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Remembered Today:

Irchonwelz Communal Cemetery, Belgium

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Has anyone by chance carried out research into any of the 11 CWGC Great War burials in this cemetery? Ten of them died in one of the last actions of the war, the liberation of the town of Ath on 10th November 1918. I am beginning preliminary research for a possible commemorative event in 2018. I am hoping to build up as much biographical detail about them as possible in preparation for this. My primary interest is in the eight Lancashire Fusiliers buried there but I would also like to include the others: an Army Cyclist, an MGC Cavalryman and a Lincoln who died after the Armistice. 

Any help as always much appreciated. 

Edited by Mark Hone
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I'm told it may be difficult to get a coach all the way to the cemetery if there are any cars there.

Irchonwelz Com Cem Victor Bosmans' grave 1889-1918.JPG

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Thanks for this. Are you connected to John William Porter? Did Victor Bosman die at the time of liberation?  The eight LFs buried there are all Privates:

56724 Arthur William Brown from Luton in Bedfordshire

205299 Walter Harrison (20)  from Pendleton, Salford

27774 Rowland Dickerson from Richmond, Yorks ( Formerly KOYLI)

201092 William Kitchen from Elton, Bury, Lancs

25350 Private Joseph Watts from Northampton ( formerly Suffolk Regiment)

205083 John William Porter from Freckleton, Lancashire ( in his 30s, married in 1914, all three of his children died in infancy)

50508 Hubert Veasey from Countersthorpe, Leicester

57548 Reginald Walter Steadman (19) from Rochester in Kent

2/5th LF was originally a Bury Territorial unit, but by this stage of the war, of course, the men tend to be from all over the place and mostly very young. However, there is still one Bury man. 

Also killed on 10th November and buried at Irchonwelz are:

Private William Herbert Condra, MGC Cavalry, born on the Isle of Man but living in Llanrwst, North Wales ( He is on the war memorial there)

Private Edward  Sullivan 7th Cyclist Battalion from Borough, London ( formerly Essex Regiment) 


Edited by Mark Hone
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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, the soldiers of the 2nd/5th Lancashier Fusiliers who died in 10th November were killed by German artillery in the village of Irchonwelz, near the road between Tournai and Ath. They were hiding behind a wall when the shell was fallen. Excuse me for my bad English


Sébastien Morancé (Ath - Belgium)

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Mr. Horne,


by old witness, the place where the last casualties of 2nd/5th Lancashire Fusiliers is near a farm, on Google map : 50.627101, 3.747106 (Chemin de l'Arbre Vert, 46 à 7801 IRCHONWELZ) ; if I receive more information, I will put them in this thread.




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Thank you. I was at a meeting at the Fusilier Museum last night when we discussed our remaining Great War centenary commemorations. We are planning to carry out a preliminary visit to Ath in 2017. I shall contact you directly, Sebastien.

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Hello Mr. Hone, it is a good new ! You are welcome in Ath in 2017 !




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  • 4 weeks later...

Beginning of the 80's, an old man from a neighbouring village (Irchonwelz) showed me the helmet of the alleged last British soldier killed during the 1st World War. The old man could not give me the soldier's name. He had also told me at the time that Mr. Sullivan got killed in the culverts of the sugar refinery in Ath. To be honest, I was quite sceptical at the time.

In 2013, I googled 'Sugar - last man killed - 1918 - Ath'. What a surprise to find a website called 'Buckie & District Fishing Heritage Centre' thanks to which I retrieved Mr. Sullivan's regiment number and a link to the cemetary of Irchonwelz. Mr. Morancé then gave me additional references including the Daily Mail's.


I found this news: see attached


For me, Edward Sullivan isn't the last, but I think, he was killed November eleven and not ten, not when the little battle began, but at the end, early in the morning.


Excuse me for my School English.


Sullivan's picture: see attached

Daily Mail 13 november 1918.pdf

A 0067 Sullivan.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Information received from Mr Cherry who worked in Belgium, Shape, Casteau.

