This page is to notify all members of Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry Association of Yeoman that have gone to rest
Please advise committee members of errors or omissions
Sergeant John “Ikie” Chilvers passed away on the 8th April 2020, aged 87. John was a member of the Swaffham, Norwich and later the Bury St Edmunds Detachment for many years. Serving as a Gun Number One and latterly with the Battery as an Exercise Damage Control Section Commander. John saw action in the United Nations Campaign in Korea, suffering injuries which he carried always.
The funeral for John will be held on Monday the 27th April 2020 at 12:15hrs. Due to the COVID-19 crisis the Service will be accessible via a webcast only. The Order of Service and Log In Details have been sent out to the Association email list. Please contact the Association Secretary if you require further details.
The Association left early on Friday morning, the 16th November for the long drive down to Mons, Belgium, to start the Kaiserschlacht & 100 day Offensive Tour.
After a rapid channel tunnel crossing, the weather deteriorated with heavy rain making the last few kilometers interesting. However everyone arrived at the hotel Le Monte Cristo in good spirits. The party then dined in Mons town centre, cooking their own steaks on a hot stone slab, whilst enjoying the local beers.
One of the highlights of the evening was the presence of the Christmas Fair, where members of the tour demonstrated their Archery skills and Yeomanry Horsemanship.
Saturday morning saw a sharp frost and an early start, heading for the famous Nimy Bridge, Mons, to discuss the formative and concluding days of the Great War.
From the Nimy Bridge we moved onto to the Saint Symphorien Military Cemetery and visited the Grave of Lt Dease VC and the first and last British soldiers killed in action during WW1 – this site was visited the week before by the British Prime Minister.
The next phase of the Tour saw us move into France only to be held up for sometime on the motorway, by the very start of the Yellow Vest Protests.
Eventually we made our way to the Templeaux Le Guerard Miltary Cemetery which holds the graves of 3 Suffolk Yeoman, belonging to the 15Bn Suffolk (Yeomanry) Regiment which saw their largest and most significant action of the 100 day Offensive on the 18th September 1918.
The part played by the Suffolk Yeoman was the prelude to the famous assault on the Hindenburg Line a few days later by the British, Australian and United States Troops, which resulted in the formal collapse of the German Army in France and Belgium.
A short service of remembrance took part at this location and a wreath was laid at the Cross of Sacrifice and individual wooden crosses at the Graves of CSM Chambers, Pte A Gray & Pte R Scott.
We then visited the impressive American Military Cemetery and Memorial at Bony, marking the US Army’s most significant action in this area.
Then onto the Wellington Quarry, Arras, where we once again ran the gauntlet of the Yellow Vest Brigade. We just made the entrance to the Tunnels due to the delay and the group donned their PPE before descending into to the subterranean world of the tunnels.
“Say no more”
After the tunnel adventure, it was back to the hotel, for refreshments and the tour dinner.
The final day saw us visit the sites of Neuve Chappelle and the Indian and Portuguese memorials.
The afternoon once again saw us trapped by the Yellow Vest Brigade, but undeterred we pressed onto Auber’s Ridge and Fromelles, where both the Suffolk & Norfolk Yeoman passed on their routes north in 1918. We were able to see and explore the formidable remains of the Hindenburg Line.
Our final stop of the day before departing for the Tunnel, was to pay our respects to the 32 men of the 12Bn Norfolk (Yeomanry) Regiment, buried in the Outtersteene Military Cemetery, This was the most significant action by the Norfolk Yeomanry in Northern France on the 19 August 1918, which resulted in the loss of 35 dead. This action saw 6 x Military Medals, 1 x DCM and a Military Cross awarded for gallantry.
Once again we conduced a service of remembrance, laying a wreath and placing 32 individual crosses to the fallen.
The tour finally returned home without any further interruptions by the Yellow Vest Mob, having been enjoyed as much by the guides as by the guests.
The Association wishes to thank the Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry Trust for their generous donation which allowed us to purchase wreaths and wooden crosses to pay our respects to the fallen Suffolk & Norfolk Yeoman of WW1.
The Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry Association were proud to have laid a wreath on behalf of the Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry Trust and Association at the Menin Gate, Ypres, on the eve of the Centenary commemoration on Saturday the 10th November 2018.
The Wreath was kindly donated by the Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry Trust
677 (Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry) Squadron AAC(R) follow the Battles of Messines and Passchendaele 1917.
The Squadron invited the Association to organise a Battlefield Tour following the key battles of Messines and Passchendaele in 1917. On the 14th July, the Squadron left Bury St Edmunds ARC along with Brian Greengrass and Trevor Jones and departed for Ypres, Belgium.
On arrival at the Hotel in Ypres the Sqn held an informal dinner with refreshments. Saturday morning started early, with the Sqn receiving a presentation on the Battles of Messines and Passchendaele from the tour guides, Trevor and Brian, to set the scene for the next two days.
