Author Archives: Trevor Jones

Association Battlefield Tour November 2018


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.

“Mount”

 

“At the Gallop”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I though this was Agincourt”

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.

Nimy Railway Bridge

Lt Dease & Pte Godley Memorial – Nimy Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

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.

PM Wreath

Saint Symphorien

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Templeux Le Guerard

We then visited the impressive American Military Cemetery and Memorial at Bony, marking the US Army’s most significant action in this area.

US Army Memorial Hindenburg Line Bony

 

Grave of Congressional Medal of Honour Winner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Indian Memorial

Portuguese Cemetery Neuve Chappelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Hindenburg Line Bunker – Auber’s Ridge

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.

Outtersteene Military Cemetery

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.

 

 

100 Year WW1 Armistice Commemoration – Menin Gate 2018

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 laid by Mrs J Jones on behalf of the Trust and Mrs B Greengrass on behalf of the Association.

The Wreath was kindly donated by the Suffolk & Norfolk Yeomanry Trust

677 Squadron visit to Passchendeale July 2017

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.

Day one

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.

Ploegsteert Wood Memorial

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Irish Memorial Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next stop was Hill 60 and the Caterpillar Crater , where evidence of the underground war can still be seen today.

Hill 60 Caterpillar Crater

Then the party moved up to the Gheluvelt Plateau, where and explanation of the Battles for the Menin Road and Hooge were given.

Hooge Cemetery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Tyne Cot Cemetery

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.

677 Sqn Parade under the Menin Gate

Day two

 

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.

Canadian Crest Farm Memorial

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.

Langemark German Military Cemetery

Post Script

 

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.

British Cemetery Wytschaete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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