Edward Sullivan was born at Southwark in London in 1 886, and had several brothers and sisters . He lived at Ashley Road , East Ham in 1 901 and in 1911 lived at N° 10 Boleyn Road East Ham.

He was a printer labourer for a while , and served twice in the Army; the first in 1904 but he was discharged after a short time the same year. He re-joigned in 1914  and served in France and Belgium until 1918 when he was killed.

This family had three sons killed in the war:

Edward 10 Nov 1918 Ath (may be eleven)

Daniel Ambrose, 10 Mar 1915 Neuve Chapelle France

James Joseph died 11 Mar 1918, Amiens, France

Last Letter Written by Pte Edward Sullivan.pdf

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Thank you for this. I now have quite a lot on Sullivan. Does anyone have contact details for the Cyclist Battalions' commemorative group who were featured in a recent episode of 'Countryfile'? I would like to establish a link with them in connection with our centenary event. 

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Mr Hone,


Sorry but the episode (Countryfile) with the cyclist Battalion’s commemorative group is currently no more available on the BBC 1.


We, modestly, organize short bike rides to Irchonwelz Cemetery.


22/11/2014 with the Gracq (cyclistes quotidiens of Ath) – Pictures 1, 2

24/06/2016 With the school “la Source”, rue d’Angleterre 2 - Ath

The British section of the Shape International School – Casteau (Belgium)

A German family

Welcome, little exposure. Pictures 3, 4

Departure from rue d’Angleterre 2 – Ath – Picture 5

Roundabout: we passed and explain: those “peace” bicycles are for Private Sullivan. He never knew the peace. He died 250 meters far on November 11 (or November 10) – Picture 6


On the way – Picture 7

Irchonwelz, we passed in front of a farm. In 1917 it was the German headquarter garage – Pictures 8, 9


Just before arriving the cemetery – Picture 10

Tribute: Poppies for British soldiers. Forget-me-not for all soldiers. During de Great War, Ath had some German hospitals. More than 500 wounded died, all young men Pictures 11, 12, 13


11/11/2016 Walk with the Communal Irchonwelz School – Pictures 14, 15


A new bike rike is planned in June 2017 with children. We choose June because of favourable good weather conditions.


In 2018 ….with....


Sorry but we only have in possession 2 pictures with British troops in Ath and not one in Irchonwelz. We’re still looking for these documents.


24/06/2016: to see the TV report with “No Télé” a local TV station, link
















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I'm sure the ghosts of those men buried there were smiling at the sight of those young children honoring them almost 100 yrs after they were killed liberating the area.

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Thanks for posting these.  I have been in touch with the Cyclists Battalion commemoration group and they hope to include Edward Sullivan  (and perhaps a visit to Ath) in their 2018 event. Let's hope that we can coordinate all of this and involve them, the Fusilier Museum and my school, amongst others in the marking of the Centenary.  

Edited by Mark Hone
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On ‎03‎/‎02‎/‎2017 at 07:43, Mark Hone said:

Thanks for posting these.  I have been in touch with the Cyclists Battalion commemoration group and they hope to include Edward Sullivan  (and perhaps a visit to Ath) in their 2018 event. Let's hope that we can coordinate all of this and involve them, the Fusilier Museum and my school, amongst others in the marking of the Centenary.  

Hello, is that a Facebook group ?

Edited by christiandup
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On the page 119 of the History of the Lancashire Fusiliers, 1914-1918, second volume (link : http://lib.militaryarchive.co.uk/library/infantry-histories/library/The-History-of-the-Lancashire-Fusiliers-1914-1918-Volume-II/files/assets/basic-html/page119.html). We discover that these soldiers stayed a few days in Irchonwelz, near Ath.


Their mission : restart the railways installations.


After the 11th November, here are two photos taken of these work.

It's difficult to recognize their badges of Lancashire Fusiliers.


See you soon



Moulin Mollet 1918.jpg

wagon Trulin 1918.jpg

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Read in a Local Newspaper dated November 11th 1938 « l'Observateur »

My translation:

20 years ago

November 10

....The English soldiers are in Irchonwelz.

