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Breakfast at Babs

A Blog by Simon 'Peters' Biggs

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Breakfast Chatter & History

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old - For the Fallen (Ode to Remembrance) - Laurence Binyon 1914

Nov 10, 2018 03:28 am

They went with songs to the battle, they were young. Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow. They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe. They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. They mingle not with their laughing comrades again; They sit no more at familiar tables of home; They have no lot in our labour of the day-time; They sleep beyond England's foam. Moved by the opening of the Great War and the already high number of casualties of the British Expeditionary Force, in 1914 Laurence Binyon wrote his For the Fallen, with its Ode of Remembrance (the third and fourth or simply the fourth stanza of the poem).
At the time, he was visiting the cliffs on the north Cornwall coast, either at Polzeath or at Portreath.
The piece was published by The Times newspaper in September, when public feeling was affected by the recent Battle of Marne. Today Binyon's most famous poem, For the Fallen, is often recited at Remembrance Sunday services in the UK; is an integral part of Anzac Dayservices in Australia and New Zealand and of 11 November Remembrance Day services in Canada. The "Ode of Remembrance" has thus been claimed as a tribute to all casualties of war, regardless of nation.

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Corporal John Prettyjohn the First Royal Marine Victoria Cross - 2nd November 1854 –  Battle of Inkerman - Crimea #OTD

Nov 05, 2018 06:13 am

John Prettyjohns VC (sometimes misspelled Prettyjohn) (11 June 1823 – 20 January 1887) was the first Royal Marine to win the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
On 5 November 1854, Corporal John Prettyjohns won the Victoria Cross during the Battle of Inkerman.
The 2 November 1854 was an active day, 312 rank and file marched off from the heights of Balaklava, for the Light Division, under the command of Captain Hopkins, RMLI, the detachment was divided into four companies, taking turn in the trenches. On the morning of the 5th, the relief, which had just returned, were preparing their rude breakfast; the firing from Sebastopol was gradually increased, and then commenced in our rear. Nothing could be distinguished but fog and smoke from where we were.
The bugle sounded the ‘Fall-in’ at the double, and officers were flying about giving orders, saying vast columns of the enemy were moving up to our rear. The roll of musketry was terrific; we were advanced cautiously until bullets began to fall in amongst us, the Sergeant-Major was the first man killed; order given to lay (sic) down; it was well we did so; a rush of bullets passed over us: then we gave them three rounds, kneeling, into their close columns.
At the same time some seamen opened fire from some heavy guns into their left flank, and this drove them back into the fog and smoke. Our Commanding Officer received several orders from mounted officers at this critical time; first it was ‘advance’, then it was ‘hold your ground and prevent a junction or communication with the town’.
The Inkermann Caves were occupied by the enemy’s sharpshooters, who were picking off our officers and gunners; between us and these men was an open space exposed to the broadside fire of a frigate in the harbour under shelter of the wall, but she had been heeled over so as to clear the muzzles of her guns, when fired, from striking the wall; thus, her fire raked the open part. The Caves were to be cleared, and the Marines ordered to do it; as soon as we showed ourselves in the open, a broadside from the frigate thinned our ranks; Captain March fell wounded. Captain Hopkins ordered his men to lie down under a bit of rising ground, and ordered two privates, Pat Sullivan and another man to take the Captain back, and there he stood amidst a shower of shot and shell, seeing him removed.
A division under Sergeant Richards and Corporal Prettyjohns, was then thrown out to clear the caves, what became of the Commanding Officer and the others I never knew, so many statements have been made.
We, under Richards and Prettyjohns, soon cleared the caves, but found our ammunition nearly all expended, and a new batch of the foe were creeping up the hillside in single file, at the back. Prettyjohns, a muscular West Countryman, said, ‘Well lads, we are just in for a warming, and it will be every man for himself in a few minutes. Look alive, my hearties, and collect all the stones handy, and pile them on the ridge in front of you. When I grip the front man you let go the biggest stones upon those fellows behind’.
As soon as the first man stood on the level, Prettyjohns gripped him and gave him a Westcountry buttock, threw him over upon the men following, and a shower of stones from the others knocked the leaders over. Away they went, tumbling one over the other, down the incline; we gave them a parting volley, and retired out of sight to load; they made off and left us, although there was sufficient to have eaten us up.
Later in the day we were recalled, and to keep clear of the frigate’s fire had to keep to our left, passing over the field of slaughter.
On being mustered, if my memory is not at fault, twenty-one had been killed and disabled, and we felt proud of our own Commanding Officer, who stood fine, like a hero, helping Captain March.
Corporal Prettyjohns received the VC, Colour Sergeant Jordan the Medal and £20 for Distinguished Conduct in the Field, Captain Hopkins a C.B., others were recommended.
— - a report by Sergeant Turner RM
See the pin - RM A Geo History Map

