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55th (West Lancashire) Division, Givenchy


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#1 Ian Riley

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 03:55 PM

Is there anybody out there with an active interest in commemorating the action of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division at Givenchy, April 1918

The 55th Division stoically and heroically defended Givenchy and Festubert between 9th and 15th April 1918, holding an open left flank when the Portuguese Division on their left gave way. They were proud enough of their performance here to place their fine memorial at the top of the Givenchy main street. Givenchy Village has a hall that was a post-war gift from the people of Liverpool (and I think that this is a similar commemoration of Southport in Festubert)

Through the Liverpool Scottish Museum, I was contacted the other day by an Australian gentleman with an interest in the 55th Division who enquired whether there were any plans to commemorate this action in the coming April. My immediate answer was 'No'. On reflection, it seems a shame that this aniversary should go unmarked particularly as the site of the action is where the 55th Division Memorial stands. We will probably (hopefully) arrange for a French friend to lay a Liverpool Scottish wreath on the Givenchy memorial (he is on holiday this week so I cannot contact him) and a 55th Division one if we have some funding. Another forum member (an enthusiast for the 7th Bn. King's Liverpool Regiment) has expressed an interest privately and may be able to arrange things (depending on work commitments) to go over on, say, Saturday 12 April which is a day that would also suit our Australian friend who works at The Hague. I am not sure that I can afford the time (or the money) given other things I have to do here but I am prepared to try and stir up some interest.

Our French friend might be able to generate some civic interest in Givenchy. I will be contacting Liverpool Town Hall to see if they will fund a civic wreath and the local Liverpool press just get some coverage (maybe). I am aware that there may be Forum members who are out there in any case and who might be interested and there may be those who will be over there at the time. I would just want to co-ordinate a time at which people might meet at the 55th Division memorial to pay their respects on, as suggested, Saturday 12th April. It seems to me that even a small group meeting together is much more appropriate than individual acts of remembrance. If you are interested, could you let me know by PM or e-mail.



Ian

#2 Ken Lees

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 07:58 PM

Ian,

I will be in the area on Sunday, 13th April, but I don't think I can get there for the 12th as I have another commitment.

I am definitely interested in anything that is going on over that weekend and the following days that concerns the 55th Division.

Ken

#3 daggers

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Posted 22 February 2008 - 08:05 PM

I have sent Ian some comments, with a city councillor contact who has shown interest in Givenchy in the past, also suggesting contact with a grandson of the 55th Div's chaplain and historian. Let's hope something gets off the ground, and thanks to Ian's Australian contact for raising the subject and Ian for taking it up.
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#4 gilles

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 05:57 AM

Bonjour

perhaps informations in this link

http://monsite.wanad...rham/page3.html

gilles

QUOTE (Ian Riley @ Feb 22 2008, 04:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is there anybody out there with an active interest in commemorating the action of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division at Givenchy, April 1918

The 55th Division stoically and heroically defended Givenchy and Festubert between 9th and 15th April 1918, holding an open left flank when the Portuguese Division on their left gave way. They were proud enough of their performance here to place their fine memorial at the top of the Givenchy main street. Givenchy Village has a hall that was a post-war gift from the people of Liverpool (and I think that this is a similar commemoration of Southport in Festubert)

Through the Liverpool Scottish Museum, I was contacted the other day by an Australian gentleman with an interest in the 55th Division who enquired whether there were any plans to commemorate this action in the coming April. My immediate answer was 'No'. On reflection, it seems a shame that this aniversary should go unmarked particularly as the site of the action is where the 55th Division Memorial stands. We will probably (hopefully) arrange for a French friend to lay a Liverpool Scottish wreath on the Givenchy memorial (he is on holiday this week so I cannot contact him) and a 55th Division one if we have some funding. Another forum member (an enthusiast for the 7th Bn. King's Liverpool Regiment) has expressed an interest privately and may be able to arrange things (depending on work commitments) to go over on, say, Saturday 12 April which is a day that would also suit our Australian friend who works at The Hague. I am not sure that I can afford the time (or the money) given other things I have to do here but I am prepared to try and stir up some interest.

