By The war may only have had eleven days to run but the Germans were still trying to defend every river crossing and strategic location. Bates and one other soldier from the battalion, Private Montague Augustus White, are the only two to be buried in Odomez Communal Cemetery; their bodies buried on 20 November The battalion's other casualties of the day are buried about 15 km away in Valenciennes.
Mrs Laura Bates chose her son's inscription. The family lived at 45 Marsden Road, Redditch where father, Henry Bates, worked as a toolmaker in a cycle works.
Albert was one of their four children. Harry Rivers was taken prisoner on 27 May At 9 pm the previous evening the 7th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment received information from Brigade Head Quarters that two German prisoners had warned them of an attack timed to start at 3 am the following morning, to be preceded by a bombardment that would begin at 1 am. This is what happened.
By the end of the day the Germans had broken through the Allied lines, in some places to the extent of 15 miles. On 30 May the 7th Battalion war diary recorded that although only two officers and fifteen soldiers were known to have been killed, 19 officers and soldiers were missing. Rivers was one of the missing, he was taken prisoner and held with more than 1, Russian, French, Belgian, Portuguese, Italian, Serbian and British prisoners of war at Altdamm, 8 km east of Stettin on the Polish-German border.
Rivers' death was recorded on the 31 October at the Register Officer in Altdamm as having taken place at 8 pm the previous day. No cause was given for his death.
The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 57
Harry Rivers attested in September when he was 17 and 6 months. His mobilization in April was announced and then withdrawn, perhaps because he was only just 18 and therefore too young to be sent abroad. It was 31 March before he went to France. He had scarcely been there two months before he became a prisoner. Rivers' mother chose his inscription, his father was dead. It comes from 'When We Two Parted' , a poem by Lord Byron in which the poet laments a faithless lover who betrayed him by going off with another man.
In the summer of the brigade was in Ireland. Mobilised immediately on the outbreak of war it was sent to France, arriving on 19 August just fifteen days later. Bates died of wounds received in action 0n 29 October , thirteen days before the war ended He had served throughout the war, transferring at some point to the 37th Trench Mortar Battery Royal Field Artillery, formed in May In October this was part of the 37th Brigade, 12th Eastern Division.
By now the war was a war of movement, of pursuit, as the Allies pushed the Germans ever eastwards. It's not possible to tell when Bates was wounded but he died on 29 October, the day before the 12th Division was withdrawn for rest. The war was over before it went back into the line. Bates' wife, Florence May Bates, chose his inscription. The couple cannot have been married long as Florence May Firman only applied for a marriage licence on 24 November Florence Bates described her husband as 'one of England's unknown heroes'. As someone who served for 1, days and died just one day before he would have been safe, Albert Bates deserves to be rescued from obscurity.
George Harwood was killed the next day, the 28th. He is buried in Giavera British Cemetery. Yesterday's casualty who died on 27 October is buried in Tezze British Cemetery. Giavera cemetery is for those who died on the west bank of the river, Tezze for those who died on the east bank. Many many soldiers died in the river itself, swept away by the fast flowing stream or killed by machine gun fire. Harwood was a married man with two sons aged 4 and 2 at the time of his death. His wife, Ellaline chose his inscription. It comes from a piece of verse regularly seen in newspaper In Memoriam columns: Duty called him he was there To do his bit and take his share; His heart was good, his spirit brave His resting place a soldier's grave.
To do your bit was a colloquial way of saying that you were making a contribution to the war, playing your part in it. A week after Harwood's death the Austrians surrendered and the war in Italy was over. Herbert Downs was killed in action during the crossing of the Piave River on 27 October He was buried in the Italian village of Tezze.
It's a long way from Stockport Cheshire where his parents and brothers and sisters lived. You can see his mother's distress in the inscription she chose. The British Army banned the repatriation of bodies early in and reinforced this ban after the war ended. It was deeply unpopular and caused much angry criticism, especially from those families who could easily have afforded to pay to repatriate the bodies of their own family members. The ban remained in force however, the authorities determined that the war cemeteries were not going to be just for those whose families couldn't afford to repatriate their bodies.
