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Remembered Today:

Strange Occurrences on the Western Front


Rodge Dowson
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MARK. MANY THANKS FOR YOUR WARNING REGARDING COPYRIGHT ETC. , I TRY NOT TO STEP ON TOES BUT SOMETIMES IT HAPPENS - STILL I AM BIG LAD AND ALL THAT. I REALLY DO HOPE PEOPLE TAKE THE TIME TO WRITE WITH DETAILS AND PHOTOS ETC TO ME. I THINK THERE IS PLENTY OF INTEREST AND MILEAGE IN THIS SUBJECT. BEST WISHES

RODGE D.

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  • 1 month later...

Reporting for duty. As Bluebottle would say "here I am my Capitain!.

I did indeed compose a blistering riposte yesterday but was saved by the site, or the service provider, or my PC, losing it into cyberspace, and I had worked off most of my ire by then.

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  • 1 year later...

Strange thing family come out with.

My grandfather was tlking about family after the war and said uncle joe uonly visited twice after the war.

meant nothing to me until looking into family history finding that joe died at neuve chapelle with the rifle brigade.

Just ask told him what i found out. he said 'i know' 'well why you say he visited' .

Apprantly his appreition was seen 3 times in 1915.

then after the war when my grandad was born JOHN WARMAN

which my grt nan said he was standing at the top of the stairs in his walking out kit.

Then a 2nd time but he was in civvies.

hmmmmm

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I found the walk through Polygon Wood very unnerving and the cemetery in the middle which was mostly Australian I believe not a 'happy place' despite it being very bright and sunny day....

But then I'm a big girl’s blouse....

Soren :blink:

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Guest jumberly

I don't believe in ghosts etc. But I onced walked through High Wood. I would never go in there again. I don't know why, but I just didn't like it. No hairs up on my neck, just felt very afraid.

Hollow in my stomach afraid, if you know what I mean.

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I never thought that i'd be easily spooked, but a few years ago i'd entered Mametz Wood from the direction of the dragon, after some time in the wood a white or albino pheasant came charging from out of the blue, I don't know who reached the corn field first me or the turbo-charged pheasant?

Have returned to the woods many a time but have never had the misfortune of meeting it again!

Will try this April, as for ghosts or spirits, there are so many "Hell's on Earth" on the Western Front that many more sightings would have been reported?

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Funny you should mention Mametz Wood because I found that place spooky - although no pheasants ! However I did stumble into a clearing with a 10" shell sitting on its base in the middle of it .

I think all the woods have a tendency to be oppressive - and of course we all know the sort of fighting they witnessed.

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My wife got very upset at Vimy ridge and actully cried buckets for no apparent reason on the Bridge on the River Kwai. I felt extremely sick and ill when I first went to the Normandy Beaches, for no apparent reason. I had to leave without having a look round. Next time I was fine.

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  • 1 month later...

Just picked up on this thread and thought it might be of interest to someone to recount my experience. Not spooky, though very strange, as though I had been "guided".

Last year I travelled to India on a Pilgrimage to the cemeteries at Kohima and Imphal organised by the British Legion to celebrate the sixtieth anniversaries of those battles in Nagaland and Manipur. My reason for going was to honour the men I had come to know whilst reseaching a battle that I have written a book about (the defence of Lion Box, hence my name) in which my father fought. As we travelled along the mountain road leading to the Imphal Plain I became accutely aware of a strange feeling that I couldn't describe as I realised I was looking at the same view of jungle clad hills that my father would have seen sixty years earlier. Did I feel safe, happy, protected or what? Anyway we travelled on, unable to stop because our armed escort of the Assam Rifles were concerned for our safety along this stretch of road. Unbeknown to me an elderly Indian survivor of this battle with whom I'm in regular contact had arranged a full wreath laying ceremony for me courtessy of the Indian army, at the memorial at Kanglatongbi, the location of the battle I had spent six years researching. This was definately not on our itinerary. The convoy stopped at the memorial and there was a full guard of honour, red carpet and wreath all there just for me. After a certain amount of confusion (the General we had among us to represent the British Legion wanted to know what the b***** hell that man (me) was doing laying a wreath. I had upstaged him!!), the next twenty minutes or so were spent in a haze. There was I five thousand miles from home, in the middle of "nowhere" celebrating a battle sixty years previous with people I didn't know. The place was surrounded by heavily armed troops and smiling and curious locals as I performed my duty. Very emotional but the British stiff upper lip remained so (only just).

