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The British Memorial Association, Fromelles


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#26 SPOF

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 10:27 PM

Congratulations Glen ... :thumbsup:

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Sandra



Someone has to look out for these Aussies from Fromelles 1915...


Sgt. Charles Holmes, of the 2nd Battalion East Lancashire Regiment, was born in Adelaide, but died here on 9th May. Horace Mawdesley was born in Geraldton, Western Australia, but was living in London when war broke out in August 1914. Enlisting in the September, he was posted to the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, dying here on 9th May. Neither man has a known grave.

#27 Fedelmar

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 10:43 PM

Interesting choice of words Glen. I was born in Geraldton and knew some of the Mawdesley family.

#28 SPOF

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Posted 11 October 2010 - 10:48 PM

Sheer coincidence Sandra. I knew about the WA link but nothing more than that.

I'm off to bed now but will PM you about this soon.

Glen

#29 Michelle79

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 01:12 PM

I would like to agree wholeheartedly with Mark and Glen and say I felt Saturday's launch was a real triumph.

Peter's talk on the Red Cross Records and the Munich Archives was utterly fascinating; the sheer volume of paper and extent of the record-keeping in both places is astounding and the fact that there is such a colossal mountain of information still to be uncovered is the overriding thought I was left with. Thanks to Peter for bringing it all together in such an interesting way and showing everyone these amazing documents.

Victoria's presentation encompassing the men who died in 1914, 1915 and 1916 at Fromelles put across the reasons why we need this Association very powerfully - her passion for this subject and compassion for these men knows no bounds. As she so rightly said they were not names on a sheet of paper but human beings and deserve to be remembered in the place they lost their lives. It was an emotional moment for me to see two of my HCB boys up on the big screen and their stories being told to the hall - thanks to Victoria for including them as the 1916 case study. I felt the moment when the relatives came to the stage to unfurl a list of men who died in the 1915 battle and it stretched half-way around the hall and Victoria then dropped a list of the 1916 casualties on the floor and it rolled along the aisle was a perfect demonstration of the raison d'etre of our new Association.

I have to agree with Glen on the highlight of the day; Fenella certainly does deserve Chief Fundraiser status for her impromptu auctioneering performance! She is a natural and a one-off.

I would like to extend my thanks to everyone involved in the organisation of the event and all those who attended as well - if the launch is anything to go by the British Memorial Association, Fromelles will be a great success and one day in the not too distant future we will have that Memorial in Fromelles.

Regards

Michelle

#30 LizM

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 06:52 PM

I have to agree with all the comments left here regarding Saturdays launch of The British Memorial Association Fromelles. It was absolutetly fantastic and lots of hard work put in by all.

Thanks to Victoria and Peter for their wonderful talks and exhibition. I learnt so much.

We now have to get as many people intersted as possible and get the memorial built in Fromelles - so tell as many people as you can!

It was a wonderful attendance and so emotional. Especially seeing my Gt Grandads picture looking down on me. I just wish my mother was still alive to see this wonderful Association that Victoria is doing she would be so proud to know these men are now going to be remembered for all eternity!

Thanks again Victoria...
Attached File  Myself with Victoria and Michelle Leonard (640x480).jpg   58.64KB   5 downloads

#31 Victoria Burbidge

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    The British Memorial Association, Fromelles

Posted 14 October 2010 - 12:12 PM

My inbox is overflowing and the telephone has rung itself almost out of existence – and it’s been like that since Sunday morning!

Well, what can I say? Peter’s talk (which he dedicated to the late Robin Corfield) was absolutely amazing, as always. Even those of us who had heard him talk before on this subject (the Records of the Red Cross) were still spellbound and the addition of even more information and images made it something not to be missed. It was the perfect occasion for the launch of our new association and I shall be eternally grateful to Peter for allowing us to hijack his day.

By comparison, my presentation must have seemed scrappy and amateurish, but I think that it, and the lists of Fromelles casualties (1915 and 1916), must have had some effect on those who were listening and watching. By the end of Saturday evening, we had been given more than £1,200 in donations.