Our French friend might be able to generate some civic interest in Givenchy. I will be contacting Liverpool Town Hall to see if they will fund a civic wreath and the local Liverpool press just get some coverage (maybe). I am aware that there may be Forum members who are out there in any case and who might be interested and there may be those who will be over there at the time. I would just want to co-ordinate a time at which people might meet at the 55th Division memorial to pay their respects on, as suggested, Saturday 12th April. It seems to me that even a small group meeting together is much more appropriate than individual acts of remembrance. If you are interested, could you let me know by PM or e-mail.



Ian



#5 Blueblood

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 09:03 PM

Ian,

Just spotted this thread about the 90th Anniversary of the action at Givenchy.

It sounds quite interesting but with a month to go I notice that you haven't posted any further details.

Is the commemoration still on?

And where and when will it be held if it is?

Any details then please let us know.

Blueblood (Phil) tongue.gif



#6 Ian Riley

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 07:52 PM

Blueblood,

I have to speak to my friend in France to check the timing but is definitely happening on Saturday 12 April, probably at 11:00. Further details to follow early next week. Wreaths laid by Mayor of Givenchy on behalf of the City of Liverpool, the town of St Helens and possibly Sefton Borough (includes Southport, which town donated the Memorial Hall at Festubert). Also wreaths on behalf of 55th Division, Liverpool Scottish, the new Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border) as well as, I think, 6th King's and possibly on behalf of the Royal Artillery of Merseyside.

Very small party from the UK that I know of and a civic party from Erquinghem Lys (including the mayor) where the Liverpool Scottish cairn for the 2/10 KLR (actually 57th Division) is although the battalion just joined in at the end of the Givenchy battle in late April when it had moved up to amalgamate with 1/10 KLR.

There will be a vin d'honneur after the event so I will need to know if there are any others intending to go from either the UK or locally in France/Belgium

Ian

#7 Blueblood

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 12:12 PM

QUOTE (Ian Riley @ Mar 15 2008, 07:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Blueblood,

I have to speak to my friend in France to check the timing but is definitely happening on Saturday 12 April, probably at 11:00. Further details to follow early next week. Wreaths laid by Mayor of Givenchy on behalf of the City of Liverpool, the town of St Helens and possibly Sefton Borough (includes Southport, which town donated the Memorial Hall at Festubert). Also wreaths on behalf of 55th Division, Liverpool Scottish, the new Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border) as well as, I think, 6th King's and possibly on behalf of the Royal Artillery of Merseyside.

Very small party from the UK that I know of and a civic party from Erquinghem Lys (including the mayor) where the Liverpool Scottish cairn for the 2/10 KLR (actually 57th Division) is although the battalion just joined in at the end of the Givenchy battle in late April when it had moved up to amalgamate with 1/10 KLR.

There will be a vin d'honneur after the event so I will need to know if there are any others intending to go from either the UK or locally in France/Belgium

Ian


Ian,

Thanks for the information and I hope to turns out to be a splendid day. Will try to get there.

Blueblood

#8 gaffa

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 07:45 AM

Hi Ian,
Do you have the list of names serving in the 55th (West Lancashire) or the [Liverpool Scottish] regiment, looking for any history on my granddad. His name was Wilfred [Senior] Ellison, MIC 4753 & 356307 enterred France 18/11/1915. Received an MM for his Gallantry on the 9/10 April 1918 at Festubert I haven't got this medal but its in the family[Canada I believe]. But I would like to know what the Citation was etc.
Regards
Gaffa
QUOTE (Ian Riley @ Feb 22 2008, 03:55 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is there anybody out there with an active interest in commemorating the action of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division at Givenchy, April 1918

The 55th Division stoically and heroically defended Givenchy and Festubert between 9th and 15th April 1918, holding an open left flank when the Portuguese Division on their left gave way. They were proud enough of their performance here to place their fine memorial at the top of the Givenchy main street. Givenchy Village has a hall that was a post-war gift from the people of Liverpool (and I think that this is a similar commemoration of Southport in Festubert)

Through the Liverpool Scottish Museum, I was contacted the other day by an Australian gentleman with an interest in the 55th Division who enquired whether there were any plans to commemorate this action in the coming April. My immediate answer was 'No'. On reflection, it seems a shame that this aniversary should go unmarked particularly as the site of the action is where the 55th Division Memorial stands. We will probably (hopefully) arrange for a French friend to lay a Liverpool Scottish wreath on the Givenchy memorial (he is on holiday this week so I cannot contact him) and a 55th Division one if we have some funding. Another forum member (an enthusiast for the 7th Bn. King's Liverpool Regiment) has expressed an interest privately and may be able to arrange things (depending on work commitments) to go over on, say, Saturday 12 April which is a day that would also suit our Australian friend who works at The Hague. I am not sure that I can afford the time (or the money) given other things I have to do here but I am prepared to try and stir up some interest.

