Some Somme thoughts — 5 Comments

  1. Just a few observations.

    You can read as many books as you like but until you arrive in Diksmuide, Ypres or Arras in November or December and feel the surgical wind off the Urals cutting you you have little notion of the exposed existence those men went through during those years. We normally turn up in August when finding a bit of shade is our goal, and when walking about those ordered CWGC is a chore.

    The thing that strikes a person who knows these islands is the featurelessness of the landscape. You realise but for the ditches and trees the highest thing in the region would be the spires of the churches.

    You are a bit amazed that the town of Ypres every evening stop traffic on one of the main routes when the fire brigade renders respect to those under the ground surrounding that town, who have yet to be found.

    My ex, from Belgium, was shocked that the list of names in those alcoves of the Peace Tower were in place year on year and hadn’t been stolen or destroyed. In fact I think that was the beginning of the end for us. I simply wouldn’t think anyone would destroy them.

    Analysis in Ireland shows the class based nature of those that joined the army/navy.

    Analysis shows that the Irish regiments were rotated into the line with greater rapidity than the English, but pretty much the same as the Scots. I feel this gave rise to the feeling that Ireland was doing more than her share.

    You have to wonder if the clergymen were aware that as a tool of force morale, the army was well aware of their use.

  2. Nice to see MDH at the THIEPVAL MEMORIAL. They could’ve given the Presidential salute though.

  3. Percy Horner
    Michael Goodwin
    David Goodwin
    Samuel Treacy

    We will remember them, thank you Ian.

  4. I wouldn’t disagree. some padres were undoubtedly cheerleaders for the cause.

    The Irish Roman Catholic chaplains were an interesting anomaly, they were seconded to the army, not part of its structure. Because they were not under army command they ignored orders that chaplains should not to go forward with the men, thus Willie Doyle gained a wide reputation as one who was unafraid to be in the midst of the conflict.

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