It was an incredibly emotional day. I’ve made a number of speeches over the last few years and given several talks in which I’ve outlined the British involvement at Fromelles and the high scale of loss, but I’ve never before had to struggle with my emotions. When I began to detail the fate of some of our young boys, I honestly thought that I would break down.

A huge “thank you” to everyone who helped to arrange the exhibition pieces. There’s nothing quite like working against the clock. I suppose that, under the circumstances, lunch was never going to happen, but I have this very strange memory of wandering through the main hall, carrying a union jack, an Australian flag thrown (rather fetchingly) over one shoulder and clutching a piece of buttered bara brith.

A very special “thank you” to Martin and Judy Willoughby (Dorset & South Wilts WFA) who have adopted our cause as their own and their willingness to do anything to help was very evident on Saturday. They went to extraordinary lengths to ensure that the whole day went as smoothly as possible and it certainly did that. This wonderful branch of the WFA is an example of how much support can be gained and this was proved with their donation to the British Memorial Association, Fromelles of £500!

Our own Marc Thompson (my right-hand man) surpassed himself once again and seemed to be in several different places at once, organising everything from seating to PA systems!

We were able to welcome Fromelles relatives from all over the UK – and Belgium! Michelle did a thousand-mile round trip, Liz nearly six hundred! Paul Smith was there from Warwickshire, Keith and Ros Miller from Essex, Fenella Tillier (Famous Fenella, our auctioneer) from Buckinghamshire, Richard Ankerson from Gloucestershire and Mark Vent from Essex. It was so good to see some familiar Fromelles faces from the Forum: Glen Phillips (who has been volunteered as our Australian Representative!), Steve Beeby and Mick Forsyth. It was particularly rewarding to see Peter Barton finally get the opportunity to publicly thank Mick for his fantastic work in translating the German documentation. It was also very good to meet Howard Eastcott and Colin Farlow and put faces to names.

The hall and car park were full to overflowing and I was concerned that there wouldn’t be enough of the fizzy stuff to go around when it came to toasting the new association, but, fortunately, there was. I’d managed to lay my hands on some rather special British “champagne”. French champagne didn’t seem quite right for the purpose ……………

All in all, an incredible day brought to a wonderful close at a celebratory dinner in Romsey. Lots of work to be done, details to be finalised and a huge fund-raising campaign to be got under way, but we’ve made a start and if these last few days are anything to go by, the money will be found.

V.

#32 Fedelmar

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:07 AM

Congratulations you lot ... very proud of your efforts.

Bright Blessings
Sandra

#33 HEC

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 11:10 AM

Great news Victoria! Sorry I could not make it to Dorset. Heard about it too late to change prior arrangements. Please add me to list for future events - particularly interested in any future group visits to Fromelles. You are no doubt aware that Fromelles are planning a new museum next to the Pheasant Wood Cemetery. They are setting aside a separate room/area for the 250 buried at Pheasant Wood Cemetery. Perhaps they will have room for a specific "British" section or room? My interest is through a distant Australian relative, Lt. Eric Harding Chinner of "B" Company, 32nd Battalion AIF. He was their bombing officer. I have posted a separate piece on my research on him on "Fromelles Project". I was greatly assisted in this research by Messrs. Bailleul, Delebarre and Charlet of Fromelles (including a guided "walk in the footsteps of Eric" on 18th July 2010). Despite the fact that my relative is Australian, I would still be interested to join The British Memorial Association Fromelles, if that is possible. Thanks. H.

#34 Michelle79

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:50 PM

Hi H,

Lovely to see you on here! It will be great to see you at future Association events as well.

I agree with you that a specific "British" section or room should be incorporated into the new museum - anyone who saw the fantastic exhibition in Pimperne will know there are so many amazing exhibits that could be donated to such a room and it would be so fitting to see these photographs etc on display in Fromelles itself.

As far as joining the Association as the relative of an AIF man goes it certainly is possible - in fact welcomed. Quite a few British AIF relatives attended the launch and the Association will be open to all so anyone with any connection to Fromelles, whether that connection be British or Australian, will be more than welcome to join.

