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Remembered Today:

Old contemptibles


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If there are any alive, they would have to be about 107 by now; that is assuming they were 18 in 1914.

If I remember rightly, Arthur Halestrap is 105 and he joined up in 1916 when he came of age.

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A proud group of men, The Old Contemptibles.

The army recognised them with an annual parade and meal at Aldershot. This continued until, I believe, the seventies. I went to several of them with my grandfather, Chum Maurice Newman.

Their memorial, in the cloisters of Westminster Abbey, is very moving.

There is an Old Contemptibles website, but it is sadly neglected. the webmaster has told me that he intends ressurecting it. Let's hope so.

Nigel

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Looks like I might be too late on that one... never mind was just an idea....

John - Isn't it always the same old story? Just when you have a good idea, everyone has gone.

In a cemetery (civilian) near me there are the graves of two Old Contemptibles who died in the 1970's (I think) and apart from the headstones, they are marked with the cast iron Old Comtemptibles' badge. I am very suprised that they haven't been stolen as they are only stuck in the ground with a spike.

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I had thought some years ago that the last Old Contemptible had faded away, but earlier this year someone sent me a cutting from a Scottish newspaper which showed a gentleman who had served with the 5th(?) Black Watch on the Western Front from November 1914, and was the proud holder of the 1914 Star... probably the last one. I don't have the clipping to hand, but will try and find it.

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Guest Ian Bowbrick

I thought the last survivor from the Retreat had died a number of years ago too - there was an article in the South London Post stretching back over 10 years now about a Sgt in the Middlesex Regt who had passed away. I have it in a scrapbook somewhere.

Ian

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Found the article - it was from the Scotsman in 2002, not this year as I thought. I suspect the man in question has 'faded away' now?

post-1-1065206685.jpg

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Found the article - it was from the Scotsman in 2002, not this year as I thought. I suspect the man in question has 'faded away' now?

Paul/

He was still going in May, when he opened a new gallery at the Black Watch Museum in Perth on Wednesday May 7. Looks as if the old Queen mums brother was his c.o. at one stage. Here is a link:

http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/nwh_gfx_en/...n/ART16664.html

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He really must be one of the last Old Contemptibles....

Cracking tales and thanks for the info...

John

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