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GrahamC

British Legion Pilgrimage 1928

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GrahamC

Hi pals

Not sure if this is the best place to put this post, but as part of large number of photos I have recently been given of the Buxton RBL Pilgrimage is this one - which looks like a scavenger hunt! Any ideas ....

post-37838-064750700 1279280082.jpg

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themonsstar

There was a book published to go a long with the Pilgrimage in 1928, its called "British Legion Pilgrimage 1928" I have a copy somewere its full of photos.

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GrahamC

:D One set of photos came loose with newspaper cuttings, all of which can now be found in one album - here

I also have two albums of photos taken at the same time, also now uploaded to Photobucket -

Album 1

Album 2

If anyone can help with the locations (apart from the obvious!) I would be grateful.

If you have details of the book monsstar I be interested in trying to gt a copy.

Graham

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Philip Wilson

I suggest you contact the webmaster at http://www.legion-memorabilia.org.uk/

I recall seeing a copy of the British Legion Pilgrimage Book 1928 years ago - its full of material you may find a copy through the second hand book dealer net work.

Philip

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stripeyman

Graham

Whatever it says in the album 'Ypres Moat' is not that place. The photo is taken on a hill, I suspect it is Vimy Ridge.

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GrahamC

Thanks Philip - I have tried the usual sources for a copy but will keep looking.

Bob - I've changed the title and will see if there are any other comments. There was no annotation on this set of loose photos, so being in the middle of the Ypres photos I stuck some description in - as you do! Hopefully, GWF pals will be able to fill in the blanks.:wacko:

Graham

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sabine72

Verry nice ones,

these people walking in these trenches made me think of a few places, but I am not sure

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ianw

I have a similar album and both the small yellow handbook for the trip and the book that was subsequently published.

The itinerary was :-

"Pilgrims will crosss from English Ports on Saturday,Sunday, August 4th-5th, returning on August 8th-9th.

Three days will be spent by all in visiting the Battlefields and Cemeteries.

Pilgrims will return to the same billets each night.

VIMY RIDGE and BEAUCOURT will be visited during August 6th, 7th, or 9th, and on August 8th all Pilgrims will be assembled at YPRES where the Service of Commemoration will be held and wreaths laid at the MENIN GATE Memorial."

The pilgrims were divided into parties of about 500 and then companies of about 100. 500 was about the capacity of each train that was laid on.

The Buxton party or company would have been part of the East Midlands area who departed from Dover to Calais and stayed in Valenciennes. They were organised out of Nottingham by Capt H Slater of the British Legion.

I suppose all the trench shots are within a mile of so of Beaucourt or on the Vimy Ridge. The trenches with new sand-bags are definitely at Vimy Ridge as these works had just been completed. Of course,only the plinth of the Vimy memorial had been completed at the time of the Pilgrimage.

Please see below the hand-book issued to those going on the trip, a Pilgrims badge and a billetting ticket issued so that meals and accomodation could be claimed at the town or city that you were staying at - in this case Arras.

The second pic shows the relevant pages from the post -Pilgrimage book "The Story of an Epic Pilgrimage". And such it was.

By the way in this book there is also a 6 page report of the E.Midlands journey, their stay at Valenciennes and their Battlefield visits.

post-70-028244000 1279371135.jpg

post-70-030510800 1279372043.jpg

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ianw

Hi pals

Not sure if this is the best place to put this post, but as part of large number of photos I have recently been given of the Buxton RBL Pilgrimage is this one - which looks like a scavenger hunt! Any ideas ....

I think this may be a hunt at one of the designated lunch-box dumps to recover any beers, waters or lemonades that had not been consumed. Given that both visit days were hot, I wonder how much was found?

Most pilgrims seem to be standing aloof from this but the British Army was famous for its scrounging and some are keeping up the tradition!

Nice to see the sort of picture that did not get in the commemorative book.

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GrahamC

Hi Ianw

Many thanks for the information - I am PMing you with my email address on the off-chance you have scans of the East Midland section. The Buxton contingent was led by Major Frank Brindley MC (Sherwood Foresters) and it was him who took the photos and put the albums together. (Photo below)

Any extra advice and comments always welcome.

Graham

Ooops - just discovered I can't PM you!

post-37838-016117500 1279379738.jpg

Edited by GrahamC

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peterhogg

I recall having read that the piligrimage had arrived at Beaucourt Station and were provided with box lunches. This might correspond with the picture. I will attempt to find the source book.

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ianw

Yes, packed lunches in boxes were handed out at both Vimy and Beaucourt stations in the morning. Areas were designated with yellow flags where the rubbish could be left after this lunch was eaten and this rubbish was collected by French children.

Afternoon tea was served adjacent to the stations with it being served in train order so that the party eating it could finish and then move on immediately to the station. At Beaucourt only 3 trains left late by a maximum of 3 minutes.

Interestingly an hour gun was sounded to give pilgrims an idea of the time. I suppose watch ownership was not 100% in those days

This is all described in "The Story of an Epic Pilgrimage" published by the British Legion. The planning was absolutely meticulous.

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ianw

One thing that amuses me is that the sexes were split up for their accomodation. The male pilgrims in Arras were looked after by French ladies -an experience that they were well used to and probably not averse to repeating, I think!

The pilgrim whose album I have is Mr E.E Kattle from Ilford. Below is a picture of him and a chum with his French ladies. He does look a happy chap doesn't he? He is looking rather dapper and has his medals up. And would I be wrong is suspecting that the lady in the centre might be game for a laugh? Looks like a good time is being had by all.