The group arrived at the first location, Ploegsteert Wood Memorial and museum, where a short service of remembrance was held for 3 fallen Norfolk Yeoman, commemorated on the memorial stone.
The group then moved to the Irish Tower Memorial Park, which dominates the Messines Ridge, where an explanation of the Battle of Messines was given.
The next stop was Hill 60 and the Caterpillar Crater , where evidence of the underground war can still be seen today.
Then the party moved up to the Gheluvelt Plateau, where and explanation of the Battles for the Menin Road and Hooge were given.
After a brief bite to eat at Hooge, the group moved on the 1917 Memorial Museum Passchendaele, Zonnebeke where time was spent exploring this major historical collection, before walking in the footsteps of the British soldier up to the front line at Tyne Cot.
This concluded the first part of the tour, but was not the conclusion of the day’s activities for the Sqn.
The Squadron then paraded at the Menin Gate Ceremony as the principle military presence, paying their respects by laying a wreath at the memorial.
An early start on Sunday, took us to the Canadian Memorial at Crest Farm, where the final phases, capture and conclusion of the Third Ypres were discussed.
From Crest Farm we made our way along the Passchendaele Ridge which allowed the group to study the topography and reflect on the immense struggle by the British and Canadian Divisions as they moved up toward the village of Passchendaele, the focus of so much death and destruction.
The Langemark German Cemetery was the last stop on the tour, prior to departing to Calais for the return the UK. The sombre contrast between British and German cemeteries was explained to the group.
The tour turned into a personal pilgrimage for one Squadron member who had learnt that his Great Great Uncle was buried in the area but did know where, Brian and Trevor were able to research the location of his missing relative and provide time for the tour to visit his relatives final resting place in the Wytschaete Cemetery.
“Good morning I’m contacting the association as I recently visited Ypres with my squadron 677. I’d like to thank Brian Greengrass and Trevor Jones for a great trip and also for helping me in locating my Great Great uncles grave near Ypres. Since we have returned I’ve managed to get copies of his unit diary from the day he left Southampton to the day he was killed. It explains how he was killed and I have the grid ref for the point of death and initial burial. It’s interesting to see what and where his unit was working and billeted at this time. Once again a huge thanks”
Airtrooper James Atkinson 677 Squadron.
Beyond The Battlefield Tours – Annual Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry Association Battlefield Tour took place over the weekend 30th September to 2nd October 2016 to the Somme, Northern France.
This tour turned into a personal pilgrimage for one of the guests who had recently discovered that her Great Grandfather fought and was killed in the Battle of the Somme and his remains interred in the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery in Arras.
The Tour party left for France via the Euro Tunnel on a clear, bright and warm autumnal day, arriving at Arras in the early afternoon, allowing enough time to visit local attractions in the City and a stop for refreshments.
A guided tour of the Arras tunnels was followed by a walk around the two main city squares, with overnight accommodation at the Hotel Mecure, Arras Centre.
Up early on the Saturday and after a hearty breakfast, the party visited a number of memorials and cemeteries, whilst tracing the line of the Somme Valley north from the City.
First stop was at the Polish and Czechoslovakian Memorial at Neuville-Saint-Vasst, just outside the City limits, which afforded a superb view of a landscape fought over in both World Wars. This vantage point allowed a panoramic view, stretching back from Arras towards the ridges surrouning the valley.
Visible from this spot, was the French Cemetery at Notre Dame Lorrette, Vimy Ridge, The Abbey, De la Vielle, at St Elmo and the sight of the first Tank Battle by British Forces at Flers-Courcelette . We then moved on to visit the haunting French Military Cemetery at Notre Dame Lorrette. There is a new memorial to all soldiers of all the belligerent nations known to have fallen between 1914 -1918 in the area.
Next stop was the “Pals” memorial at Serre and walk around the battle ground, noting the recent commemoration of 100 years since the first Battle of the Somme by the placing of a Poppy for each British soldier to have fallen there.
Moving on, we visited the Ulster Tower Memorial and the awe inspiring Thiepval Memorial which lists 72,000 names of the missing, before spending time in the Thiepval Visitors Centre.
The last stop of the day was to the excellent Wellington Quarry Museum, Arras to discover how the British and Commonwealth forces fought a subterranean war. Walking through parts of the 20 km of tunnels we discovered that the purpose was to allow 24,000 men to emerge and attack the German Lines on the 9th April 1917, at the same time as the Canadian Corp launched their successful assault on the vaunted Vimy Ridge.
The pace slowed a little on the Sunday morning, as after a leisurely breakfast, the group made its way to the Faubourg d’Amiens Cemetery to pay their respects at the grave of Private Frank Herbert Massingham, the Great Grandfather of one of our party. Interestingly the Cemetery also holds the national memorial to the Royal Flying Corp and the fallen of the newly emerging RAF.
Following this sombre moment, the group return to Arras city centre to climb the Town Hall Belfry to take in the Battlefield vista before leaving for the return journey via Tunnel.