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The Royal Marines in World War One - RM a Geo History

Nov 04, 2018 09:40 am

Major Actions & Engagements of Royal Marines in the RND 1914-18
4th to 9th October 1914: Defence of Antwerp: (Portsmouth, Plymouth, Chatham & Deal Bns. RMLI) (Only the Portsmouth Bn. suffered significantly at Antwerp, with about 300 Marines interned in Holland. Very few Marines were killed).
4th March 1915: Demolition Covering Parties landed at Sedd-ul-Bahr & Kum Kale, Dardanelles: (Nos. 3 & 4 Coys. Plymouth Bn. RMLI, 25 Marines killed)
Gallipoli Peninsula 25/4/15 to 9/1/16
No area of the Peninsula was safe from Turkish fire. The so-called 'Rest Camps' were as dangerous as the firing line. The majority of Marine casualties occurred with the major actions listed below, but other local advances accounted for many more (i.e. the Portsmouth Battalions' night attack at "Wilson's Post" 23-24/6/15).
Up until early September 1915 casualties regularly occurred during the normal trench routine, when sickness & disease took over as the main cause of deaths. The latter part of 1915 saw a slight reduction in Marine casualties, but in late December 1915 & early January 1916, when the Turks began to shell Cape Helles with renewed intensity, casualties again rose to an uncomfortable level.
25th to 26th April 1915 Landing & Withdrawal at ' Y ' Beach, Cape Helles: (Plymouth Bn. RMLI, 54 Marines Killed)
28th April to 13th May 1915 Defence of ANZAC Beachhead: (Portsmouth & Chatham Bns. RMLI suffer heavy loss; Deal Bn. slight losses).
6th to 11th May 1915 Second Battle of Krithia, Cape Helles: (Plymouth Bn. RMLI, moderate losses)
4th June 1915 Third Battle of Krithia, Cape Helles: (The Four RMLI Bns. in Reserve, a few casualties)
12th to 13th July 1915 Action of Achi Baba Nullah: (The Four RMLI Bns. in Support, a few casualties)
France & Belgium May 1916 to November 1918.
13th to 15th November 1916 The Battle of the Ancre: (1RM: 127 killed; 2RM 105 killed).
17th to 21st February 1917 Miraumont: (1RM advance with heavy loss 17/2/17 (approx. 95 killed; 2RM relieve 1RM 19/2/17: 32 killed)
28th to 29th April 1917 Battle of Gavrelle Windmill: (1RM: 169 killed & 29 POW; 2RM 166 killed & 176 POW)
26th to 28th October 1917 Second Battle of Passchendaele: (Both RM Bns. suffer heavy losses)
Image: First Onlooker: "Bunker's Hill was child's play to this." Second Onlooker: "So was Trafalgar, but the Old Corps is going forward, just the same."
(Globe & Laurel, August 1917).
Coming soon The Battle of Jutland and the Raid on Zebrugge

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Wilfred Owen - War Poet - Killed 4th November 1918 #OTD

Nov 04, 2018 03:53 am

Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) - who was born in Oswestry on the Welsh borders, and brought up in Birkenhead and Shrewsbury - is widely recognised as one of the greatest voices of the First World War. At the time of his death he was virtually unknown - only four of his poems were published during his lifetime - but he had always been determined to be a poet, and had experimented with verse from an early age. In 1913-1915, whilst teaching at Bordeaux and Bagnères-de-Bigorre in France, he worked on the rhyming patterns which became characteristic of his poetry; but it was not until the summer of 1917 that he found his true voice.
In 1915 Owen enlisted in the British Army. His first experiences of active service at Serre and St. Quentin in January-April 1917 led to shell-shock and his return to Britain. Whilst he was undergoing treatment at the Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh, he met one of his literary heroes, Siegfried Sassoon, who provided him with guidance, and encouragement to bring his war experiences into his poetry.
When Owen returned to the Western Front, after more than a year away, he took part in the breaking of the Hindenburg Line at Joncourt (October 1918) for which he was awarded the Military Cross in recognition of his courage and leadership. He was killed on 4 November 1918 during the battle to cross the Sambre-Oise canal at Ors.
Dulce et Decorum Est
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Latin phrase is from the Roman poet Horace: “It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”

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