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Life Guards, who weere they?


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I came across another cracker of a story from Wexford but they talk of the Life Guards. Were they an actual unit in ww1?



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Hi Tom

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to spend a day in the Salient with a chap called Bernard Comyn, he was born in and has lived in Zillebeke all of his life and he is a walking encyclopaedia on the war in that area.

I wrote an article, (A Day in the Salient with Bernard Comyn) for my local WFA, (this can be seen on their website at http://wfamk.org.uk/) the following is taken from it:

'From here we moved a short distance into the village, (Zandvoorde) to the memorial to the 1st & 2nd Life Guards and the Royal Horse Guards. Bernard explained that this had originally stood in open land but that over the years it has become surrounded by houses and now found itself standing on a very small plot with access from the road via a very narrow walk way. He also told us how the memorial came to be built here; Lord Worsley of the Household Cavalry was killed when an order to withdraw did not reach his machine gun section. His body was buried by the Germans, who made a map of the location which enabled his grave to be located in December 1918 and his widow then purchased the plot of land he was buried in. However, within a few years, his body was moved to a cemetery in Ypres, and the Memorial was built on the spot where the grave had been'

I tried to post some picturesof the monument, but could not get them to upload!



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The memorial is a rather spacial place - and I have never seen anyone else there when I have visited. It is weel worth a look, beautifully kept and maintained - I believe by Household Division working parties. Worsley was killed on 30th October, when the village was taken by German attack, after reaching the village the Germans rolled-up the Royal Welsh Fusilers, before being halted by a firm flank defense by a number of 7th Inf Div units including RSF. Although not widely examined the German breakthrough on the 30th was potentially, every bit as dangerous as that on the 31st at Gheluvelt

The line before Zandvoorde was an extremely poor one - on a forward slope greatly exposed to artillery fire. The memorial is as near as makes no difference to Wolsey's Mg position. Despite being on a forward slope, If you stand and look down you will understand why the gun was placed there, it has a dominating position and 7th Div, The inexperience of the 'new, artillery driven assaults, already learned by the first compnents of the BEF, and the danger of forward slopes, was hard learned by the 7th Infantry Division

Interestingly, Wolsey had been due for relief on the night of the 29th, but a mg problem with the replacement unit, meant that he was forced to saty. The quets for his grave by his widow is a fascinating story, his body once at Gheluvelt was ' collected-up' in the 20s from memory.

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