A selection of photographs taken during a recent visit to Pozieres British Cemetery.
Pozieres is a village about six kilometres north-east of Albert, and the cemetery is a south-west of the village on the north side of the main road (D929) from Albert to Pozieres.
According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, the village of Pozieres was attacked on July 23, 1916 by the 1st Australian and 48th (South Midland) Divisions, and was taken on the following day.
It was lost on March 24-25, 1918, during the great German advance, and recaptured by the 17th Division on the following 24 August.
Here are three Australian graves from the cemetery: Privates DB Harford, FB Dowling and L Robinson.
There are 2,760 Commonwealth servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery -1,382 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 23 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. There is also one German soldier buried here.
This grave contains the remains of Military Medal winner, Private D Cottingham.
A brief story of two Royal Welch Fusiliers who were wounded at battles for woods on the Somme.
Their graves are located in the cemetery at Abbeville, which was some way from the front.
I took these photos some years ago and now the wonderful Anne Pedley, of the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum in Caernarfon, has helped me piece together parts of the stories of Ceredig Ellis and Edward Roberts.
Second Lieutenant Ellis, whose parents were from Aberystwyth, was married to Mildred and lived 61 Oxton Road, Wallasey, Cheshire.
He was educated at Bangor University where he was a member of the OTC.
He was commissioned on February 1, 1915. He was transferred to 15th RWF (the London Welsh) and joined the battalion in France.
He saw action with D Company and was wounded at Mametz Wood on July 11, 1916.
He was to die of these wounds, most likely at Abbeville where there was a large military hospital.
As the inscription on the grave indicates Mildred had recently given birth to their first child.
The second fusilier, CSM Roberts, enlisted with 10th RWF and embarked to France on September 27, 1915.
He received the Military Medal for bravery while in trenches in the Kemmel area, where the Fusiliers defended themselves against a German gas and an infantry attack.
He also fought at High Wood and it was during fighting there that he was first reported missing and then wounded.
He died of his wounds at Abbeville ten days later.
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Currently reading Sarah Helm’s book ‘A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE’.
It’s a fascinating portrait of the SOE officer who looked after agents heading into the field.
The remarkable Noor Inayat Khan features prominently.
Noor (she later used the name Nora) was born in 1914 in Moscow to an Indian father and an American mother. The family moved to Paris, where she was educated. She later worked writing childrens’ stories.
Noor escaped to England after the fall of France and in November 1940 she joined the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force). In late 1942, she was recruited to join SOE as a radio operator.
In June 1943 she was flown to France to become the radio operator for the ‘Prosper’ resistance network in Paris, with the codename ‘Madeleine’. Many members of the network were arrested shortly afterwards but she chose to remain in France and spent the summer moving from place to place, trying to send messages back to London while avoiding capture.
In October, Noor was betrayed by a Frenchwoman and arrested by the Gestapo.
In November 1943, she was sent to Pforzheim prison in Germany where she was kept in chains and in solitary confinement. Despite repeated torture, she refused to reveal any information. In September 1944, Noor and three other female SOE agents were transferred to Dachau concentration camp where on 13 September they were shot. Noor was 30.
For her courage, Noor Khan was posthumously awarded the George Cross in 1949.
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