The British flag was raised to the perch « la Fauvette ».....


November 11

.. Ath ... At dawn, three English scouts were again killed around the sugar refinery.

Their remains are exposed at Gentlemans veterinarian, Mr Fagot, and a big part of the population parades before their remains. ....


My question: who ware these soldiers ? Among them, perhaps the Private Sullivan (1076) but who are 2 others ? Lancashire Fusiliers ?


Thank you for a possible answer


See attached : Mr Fagot's House, the sugar refinery in the years 1950. Now, everything is destroyed

G 0118 Sucrerie.jpg

D 0011 Fagot.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

About the Private Hubert Veasey, 50508 / Lancashire Fusiliers / Irchonwelz Communal Cemetery.


I read:


« The cavalry had encountered slight opposition on the LINE of LEUZE but had disposed of this. The enemy however offered strong resitance to the cavalry at WESTERN OUTSKIRTS of ATH, on the general line of the DENDRE. The Battalion was then ordered to attack and capture the SOUTH WESTERN BRIDGE HEADS into ATH. On moving forward to assemble the Battalion was observed by the enemy and subjected to heavy shelling. Attack commenced at 15 hrs 2 Companies in front, (C & D), remaining two Companies in reserve. Attacking Companies were held up by M.G. fire, and later by T.M. fire also. But eventually succeeded in working from house to house and gaining the W. bank of the CANAL. They continued to press the enemy all night, and succeeded in driving him off the MAIN BRIDGE HEAD and prevented him from blowing it up. Casualties: Officers; 2nd Lt. E.G.V. Righton M.C. wounded, 2nd Lt. R.S. Lush wounded. Total 2. O.R.s; 8 killed, 19 wounded, 1 accident. Total 28. » (http://www.leicestershirewarmemorials.co.uk/war/casualty/view/15970).


Below, the photo of the bridge, at the beginning of the twentieth century (photo 1)


The Private Veasey then discovered the station.

After the Armistice, English soldiers repair the ways of the railroad. (photo 2)


Below, the station in 2017 (photo 3)


20th Beginning.jpg

Ath Nov 1918.jpg

Ath Nov 2016.JPG

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Thanks for this. Do we think, as was mentioned in an early post, that the eight Lancashire Fusiliers were all killed by the same shell which brought down a wall on top of them?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ath, November 10th, 1918

Photo 1. The German soldiers installed of the artillery near the chapel « Saint-Antoine », path of

« les Dailles » in the Northeast of the city of Ath.

Photos 2, 3 and 4 show are artillery abandoned by the Germans to Ath.

Mr Leleu recognized the artillery of 155 and 75 antiaircraft. He taught me that the

first one had a reach of some kilometers.

Photo 5. The Germans have a beautiful view on the city, to the left, the church «Saint Julien », in

the background, the road of Tournai, on the boundary of Irchonwelz.


Photo 6. On the West of the city, boundary of Irchonwelz, what German see very well.

Photo 7, 8. The soldiers of the Lancashire Fusilliers leave the road, take the path in them

right. They go near the chapel «Notre-Dame au Chêne», 50 meters farther, they will

discover a wall to shelter.

Eight Lancashire Fusiliers were all killed by the same shell.

Photo 9. The chapel « Notre-Dame-au Chêne » is classified as "Historic Monument".


Please, excuse my school English, 55-year-old


Picture 01.JPG

Picture 02.jpg

Picture 03.jpg

Pïcture 04.jpg

Picture 05.JPG

Picture 06.JPG

Picture 07.JPG

Picture 08.JPG

Picture 09.JPG

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  • 4 months later...

Monday, June 26th 2017

Bike friendship to remember, second edition (in french: “vélo, amitié, souvenir”)

with: the British section of SHAPE international school, Casteau Belgium (from 4 to 11 years old)

municipal school: “la source” Ath (6, 7 years old)

municipal school: “les Hérissons” Irchonwelz ( 11, 12 yars old)

secondary school “ Joffroy” Irchonwelz, one pupil for the translations.

START: municipal school: “les Hérissons” Irchonwelz



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