There were entertainments laid on each night at Arras and the other towns involved and the lax licencing laws and cheap drink would no doubt have allowed a better evening out than back in Blighty. I suspect that the respect and good behaviour of the day-time battlefield and cemetery visits may have been balanced by some pretty solid celebrating in the evenings.

post-70-004548400 1279447092.jpg

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tootrock

Fascinating pictures, but when I click on "Album 2" in Post #3 I get the same pictures as in "Album 1". The URL for both looks the same.

Martin

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GrahamC

Fascinating pictures, but when I click on "Album 2" in Post #3 I get the same pictures as in "Album 1". The URL for both looks the same.

Martin

Yep, Martin, caught me out! Both albums have the same cover, and inside covers, so rather than scan the same images twice I used the first images again. Slap wrists all round.

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The Incomer

Were there RBL pilgrimages in 1928 other than the August one?We have in the family a photo from Fins New British Cemetery,Sorel-le Grand of the stone of Pte. H.Nightingale,Cambrigeshire Regt.,with a wreath bearing the words,"Empire Day,1928" which would have been May 24th.The photo seems to be professional and there is no family knowledge as to its source.

Les

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GrahamC

Hi Les

Whilst in no way pretending to be an expert on Pilgrimmages, I would guess that the August one would have taken so much organisation it is unlikely there would have been another 3 months earlier. I would suggest it would have been a private visit and the photo has passed down the family.

Certainly there were visits to the cemeteries being organised almost as soon as the War ended. It's just that the Menin Gate was finished by 1928 and the Great Pilgrimmage was to see the official opening.

If you look at one of my earlier posts - here - the newspapers of the time (7 Aug 1928) show various dignitaries attending the inauguration ceremony.

I suppose, being a professional photograph, maybe someone was doing the business of going around photographing graves to order for those who couldn't get to see them for themselves. Who knows?

Graham

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peterhogg

With respect to the photos from the album, I am guessing that 6-12 are taken in the vicinity of Beaumont-Hamel, Newfoundland Park and Beaucourt sur Ancre. The pilgirms arrived at Beaucourt station and were permitted to take in those areas along with Thiepval Ridge. Just a reasonable guess on my part.

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ianw

The actual opening of the Menin Gate was in July 1927. This pilgrimage was a year later. I think there was also a pilgrimage in 1927 but with lesser numbers. I recall that with money being tight and travel relatively expensive, it did take a considerable time for people to raise funds for these trips.

The costs of a pilgrimage to the Western Front were a minimum £4 a head - more than a weeks industrial wage. this tended to limit pilgrimages to the middle and upper classes. This is discussed in "Battlefield Tourism" by David W Lloyd (Berg 1998)- an interesting book on the subject.

That said, there were various trips going over regularly from 1919 onwards. Indeed one of the ladies who went on the 1928 trip featured in my album also went over in 1920 to see the grave of her son - the details of this trip are included in the album. Trips were organised by the Church Army, Salvation Army and the YMCA amongst others.

After 1928, British Legion trips were organised at a local level and the 11,000 national pilgrims in 1928 represented the largest single pilgrimage ever.

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GrahamC

With respect to the photos from the album, I am guessing that 6-12 are taken in the vicinity of Beaumont-Hamel, Newfoundland Park and Beaucourt sur Ancre. The pilgirms arrived at Beaucourt station and were permitted to take in those areas along with Thiepval Ridge. Just a reasonable guess on my part.

Hi Connor

Thanks for that - but which album are you referring to - there are 3 quite similar ones, unfortunately the limitted amount of letters availble from Photobucket to title the album makes them all look the same:blink:!

Cheers

Graham

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peterhogg

Hi GrahamC,

i was referring to the album in post three.

I wonder too about photo 5. is the building in the background familiar to anyone?

best,

peter

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ianw

Pretty much by definition the photos, if not in the Vimy area, will be within walking distance of Beaucourt because these are the only areas that they visited. Although some pilgrims did take car journeys further afield to visit specific graves so there is always the chance of a curve-ball if a photo was taken on one of these trips.

I think there is a chance that the photos were taken by more than one photographer since one shot of Ancre Cem is the "official" pic identical to the one used in the BL book that was published after the pilgrimage.

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peterhogg

Further to this thread. I was trying to find a description of the Pilgrimage I had once read that might assist in identifying some of the photos. (though some are identifiable) I'd thought the description was in one of the Battleground Europe volumes but was in fact in the Holt's Battlefield Guide to The Somme. i finally found it just the other day and it had been driving me mad.

I paraphrase, and can write that after visiting Ypres the party travelled to the Somme via Notre Dame de Lorette and Vimy Ridge. On August 6 and 7, 1928 10,000 pilgrims arrived at Beaucourt Station by trainloads of 500 at intervals of 10-15 minutes. They wandered off in groups by foot or hired car to Ancre Cemetery, Ulster Tower and Newfoundland Park.

I think amongst that crowd there would have been at least a few overwhelmed by what they were seeing who must have hated just being in amongst a group like that since i would wonder if the experience would not have triggered some trauma.

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ianw

Connor,

The pilgrimage is described in full detail in the book the the British Legion published after the event called "The Story of an Epic Pilgrimage". Some of the identical pictures are in the book.

Copies of the book come up fairly frequently.

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peterhogg

Thanks IanW,

I will look for a copy of that as it would interest me tremendously. All I have obtained so far are just snippets and bits of information and of course information from the Forum

cheers for that,

peter

p.s.---hoping my "interests" column is gone so this post won't look the size of a football field!

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