Today marks the 96th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of Arras. I have to admit that I only know this is the anniversary because of Paul Reed’s Blog which contains some really good links for more information as has this Blog by Mark Banning Much of the area that the battle was fought across is flat but between Arras & Lens the area is dominated by Vimy Ridge and now Vimy Ridge is dominated by the Canadian National Memorial which marks the loss of 58,000 Canadians.
Leaving Arras and it’s stark white pillars we cycled through Loos and came to Dud Corner Cemetery where among the 684 headstones I found 2 of particular interest, one of Private Fynn of the Army Cyclist Corps and another of Capt Anketell Moutray Read VC 1st Batallion Northamptonshire Regt. whose citation reads:
“For most conspicuous bravery during the first attack near Hulluch on the morning of 25th September, 1915. Although partially gassed, Captain Read went out several times in order to rally parties of different units which were disorganised and retiring. He led them back into the firing line, and, utterly regardless of danger, moved freely about encouraging them under a withering fire. He was mortally wounded while carrying out this gallant work. Captain Read had previously shown conspicuous bravery during digging operations on 29th, 30th and 31st August, 1915, and on the night of the 29th-30th July he carried out of action an officer, who was mortally wounded, under a hot fire from rifles and grenades.”
There are another 20,000 men remembered on the Loos Memorial at Dud Corner who have no known grave but who were as important to their families as Fynn and Read.
On a charity bike ride I found it amazingto find the grave of a member of the Army Cyclist Corps and will post a bit more about their history soon.
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