I'm sorry the story is a little long winded but here's the nub. The day I layed the wreath was Good Friday and it was Good Friday 1944 when the battle reached it's climax and most casualties were taken, and it was the exact nineteenth anniverary of my fathers death!! The only spirits I saw was the rum I had in the hotel that night when the emotion of the day finally caught up with me.

Just one final coincidence - the date today is 9th April, the twentieth anniversary of my fathers death. Is that spooky?!!

Lionboxer

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Forget the mediums. Backpackers are usually keen to go everywhere. Take them through these places and then, only after you have asked for their impressions, tell them what happened.

My daughter knows nothing about the Great War, other than it happened around 1916 and Australians went to fight!! (Shame on our education system). She only knows about the Battle of Beersheba because of something I wrote. She would be the type of backpacker that would give honest impressions.

Great thread.

Waiting for the published version.

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Two or three rather bizarre happenings.

I twice took a lot of photos of the trnehces in Bois le Pretre. On both occasions I changed film in the middle and on both occasions the first film disappeared.

On the third occasion I got the photos.

I went to Weston Mill cemetery in Plymouth to photograph the Belgian war graves there for Patrick deWolf. I jumped when I saw them as behind was a British war grave with my wife's maiden name on it and beside it one with her sister's married name (and he might be a relative).

I don't have a photo of these two graves. I anyone in Plymouth could help I would be grateful. They are not far from the chapel in the middle of the cemetery.

Third time I was at a dinner party and the lady I was sat beside told me that she was quite unable to go into a certain road in the city as all she could see were black cars and men in black coats. 'Oh, yes', I said, 'that was the road the Gauleiter lived in'.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi All,

An unusual thread but very interesting, so here is my story...

My boyfriend and I arranged a trip last December, three nights down on the Somme and three nights at Talbot House Poperinghe.

I chose and booked the accommodation on the Somme, Bernafay Wood, this B&B is run by local French collector/historian Jean-Pierre Matte and his wife. The family are very helpful and welcoming. Their B&B is quite unique and it offers a superb location, within walking distance of Montauban, Trones Wood, Longueval and Delville Wood. We were unpacking the car and I had a feeling I was being watched from the wood, very weird. I must admit that I do spook easily (girly thing). Anyhow this feeling of being watched did not go away, infact it got much worse. I found it hard to sleep at night and couldn't wait for morning to come round so we could jump in the car and go out on walks, anywhere away from the wood. I felt physically sick each time we returned in the evening to the B&B. The last night we were there it was in the early hours and I heard a heavy piece of furniture being dragged across the floor downstairs, initially I thought my boyfriend was playing a joke on me but he was fast asleep. We were the only people staying at the B&B and I had put a large bin directly behind the front door before I went to bed and it had not moved when I checked it in the morning, so I know that no one had entered the house. Incidentally, I placed the bin by the door because the front door is never locked due to the key having been lost. Although why I thought a plastic bin would stop an intruder entering the house is totally beyond me now!! I have never experienced such intense feelings of unfriendliness and dread before. The place frightened me to death and I will never go there again, even just to drive past the wood un-nerves me still. Now Mametz and High Wood were no problem. The Somme especially is such an atmospheric area, no wonder considering the hell that went on. I know there are lots of sceptics but you feel what you feel and I can honestly say I felt very uneasy and unwelcome at Bernafay Wood. We left the Somme and headed for Talbot House, which I was bothered about because of all the spooky stories I had heard. The moment I set foot through the door, I felt at ease and was very comfortable there. We did have a spooky experience on the last night of our stay. We were sat in the small lounge with two other couples just talking and drinking. We were talking about Tubby Clayton and the good work he had done over the years when we heard a door open upstairs. We assumed it was the warden and thought nothing more about it but the room went very cold and one of the men got quite emotional and shed a few tears. The cold spell went around the room and we all felt it in turn. Then the front door opened and the warden walked in, he had been out for hours but we hadn't realised. We went upstairs to find Tubby Clayton's door wide open and it had previously been shut. So if the warden didn't open the door!! But Talbot house is a warm welcoming place and the only spirits there are friendly harmless ones.

