DULCE ET DECORUM EST by Wilfred Owen
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; 'Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori'.
Leonard Thomas Veater, Canadian Mounted Regiment. Killed 30.9.1916
The Somme. In memory of
Leonard Thomas Veater
September 30, 1916
2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles (British Columbia Regt.)
Son of Thomas and Mary Jane Veater, of Chew Magna, Bristol, England.
Commemorated on Page 176 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.
STUMP ROAD CEMETERY ; Somme, France
Grandcourt is a village about 12 kilometres north-east of Albert. The STUMP ROAD CEMETERY (signposted in the centre of village) lies about one kilometre south of Grandcourt, some 500 metres along a single track lane (suitable for cars) off the road (D151) Grandcourt-Thiepval.
(The information contained in this newspaper report appears factually incorrect in several respects)
FRANCE - STUMP ROAD CEMETERY, GRANDCOURT
"The Reserve Army commander Lieutenant-General Sir Hubert Gough ordered the attack for 26 September at 12:35 p.m., to push the Germans off the high ground of the Thiepval Ridge, from Courcelette 6,000 yards (5,500 m) west to Schwaben Redoubt, by the Canadian Corps under Lieutenant-General Julian Byng and II Corps commanded by Lieutenant-General Claud Jacob, each with two divisions in the attack. Three stages were set for the advance, with halts of ten minutes and one hour before the final advance. The Canadian Corps was to provide a flank guard on the right, by taking the German trenches on the spur north-west of Courcelette, the right of II Corps was to take Zollern Redoubt Zollern-Feste in the second stage of the advance and Stuff Redoubt at the final objective on the crest of the ridge. On the left the corps was to take Thiepval in the second stage and then reach Schwaben Redoubt, which overlooked the slope down to St Pierre Divion. It was emphasised that the Germans were to be driven off all the crest, to deny the Germans observation towards Albert and gain observation of the Ancre valley. The German front line west of Thiepval was to be captured during the advance.
"Orders for the capture of more objectives and to gain ground at every opportunity, were issued on 28 September and were intended to combine with the Fourth Army attacks planned for early October, which became known as the Battle of Le Transloy; Stuff and Schwaben redoubts were to be captured by 29 September and Stuff Trench by 1 October."
"The German front position on the south face of Thiepval was about 300 yards (270 m) in front of the village; about 1,000 yards (910 m) back was the second line, Staufen Riegel ("Stuff Trench" to British troops and "Regina Trench" to the Canadians) about 1,000 yards (910 m) and another 1,000 yards (910 m) further back was the third line,Grandcourt Riegel (Grandcourt Trench). The cellars under Thiepval Château had been extended into a complex of tunnels, used as storehouses and shelters. A sunken road running up the middle of the village to the cemetery, had been lined with dug-outs and in the original front-line to the west were 144 deep dug-outs."
"On 28 September, a cavalry patrol moved forward on the right of the 6th Brigade, 2nd Canadian Division at dawn but was quickly stopped by machine-gun fire. The brigade dug in facing north-east beyond the German practice trenches and a battalion advanced north up Courcelette Trench, meeting much German machine-gun fire from Regina Trench."
"On 29 September, the 8th Brigade from the 3rd Canadian Division attacked at noon with the 11th Division on the left and reached Hessian Trench in places, which were lost and then regained during German shelling and counter-attacks. In the II Corps area, the 11th Division attacked Stuff Redoubt and Hessian Trench to the right, most of which was captured and touch gained with the Canadians, while the attack on the redoubt failed. After battalion reliefs in the 18th Division, a bombing fight began around 7:30 a.m. along the western edge of Schwaben Redoubt, which lasted all day; the ground gained could not be held and the battalion later relieved troops in the captured German front system. On 30 September, the 11th Division resumed the attack on Stuff Redoubt at 4:00 p.m., with bombing parties advancing west along Hessian Trench and along ZollernTrench, which by nightfall had taken the southern half of the redoubt. Canadian bombers assisted the capture of Hessian Trench and the division was relieved by the 25th Division overnight. A dawn counter-attack drove the 18th Division from the south and west sides of Schwaben Redoubt; the south side was recaptured and the north side of the redoubt was taken at4:00 p.m. Another German attack at 9:00 p.m. retook the north face, up to the entrance to Stuff Trench on the right."
The Great War - a war that changed everything!
IT'S ALMOST 100 YEARS since the First World War started.
It began on July 28 1914 with the UK entering the conflict at midnight on August 4 1914 following the invasion of Belgium by Germany. The total number of military and civilian casualties exceeded 37 million - more than 16 million deaths and 20 million wounded - ranking it among the deadliest conflict in human history.
Prior to her sudden death, Ruth Flower wrote her memoir about her mother's family with five sons that enlisted in the 1914/18 war. A war which finished forever a way of life which had continued almost unaltered for centuries.
"My mother, Amy Beatrice Beish, nee Veater, had five brothers who enlisted in the 14/18 war. Mother, the youngest of 9 children, was born at Chew Magna, her father was the local saddler. The family home is still there - it is now an Estate Agent's office.
"Arthur, mother's eldest brother who was also a saddler, did not enlist in the Army. He lived at Pensford and tended the pit ponies at Pensford Pit until its closure.
"Three of mother's brothers, Walter, George and Leonard emigrated to Canada in the early 1900's and enlisted in 1914 or 1915 when they were sent to train at a military camp at Niagara. "Two other brothers, Percy and Morris who lived at Chew Magna, also enlisted. "Certainly four of them were sent to the Somme. I am not quite sure where Morris served.
I enclose part of a letter that Leonard wrote to my mother from the camp at Niagara. (Will not copy to here unfortunately) Sadly the letter to Mother was not treasured as she had treasured it. I happened to find this partpage when I cleared out my sister's house after her death.
"Leonard was mother's favourite brother. He had wanted her to go with them when they went to Canada. I still have a gold locket that he sent to Mother. I know he also sent her a ring and a watch; they are lost I imagine.
"I visit France quite often these days and one day I was speaking to a friend there and told her about my mother's brothers who came to France to fight in the 14/18 war. I told her about Mother's brother who was killed at the Somme and how she was always upset at the Armistice services and that I had promised mother that if I ever had the opportunity I would find his grave and visit the cemetery. This was, of course, years before computers and there seemed little likelihood of it happening.
My friend said, "Ruth, I was born in the area. Find the details and I will take you there". "Now with computers, we are able to search for information and I did. I found the grave's location and its plot number. I took the information to France and my friend drove me to the area where we found the grave of Leonard Veater.
It was quite an emotional experience and I was surprised by the feelings that rose in me as Leonard died years before I was born. I had never met him.
"I thought of my mother as I placed a small cross with a poppy attached in the earth. I felt happy that I had been able to keep a promise I had made to Mother many years before.
"I have no information about his death - why or how it happened - but with the aid of a computer I believe I can find out. The grave is in a small cemetery and all the soldiers at rest there are Canadian.
"What had the war done to the four boys that returned from the war?" Find out in next month's Flyer. (This never appears, cut short we presume by Ruth's unexpected and sudden death (see below))
The family house and shop (with three round top windows) where Leonard and his siblings lived, can be seen at the bottom of the street. The photograph is roughly contemporary to the events described.
Obituary - Ruth Flower RUTH FLOWER, Parish Councillor Public Speaker, Actress and 'DJ', died s~ddenly at her home on Monday May 26 aged 83. Ruth was born on March 29 1931 and was the third child of Charles and Amy Beish who lived in The Street, Farmborough. She was educated at Farmborough Church of England Primary and Timsbury Secondary Modern Schools and after completing her education found employment in the retail trade at Keynsham. Ruth's father, Charlie, was a local preacher at The Batch Methodist Church where she sang in the choir. She was very much involved in village life and in 1947 Ruth took the eye of the judges at a competition to find Farmborough's Carnival Queen and won! It was on a night out with other locals when attending a dance that Ruth met her husband to be, Ron Flower. They immediately fell for each other and so started a fantastic love affair that lasted throughout their lives and most likely beyond. Ron had recently been demobbed from the Royal Engineers and was the proud owner of a Vellocette motor cycle. Both Ron and Ruth would go off on trips to Weston-super-Mare and Cheddar. They were inseparable and after much courtship they married in 1952 and moved into a cottage at Hobbs Wall. Eventually they took over a shop at the bottom of The Batch, now Stream House, and it was there, in 1959, their son Simon was born. Ron landed a job with the MOD which meant that the family had to move to Bewdly in Worcestershire and following a few more moves they ended up in Winslow where Ruth opened a fabric shop, Ruth's Fabrics The 1980s saw another change when Simon embarked on a diving career in the USA and Ron and Ruth moved to Portugal. Sadly Ron died in 1998 and it was then Ruth decided to return to the UK With her talent for singing Ruth had been a member of a local amateur dramatic society where she was well suited and a regular choice for the role of principal boy in the "Stratton Players" pantomimes. On her return to England she soon became very involved with the entertainment side of life. Ruth had bit parts in "Casualty" and also had a role in the film "Stardust" with Robert De Niro. She took part in advertising campaigns for The Nationwide Building Society and Oakhouse Foods. Known as "Mamy Rock" Ruth was a DJ and travelled all over the world sharing her ideas of life and how to live it. She even performed at the Glastonbury Festival and is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest working DJ. Despite all of this Ruth managed to fit in the work of a Parish Councillor. How did she do it? Ruth's death was a shock to us all. During her lifetime she touched the hearts and lives of many and we shall miss her. Ruth is survived by her son, Simon, daughter-in-law Tracey and grandson Franklyn Ruth Flower born March 29 1931, died May 26 2014.
"Nothing new under the sun."
From A. E. Houseman - A Shropshire Lad.
"Farewell to barn and stack and tree, Farewell to Severn shore. Terence, look your last at me, For I come home no more. "The sun burns on the half-mown hill, By now the blood is dried; And Maurice amongst the hay lies still And my knife is in his side." "My mother thinks us long away; 'Tis time the field were mown. She had two sons at rising day, To-night she'll be alone." "And here's a bloody hand to shake, And oh, man, here's good-bye; We'll sweat no more on scythe and rake, My bloody hands and I." "I wish you strength to bring you pride, And a love to keep you clean, And I wish you luck, come Lammastide, At racing on the green." "Long for me the rick will wait, And long will wait the fold, And long will stand the empty plate, And dinner will be cold."
XXXVIII The winds out of the west land blow, My friends have breathed them there; Warm with the blood of lads I know Comes east the sighing air. It fanned their temples, filled their lungs, Scattered their forelocks free; My friends made words of it with tongues That talk no more to me. Their voices, dying as they fly, Thick on the wind are sown; The names of men blow soundless by, My fellows' and my own. Oh lads, at home I heard you plain, But here your speech is still, And down the sighing wind in vain You hollo from the hill. The wind and I, we both were there, But neither long abode; Now through the friendless world we fare And sigh upon the road.