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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Sunday, 7th January, 2024)

Crimson Flowers

Crimson Flowers
Sturdy lads from Aspull, marching off to war
How many found their way back home, almost none at all
They gave them boots and rifles and sent them off to France
Then marched them over no man’s land, they didn’t have a chance
Billy Joe from Bolton Road, barely sixteen years
Summoned all the strength he had to overcome his fears
Billy never managed, his brand new gun to fire
He’s lying now with many others entangled in the wire
Bobby S from Moorgate, less than twelve months married
Fell to the ground from machine gun fire and dropped the gun he carried
Now his new born son, a sturdy little lad, will never know or see his brave and gallant dad
The list is almost endless, with pain and sorrow written
All those brave young men, gave all that could be given
They gave their hopes and dreams so we could live out ours
And that, to me is the meaning behind those crimson flowers.

Photo: Dennis Seddon  (Sony DSC-WX500)
Views: 1,730

Comment by: Alan P on 7th January 2024 at 00:06

Thank you, Dennis.
Your wonderful words brought tears to my eyes.

Comment by: Walt (nth Yorks) on 7th January 2024 at 05:53

Thanks Dennis, a few names on that cenotaph we both recognise,

Comment by: John(Westhoughton) on 7th January 2024 at 06:04

Proper men.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 7th January 2024 at 07:43

Me too Alan P.
My father in law's childhood pal died, 19yrs old just before the 1914-/18 War ended.
War is a waste ....

Comment by: jack on 7th January 2024 at 07:50

This is exactly as my late wife's dad. He too was a Billy from Ratcliffe Road Aspull who lost his life at Monte Casino.He too was a dad she never saw or knew being just a 1 yr old. he too was a lost Grandad , but will ever be remembered.
Thank you for an amazing tribute

Comment by: Elizabeth on 7th January 2024 at 07:52

Heartfelt words Dennis,sums it up perfectly,thank you.

Comment by: PeterP on 7th January 2024 at 08:14

Let us never forget all the fallen hero's

Comment by: Ray on 7th January 2024 at 08:53

An excellent picture and former wartime comments from Dennis.
Who is the stupid idiot that puts adverts in this sincere & serious
issue ??

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 7th January 2024 at 09:10

Lovely picture Dennis and a beautiful tribute to those brave men and their families.
Reminds my that this coming December 11th will be the 80th Anniversary of the attack on HMS Cassandra one of the Arctic Convoy ships in which was Killed my cousin David Causey along with many other brave young men.

Comment by: Gary on 7th January 2024 at 09:11

A few of my relatives on that memorial - c.f. Gregory family. The elder brother survived, younger one perished at Third Ypres (Paschendaele) 1917.
In my mind's eye the pub is the Queen's Head and just beyond the old Methodist chapel and school.
Good one Dennis.

Comment by: Bob on 7th January 2024 at 09:12

I can't eat my breakfast now.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 7th January 2024 at 09:15

A beautiful but sad photo and beautiful but sad words. Thankyou Dennis.

Comment by: Garry on 7th January 2024 at 09:16

Very sad, we should be so thankful to the bravery of these men and women during those grim years. The will never be forgotten.

Comment by: Jack on 7th January 2024 at 09:20

Not just in Aspull but all over the Country. All wars are Horrible.

Comment by: Arthur on 7th January 2024 at 09:35

A very moving story, Dennis.
All wars past and present are horrified.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 7th January 2024 at 09:59

Oops! Some went wrong there my comment didn't get through. Never mind.

Comment by: Kath H on 7th January 2024 at 10:28

Very true words Dennis. My husbands grandad was killed in the first WW. He is buried at San Sever near Raune in France. We are the only family who have been to his grave and it is heartbreaking to look at all the headstones. My grandad from New Springs died in his forties because of the mustard gas. The wars still go on. Will the world never learn.

