VISIT TO WW1 BATTLEFIELDS
This visit was meant to have taken place in 2021 as the culmination of our Centenary Year. However, many things prevented that from happening, but a group of 28 Club Members and some RNVR Yacht Club members finally made it in May 2023.
It was a very emotional few days as these things usually are when they involve family members who sacrificed their lives for us. Our guide for the trip was a retired RN Commander, Tim Stoneman, who had an in depth knowledge of the Royal Naval Division’s activities as well as the raids on Zeebrugge and Ostend.
The visit took in Talbot House (TocH) in Poperinge, Gavrelle (Battle of Arras), Welsh Ridge, Marcoing, Montauban (King’s Liverpool action), Lochnagar crater, Beaucourt, Miraumont (RMLI action), Hill60, Tyne Cot Cemetery, Zeebrugge and Ostend.
Wreaths were laid at the Menin Gate with Commodore Rod Walker reading the Exhortation and at the VINDICTIVE Memorial in Ostend.
We found the grave of AB J W Billington RNVR of Nelson Battalion, who was a member of Mersey Division and whose name appears on the honours board in EAGLET.
Former Eaglet Officers at the grave of AB J W Billington (pictured) , Ancre Cemetery.
Dinner at Brasserie Kazematten Entrance to Ancre Cemetery Presentation of “Hold Fast” to Cdr Tim Stoneman
Menin Gate Wreath Rod Walker giving the Exhortation Wreath laying party
Zeebrugge Monument Ostend See explanation below Women’s Services Badges
RND badges Gavrelle Memorial Vindictive wreath
The statue shows Eliane Cossey or “Ginger” She was a red-haired girl who worked at café La Poupée. It had an enchanting effect on many soldiers. She was a symbol of Poperinge hospitality. In one hand Ginger has a tray, with the other hand she rests on a chair.
Zeebrugge Mole Former German HQ, Ostend HMS VINDICTIVE