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Mark Hone

'Last Absolution of the Munsters'

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Ozzie

Great stuff, Michel.

Waiting impatiently for more :)

Cheers

Kim

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marina
Merci à vous Marina,

but, you know, this thread is far from being finished, I still have some beautiful surprises in reserve.

Like our friend Egbert and the trunk of his great grand' father, I like to distil the things, it drop by drop,it is in this way that they are appreciated best. Is'nt ?

friendly

Michel

Another Egbert - drop by drop! Oh, the agony and the ecstasy!

My arms are folded, my foot is tapping - I want the next drop NOW! :lol:

Marina

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Ozzie

Ditto

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Albert Bapaume

Absolutely brilliant work Michel.

Merci beaucoup and please keep it coming.

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Sullivan

Michel,

The photos are just great, as you know I have an interest in this subject and greatly appreciate your interest and comments.

Sullivan

Brisbane, Australia.

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ian turner

Michel,

Thanks - your audience is awaiting the next act!

Ian

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ianw

Oh what joy! A french Egbert! :)

I too am waiting for the next drip-fed piece of information. As has been said, this is a good thread.

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michel knockaert

Hi all,

today, again "la rue du bois", but the photo was taked from the other side, from the crossroad of "l'épinette" and the old road is now on the left, behind the poplars and the wall.

imagine just one moment that the place of the destroyed chapel could be in the field of sight of this photograph....

Michel

post-10155-1170025575.jpg

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liverpool annie

Do I really have to sit on my hands and hold my breath for the next installment Michel ?? :rolleyes::rolleyes:

Annie :)

PS Just as I said that ........ you posted another photo !!

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Ozzie

The forum clock seems to be going backwards, look at the time of the last four or five posts.

Keep it up Michel. Can't wait for more.

Cheers

Kim

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marina

was just about to post the old Britosh classic song 'Oh, why are we waiting...'

And here you were, Michel!

Great photo!

What else have you got in your trunk? :)

Marina

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Greyhound

He's teasing us, isn't he, girls?

<_<

Lovely pictures, Michel! :)

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marina

He's been taking lessons from Egbert! fremember he used to keep us dangling? And it was such fun!

Marina

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ckop4

Michel,

Thank you again for all of your investigations. I'd like to quote, from 'The 2nd Munsters in France' by Jervis -

So you see you have not only pinpointed the shrine, you have also pinpointed the trenches.

JPC

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michel knockaert

jean,

thank you very much for this new document which is edifying.

On this new photo, a small to promontoir on which the descendant of the family which made build the chapel of origin, that of 1840, has, since many years the intention to make build a new “Chapelle Notre-Dame de Seez”.

the concrete flagstone which will be used as foundation is already made, but it is hidden by grass.

I walked this weekend above !

Michel

post-10155-1170094144.jpg

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peter__m

A terrific and poignant thread.

Many thanks to all.

Wonderful painting too.

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marina

Will you take your camera again when the new chapel is built, Michel?

Marina

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michel knockaert

Marina,

of course, but it will be... "an other story" !!!

I first will try to show you the first, maybe the second, who know ?

friendly

Michel

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michel knockaert

hi all

here is an aerial view of the sector of "l'épinette", on "la rue du bois"

please excuse the quality of the shoot because it is "home made" !!!

Michel

post-10155-1170113079.jpg

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liverpool annie

Hi Michel !

I thought you meant you went "up" and took the photo !! :D:)

So can you tell me where the chapel should be on that photo please ........ ;) I think it's in the middle of the picture isn't it ?

Annie

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michel knockaert

and now, ladies and gentlemen, always "home made" :

still nearer, you can see precisely, the old road, that which interests us more.

It is closed down and it is now a stone deposit for the maintenance of the roads by the departmental adminstratition.

Just with the top, you can of course see the new “la rue du Bois” which would owe us much less interested… but, quite reasonable…?

At the edge of the road, opposite the farm out of U, an almost perfect grass square: it is to promontoir it about which I spoke to you before and on which the news.

Michel

post-10155-1170114764.jpg

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marina

That first photo made me dizzy!

Marina

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Sullivan
and now, ladies and gentlemen, always "home made" :

still nearer, you can see precisely, the old road, that which interests us more.

It is closed down and it is now a stone deposit for the maintenance of the roads by the departmental adminstratition.

Just with the top, you can of course see the new “la rue du Bois” which would owe us much less interested… but, quite reasonable…?

At the edge of the road, opposite the farm out of U, an almost perfect grass square: it is to promontoir it about which I spoke to you before and on which the news.

