William Fairbanks

With our new gite, Fairbanks, which we rent out in the heart of the Somme battlefields we never expected to have stay a relative of William Fairbank. Fairbanks was named after William’s ancestor who planted fruit trees after the Great War in our village, Hardecourt Aux Bois. He was a doctor to the Royal family in Windsor. We are looking forward to welcoming the family again in the future.

 

2nd Lieutenant Charles Horace Larkins

We remember 2nd Lieutenant Charles Horace Larkins of the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex) Regiment who died of wounds in the Battle of Cambrai 100 years ago today and is commemorated on the Louverval Memorial to the Missing. He was just 21 years old and after enlisting as a Private in 1915 had already been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant by 1917. He survived July 1st 1916 near Beaumont Hamel and then was sent off for Officer training.

He enlisted in the Public School’s Battalion although his family did not have the means to send Charles to public school and so he may have won a scholarship to attend. His family are currently trying to locate which school he attended prior to going off to war.

Yesterday, we took the family to the area where he was wounded and attended some of the commemorative events in and around Cambrai yesterday evening.

Rest in Peace Charles.

Chris Hodges & family from Northern Ireland

A wonderful day with Chris Hodges and friends from Northern Ireland. During the tour we visited Guillemont Church and the 16th Irish Division Memorial on the Somme. We remembered too the significance of the centenary of the Battle of Messines Ridge where for the first time the 36th Ulster Division and the 16th Irish Division fought together side by side. They were here too to remember a long lost ancestor who died on the 21st March 1918 Rifleman Charles Tweedie 15th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles and who has no known grave. He is commemorated at Pozieres. He enlisted at the young age of 14. Rest in Peace Charles.

 

In the Salient

Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineer group
Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineer group

Despite the morning rain it went on to be a beautiful day on the battlefields with my Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineer group. Visited three of their fallen comrades on the Salient and two more to see today – hopefully with the sunshine continuing…

Chippy…

Chippy
Chippy

Thought I was bringing a dog back from Verdun tonight. This dog was wandering seemingly lost at Hill 304. I thought it had been perhaps abandoned but it had a collar with a mobile number which I called and it was reunited with its owner. Various Leger passengers in the meantime fed it biscuits. His name was Chippy…

Verdun continued…

Fort Souville
Fort Souville

Fort Souville – the closest the Germans got to Verdun on 12th July 1916

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The enemy did not pass
The enemy did not pass

Today we crossed over to the left bank of the Meuse and here is the statue commemorating that the enemy did not pass in 1916…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hill 304
Hill 304

Also on the left bank of the Meuse at Verdun is Hill 304 and as the memorial here says the blood of 10.000 heroes impregnated the soil…