garrylengthorn

16-Sep-12 All of them heroes!

In Blog, Personal on September 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

What a wonderful couple of days we have had visiting the war graves of our relatives in France. The idea behind doing this was initiated about 3-4 years ago, when we learnt that my Great Uncle Joseph’s grave was located somewhere in Northern France. Although promising my Dad for the last couple of years we would do this, we finally followed this through, as this was a late father’s day present!

On Friday evening, we drove down to Ashford and spent the night in a local hotel, so we knew we could get an early start on Saturday. With the hotel being only 20 minutes away from the Eurotunnel terminal, we were across to France by around mid morning Saturday and making our way to a place called Villers-Plouich, which is about 13km south-west of Cambrai (about 150km from Calais).

Fifteen Ravine Cemetery is home to my great Uncle Joseph Lengthorn and 1,263 of his commonwealth colleagues and is so picturesque.

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A quiet corner of Northern France in respect of many heroes who fought for their country!

It was a really emotional moment, as my Dad has always wondered whether his Uncle had a war grave and here was the evidence. It was very touching.

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What a great memory!

We always knew it was going to be a quick visit and indeed it was, but we had another visit on our agenda and this was the location of my second cousin Thomas Lengthorn, who we knew was also commemorated in a cemetery near Loos-en-Gohelle (4km from Lens, which was on the way back).

This cemetery was not so easy to find. After almost an hour of exhaustive searching, the wonder of the Internet finally played dividends, as we noticed a small plot (that looked like a cemetery) on the main road leading from Lens to Bethune. It was indeed the location we were looking for, which was a bigger cemetery called Dud Corner (nearly 2,000 heroes remembered here).

We quickly found a plaque that commemorated my cousin, who was only 19 when he lost his life! This really brought home the reality of war considering our own son Thomas (popular name in our family) is only 18.

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Another set of heroes!

We had a brief opportunity to sign the visitors book yet again and then had to make our sprint back to Calais for our early evening shuttle.

It ended a very memorial day. My lasting thought was the comment from Georgina that she now had two family people to remember when we celebrate poppy day, as well as the rest of the celebrated heroes. Two lasting legacies of the tragedy, which is war!

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  1. I’ve been asked by a number of people how you go about finding out this information. In terms of tracking your roots, I’ve found the http://www.freebmd.org.uk site very useful. In terms of relatives lost during the war, the best site I’ve used is http://www.cwgc.org
    I’ve recorded all of this using the Ancestry web site at http://www.ancestry.co.uk/ and by using their free application.

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