Good luck with your research into Eric.


Regards

Michelle


#35 HEC

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Posted 15 October 2010 - 05:48 PM

Thanks Michelle! I have given my email address to Victoria and you have it also. So look forward to further news on the Association, including how and when to sign up. Kind regards. Howard

Hi H,

Lovely to see you on here! It will be great to see you at future Association events as well.

I agree with you that a specific "British" section or room should be incorporated into the new museum - anyone who saw the fantastic exhibition in Pimperne will know there are so many amazing exhibits that could be donated to such a room and it would be so fitting to see these photographs etc on display in Fromelles itself.

As far as joining the Association as the relative of an AIF man goes it certainly is possible - in fact welcomed. Quite a few British AIF relatives attended the launch and the Association will be open to all so anyone with any connection to Fromelles, whether that connection be British or Australian, will be more than welcome to join.

Good luck with your research into Eric.


Regards

Michelle



#36 Victoria Burbidge

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    The British Memorial Association, Fromelles

Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:30 PM

So look forward to further news on the Association, including how and when to sign up.


Delighted to hear it, Howard. Despite being The British Memorial Association, Fromelles, it will be open to all. We are already welcoming new members from all over the world and I’m hoping to post some membership details within this thread sometime over the next couple of days.

Our research archive contains some wonderful material. In fact, now that I have your e-mail address, you can expect to find a little gift arriving in your Inbox sometime over the weekend (Virgin Media permitting! :angry:)

V.

#37 Guzzi T3

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 07:08 AM

Victoria has been in contact with my local paper, the Leicester Mercury regarding the story of my Grandfather, Gunner Fred Bemrose of the RFA who was killed at Fromelles. Please use the link to see the article they printed on 7th Oct. It does not include the pictures from the original article unfortunatly.
Thanks Vic, I appreciate all your help.

Mike B


Leicester Mercury 07/10/10

#38 Mark Vent

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 03:29 PM

Brilliant, thanks for the post Mike - the word is out - the money will flood in ... and we shall erect (no giggling at the back) something the size of Nelsons Column in Fromelles :)

Mark.

Edited by Mark Vent, 17 October 2010 - 09:19 AM.


#39 Marc Thompson

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 09:54 PM

It hardly seems possible that a whole week has passed since the meeting. Firstly, I would like to give a huge vote of thanks to all branch members and guests who contributed to such a fantastic day last Saturday. On final count there were close to 120 people present and as Victoria has stated the hall and car park were full to overflowing. Without question this broke all records for our branch meetings.

When Jeremy indicated that we were in for a treat with Peter's talk he wasn't wrong. Even though I had heard Peter talk before on the subject I still ended up being staggered by the possibiities that this infomation presents. The excellent short presentation that followed on Fromelles and its importance to the British was delivered by Victoria with passion and in words that left few dry eyes in the room among both relatives and guests. It was the perfect occasion to launch the British Memorial Association, Fromelles. I recall standing at the back of the hall next to Graham Parker when a toast to the new association was made and he summed up the day in one simple word "amazing"!

Big thanks to everyone who helped to arrange the exhibition and to plan, prepare and deliver everything from seating and PA systems to the catering. The branch committee members of the Dorset & South Wilts WFA deserve a special mention as it is only with the help, support, dedication and many hours of unpaid effort given in their own time by everyone that such a successful branch can operate.

To all of you who have already donated to the British Memorial Association, Fromelles a huge 'thank you'.

In the next few posts I will put some images of the day.

Marc

The first shows Peter dedicating his talk to the later Robin Corfield.

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#40 Marc Thompson

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 10:00 PM

The Fromelles exhibition....

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#41 Marc Thompson

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 10:04 PM

The branch donation to the new association...

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#42 Marc Thompson

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 10:11 PM

The association is launched with a toast...

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#43 59165

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Posted 16 October 2010 - 10:58 PM

Thanks for the photo's,Mark.
I wish I could have been there.

