Now, is that time of the year I again tell you what 'Halloween' means to me and the London Scottish Regiment.. My wife tells me I am in danger of becoming a 'Bore'!!! But I feel, a least once a year we must all remember the brave servicemen and women who gave their their lives so that we can enjoy the lives we have today.. On 30th October 1914 The London Scottish TA Regiment had just arrived in Ypres, they had been transported there from the London HQ, at 59 Buckingham Gate to Ypres, in old London transport buses. A few days earlier all these young Scotsmen had been doing ordinary civilian jobs in London (No six months training, with the regular army. like quite rightly it is today).They spent the night in what was left of The Cloth Hall, singing old songs including 'The Rowan Tree'. On the morning of the 31st they marched along the Menin Road, as they marched, they were cheered by the Cavalry Regiments who were waiting either side of the road. The London Scottish was the first TA Regiment to see action in the First World War. They were ordered to 'Dig In' at Messines Ridge, that night they were attacked by German Regiments, who 'Bayonet Charged' them. This involved hand to hand fighting with the rifle and bayonet. At daybreak 394 Scottish soldiers were dead or seriously wounded. But the 'Scottish' had held the line and driven the enemy back to their trenches. In the late fifties and sixties I had the good fortune of making friends with many of the old boys who had fought at Messins Ridge. They told tales of heroics, of the RSM 'Big' G.N.Smith who stood on the parapet of his trench with his rifle and bayonet taking on all comers. GN was a regular visitor to '59'. My late friend and I on many  occasions, accompanied the old boys back to Messins, the welcome they received from the Mayor and the people was out of this world. On Wednesday I will attend the rememberance dinner at LSHQ This will be my 55th Halloween Dinner. In 2014 the dinner will be held in Messines. I was very pleased to hear from the Prime Minister, that all secondary school children will be taken to see the First World War battlefields. Yours aye. Bryan.

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Many thanks, Bryan. My grandfather was an Irish cavalryman in the First World War, but while his regiment made it to the battlefield, their horses did not. He was later captured by the Germans and spent the last part of the war in a POW camp in Belgium, guarded by ageing Germans who when food ran low shared the rations equally between guards and prisoners. Unfortunately, my grandfather died before I was born, so I never got to hear about things from him, although as I am sure you will confirm, many of those who came back from the War refused to talk about it.

Hi Paul,

After I left school in 1948 I went to work at WH Smith & Sons on Hampton railway station (Now the little book shop) my manager was George Pike (Sergeant George Pike MM of the Royal Fusiliers). He had been awarded the Military Medal for his gallantry in the First World War. George always took his lunch in Hampton Social Club. I don't think anybody realised, when they bought their morning news paper, they were being served by an unsung 'Hero'. In 1954 having completed my National Service I went to work in Richmond Park as a boy groom looking after the Royal Parkkeepers horses. In those days nobody could become a Royal Parkkeeper unless he (There were no females) had been a time serving Officer or Senior NCO in the armed sevices. One of the mounted parkkeepers had been in the Household Cavalry during the First World War, he told me the cavalry never 'charged' but when they were in action one trooper would hold four horses whilst his three collegues would be in the trenches with their rifles. My wife has been a carer most of her life. Years ago she looked after a number of old ladies who had never married, when my wife asked them why? All said the same.  'There were no young men too marry'. Often a town or village would form what was called a 'Palls Regiment'. They would go into action and all would be wiped out. Thirty eight thousand young men were killed or seriously wounded on the first day of the battle of the Somme. We do not know how lucky we are. This is why I keep on that we should all 'Remember Them' at least once a year. Yours aye. Bryan.

paul johnston said:

Many thanks, Bryan. My grandfather was an Irish cavalryman in the First World War, but while his regiment made it to the battlefield, their horses did not. He was later captured by the Germans and spent the last part of the war in a POW camp in Belgium, guarded by ageing Germans who when food ran low shared the rations equally between guards and prisoners. Unfortunately, my grandfather died before I was born, so I never got to hear about things from him, although as I am sure you will confirm, many of those who came back from the War refused to talk about it.

Hello Bryan.

 

Thanks for flagging that up.  I've been to Messines many times and visited the site of the London Scottish stand; it's a very moving story.

 

I don't know if you are aware of the Western Front Association?  It might be of interest to you.  It publishes a journal and a bulleting three times a year, and has numerous branches throughout the country (indeed, the world) - the nearest to Hampton it either the London branch or the Surrey branch in Cobham.  The London branch is shortly moving to the Barley Mow for it's monthly meetings - very close to LSHQ.  Details can be found on their website, www.westernfrontassociation.co.uk.

 

I'm thinking of starting a military history group in Hampton, meeting maybe three or four times a year, probably at the Social Club.  Would you be interested?

 

Enjoy your dinner tomorrow!

 

Kathy

Hello Kathy,

Thank you for your post and your good wishes. I have now included the 'Westernfrontassociation' in my favourites. I would be interested in a local history group. But I am now getting on a bit !!! But perhaps you will keep me posted. I have never attended the Hampton Rememberance Parade, as I have always been tied up with the London Irish Rifles parade in the morning and the London Scottish parade in the afternoon. I should be at the Hampton Parade this year (11th). If anybody would like to say 'Hello' feel free. I will be wearing my LS glengarry. Yours aye. Bryan.

Here I am again, This is the 100th anniversary of the battle at Messines. Tomorrow, a large number of ex and serving London Scots, in London and Messines will sit down to dinner and remember those brave soldiers who gave their lives, a hundred years ago on 'Halloween'. Yours aye. Bryan.

Bryan

Many thanks for your very interesting story - I never tire of hearing them.  I, myself, am an ex-servicewoman and therefore Remembrance Sunday is a very poignant time for me.  My daughter went with her school to see the First World War battlefields this year and she was very moved by her visit and the number of soldiers who gave their lives.  Obviously she is well aware from my husband and myself how important the British service personnel are to this country.  

Poppies at the Tower Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red  Amazing

Hello Ginny and Steph, If you would like share another poignant moment log on to 'You Tube' and then 'Belgian Boy Salutes Canadian Troops' It is very moving. Bryan

If you are interested in the First World War, watch 'The Passing Bells' BBC One 7 PM tonight.

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