December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Nick Gill
Saturday, August 17, 2013
A MEMORIAL honouring soldiers from The Hertfordshire Regiment who died in World War I is to be built on a battlefield.
Permission has been granted by a local council in St Julien, Belgium, to have a war memorial located in the village where the 1st Battalion of The Hertfordshire Regiment lost its greatest number of men in a single day.
The 620-strong battalion was fighting in the third Battle of Ypres – better known as Passchendaele – on July 31, 1917, when 459 of those men were either killed, injured or captured.
Now that planning permission has been agreed, it is hoped the memorial can be unveiled on the spot where the regiment made its advance – exactly 100 years on from the battle.
The plans form part of a five-year project by Herts at War – a group which seeks to document the lives of those in the county who served between 1914-18, as well as the impact the war had back home.
“There isn’t a single memorial anywhere on the Western Front to The Hertfordshire Regiment,” said Dan Hill, project co-ordinator for Herts at War.
“The location it’s going to be based at is by the river where they started their attack and marks the worst day in the regiment’s history. Ninety seven years later we are proud to be able to place a memorial to this now largely forgotten disaster, and plan to do so on July 31 2017 – 100 years to the day that the attack occurred.
“Herts at War is now looking for local support to help raise funds and awareness of the project in general to help make this historic opportunity a reality.”
The regiment included Sidney Andrews, of Mount Terrace, Royston. A Blacksmith’s striker before the outbreak of war, he joined the army in 1912, and was promoted to the position of Lance Corporal during the conflict.
He survived the third Battle of Ypres, but was killed three weeks later on August 22 1917 at the age of 24.
As the anniversary of the outbreak of World War I approaches, Herts at War is appealing for people to get involved in the project.
Part of that process is encouraging those who have war stories to tell to share them on its new official website, www.hertsatwar.co.uk.