Belgium battlefield memorial planned to honour The Hertfordshire Regiment

11:43 13 August 2013

St Julien, Belgium, in the aftermath of the battle on July 31, 1917

St Julien, Belgium, in the aftermath of the battle on July 31, 1917

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A MEMORIAL honouring soldiers from The Hertfordshire Regiment who died in World War I is to be built on a battlefield.

A few of the many casualties at St Julien on July 31, 1917

Captain Sidney Lowry, of Stevenage

Corporal Allan Hughes, of Letchworth GC

Private Percy Buck, of Hitchin

Private John Goodwin, of Ashwell

Sergeant Harry Garrod, of Stevenage

Permission has been granted by a local council in St Julien, Belgium, to have a war memorial located in the village where the 1st Battalion of The Hertfordshire Regiment lost its greatest number of men in a single day.

The 620-strong battalion was fighting in the third Battle of Ypres – better known as Passchendaele – on July 31, 1917, when 459 of those men were either killed, injured or captured.

Now that planning permission has been agreed, it is hoped the memorial can be unveiled on the spot where the regiment made its advance – exactly 100 years on from the battle.

The plans form part of a five-year project by Herts at War – a group which seeks to document the lives of those in the county who served between 1914-18, as well as the impact the war had back home.

A newspaper clipping from The Hertfordshire Express following the death of Private Percy BuckA newspaper clipping from The Hertfordshire Express following the death of Private Percy Buck

“There isn’t a single memorial anywhere on the Western Front to The Hertfordshire Regiment,” said Dan Hill, project co-ordinator for Herts at War.

“The location it’s going to be based at is by the river where they started their attack and marks the worst day in the regiment’s history. Ninety seven years later we are proud to be able to place a memorial to this now largely forgotten disaster, and plan to do so on July 31 2017 – 100 years to the day that the attack occurred.

“Herts at War is now looking for local support to help raise funds and awareness of the project in general to help make this historic opportunity a reality.”

As the anniversary of the outbreak of World War I approaches, Herts at War is appealing for people to get involved in the project.

St Julien today - a memorial to the Hertfordshire Regiment is to be built near the spot where the regiment made its advanceSt Julien today - a memorial to the Hertfordshire Regiment is to be built near the spot where the regiment made its advance

Part of that process is encouraging those who have war stories to tell to share them on its official website – www.hertsatwar.co.uk – which launched last week.

“We want it to be a forum providing people with an opportunity to share their own stories and build these up over the next five years,” said Dan.

“By the end of the project we want to have a comprehensive history of Hertfordshire’s involvement in the war – not just the regiment but people from the county as well. We want to involve as many people as possible.”

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