Our French friend might be able to generate some civic interest in Givenchy. I will be contacting Liverpool Town Hall to see if they will fund a civic wreath and the local Liverpool press just get some coverage (maybe). I am aware that there may be Forum members who are out there in any case and who might be interested and there may be those who will be over there at the time. I would just want to co-ordinate a time at which people might meet at the 55th Division memorial to pay their respects on, as suggested, Saturday 12th April. It seems to me that even a small group meeting together is much more appropriate than individual acts of remembrance. If you are interested, could you let me know by PM or e-mail.



Ian



#9 Ken Lees

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 10:25 AM

Gaffa,

"For gallantry and devotion to duty on many occasions near FESTUBERT on 9th and 10th April 1918. On the 9th he carried out many wounded cases through a zone swept by enemy gas and H.E. shells. On the 10th he proceeded to an exposed flank and dressed wounded men though in full view of the enemy, and exposed to fire from enemy snipers and machine guns".

The original recommendation was for the DCM but this was changed to the MM.

Ken

#10 Ian Riley

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 01:10 PM

Thanks for this, Ken.

Gaffa,

I have an e-mail on exactly this subject in my Inbox this morning which I presume is from you (there are the figures 8, 5 and 6 in the address though not in that order!). I will pass that through the Liverpool Scottish Museum channel. In fact I have spoken to our curator about it an hour ago and he will see the detailed e-mail next Wednesday (we are all volunteer run and that is our 'open' day). We should be able to give you some service details and some of the context to the battle.

It may be of interest to you to know that if he had been a stretcher bearer (as would appear to be the case from the citation that Ken quotes from the 55th Division papers) before August 1917, he would have worked with Captain Noel Chavasse VC and bar, medical officer of the Liverpool Scottish.

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#11 gaffa

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 07:47 PM

Thanks Ken,
Regards
Gaffa
quote name='Ken Lees' date='Mar 27 2008, 10:25 AM' post='889872']
Gaffa,

"For gallantry and devotion to duty on many occasions near FESTUBERT on 9th and 10th April 1918. On the 9th he carried out many wounded cases through a zone swept by enemy gas and H.E. shells. On the 10th he proceeded to an exposed flank and dressed wounded men though in full view of the enemy, and exposed to fire from enemy snipers and machine guns".

The original recommendation was for the DCM but this was changed to the MM.

Ken
[/quote]


#12 gaffa

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 08:18 PM

Thanks Ken and Ian,
Regards
Gaffa
QUOTE (Ian Riley @ Mar 27 2008, 01:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks for this, Ken.

Gaffa,

I have an e-mail on exactly this subject in my Inbox this morning which I presume is from you (there are the figures 8, 5 and 6 in the address though not in that order!). I will pass that through the Liverpool Scottish Museum channel. In fact I have spoken to our curator about it an hour ago and he will see the detailed e-mail next Wednesday (we are all volunteer run and that is our 'open' day). We should be able to give you some service details and some of the context to the battle.

It may be of interest to you to know that if he had been a stretcher bearer (as would appear to be the case from the citation that Ken quotes from the 55th Division papers) before August 1917, he would have worked with Captain Noel Chavasse VC and bar, medical officer of the Liverpool Scottish.

Reply to follow by e-mail



#13 Ian Riley

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 12:01 AM

Just a reminder that the wreathlaying to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of Battle of Givenchy April 1918 and the part of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division will take place at the Divisional Memorial at Givenchy on Saturday 12 April at 1100 hours French time. Because of the short notice, the number of people travelling over from the UK is known to be limited. For instance, despite having spent about 50 hours on this (telephone, internet and telepathic charm) I can not be there. Jack Thorpe of the Erquinghem-Lys Museum is working miracles and we are at least well supported by wreaths.

