Author Topic: Armistice day 2016.  (Read 340 times)

Offline Topdad

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Armistice day 2016.
« on: 11.11. 2016 11:02 »
On flanders fields poppys blow ,between the crosses row by row ..................least we forget .
" rules are made for the guidance of wise men and the blind obediance of fools"
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Online bsa-bill

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Re: Armistice day 2016.
« Reply #1 on: 11.11. 2016 19:10 »
with you all the way on that one Bob.

and lets not forget in the current xenophobic atmosphere that the fallen included many nations and many religions
All the best - Bill
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Offline dave55

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Re: Armistice day 2016.
« Reply #2 on: 11.11. 2016 21:42 »
Anyone doing any of the Rides of Remembrance supporting the British Legion on Sunday ?
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Offline Topdad

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Re: Armistice day 2016.
« Reply #3 on: 14.11. 2016 10:48 »
Just saw this on another forum I visit, hope it may be of interest.

BRINGING HOME THE UNKNOWN WARRIOR

This is an account, written by a past president of the National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) who took a leading part in the return of the Unknown Warrior from France to Britain.
“On Wednesday October 27th 1920, HM Office of Works telephoned the London secretary of the NAFD asking that a small deputation attend the office of works on the following morning, to discuss the cost of preparing a casket for the Unknown Warrior. Accordingly we met at King Charles Street and I well remember some of the deputation had come armed with most elaborate designs, but we were informed that they were not wanted. What was wanted was the cost of supplying a casket in accordance with the design got out by an architect of the Office of Works acting under instructions of a special committee of the Cabinet. This was handed to us and explained and we were then asked to go over to a corner of the room and talk the matter over. At that time I was not only a member of the London Centre but the National President and I felt that here was something in which the whole association could take part. I proposed to my fellow members that this should not be a question of competition but a gift to the nation from our association as a tribute to the Unknown Warrior. To this they readily agreed and also, to avoid any ill feeling, the casket should not be made by a member. Upon informing the representative of our decision, he said that he felt sure we would say this. As an appreciation of our offer it was decided that two of us should accompany the casket to France, do all that was necessary and return with it to London. It was felt that by placing the matter in civilian hands no jealousy could arise between the various sections of the Forces. At the time we were asked to be diplomatic. The choice as representatives fell upon myself and the secretary. Passports were prepared and given to us, also rail and steamship tickets.
The casket was to the design of a 16th century treasure casket; made of two inch English Oak with slightly rounded sides and lid and with a dark waxed finish. It was mounted with four pairs of hammered wrought iron handles and iron bands from head to foot and across the shoulders. The plate was to be the pattern of a 16th century shield and bore the inscription in old English.
A British warrior
Who died in the Great War 1914-1918
For king and country
This was bolted to the lid over a 16th century Crusader’s sword given by HM the King. The ironwork was made in London but in deference to Lloyd George sent to Caernavon and finished by the workmen who had made the ironwork for the investiture of the Prince of Wales. Thus Wales took some share.
On Sunday November 7th the original deputation bore the casket into Westminster Abbey and laid it on the spot which had been chosen for the tomb. It was here photographed and placed in the Jerusalem Chapel for the night. On Monday morning November 8th, it was put in a packing case and Mr Sowerbutts and I accompanied it to Charing Cross Station where it was placed in a special van attached to the Folkstone train. We travelled by an early train so that upon arrival in Folkstone all could be made snug aboard before the arrival of passengers on the mail train. I was entrusted with a bundle of swords for the officers who were to take part in the

