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Field Marshal Lord Wavell


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Allan Mallinson in is his book (1914 Fight The Good Fight) accredits His Lordship with saying

If ever a plan deserved victory it was the Schlieffen Plan ; if ever one deserved defeat it was Plan XVII.

Was he correct ?

Billy

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I have no opinion on the matter, but would it make sense to re-title this thread? I expected a discussion on Wavell (and was disappointed!); as this is a discussion on Plan XVI vs Schlieffen a title to that effect might be more conducive to results.

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OK then, to make this specifically about Wavell can anyone identify exactly where (geographically rather than physically) he suffered the wound during Second Ypres which cost him his left eye? It's a question I've meant to ask in the past.

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Steven

Maybe I have titled it incorrectly.

I wanted discussion on Schlieffen v Plan XVII, seems i have lost that.

Which Forum should I have used ?, I did look and saw nothing obvious

I could title it Schlieffen v Plan XVII

Billy

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Hi Billy

I suggest that you might try again under "The Western Front", and leave this topic to develop about Wavell.

Keith

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OK then, to make this specifically about Wavell can anyone identify exactly where (geographically rather than physically) he suffered the wound during Second Ypres which cost him his left eye? It's a question I've meant to ask in the past.

Just outside 9 Bde HQ dugout, located at SW end of railway cutting about 100 yds N of Menin Road, 750 yds E of Witte Poort Farm and Birr Cross Roads, early afternoon 16 June 1915 during attack on Bellewarde Spur.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can't display an image on a modern map, but you could locate the position pretty accurately today. The modern N37 road follows the line of the Roulers railway, tracking NE from Hellfire Corner. If you project a line directly westwards from Witte Poort, (not quite parallel with the Menin Road, but converging slightly as you go east) then the point of intersection with N37 will put you in the right spot.

Wavell stated that he had left the dugout in the early afternoon to get some fresh air, and was hit just as he got back. At first he remained at duty, though blinded in one eye. As his other eye started to close he realised he needed assistance and started to walk back across fields to Ypres with an orderly. Having been blown over by a shell he realised that he might as well walk down the road, as the going was better and the shellfire was no worse. On reaching a dressing station at the Menin Gate he saw an ambulance ready to leave for a CCS and he jumped up on the passenger seat next to the driver, bypassing any treatment he might have received there.

I am not sure where the CCS was that he was treated at, but wherever, he received a dose of morphine and woke up in what he calls the Rawalpindi General Hospital at Wimereux, where the remains of his left eye were removed.

His wife travelled out to Wimereux to be with him, and they both returned to England at the end of June. (He was hit on the 16th).

During 4 months sick leave his son Archibald John was conceived, and born in 1916. AJ followed his father into the Black Watch, and was wounded by a mine in Palestine in 1937. In June 1944 whilst serving as a Chindit with 80 Column (1 South Staffs) he was shot in the left arm which required amputation below the elbow. This was during 77 (Indian) Inf Brigade's - Brigadier Mad Mike Calvert - attack on Mogaung,

At the time his father was no less than Viceroy of India, and AJ was scheduled to be aeromedically evacuated to India. The chatter was that when father met the plane he found that Archie Junior had given up his place for one of his men.

Despite his wound, AJ managed to get back to his regiment (BW) in post war years, and was eventually killed as a Company Commander leading a patrol against Mau Mau in 1953. Wavell Sr died in 1950, and so AJ succeeded to the title. I think that he must have been one of very few sitting members of the House of Lords (rather than a titled heir) to be killed in action.

Some weeks ago a forum contributor posted asking for information about minor WW1 poets, one of whom was T P Cameron Wilson. CW was a captain, Sherwood Foresters, killed March 23 1918. He had written "Magpies in Picardy", but this attracted little attention, and when it was first anthologised the last two verses were omitted and forgotten. When Wavell compiled his great anthology "Other Men's Flowers" in . . . . er, 1944 . . according to Bernard Fergusson's 1961 biography "Wavell:Portrait of a Soldier" he remembered these verses from when they had been printed in the Westminster Gazette 25 years earlier, and the poem in it's entirety was rescued from obscurity.

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Thanks, Mr Drill.

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