Michel

The following article appeared in the military journal ‘The Irish Sword’. A photocopy was sent to me some years ago by an email acquaintance in Limerick who was aware of my interest in Matania’s painting and the shrines location. The article was accompanied by a photo of the ‘Last Absolution’ and the Commemorative Plaque from the wayside shrine. I have attached the image of the plaque, the photocopy image was of low quality but I think the interpretation supplied by other persons is reasonably accurate. Unforunately the article did not have a reference to the journal date.

This is a challenge for our historical detective Michel who has shared so much of the local history with us in photographic form.

Michel can you track down the present whereabouts of the plaque?.

“During September 1971, some fifty members of the Society toured the 1914/1918 Battlefields of France and Flanders. The tour was organized jointly by Major Henry Harris and myself, with a great deal of practical assistance from Lieutcnant-Colonel L. P. J. Magee.

Wreaths were laid at the Menin Gate, the Royal Munster Fusiliers’ memorial in Ypres, the 36th (Ulster) Divisional memorial at Thiépval, the 16th (Irish) Divisional Celtic cross at Guillemont, the French war memorial in Arras, the war cemetery at St. Symphorien and on the grave of Major Willie Redmond.

The party was received on behalf of the President of France by the Prefect of the Pas de Calais; by the Deputy Mayor of Arras and also by Monsieur Laval, representing L’Union des Fraternelics des Combattants des Deuxième et Cinquième Regiments de Chasseurs a Pied—the last named having been responsible for the parading of twelve standards and three uniformed buglers at the Menin Gate ceremony of the “Last Post”.

The battlefield of Waterloo was also visited and an unusual feature of a most successful tour was a briefing and reception at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers in Europe (SHAPE).

But the main reason for this article concerns the original reconnaissance, during which the three of us had some difficulty in locating the wayside shrine where Colonel Rickard and the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Munster Fusiliers, were given the last Absolution by Father Francis Gleeson on the Rue de Bois, 8th May, 1915.

Man and boy, I have always been moved by Fortunino Matania’s painting of this scene. The picture captures that typical pre-battle atmosphere of desolation and isolation, known only to the Infantry and their supporting arms, on a bad sort of a day not far from Lille, as the crow might have flown; but a long, long way with a determined and competent enemy in between. The right flank of the hollow square shows the meager numbers and some of the discomfort of one company of the Munster's. It is not hard to guess that the water is seeping through their boots.

It is never very easy for the military historian to relate ground to narrative of a bygone action, but we were determined to find this spot, if we found no other. Enquiries elicited “Ah, oni, Monsieur, vous devez . . .“ and “Non, elle se trouve . . .“ and our French had some of the rust knocked off it as we searched. However, we happened on an estaminet—we needed it at this stage—and Jimmy Magee ferreted out a guide, who led us to our objective.

It is not only in St. Stephen’s Green that development threatens the vestiges of our past. The shrine is gone. . . bulldozed into a pile of rubble to make way for a road, not a particularly good one, at that. However, the owner of the nearby cottage reverently guards the plaque from the shrine (which was rebuilt in 1935 at the expense of the owner of the land) and cherishes a faded copy of Matania’s painting—the original of which was destroyed in the blitzes in London during the 1939-1945 War. We were told that it is intended to rebuild the shrine . but we must confess our doubts.

Whether the shrine be rebuilt or not, those officers and men of the “Dirty Shirts”, who put AUBERS on the Colours of The Royal Munster Fusiliers, and those who served with them, will be remembered.”

A cet endroit le samedi soir 8 mai 1915

Le 2è Royal Munster Fusiliers

commandé par le Lieutenant-Colonel Victor Rickard

reçut de son aumonier le Rev Père Gleeson

une dernière absolution

avant d’entrer dans la bataille de la côte d’Aubers

ou le Colonel Rickard devait trouver la mort

avec un grand nombre de ses hommes.

Souvenons nous d’eux dans nos prières!

At this place (or site) on the evening of Saturday 8 May 1915

the 2nd Royal Munster Fusiliers

commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Victor Rickard

received from its chaplain the Reverend Father Gleeson

a final absolution

before entering (or joining) the battle of the Aubers heights

where Colonel Rickard met his death

(together) with a great number of his men.

Let us (all) remember (or think of) them in our prayers!

James.

post-148-1170141089.jpg

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Ozzie

Well, the story gets more interesting.

Over to Michel.

Cheers

Kim

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michel knockaert

Annie,

yes the chapel WAS in the middle of the photograph and I have to use my personal helicopter to take it.

that was difficult because... I have the giddiness !

Marina, very happy of knowing that my work makes you such an effect…

Ozzie, I still will maintain the suspense for a certain time.

Michel

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