Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Friday, 1 July 2016

May They Rest In Peace. Requiéscant In Pace.

Saint Benedict Ornate Wall Crucifix.

1 July 1916, the first day of The Battle of the Somme,
was the worst day in the history of the British Army.

British Army casualties for the day were 60,000.

The Battle of the Somme lasted from
1 July 1916 until 18 November 1916.

In total, there were more than 1 million casualties.

Leyton Orient Football Club
Supporters visit The Somme Battlefields,
July 2011.
Available on YouTube at

Soldiers of the Australian 4th Division, 10th Field Artillery Brigade, on a duck-board track,
passing through Chateau Wood, near Hooge, in the Ypres salient, 29 October 1917.
The leading soldier is Gunner James Fulton and the second soldier is Lieutenant Anthony Devine.
The men belong to a Battery of the 10th Field Artillery Brigade.
Source: This image is available from the Collection Database of the
Australian War Memorial under the ID Number: E01220.
Author: Frank Hurley.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Frank Hurley.
(Editor: Frank Hurley was the photographer, who took the
photo (above) of Australian troops passing through Chateau Wood.)
Date: 1914.
Source: Scanned from The Endurance by
Caroline Alexander ISBN 074754123X.
Author: Frank Hurley (1885-1962).
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Battle of Passchendaele
(or Third Battle of Ypres or "Passchendaele")
July 1917 - November 1917.

In total, there were, approximately, 1 million casualties.

Battle of The Menin Road.
"Australian wounded on The Menin Road, near Birr Cross Road,
on 20 September 1917".
(Caption source: National Library of Australia, n.d. (1 June 2014).
Date: 1917.
Source: State Library of New South Wales file:a479035.
Author: Frank Hurley.
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Accrington Pals.

11th (Service) Battalion (Accrington),
East Lancashire Regiment.
Better known as
'The Accrington Pals' Battalion.

"Accrington Pals",
near Hyndburn Park School, Accrington, Lancashire, 1914.
[Accrington Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, B Company, No. 1 Platoon.]
Photo kindly provided by Robert and Tony Robinson.

A month after the outbreak of war,
the "Accrington Observer and Times" reported,
on 8 September 1914, that an offer by the Mayor of Accrington, 
Captain John Harwood, to set up a Battalion,
had been accepted by The War Office.

As the recruitment began, on 14 September 1914, 104 men were drafted during the first three hours. Brothers, friends and
work-mates reported together. On 24 September 1914,
The Accrington Battalion had reached a full strength of
36 officers and 1,076 men.

About half of the Battalion were recruited from Accrington and the surrounding area; the remainder were recruited from the neighbouring towns of Burnley, Chorley, and Blackburn.

The 'Accrington Pals' Battalion is probably the most famous of
The "Pals" Battalions, which were erected in the early months of
World War I, in response to Kitchener's call to form a Volunteer Army.
It was formed by men from all walks of life from Accrington, Lancashire, and the surrounding area.

Groups of friends - "Pals" - came forward together, in anticipation of a great adventure. In its first major battle, the Battalion suffered devastating losses in the attack on Serre, France, on 1 July 1916, the first day of
The Battle of the Somme.

The losses were hard to bear in a community where everyone had a close relative or friend killed or injured.

Although the Battalion fought again,
the "Pals" concept was forever lost.

May They Rest In Peace.
Requiéscant In Pace.

"Dies Irae".
The Sequence in a Requiem Mass.
Available on YouTube at


  1. Replies
    1. Thank You, John.

      We Will Remember Them.

      May They Rest In Peace.

  2. Thanks for this post.
    Some truly tragic tales where the well-intentioned has had devastating unseen consequences.
    The 'pals' regiments were conceived with the laudable idea that work colleagues, friends and neighbours would be able to to draw on each others' moral support as they went into battle. The result, however, was inexperienced troops walking to their deaths on battlefields such as the Somme, and the young male population of whole streets, villages and even towns being wiped out at a stroke.
    ...Lest we forget.

    1. Thank You, Matthaeus, for your most-welcome and erudite Comment.

      Until fairly recently, I knew an elderly lady who lost her fiance during The Battle of The Somme. Afterwards, she never got engaged or married to anybody else and died a Spinster. Such was her love for her fiance and sense of loss during this tragic slaughter.

      Some small towns in and around Accrington, Lancashire, England, still remember the families who suffered such senseless devastation.

      May All The Fallen Rest In Peace.

  3. I too can recall that in my childhood there were still a lot of elderly spinsters about who had lost loved ones in the various conflicts of WW1. Notable were two sisters (familial, not Religious) who shared a house that backed on to ours, and who were formidable gardeners (they often used to give us gifts of vegetables, when they had grown surplus to their own needs). Another was an 'adoptive great aunt', actually a lifelong friend of my Grandmother whom we treated as a relative. I believe her fiance died at Gallipoli. Her life was spent in service, although the latter part was as a 'Personal Companion' to the wife of a peer (this was in the days when it was not customary for ladies to travel alone, and so they often engaged a paid employee to accompany them. As a result my 'aunt' was able to travel the world). My Grandmother and her sister also lost loved ones (my father said he could recall them sitting and crying while listening to Remembrance Day services on the wireless). Fortunately for me (as I would otherwise not exist), while working as a nurse, my Grandma later met a young Petty Officer recovering from wounds sustained at Jutland, and romance and marriage followed in due course.

  4. Fascinating story, Matthaeus. Thank you very much.

    A good friend of mine had a Step-Father who was Chauffeur to Admiral Lord David Beatty, Commander of The First Battle-Cruiser Squadron at The Battle of Jutland, and, later, Admiral of The Fleet.

    So, in a way, we are all somehow touched, still, by the great and terrible tragedy of The First World War's incalculable slaughter.


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