6 July 2011

95th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme

To mark the 95th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, and more especially the Battle of Bazentin Ridge that kicked off the second phase of the battle, on July 14th 1916, Claire and I are off the France to visit the grave of my Great-Cousin William Devall.

We went on the 90th anniversary and left a British Legion poppy cross to show that someone in our small family had remembered.

Trying to find out more about how William came to be in the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry for a bloke that was born and bred in Vauxhall in South London has proved to be a little more complicated. 

An email to the regimental museum didn't really help as they don't have many records any more, and what is available are on Ancestry.com. A visit there seems to have got nowhere really. It is a shame that national records that should be owned by the country and managed by the UK Government have been let go to a commercial site.

From the regimental history book, I can see how the 7th Battalion made there way from the channel port to arrive in the locale of Corbie on the Ancre River and then moved up the line to take part in the Bazentin Ridge battle.

Although the battle was seen a win for Britain, the loss of 6000 casualties can hardly seem like a victory.  


On the way northwards again Claire has a Flickr friend that lives in Ireland and is unlikely to get across and has asked if we are near Pernes Cemetery to take a photo of a relative buried there after succumbing to the Spanish Flu outbreak in 1918 that killed an estimated 50 to 100 million across the globe.

I have added it to the route home and we'll do our best.


Photos from the trip. http://www.flickr.com/photos/pauldevall/sets/72157627086246181/

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