Comment by: Maureen on 7th January 2024 at 10:31

Dennis, those words are just beautiful and so sad..reading them with tears in my eyes,

Comment by: Ken on 7th January 2024 at 10:32

Wonderfull words but have learnt anything

Comment by: Veronica on 7th January 2024 at 11:18

You only need to go to the Battlefields to see thousands upon thousands of graves where the dead are buried to realise the futility of war. Some still lie there beneath and
undiscovered. Others blown to bits and nothing left. No family escaped having a beloved son, brother, husband or sweetheart who never returned. Two World Wars have taught nothing.

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 7th January 2024 at 13:08

There are stories behind every name on every cenotaph in the country.
They are a repository for the lost hopes and dreams of thousands of young men and women who never got the chance to fulfill those hopes and dreams.
It is sad that we still indulge in these terrible wars.

Comment by: WN1 Standisher on 7th January 2024 at 13:32

If you go to the Menin Gate in Ypres, there are literally 1000's of names on there from all the different countries, and all of them unaccounted for. The last time we were there, a name was being removed as the person had been found and identified and given a burial with full military honours.

Comment by: Edna on 7th January 2024 at 13:57

This is such a lovely tribute Dennis. Thank you.

Comment by: Owd Reekie on 7th January 2024 at 14:33

It was only a few years after the end of WW II and we had got ourselves into another war in Korea. Millions took to the streets to protest against invading Iraq but our Government had no intention of listening and thousands more lives were wasted. History and hindsight have the potential to teach us many things but we choose to ignore the facts. All credit to Harold Wilson who, unlike Tony Blair, stood up to Uncle Sam and would not commit our young men to Vietnam.

Comment by: Irene Roberts on 7th January 2024 at 15:02

WN1 Standisher....I went to The Menin Gate when I was 21, fifty years ago now, and they played The Last Post at eight o'clock every night.....I don't know if it's still done but it was very moving.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 7th January 2024 at 18:03

Gary - which of the three Gregorys are you referring to? I've just been looking at the files I have on the Aspull names, and I only have full details for one - William, married, lived at 2 Hope Street (family at 104 Haigh Road) - died 18 September 1918, so presumably not the one you are related to, if he died in 1917. The other two are G Gregory, for whom I have no details, and Watson T Gregory, who was in the Royal Engineers, won the MM in 1917, and had worked at Wigan Post Office - but I've no details of his death.
Which others might you have information on?

Comment by: Edna on 7th January 2024 at 18:05

Yes Irene, the Last Post is still played, at Menin Gate. My son was telling me about it. I also saw it on TV not that long back. xx

Comment by: Veronica on 7th January 2024 at 18:06

I know one young lad from Scholes who was called up to fight in Vietnam. My friend from Platt Lane emigrated to Australia in 1963 with her family her younger brother had to go in the Army they had only been there 3 or 4 years. To think they went all that way to have a better life. Fortunately he returned to the fold.

Comment by: Pat McC on 7th January 2024 at 18:42

My Grandad served in the 1st WW and four of his sons served at the same time in World War 2, my uncle was killed and my father's ship torpedoed off Malta whilst escorting the Russian Convoys through the Mediterranean, thankfully he survived. Absolutely heartbreaking times, but no, unfortunately we still haven't learned to love each other and respecting others' opinions and differences.

Comment by: WN1 Standisher on 7th January 2024 at 22:18

Irene, yes the Last Post is still played at 20:00 every night, a real ' lump in the throat ' moment. It hasn't lost it's meaning or resonance. We've been twice now, first time to pay respects to a relative, 100 years to the day of his passing in 2017, and again the year after to mark the 100 years of the Armistice in Ypres, just a stone's throw from the Gate. Both occasions were very moving and the first in 2017 we had a chance meeting that I still shake my head when I think about it. An abiding memory is being on the train from the airport and seeing these Military Cemetaries, impeccably maintained, small or large, then you'll see in the corner of a farmer's field, 2 or 3 headstones, again perfectly looked after. Buried where they fell. The respect that stands out speaks volumes.