This was one of the many reasons why the Commission also did not permit private headstones since this would distinguish the rich dead from the poor dead and the Commission wanted to emphasise the equality of sacrifice of all the dead. Everyone had to accept a regulation Imperial War Graves Commission headstone, which caused more distress, but perhaps by way of compensation families were allowed to personalise the headstone with their choice of inscription.
Herbert Downs was the third of his parents five children.
Father, Matthew Downs, was a builders' labourer. Eight days after HerbertDown's death the Austrians signed an armistice - the war on the Austro-Italian front was over. It raises an interesting question. Who is actually speaking here? The voice is obviously meant to be that of the son, Dudley Mein, but the words were chosen by the father. Do the words express the father's sentiments or the son's.
Oh no, there's been an error
We're not going to know. All the voices in these inscriptions are the voices of the bereaved. Occasionally quotation marks indicate that the dead person is being quoted but even then the choice has been made by the next of kin, the bereaved. And whether they are grief stricken, angry, proud or loving they have had to make a decision on what to say, and they have had to limit it to 66 characters whereas there were probably a million things they could have said.
Some people will have said what they thought they should say, some people will have said what people conventionally say and some people will have wanted to say something that brought them comfort. The ones I admire are the ones that say something totally original - 'He would give his dinner to a hungry dog and go without himself' , Love and kisses from Mother , Yes my love the same your wife, Ethel'.
I suspect I would have said something deeply conventional. His Military Cross was awarded for an action on 23 September when he captured two guns and prisoners. He was killed on 26 October in an event described in General Allenby's dispatch: "Early on the morning of October 26th the armoured cars and the 15th Cavalry Brigade, moving round the west side of the town, followed the enemy along the Aleppo-Katma road and gained touch with him south-east of Haritan. The Turkish rearguard consisted of some 2, infantry, cavalry, and eight guns.
The Mysore Lancers and two squadrons of the Jodhpur Lancers attacked the enemy's left; covered by the fire of the armoured cars, the Machine Gun Squadron and two dismounted squadrons of the Jodhpur Lancers. The Mysore and Jodhpur Lancers charged most gallantly. A number of Turks were speared, and many threw down their arms, only to pick them up again when the cavalry had passed through, and their weakness had become apparent.
The squadrons were not strong enough to complete the victory, and were withdrawn till a larger force could be assembled. It is difficult to think where he might have been wounded or killed. At the time of his death his battalion were 50 km further east near Zaandvoorde. Nevertheless, Pugh, who served originally with the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, died on 25 October and is buried in Hazebrouck. Pugh was not an Irishman. He came from Tregynon a small community near Newtown in Wales where his father was a farmer.
It was his wife, Sarah, who chose his inscription. It is a traditional inscription, one that chimes with all those relations who chose 'Thy will be done', or 'Not my will but Thine be done O Lord' or 'God knows best', an attitude of acceptance that we today find difficult to comprehend, especially perhaps for someone who was killed within two weeks of the end of the war.
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The Germans having withdrawn from the Hindenburg Line had set up a new defensive line to the east of the Selle. Yardley in buried in the Capelle-Beaudignies Road Cemetery where there are only 53 burials, all from a two-week period 21 October to 5 November.
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More than half the graves relate to the two days 23 and 24 October. Born in King's Norton, Warwickshire, Yardley was his parents' only son, the eldest of their two children. In the father, Charles Yardley, was a 'pianoforte agent' in Sheffield. This being the case - that the authorities knew where his parents were living - it's strange that Alan Yardley's medals were never delivered. His medal index card just says that they were retained, undisposed. It was not unknown for next-of-kin to refuse to receive medals, scrolls and memorial plaques.
They wanted nothing to do with the authorities who had 'killed' their family member. It looks as though the Yardleys could have been one such family.
The Foreign Service Journal - November 2014 - page 57
Charles Yardley signed for his son's inscription. It comes from Byron's poem 'Don Juan'. However, the quotation had a life of its own apart from the poem since it was frequently used as a fatalistic acceptance of what life had thrown at you. On 10 April the battalion were holding the front line between Wambeke and the Blauwepoortbeek in the Messines Sector. Between the first entry at 2. The rest of the day is also minutely recorded although it is difficult to get a sense of exactly what is happening, just that by the time 9.
The battalion were not relieved until the 18 April when the casualties were assessed as 13 officers and other ranks killed, wounded and missing.
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