Monday, 5 August 2013

An update on the Welsh Memorial in Flanders Campaign

The 'stones' for the base of the Memorial, which will be a representation of a cromlech, were delivered to the site at Iron Cross on Pilkem Ridge on 10 July. The lorry carrying the stones was escorted in by members of the Royal British Legion Bikers Branch.  This was followed by a short ceremony where the stones were blessed and handed over to members of the Langemark Council, which included the playing of the Welsh National Anthem by a local schoolgirl on the flute. The stones were then off-loaded onto the site, where they will lie until the Belgian contracters in concert with the Belgian Branch of the Campaign Committee, will build the base.

Two IGBG members are on the Welsh Branch of the Campaign Committee; myself and Ian Gumm.

Reports from our friends on site say that the presence of the stones is already attracting visitors.  I attach some photographs fro your information.
Ian Mcleod

Monday, 4 March 2013

Loos en Gohelle Battlefield possibly soon to be disfigured

The project of a wind farm may soon completely disfigure the battlefield of Loos-en Gohelle, a major historical site of the Great War in the North of France.
A French private company has planned a wind farm of 10, maybe 11 wind turbines on the territories of the towns of Vermelles and Auchy-les-Mines. That company has taken no account of the historical past of the site. Where thousands of young British soldiers bravely died, the tallest wind turbines in France (636 feet tall, twice as tall as Big Ben!!!) will soon appear. Among these, ten machines should be erected in front of the HOHENZOLLERN REDOUBT, three near the ALONE TREE and two 400 yards away from the FERME DES BRIQUES and the QUARRY CEMETERY.

The view from the towers of the LOOS DUD CORNER MEMORIAL will be completely spoilt. Why not wind farms on the Somme or Ypres battlefields? Fortunately, until now, these historical sites have been spared. But what will happen in the future if we let this kind of project be realized? 

In spite of the protest of a great part of the local population, especially because of the numerous nuisances caused by these machines (the nearest ones will only be 500 yards away from the houses) the local council of Auchy - les - Mines have agreed the building of these ugly monsters. However, today, they seem divided and will soon vote again for or against the project. As for the town of Vermelles, until now, they are in favour of the project. But things may rapidly change.

Anyway, it is the Prefect of the Nord - Pas de Calais district who will take the final decision. Let’s remember that in 2004 the French and British mobilizations stopped the project of a dumping ground on that very area.

Here are the British historical sites of the Great War within one mile of the wind turbines :

-         Memorial Dud Corner de Loos-en-Gohelle
-         Alone Tree de Loos-en-Gohelle
-         Haisnes Bois Carré British Cemetery (route de Vermelles, Hulluch)
-         Haisnes St Mary’s Advanced Dressing Station British Cemetery (Hulluch)
-         Quarry Cemetery (Auchy-les-Mines)
-         46th (North Midland) Div (TF) Memorial 13 th Oct 1915
In fact, the wind farm will be erected on the very site where thousands of young British soldiers died.
We cannot permit it without protesting. Please, help us and support our claim !!

You can contact us at:


President of association DNECV (Défense de la Nature, de l’environnement et du Cadre de Vie d’Auchy Les Mines et ses alentours)

Friday, 25 January 2013

Cotterills Travels!! (part 1)

Fellow Guild members who may be worried that John Cotterill’s guiding skills will be getting rusty during his 6 months chasing bandits in Kenya will be reassured to know that he has managed to recce and guide one tour during that time. A few pictures of the tour to some Great War battlefields in central Tanzania (or German East Africa as was) may be of interest. His 6 months end in March when he returns to UK and looks forward to boring pals with his African adventures at the Newark weekend in April.

The striking Askari Memorial in downtown Dar Es Salaam

Headstone of Captain John Butler won the VC in West Africa in 1914 and was killed in action in East Africa in 1916. Morogoro CWGC Cemetery

“Germany in Africa”. The Lutheran Church in Dar Es Salaam

Headstone of Commander Richard Orlando Beaconsfield Bridgemen RN, who drowned after a desperate struggle to escape through the mangrove swamps, three days after the aircraft in which he was an observer crash landed in the Rufiji delta. Dar Es Salaam CWGC Cemetery.

Headstone of Hauptmann Friedrich von Kornatzki, brained with a knobkerrie by Captain Richard Meinertzhagen in the German counter attack at Kondoa Irangi, if the latter’s unreliable memoirs are to be believed. Dar Es Salaam CWGC Cemetery.