Besides Talbot House I have not had any other strange feelings on the Battlefields or in the Woods etc on the Ypres Salient, much sadness of course. As for the Somme, just Bernafay Wood is a no go area for me. Who knows, the mind is a curious thing indeed.

Donna. :o

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Fascinating report Donna. Quite agree that Talbot House has a lovely atmosphere.

I have slept like a baby at the same Bernafay B&B - though they really should get a lock for the door ! I have also felt rather threatened at Mametz Wood which seems very oppressive to me - and this place had no effect on you.

Dragging and scaping noises downstairs in an empty house would scare the pants off me !

I am agnostic on this sort of things - but confess to loving the tales.

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The most 'spooky' place I and my wife have ever been to is the Vercors valley.

If you don't know it it lies in the mountains south of Romans sur Isere and east of Valence. It's a totally lost world surround by montains and is so cut off the Germans never really managed to occupy the place in WW2. There is one road at each end, both full of hairpins with steep drops and cliffs. Easily defendable by anyone with a pile of rocks.

At the end of August 1944 the maquis that operated out of there built a landing strip at the request of the allies for use if the Germans defended the Rhone valley.

The Germans used it to send in paratroops who proceeded to massacre just about anyone and everyone who was in the valley - and it was and is, a farming area .

When my wife and I went there and stayed overnight we more or less fled the next day. The atmosphere is so oppressive you can feel the massacres taking place. I'm not the only person to feel this. Several friends who have been there say the same thing.

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:o

Vercors valley - well I won't be adding this place to my must visit soon list! ha ha.. Very eery indeed.

Strange how Mametz Wood keeps cropping up. I didn't actually walk very far into Mametz Wood and I wasn't told of the strange occurences people had experienced there until I had come out. Maybe I would of been a bit wary of entering the wood if I had known beforehand, the mind can play tricks on us.

Although, I do know for sure that I wasn't welcome at Bernafay. I questioned for ages afterwards the sound of furniture moving but still cannot come up with a valid/sensible explanation. I do enjoy these stories though, something a little different.

Donna :D

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  • 7 months later...
He met his end at the point of a bayonet. His last words, which still send a chill through my spine, were: “…they are never going to find me”

Was the Officer ever found Dave. I know this is an old thread, but I'm interested. Thanks for your post.

PJ

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I have not had a strange experience, and as somewhat of a sceptic in these matters, would not expect to. I did, however , find the Mur de Fusilles in Arras, depressing in a manner I never experienced in any cemetery.

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  • 3 weeks later...
I have not had a strange experience, and as somewhat of a sceptic in these matters, would not expect to. I did, however , find the Mur de Fusilles in Arras, depressing in a manner I never experienced in any cemetery.

Quite agree. I've stayed in Arras several times and visited the Mur de Fusilles on a number of occasions.

Its one of the saddest places I have ever been. Friends accompanying me have found it unsettling. I have never experienced anything 'supernatural' there but the sadness is nearly overwhelming.

Mike

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I visited the Mur De Fusilees a couple of years ago and as we stood in silence at the site of the execution post a group of soldiers in the Citadel sung the French National Anthem that echoed around the ramparts!

Very spooky, but incredibly moving!

Scottie.

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Interesting. A colleague who has been on all of my school battlefield tours, but is not a military greatcoat (anorak) like me, has commented several times on places with particular atmospheres. He lists Langemark, the Mur Des Fusilees and the Wormhoudt massacre site as the ones we have visited with the biggest 'tingle factor'.

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On our first ever visit to Tyne Cot my wife who is very level headed lady with no interest in the Great War had to leave the cemetery because of the constant whispering she could hear - I couldn't hear a thing

Chris

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