother was born in 1917, so she was a toddler when the reunification happened in 1920. ANYWAY, my great-grandfather was on the German side, although Danish. Conscription, you see. Denmark itself was neutral in the conflict.

Gosh that was a bit of a history lesson just to say I had a relative (supposedly) at Verdun.

Edited at 2016-07-01 05:03 pm (UTC)
1st-Jul-2016 07:01 pm (UTC)
We had friends in France who had similar ... their parents fought on the side of Germany, but they were against Germany in WWII ... again changing borders.

Whatever the stories, I love knowing bits about my family .... as I'm sure you would agree. Some people don't even bother finding out about their parents.
1st-Jul-2016 05:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing these!
1st-Jul-2016 07:01 pm (UTC)
Glad that you enjoyed them
1st-Jul-2016 09:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you for such a thoughtful (and sobering) post.
3rd-Jul-2016 07:05 pm (UTC)
These events must never be forgotten
2nd-Jul-2016 04:34 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful post. I'm so glad that your grandfather survived the horror of that campaign
3rd-Jul-2016 07:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you - When Granddad was dying, he spent his nights fighting these battles again
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