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Remembered Today:

Remembered


Jon6640
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A day early I know but I'll be away from the computer tomorrow. Rembering two men from my village who died on the same day a year apart:

(1) Private 1204 Ernest Robinson, 1st Battalion, South Staffordshire Regiment. Killed in action on 14.07.1916, remembered on the Thiepval Memorial and Cheslyn Hay Village War Memorial.

(2) Private 19875 Albert Benton, 9th Service Battalion (Pioneer) South Staffordshire Regiment (Previously 7827 1/5th Battalion [Territorial Force], South Staffordshire Regiment). Lived at 47, High St., Cheslyn Hay, Walsall, Staffs. Aged 24. Killed on 14.07.1917 by shellfire whilst building a tramway to the front near Dickebusch. War Diary entry:

'Coys. Held up by heavy shelling. Also gas shells. Roadway nearly completed. Tramway 75% complete. 3 O.R. K. in A.'

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Albert's older brother George Roland Benton was killed serving with 32nd Battalion AIF in October 1917, whilst travelling to Europe his ship docked at Columbo, Sri Lanka where he was allowed a brief shore leave. George bought a small carved ivory elephant which he sent to his mother saying, "An elephant never forgets, so whilst Albert and I are away keep this to remind you of us". Alberts body was never recovered/identified and his mother and upon her death his sister carried the elephant with them until the day they died saying that they would be able to not carry it when Albert was at last found.

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May they rest in peace.

Jon

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Ernest and the rest of his pals in the 1st South Staffords were the first British troops to enter High Wood. The wood was still recognisably a wood, leafy and with thick undergrowth. He died in the advance which came up against the enemy's Switch Line, which ran through the back of the wood.

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Ernest and the rest of his pals in the 1st South Staffords were the first British troops to enter High Wood. The wood was still recognisably a wood, leafy and with thick undergrowth. He died in the advance which came up against the enemy's Switch Line, which ran through the back of the wood.

Thanks Chris,

I haven't got round to researchimg Ernest yet, humbling and inspiring to think of a man from my village being one of the first to enter High Wood.

Jon

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The elephant thing is quite a touching story. Thanks for sharing it, Jon.

How did you come to photograph the carved figure?

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As Max (UK) says, a very touch story of a mother's grief.

Remembering both with honour and pride.

Keith

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The elephant thing is quite a touching story. Thanks for sharing it, Jon.

How did you come to photograph the carved figure?

I had the pleasure of meeting Alberts nephew who still has the elephant who relate the story to me, aparently his mother had it in her purse and it wasn't until near the end of her life when she asked him to get something out of her purse that he 'discovered' it. He also had Roland's memorial plaque although how it ended up in the UK when he was a married Australian whose wife corresponded with the AIF authorities afetr his death is not clear.

Jon

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