coming procession. It was a quiet passage and upon arrival in Boulogne we were quickly passed through the Customs. The packing case and contents were placed in a room on the quayside and the door locked and guarded. We were then taken to temporary staff quarters. On Tuesday November 9th, a staff car conveyed us to the harbour where I unfastened the packing case, removed the casket and placed it in a waiting ambulance. With other cars containing high officials, we climbed the hills behind the town to the fortress overlooking the harbour. The casket was placed in a small stone room, which was beautifully decorated with autumn foliage and fitted out as a chapel. Presently a battle scarred ambulance arrived. This contained an inner shell, previously sent over, covered with a Union Jack and contained the remains of the Unknown Warrior. The shell was reverently lowered into the casket. I bolted on the lid and our work was finished for the day, the French having arranged to hold a short service that evening.
On Wednesday November 10th a car conveyed us to the harbour, where we boarded a destroyer HMS Verdun, to await the coming of the Unknown Warrior. The streets and harbour were thronged with a quiet and sympathetic people, flags of Britain and France hanging from the windows. Presently, music was heard in the distance and through the morning haze appeared a French army wagon, accompanied by Marshal Foch and other high personages. The wagon halted at the foot of the gangway, the casket was withdrawn and as it was borne into the destroyer the massed bands of the French army broke forth with ‘Marseillaise’. The casket was reverently placed on the deck and a guard of Bluejackets placed around it.
I shall never forget the scene or the thrill. We soon cast off and outside the harbour we were met with an escort of six British destroyers who ranged themselves three on each side. Four French destroyers who greeted us with a salute accompanied by guns from the land forts. Half way across the Channel the French destroyers bid us farewell with another salvo. Early in the afternoon we sighted the shores of England and received a radio request to cruise the Channel so as to arrive at Dover at 3.30pm. Just on time we arrived at Dover and, our escort opening out, we swept into the harbour where the fortress above welcomed us with her guns. As we approached the jetty our own massed bands started to play ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. The thrill of it sent shivers down my back and I was proud to be British.
The casket was placed on the same railway van, which had contained the remains of ‘Nurse Cavell’. The walls of the van were fitted with lattice intertwined with flowers and banked with laurel and chrysanthemum. We travelled with the officers in charge of the escort and all along the route were crowds of people. On arrival at Victoria the van was placed in a special siding and a guard set for the night. We handed over to the military and felt that we had played no small part in an historic occasion.”
WHO WAS THE UNKNOWN WARRIOR?
Definitely no one knows. About six bodies were exhumed from the ‘unidentified’ section of the cemetery outside Boulogne and an officer simply said, “Take that one”. It was simply a bundle of bones wrapped in an army blanket.
In this way any mother who had lost her son and had no known grave could believe that this was her son and he had been brought home to her.

" rules are made for the guidance of wise men and the blind obediance of fools"
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Offline dave55

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Re: Armistice day 2016.
« Reply #4 on: 14.11. 2016 11:14 »
Excellent find Topdad, I enjoyed reading that account and the amount of work and organising that went on to bring the fella home is amazing even though it was a sad occation.
I wonder if it were to happen now what differences would there be with the advances in forensics etc ?
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Offline RichardL

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Re: Armistice day 2016.
« Reply #5 on: 14.11. 2016 13:46 »
Oh, the things you learn on the BSA A7/A10 Forum! Very interesting and moving.

Replying to Dave's question as to forensics, I would think that, today, it might be possible to connect The Unknown Soldier with a family whose granparents or great-grandparents received the news that their son was missing in action. Not saying that would be the right thing to do.

Ricard L.
Plan on signing up for the world-wide 2020 DISTINGUISHED GENTLEMAN'S RIDEon September 27, 2020 (if it's not cancelled and we are free to move about by then). Watch website at https://www.gentlemansride.com for details.

Offline metalflake11

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Re: Armistice day 2016.
« Reply #6 on: 14.11. 2016 17:26 »
Did the 'Ring of Red' around the M60 yesterday. Over a thousand bikes turned up!
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Offline dave55

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Re: Armistice day 2016.
« Reply #7 on: 14.11. 2016 17:58 »
That would take up a chunk of M60 then  *smiley4* Me and the missus did the Ride of Remembrance from Squires Café to Selby abbey for the outdoor service , then on to Hemmingborough near Goole for another service . Was a brilliant day and well run with police riders blocking roundabouts and traffic lights junctions (No Stopping  *eek* ) along with other marshals blocking side roads and other stuff, years since I felt the Hooligan element in me and on the old A10 as well ( seemed more fitting for the occasion to do it on the old girl ).Don't know how many bikes but certainly enough to bring Selby to a standstill for a while and lots of locals lining the streets showing appreciation , and all the cars at junctions etc waiting patiently. Funny bit was as we pulled in to Selby there was a coach load of middle aged Japanese tourists had got off the coach stood on the side of the parking area clapping and taking photos of the bikes totally amazed. All in a good cause too !
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Offline metalflake11

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Re: Armistice day 2016.
« Reply #8 on: 15.11. 2016 12:06 »
Made a complete ring I think Dave55, some people went around twice or more!

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