#44 SPOF

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Posted 17 October 2010 - 09:22 PM

Victoria has been in contact with my local paper, the Leicester Mercury regarding the story of my Grandfather, Gunner Fred Bemrose of the RFA who was killed at Fromelles. Please use the link to see the article they printed on 7th Oct. It does not include the pictures from the original article unfortunatly.
Thanks Vic, I appreciate all your help.

Mike B


Leicester Mercury 07/10/10



Great story Mike. Thaks for sharing it and spreading the word.

Glen

#45 Michelle79

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Posted 20 October 2010 - 03:53 PM

Victoria has been in contact with my local paper, the Leicester Mercury regarding the story of my Grandfather, Gunner Fred Bemrose of the RFA who was killed at Fromelles. Please use the link to see the article they printed on 7th Oct. It does not include the pictures from the original article unfortunatly.
Thanks Vic, I appreciate all your help.

Mike B


Leicester Mercury 07/10/10



Hi Mike,

Thanks a lot for posting this great article up - hopefully it's just the first of many to publicise the cause and get the money flowing in!

Kind Regards

Michelle



#46 Guzzi T3

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 08:38 PM

Victoria has been in contact with my local paper, the Leicester Mercury regarding the story of my Grandfather, Gunner Fred Bemrose of the RFA who was killed at Fromelles. Please use the link to see the article they printed on 7th Oct. It does not include the pictures from the original article unfortunatly.
Thanks Vic, I appreciate all your help.

Mike B


Leicester Mercury 07/10/10



Since the article on the proposed Forgotten Front memorial was published in the Leicester Mercury I have been contacted by a reader, Mrs Anderson of Leicester. She wrote me a letter which is transcribed below:

Dear Mr. Bemrose,


I hope you will not be offended by my writing to you.


It was a great joy to me to read about your visits to Merville where your grandfather is buried.


My uncle was killed on January 13th 1915 and was buried there. I obtained details from the War Graves Commission some time ago. I had hoped to visit there one day, but the logistics for a visit made it difficult. I have visited a number of World War I cemeteries and found them very moving, but Merville is not on the “normal” routes.


Are you planning to visit Merville again? If so, would you be willing to take some photos for me, for which of course I would pay any cost involved.


I am now 81 so unlikely ever to visit Merville.

I have since been in contact with Mrs Anderson who is a loverly lady and obtained a few more details on her uncle ,Sgt Harold Draper of 1st Herts Regiment. I have given her some photos for Merville cemetery that I have taken on my visits to my Grandfather and Mrs Anderson has kindly supplied some photographs of Harold and ageed for me to post on the forum. I have promised her that next time I vist my Grandfather, I will also visit Harold Draper and photograph his grave.
Victioria has also located the war diary for the 1st Herts for the period when Harold was killed. It states that Harold's Battalion was in the line at Rue Du Bois near Richebourg, just south of Aubers. Mrs Anderson beleive he was shot by a sniper.

I think this heart warming story shows hjust ow much interest there is in the Great War and also in the Forgotten Front. If we can do similar things to promote 'The British Mermorial Association, Fromelles' we can raise the required monies.

Regards,

Mike B




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#47 Fedelmar

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 10:38 PM

CONGRATULATIONS ... you have brought joy to this lady's heart.

Bright Blessings
sandra

#48 Marc Thompson

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Posted 27 October 2010 - 10:50 PM

Great result Mike. With Mrs Anderson's approval you should consider writing a follow up piece for the paper. I'm sure that this will be of great interest to them particularly in the run up to the 11th November.

Marc

#49 HEC

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Posted 07 December 2010 - 01:09 PM

Forgive me if this was covered at the October meeting, but has The British Memorial Association, Fromelles got a website?

#50 Victoria Burbidge

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Posted 08 December 2010 - 12:19 PM

Forgive me if this was covered at the October meeting, but has The British Memorial Association, Fromelles got a website?


The Association was launched at very short notice which means that we are only now completing the things which would normally be done prior to such a launch. The website is in the process of being pulled together, but as it is rather dependant on my input, it’s going more slowly than I would have hoped (at least now the builders have left the house and we once again have internet access). The Association’s logo has been completed and this means that we can now move forward in other directions.

More information will follow as and when it is available.

V.