The roll call is wreaths from Mayor of Givenchy, Mayor of Erquinghem Lys, wreaths sent by Liverpool, Sefton (Southport through to Bootle), St Helens, Warrington, RFCA for North West England (was the TA Association), local TA units 103 Regiment RA, 75 Engr Regt , 55 Signal Squadron Royal Signals (who bear the divisional number and use the divisional badge of the Rose of Lancaster), Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border) which is the successor to ALL all the infantry battalions apart from the 2/5 Lancashire Fusiliers, the Liverpool Scottish and a 55th Divisional Wreath as well as private wreaths.

Our friend, Henk Vandaele, of the Fleming Pipe Band/ Passchendaele 1917 Pipes and Drums hopes to be present or to ask one of his colleagues to be present to play. There is some refreshment afterwards for those expected. I am quite unsure how elastic this could be; not much I suspect!

Ian

If you are in the area you would be most welcome. Make your self known to our friend Jack Thorpe.

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#14 Ian Riley

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 12:27 AM

55th (West Lancashire) Division Memorial at Givenchy (just south of Le Touret, La Bombe and Neuve Chapelle). Nowhere too close to Monet's garden

Ian

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#15 Blueblood

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 11:21 AM

Just to wish good luck to all those taking part in the Givenchy ceremonies on Saturday.

Special thanks and good luck to Jack Thorpe.

Blueblood

#16 Ian Riley

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 07:34 PM

I am told that the ceremony went off very well in Givenchy and the rain apparently held off just until the end. I would like to pay tribute to the Mayor of Givenchy, M Jacques Herbaut, and the council and people of Givenchy for their support and the obvious care that they take of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division Memorial. Also to M. Alain Bézirard, Mayor of Erquinghem-Lys where the 2nd Battalion of the Liverpool Scottish spent much of 1917, and his party from the town council, the Old Comrades Association and the local history societ, Erquinghem et Son Histoire, for their support. Lloyd Brodrick, Mark Dimelow, Pat and Chris Mattinson (Pat's grandfather, Alexander Booker of the Liverpool Scottish, was killed 12 April 1918) and Julian and Margaret Chitty (Julian is the grandson of Brigadier General AM Perreau CRA 55th Division 1916-1918) travelled from afar to give their support. Matthias, the piper from the Fleming/Passchendaele 1917 Pipe Band played splendidly as did the bugler from the Givenchy band (whose name shamefully I do not know). Also there is an English lady called Tracy whose full name I do not know and whose small children made a fine job of laying a wreath.

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#17 Ian Riley

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 07:38 PM

Another photo of the Senior Town Councillor of Givenchy inspecting wreaths. The Mayor insisted on laying the Liverpool wreath before any of the French civic wreaths beacuase of the financial help that the city of Liverpool had given after the war in rebuilding Givenchy. The name of Liverpool is still on the memorial stone above the village Memorial Hall

Ian

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#18 Ian Riley

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 07:45 PM

Julie Thorpe, daughter of Jack Thorpe (curator of the Museum at Erquinghem-Lys), with the 55th (West Lancashire) Division wreath and Matthias, piper from the Fleming/Passchendaele 1917 Pipe Band. My thanks to Mathias and to Henk Vandaele for making the arrangements.

Ian

#19 Alfred Morris

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 01:24 PM

I live in Holland and was sorry to miss this, as I had intended to make a trip to the UK to coincide with the anniversary so I could drive via Givenchy. Sadly my mum died in the middle of March 2008 so I ended up going past the week before. But I had a few quiet moments on my own at the memorial as well as pausing for thought just down the road to the west of Givenchy where my Dad was in April 1918. (He was with the 2/1 Wessex Field Ambulance in an Advanced Dressing Station just west of the CGWC in Givenchy)

Glad there was such a good turnout
Belated thanks to all concerned

Alfred

#20 r4martin

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 12:10 AM

I'm a newby here... but kinda of late for this one, How about the 100th anniversary????

#21 Ian Riley

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Posted 28 November 2011 - 11:30 PM

I'm a newby here... but kinda of late for this one, How about the 100th anniversary????


In the planning phase as we speak but whether I last another six and a half years is another matter. I am pencilling in the event on the calendar being created by the Army Museums Ogilby Trust. The problem with 2018 is that we will all be a lot older and we will certainly be suffering from centenary 'battle fatigue' by then.

Ian