Comment by: Gary on 7th January 2024 at 22:21

David - it was William, died of wounds sustained in November 1917 (I think) leaving a young wife and daughter who later married and eventually lived in Doncaster.
His older brother, John (always known as Jack) survived and is on the roll of those who served in St Elizabeth's church.
There's a family tale that the night Bill died, both his mother and father, in bed at Hope Street, became aware of it days before being officially informed.
Jack always said Bill was too nice a person to serve - he wasn't "fause" enough. Jack was a bit of a lad all of his life.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 8th January 2024 at 16:20

Gary - your family may not have got the story right. The cemetery in which he is buried, Five Points, Lechelle, in the Pas de Calais, was only used for a month - from 4 September to 10 October 1918, and the graves are from a battlefield Casualty Clearing Station. That indicates the burials are of men who died during the British counter-offensive just before the end of the war, and would involve men injured during engagements fairly close to the Clearing Station. Casualties were usually moved to better equipped hospitals to the rear as soon as they had received immediate treatment. They might spend longer there if their chances of survival were deemed slim and that moving them would add to their misery.
If he had been injured in November 1917, I think that, by September 1918, he would either have been shipped back to England for treatment or, if too injured for the journey, have been in a major hospital such as Etaples.
I don't think he would have been sent to a temporary field hospital many months after being injured.

Comment by: Veronica on 8th January 2024 at 20:49

Reverend David my Grt Uncle William Catterall (Border Regt.) died from his wounds in July 1917 and buried at Dickebush Cemetery which had I believe a hospital nearby there. I have always wondered whereabouts he would have been wounded to be taken there. Would you have any ideas please. I think he died from leg injuries.

Comment by: Gary on 8th January 2024 at 23:30

David - thanks for the information. An aunt, long deceased, did go to the grave at Lechelle in the year preceding the 2WW, either early 1939 or in 1938. Mention of a ferry from Newhaven comes to mind. While there was an intention to return it never happened due to the second war and subsequent family commitments.
Unfortunately there is no one alive to ask and verify.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 9th January 2024 at 09:37

Veronica - the cemetery is near Ypres - which means he was at Passchendaele - the muddy, bloody, summer offensive. Fortunately the activities of the Border Regiment are well-covered online - including Regimental Diaries, detailing the day-to-day activities of the Battalions - here's July 1917's extract for his 8th Battalion. William may have suffered his injury before this - but there are are couple of occasions detailed here in which he may have received his fatal wounds:

Comment by: Veronica on 9th January 2024 at 15:52

Thank you very much Reverend I knew you would know more than me. I will look later at what you have posted. I did try looking in the war diaries and have a copy of a page from one with dates around that time but as you know there were no names mentioned of who they were and it was night time when a handful of soldiers where in ‘ no man’s land’ from what I understand. I might be wrong though…I don’t know what they would have been doing though unless they were cutting barbed wire. But I am just guessing. But thanks anyway.

Comment by: Veronica on 9th January 2024 at 16:41

If only hospital notes could have been accessed of the wounded and dying Rev. David It would have made details of their last days in hospital more bearable and easier to understand.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 11th January 2024 at 09:48

Veronica - the best reports of what happened to men usually came from letters home - from the men themselves if they recovered enough to write home, or from their mates, who sent condolence letters to their mates' families after they died. Official notes were compiled - but, unfortunately, it's a bit a lottery as to whether they survived the bombing in WW2 of the store they were housed in.
As far as I can gather, information passed on from battlefield clearing stations as men were passed back to the main hospitals would have been quite rudimentary, written on a label attached to their uniforms. Similarly, reports of injuries leading to death in a clearing station which appeared on Death Certificates would be sparse.

Comment by: Veronica on 11th January 2024 at 12:57

Thanks again Reverend.
I do have copies of his service and the Post Office Telegraph which I will post on Album. (If it’s accepted.) I don’t think it’s what was sent to his parents though. It mentions the date he died 18th July and also “Thighs’” and ‘Leg’. …I don’t know where his medals went to. His sister collected his belongings according to the copies I have.

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