Menin Gate, Ypres, Belgium

Last weekend I visited the Menin Gate in Ypres to attend the very moving daily Act of Remembrance at the Memorial. At 8pm every evening The Last Post, the traditional final salute to the fallen, is played by buglers in honour of the memory of the soldiers of the former British Empire and its allies who died in the Ypres Salient during the First World War. At around 7.30pm the traffic under the Gate was stopped and shortly afterwards members of the local Fire Brigade and Fire Brigade Buglers marched from the market square along Menenstraat to the Gate for the ceremony whilst members of the public gathered beneath the Memorial.

The Menin Gate designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, was unveiled by Lord Plumer on 24th July 1927. The Memorial bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. Amongst those commemorated are the following men from Broadway:

Private George Barnett, 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment who was killed in action, aged 28, on 9th July 1915.

Private William Harold Gabb, 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards who was fatally wounded in action, aged 34, on 7th November 1914.

Captain Archibald Robert Hewitt DSO, 1st Battalion East Surrey Regiment who was killed in action, aged 32, on 25th April 1915.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers
August 2017

 

 

 

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Remembered Today: Company Serjeant Major 13794 John S. Dale, 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

Remembered today CSM John Stanley Dale, aged 32, of the 8th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment who was killed in action on 4th May 1918, with Captain Ernest Cowper Slade whilst going on his round of the lines. John had served with the army prior to the war and had re-enlisted in September 1914. He was buried shortly after his death alongside Capt Slade near to where they fell at Hallebast, south west of Dickebusch. They were both re-enterred in Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery, near Ypres, Belgium, in 1919.

John was born at 54 Gill Street, Limehouse, London, on 29th January 1886 and later lived in Broadway and Snowshill, Gloucestershire. On 18th November 1912 he married Caroline Harriet Winifred Burston (1882-1968). At the time of his death his wife and two children were living on Gravel Walk, Tewkesbury.

Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery, Belgium (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Klein-Vierstraat British Cemetery, Belgium (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

 

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway Remembers

 

 

Remembered Today: Pte 9562 George Barnett, 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment

George Barnett was born in Broadway in 1886, the youngest son of William and Mary Ann Smith Barnett. George enlisted with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in Stratford-upon-Avon on 4th December 1914. He served with the 1st Battalion and was posted to the Western Front on 2nd May 1915. George was killed in action, aged 28, on 9th July 1915, whilst his battalion were fighting to capture the International Trench at Boesinghe near Ypres.

Pte George Barnett is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial and the Broadway War Memorial.

Pte 5767 William H. Gabb 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards (1880 – 1914)

Pte. William Harold Gabb was the first soldier born in Broadway, Worcestershire, to die in the First World War. William, born in 1880, was the son of William Thomas Gabb, a domestic servant, and Jane Gabb (nee Cole). After leaving school William worked at John Morris’s bakery in the village before joining the police force. William was stationed at Cheltenham and in the Forest of Dean and in 1908 he married Ellen Eliza Ottley-King in Southwark, London. William left the police to join the Coldstream Guards and completed 3 year’s service before transferring to the reserve in 1911.

At the time of the 1911 census, William, his wife, Ellen and eldest daughter Ellen were living at 61 Pages Walk, Bermondsey, London and William was working as a railway policeman.

Shortly afterwards, William and family emigrated to Canada where on the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 William was recalled to serve with he Coldstream Guards. His wife Ellen and their two children returned to England in October 1914. William was posted with the 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards to the Western Front from 11th Sepetember 1914 and in October wrote home from the trenches near Ypres:

“I am still all right. Sometimes we are out fighting three or four days at a time, but we are doing some very good work, beating them back every time. We have lost a lot of men. I hope I may have the same luck that I have been having. General French gives this battalion a good name: he says it is one of the best fighting battalions in the army. It is getting cold here, especially at night. Sometimes we get a lot of rain, but we have to stick it. Let us hope it will soon be over. You need not send any fags, as we get a good supply, but a newspaper comes very acceptable.”

On 7th November 1914, Pte. William Gabb was fatally wounded in action during the First Battle of Ypres. William is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, panel 11. William was awarded the British Medal, Victory Medal and the 1914 Star.

William’s widow, Ellen married Bertie Brinkley (who served with the Yorkshire Regiment during the First World War) in Hammersmith, London, on 14th January 1916 and they moved to 88c Guiness Buildings, Hammersmith. Ellen died on 18th October 1941 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.