All round the country there are commemorations this year to honour those hundreds of thousands of men and women killed during the First World War. They range from the now very well-known, much-visited and publicised “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” [the ‘evolving installation marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War. Created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins, with setting by stage designer Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the Tower’s famous moat’] (here is what Lynne – alias Dovegreyreader – wrote about her visit to the Tower) to our very own local WW1 trail along the main thoroughfare of Horsforth near Leeds.
My neighbour and I followed the trail last Tuesday and on Saturday I visited the related Exhibition in the local church hall. Somehow even though I have lived here much longer than I ever lived in Norwich I don’t feel as attached to Horsforth as I do to the place where I grew up.
“212 are named on the brass panels the men and one woman who died in the first world war . It cost £720 and was unveiled by The Lord of the Manor Montague Spencer-Stanhope on Saturday 11th March 1922. The lectern in front was built in 1953 to honour the men from Horsforth who died in World War II.”
However, the trail and boards are very well done and tell some very sad tales and, interestingly, one woman is commemorated which, I believe, was unusual for the time.
Nurse Florence Hogg
“Serving as a nurse didn’t make a woman immune from the effects of war. Florence Hogg, who worked at Horsforth Laundry, died of the ‘flu that she caught at Berrington War Hospital in Shrewsbury from a soldier, wounded at the Front. The following month it killed her mother too. The ‘flu virus killed over 20 million in 1918 and 1919 – even more than died in the war itself.”
Florence Hogg’s Commonwealth War Grave in Horsforth Cemetery
“We know of six Horsforth men who were in the Gallipoli Campaign, three of whom were killed. Professional sailor, 25 year old Percival Rodgers was killed aboard a submarine that was torpedoed. Another regular, James Swailes, was shot in the head by a sniper. The third man from Horsforth who died was 39 year old, Harry Taylor, who emigrated to Australia in 1898 and served with the Australian army.“
James Swailes killed in the Gallipoli Campaign
In addition to further information boards and displays of medals and other artefacts from the First World War at the Exhibition we were able to watch a half hour documentary programme recorded for TV and published on 1 Oct this year.
“This documentary film travels around the Ypres (Ieper) area of Belgium looking at locations that Yorkshire troops were involved in. Geoff Druett is taken around by an official tour guide. They set-off in the square in front of Ypres Cloth Hall, go to Essex Farm and learn about John McCrae’s “In Flanders Field” poem; cross the Yser Canaal to the Yorkshire Trench. Across town they wander around Hill 60 and visit Tyne Cot. Back in Ypres, Geoff visits the English Memorial Church and the film ends with the nightly ceremony at the Menin Gate.
Music : “World War I In Poetry And Music” by David Moore, John McCormack, Robert Donat, Siegfried Sassoon”
IN FLANDERS FIELDS POEM
The World’s Most Famous WAR MEMORIAL POEM
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!
Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields
Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915 during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium