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Remembered Today:

Irchonwelz Communal Cemetery, Belgium

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Irchonwelz Communal Cemetery

In the honor this year, the soldiers of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

Each will receive a rose

On 10 November 1918, at less than 24 hours of the Armistice, they have been killed during a bombing at the boundary of the Irchonwelz village.

photo img 7837

DSC 189, 191




On the way


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The wall

The eight Lancashire Fusiliers were all killed by the same shell which brought down a wall on top of them


Remembrance Address, “Vélo, Amitié, souvenir” 26 June 2017

Presented by Mrs Angela Scott-Galli, British School Teacher


It is an honour for us, as representatives of the British Section of SHAPE International School, to be able to attend this occasion of Remembrance. We are delighted to be able share this moment with all of you - children, adults, cyclists - to be united together in a moment of remembrance; Mrs Van Oycke as Principal of school Faubourg, we are very appreciative of this invitation to be part of this Remembrance event and would like to say thank you for all the hard work in leading and organizing this collaborative occasion.

It was here that Private Edward Sullivan, a soldier and a cyclist, was killed with 8 of his colleagues on 10 November 1918. This was the day before Armistice was signed and peace agreed and as such he was one of last people to be killed in the war. At this time we remember all those who died, whatever their nationality, whether they were civilian, soldiers, airmen or sailors and remember the great tragedy caused by conflict. Private Edward Sullivan is in many ways a symbol of this tragedy; killed the day before peace was signed having served and survived throughout the 4 years of war from 1914 – 1918. He was shot by rifle fire whilst advancing bravely. We remember him and the thousands of others like him who were killed and injured during WW1 and in the thousands of other conflicts which have taken place over time.

I ask you all to remember those who lost their lives in these tragedies. Please listen respectfully to those who are going to address us now in French and then in German. After they have spoken we will lay our wreath on behalf of the British Section of SHAPE International School. You should all be proud of this moment as today you are representatives of Great Britain at this unique and special remembrance ceremony shared in hope for a peaceful future with Belgian and German families and friends.

The moment of silence


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Every soldier received his poppy, his candle.

The youngest added a drawing.



The glass of friendship, the beer of Irchonwelz for the big, the juice for the children..


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  • 3 months later...

On November 13th, 1918, Beach Thomas wrote this in Daily Mail, page 3:


I look for a confirmation or a not confirmation about the killed cyclist.

I think that Sullivan was killed early in the morning of November 11th .

He is not the last person killed, but among the last ones.

But Edward Sullivan has another last mission: we wished that he becomes our ambassador for a soft mobility.

Thannk you.




Daily Mail 13 november 1918.pdf

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November 11th, 2018 to Irchonwelz

A spray of flowers was already deposited in the monument at the foot of the church.

Each goes then to the municipal cemetery.

The children decorate with flowers the British graves.





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My wife and I spent yesterday morning in a small village in Frnce not far from us in the pouring rain. I laid a poppy wreath.

The children from the primary school read extracts from soldier's letters, and then sang the Marseillaise.

No one thought this in the slightest unusual.



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  • 1 month later...

Newspaper « le Courrier de l'Escaut » november 1988

A few sentences


On monday, november 11th, the English captain Léonard Hunt paraded to Ath


In 1988, Mr. Hunt was 90 years old. He served the 2 nd/5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. ....

He recorded all his memories in a pad.


On november 10 th.


...... We forced the pace to Villers-Saint-Amand. We moved forward along a road discovered up to the village of Irchonwelz . Knowing that it was necessary to cross this place, the Germans bombarded it hard. Between us and Ath, was the canal Ath Blaton.....


On november 11 th.


At 5 am., We found the main bridge still impregnable. The enemy was pushed away around 7 am .

Our entrance in the city was really triumphant.......

Later, 165th and 166th brigades arrived on the scene.

We returned to Irchonwelz.




The communal library of Ath possesses the French translation of this pad. (See Mr Morance)



In attachment : cpt Hunt


Cpt Hunt.pdf

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  • 2 months later...

Bike, friendship, memory, fourth edition

Fahrrad, Freundschaft, Erinnerung, vierte Ausgabe

Vélo, amitié, souvenir, quatrième édition

This field trip will take place on June 27th, 2018 with the British section of SHAPE international school, Casteau Belgium, the communal school: “les Hérissons” Irchonwelz and a German family


The children often ask relevant, unexpected questions.

Here is one of their remarks:

  • Irchonwelz Communal Cemetery: one soldier died after 11-11-1918 / 10 soldiers; were killed in action on November 10th, 1918,

  • Ath Communal Cemetery: one soldier died on November 10th, 1918 / 37 soldiers died after 11-11-18

Irchonwelz, 33190 PRIVATE G.R. GODFREY Lincolnshire Regiment, he maybe died of the flu, from wounds... But hospitals were situated to Ath!

Ath, The soldier Hill was maybe killed in action on November 10th, 1918. But why was not he buried to Irchonwelz ? (HILL S H Private 34019 10/11/1 918 15th (The King's) Hussars --> 9° Cavalry Brigade an 1st Cavalry division, to Mons 11-11-18 ? ). 37 others died in hospitals. The soldier Sunley (private 84576) drowned himself accidentally.


Who can help us to specify the answers? Thank you

Troisième B 2005.jpg

Year 2005 : field trip in the Communal Cemetery of Ath



Pont du chemin de fer.JPG


November 1918 Ath, the British army reconstructs bridges


Pont du chemin de fer2.JPG

Edited by christiandup
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Hello Christian,


According to the Register of Soldiers' Effects, George Robert Godfrey, Private 23594, of 40th Labour Company, Labour Corps, died on the 11th January 1919 as the result of an accident.



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Sidney Herbert Hill, Private 34019, 15th (The King's) Hussars was their only fatality  on the 10th November 1918. He was killed in the advance on Ath.

Below is my transcript of the war diary for that day and a link to the map used:


War Diary of 15th (The King’s) Hussars – 10th November 1918




Map referenced – TOURNAI Sheet 5   1:100,000







Reveille at 03.00 hours




Regiment moved off from RAMECROIX. “B” Squadron (Capt. H. F. Brace DSO) acted as Advanced Guard, with 1 Troop of the 1st Field Squadron R E’s and 2 Troops of “A” Squadron attached to it for the purpose of clearing the road and removing mines.


The general line of advance was the main LEUZE - ATH road. One troop of “A” Squadron was detailed as Left Flank Guard and advanced on the line FOUCAUMONT – MAINVAULT. The remaining troop of “A” Squadron was detailed as Right Flank Guard and advanced on the line BUT – MOULBAIX.




The Advanced Guard reached the G of GROMONT where a report was received from an aeroplane stating there were machine guns and small parties of the enemy in LIGNE. The advanced guard deployed on to a two troop frontage, covering about 1000 yards on each side of the main road. Touch was gained with the enemy West of LIGNE and it was not until about 10.00 hours that this village was cleared.


By this time, the whole of “B” Squadron had become involved and “C” Squadron (Capt. HON. F. A. NICHOLSON MC) therefore took up the main line of advance to ATH. “B” Squadron continued to operate on the North of the main road. From now onwards skirmishing was practically continuous, but the advance was successfully pushed forward until the outskirts of ATH were reached. Here, enemy machine guns were in prepared positions in considerable numbers and no headway could be made.


An attempt was made to enter ATH by the Railway line, but it was found to be impossible. As soon as it was dark, the whole Regiment (with the exception of Lieut. Douglas’ troop) was relieved by the Infantry and withdrew to VILLERS ST AMAND where it billeted for the night.


Lieut. G F V Douglas and his troop remained out all night holding a farm on the main road just West of ATH and rejoined the Regiment the following morning.


During the day some prisoners were taken and some machine guns captured, also the following casualties were sustained by the Regiment.


1 Other Rank killed and 7 Other Ranks wounded.

31 Battle casualties to horses and 16 evacuated for Veterinary reasons.

1 Other Rank was evacuated to Hospital.







Edited by Phil Evans
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Thank you very much Phil


Until now, we had only the narrative of Lancashire Fusiliers.

I read that on November 11th, the 15th (The King’s) Hussars reached Maffle, the other side of the town. But for Irchonwelz and Ath , how did this happen ?

on June 27th, 2018, the children will also deposit small flowers on the grave of the soldier Sidney Herbert Hill


Good evening



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  • 1 month later...

From 28 till 31 March 2018, my journey : Irchonwelz, Ath, Bury (Great Manchester)


Lanscashire Fusilier Museum




Bury Grammar School Boys: 81 former pupils of this school were killed during the war 14-18 http://bgsarchive.co.uk/authenticated/Browse.aspx?SectionID=164&tableName=ta_boys_rollofhonour



In the newspaper Bury Times: local heroes: Kitchen W Private Lancashire Fusiliers 2nd/5th Bn. Date of Death: Irchonwelz 10/11/1918 Service No: 201092

This photo (Its quality will be improved) will be hung on in the chapellle Notre-Dame on the Oak. We always look for the photo of the other soldiers killed to Irchonwelz 10-11-1918











Edited by christiandup
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  • 2 weeks later...


It was our pleasure to welcome you to the home of black pudding (boudin noir). I hope you enjoyed your visit and your ride on the East Lancs Railway

 Actually there will be 99 entries on the Roll of Honour eventually, it is not yet complete. A few more have been added since your visit.



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  • 4 weeks later...

Mr Hone

Yes, I enjoyed my visit and my ride on the East Lancs Railway.

I also visited Ramsbottom. In the station of this city, I noticed that every time a train arrived from Irwell Vale, a man went down from the Signal Box and exchanged an object with the mechanic of the train. A specialist explained to me that it was :  « The signaling with stick »

But, is it correct term in English language ?

On December 5th, 1918, His majesty, king of England Georges V came by car in the village of Stambruges, to 20 km of Ath. Had he a particular train ? Did he travel with this train in Belgium ?


On December 27th, 1918, a wagon of munitions had exploded near Ath Station, several British soldiers were killed, many were hurt.

Near the station of Ath, the Germans had transformed three important schools into hospitals.

When a medical train arrived,they saved time, and it was more comfortable for the wounded persons. At the end of the war, in our country was there also British medical trains ?

Thank you.



Edited by christiandup
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Your thread is very interesting.

In Railway parlance, I believe it is called a Token Signalling system, and is there to ensure two trains don't occupy the same piece of track at the same time.  I think this might be called a "jeton" in French?

Also, recently visiting the Lijessenhoek Military Cemetery they advise that a railway line ran from Poperinghe to the Hospital to speed up receiving the wounded from Ypres.



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How interesting.  My sister and her husband lived in a married quarter at Casteau for three years.  It was a splendid base for battlefield tours in and around Mons.  They were always getting a visit from me, purely out of family devotion and nothing to do with their location!

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Thank you Philipp and Mr Buller Turner


Philipp : « Token Signalling system » : in Belgium, the neighboring streetcars ( chemins de fer vicinaux) sometimes used this road marking: « le bâton pilote ».

During my next journey in Great Britain, I shall visit another tourist railroad, a wonderful trip back in the time. They sell so many second-hand books. I shall find maybe a book on the English trains which circulated in Belgium after November 11th, 1918


Mr Buller Turner : There are 30 kilometers between Ath and Casteau, you are welcome.



Edited by christiandup
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We need a help for a translation in German language.


Mr Dubuisson, director of the tourist office of Ath, prepares a panel in 4 languages (French, Dutch, English and German) which will be affixed on the chapel Notre-Dame Au Chêne d'Irchonwelz.

Au début de l’après-midi du 10 novembre 1918, des soldats anglais du 2nd/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers se mettent en place sur les hauteurs du village d’Irchonwelz, en vue de libérer Ath. Repérés par l’artillerie allemande installée sur les hauteurs du Bois du Renard, les Anglais sont pilonnés. Un obus tombe derrière le mur de la ferme en contrebas de la Chapelle Notre-Dame au Chêne, où se sont abrités des soldats. Il y aura 4 tués et 7 blessés, dont quatre vont mourir de leurs blessures. Le 11 novembre, tôt le matin, Ath est libérée. Ces huit soldats sont enterrés au cimetière d’Irchonwelz. N’oublions jamais leur sacrifice.


In de vroege namiddag van 10 november 1918 installeren de Britse soldaten van het « 2nd/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers » zich op de hoogtes van het dorpje Irchonwelz met de bedoeling Ath te bevrijden. Aan de andere kant van de stad worden ze opgemerkt door de Duitse troepen die op de hoogte « Bois du Renard » samentroepen. De Britten worden bestookt en een granaat valt juist achter de muur van de boerderij die zich onder de kapel « Notre-Dame du Chêne » bevindt, daar waar de engelse soldaten schuilen. Er vallen 4 doden en 7 gewonden waarvan er nog 4 aan hun wonden zullen overlijden. Ath wordt vroeg in de ochtend van de 11de november bevrijd. Deze 8 soldaten gevallen op de vooravond van de wapenstilstand werden begraven in het kerkhof van Irchonwelz. Vergeet nooit hun opoffering!


On the 10th of November 1918, British soldiers of the 2nd/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers take up positions on the hills of Irchonwelz in order to liberate Ath.  Spotted by the German artillery located at the « Bois du Renard » (« Fox Wood ») – on the opposite side of the city, they are attacked.  A shell falls behind the wall of the farm below the « Chapelle Notre-Dame du Chêne » where the soldiers have found shelter.  Four of them are killed and seven are wounded (four will not survive).  On 11th November, early in the morning, the town of Ath is liberated.  The eight soldiers are buried in the cemetery of Irchonwelz. Never forget their sacrifice.


We are not capable of writing correctly in German.

We would like to put this panel for the cycle stroll of June 27th.


Thank you

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Christian, I hope you don't mind but I have slightly reworded the English version, putting it in the past tense, in which signs like this are normally written:

On 10th November 1918, British soldiers of 2nd/5th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers took up positions on high ground at the village of Irchonwelz, as a prelude to the liberation of Ath.  There, they came under fire from German artillery located in the 'Bois du Renard' ('Fox Wood'), on the other side of the town. One shell fell next to a farm wall near the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Chêne, behind which some of the Fusiliers were sheltering. Four of the soldiers were killed and seven wounded, four of whom subsequently died of their injuries. The town of Ath was liberated early on the morning of 11th November. The eight men were buried in the cemetery at Irchonwelz. Never forget their sacrifice. 

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I have asked a friend who is a fluent German speaker if he will translate the inscription. He is going to get back to me. Incidentally, the exhortation at the end might be better rendered in English as:

'May their sacrifice never be forgotten'. 

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The translation into German needs to be done by a native speaker of German with military knowledge.

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