The Unknown Soldier
As the plans were arranged for the unveiling of the Cenotaph by King George V on 11th November 1920, a proposal was also put forward that the body of an unknown soldier should be honoured at the same time.
The instigator of the proposal was an ex-military padre: the vicar of Margate, the Reverend David Railton MC
One night having just led a funeral near Erquinghem in the Pas de Calais he returned to his billet where a single grave had been dug in the garden. A wooden cross had been raised above the grave stating quite simply that it belonged to an unknown British Soldier of the Black Watch.
The memory stuck in Railton’s mind and in August 1920 he wrote to the Dean of Westminster Abbey, Doctor Herbert Ryle, suggesting the idea of bringing home one such unknown soldier to represent those who had died and in particular, all those who had no known grave. It would give the nation a point of focus for honouring the dead.
Doctor Ryle was enthusiastic about the idea and suggested it to the King who thought that the proposal was far from sound especially so long after the war.
Not to be put off by mere royal dissent Ryle contacted the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George who was equally enthusiastic and used his Welsh wiles to talk His Majesty round.
A committee was set up and it was agreed that the final resting place of the soldier would be Westminster Abbey.
Orders were sent out to France and Belgium for the recovery of a British soldier who could not be identified from each of the main battlefields: the Aisne, Arras, the Somme and Ypres.
On the 7th November 1920 the four soldiers were brought to the Military Chapel in St Pol sur Ternoise in the Pas de Calais. Following the end of the war the small town had become the Headquarters of the British Army.
They were placed on stretchers and each was covered by a Union Flag. The delivering parties were immediately ordered back to their units to ensure that nobody would know that theirs had been chosen.
That night Brigadier General L J Wyatt (Commanding the forces in France and Belgium) entered the chapel. The solemnity of the moment cannot have escaped him and after reflection he placed his hand on one of the bodies.
This one was placed in a simple coffin whilst the other three were removed for re-burial in the local military cemetery. Unfortunately there are three military plots in St Pol and I have no idea which.
In the afternoon the coffin was transferred to the Château at Boulogne sur Mer where it was placed in the library which had been transformed into a chapel for the occasion. There it spent its last night on Continental soil surrounded by a Guard of Honour formed by Poilus from the 8è Régiment d’Infanterie (The St Omer Regiment).
At noon on the 9th the coffin was placed in an oak coffin, recently arrived from England. It had been fashioned from a tree of the Royal Palace at Hampton Court and was bound in iron bands. A crusader-style sword presented by the King from his own collection was passed through one of them. The lid bears the words: A British Warrior who fell in the Great War.
The coffin was draped in the flag that David Railton had used as an altar cloth during the war. It is known as the Padre’s Flag and now hangs in St George’s Chapel, Ieper.
In the afternoon the destroyer HMS Verdun entered the port. She had been specially chosen as her name would pay homage to the thousands of Frenchmen who had died during that terrible battle.
Drawn on a French gun-carriage and accompanied by soldiers from the 8è and 39è RI, 6è Chasseurs à Cheval (Light cavalry) and Fusiliers Marins of the French Navy the coffin was brought to the Quai Chanzy in the harbour. In front soldiers carried wreaths from the townspeople, French government and their defence forces as well as those British formations still in France.
A huge crowd was present and many of the shops closed their shutters as a mark of respect.
At the quayside Maréchal Ferdinand Foch the former Commander in Chief of the Western Front paid tribute to the Empire’s fallen.
Lieutenant General Sir George Macdonagh replied on behalf of the King telling the French people that:
We are taking the body of this simple soldier to lay him in Westminster Abbey, the most sacred of all places in Britain, where lie our heroes and Kings. His tomb will remain for centuries as a souvenir of the friendship, sympathy and love that unites and will forever unite Britain and France.
From CLICK HERE
They gave their youth, their innocence and their lives for YOU by the Millions!
Emily Davison Derby Day June 1913
Emily Died for you to have Democracy!
Suffragettes’ procession along Pall Mall, London, c.1910
Adela Pankhurst Walsh Papers, MS 2123 Manuscript Collection
They took huge risks to extend the franchise for YOU.
On the 4th. June 1989 he risked his life
to show the world his people had no vote.
In Tiennamen Square The Brutal Totallitarian
Chinese Regime killed 100s of its citizens
who wanted the right to vote
in a staggering act of cowardice & brutality the Chinese Government
slaughtered 100s of unarmed people.
The Defence Debate was held today in the House of Commons.
The “turnout” tells you all you need to know about our Parliament.
ONE …Labour backbencher present … ONE!!!
Perhaps they had forgotten the lies and dishonesty of Tony Blair.
Perhaps they have forgotten that on their watch:
137 Young British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan
136 British Soldiers lives were wasted in Iraq.
Perhaps they have forgotten that means somewhere in the region of 2,000+ British soldiers maimed physically but how many 1,000s damaged for what is left of their lives!
10 MPs could be bothered earning those faux expenses and their comfortable lives by turning up to even debate Defence. Shame on the 632 too disinterested to bother turning up – probably doing some DIY to flip their homes before they are dumped by the electorate to draw their termination pay off and their over generous pensions!
Perhaps they had forgotten Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Jack Straw and the rest of the corrupt and dishonest Labour Cabinet of Blair’s are directly responsible for the murder of over 1 Million people in Iraq.
Perhaps they have conveniently fogotten THEIR leader Tony Blair should be on trial for crimes against humanit, war crimes and murder.
Perhaps they had forgotten British troops have just been forced to retreat in ignominy from Iraq with huge loss of life.
Perhaps they had forgotten that we have British soldiers serving with totally inadequate equipment in Afghanistan.
Perhaps they haven’t yet read the facts CLICK HERE
For a debate on Defence in The British House of Commons 632 elected AND PAID MPs couldn’t be bothered to turn up.
The timetabling, of course, is appalling.
Though having suffered this catastrophic Government and its more than useless opposition for 12 years I presume it was deliberate.
To hold such an important debate on the same day as the elections virtually ensures a poor attendance.
Nick Harvey mentioned this in his speech, calling it a “graveyard slot”.
The tragedy is the attendance was not that much lower than normally experienced. James Arbuthnot called it an “absolute disgrace” – we’re talking to an empty Parliament, he says. “We might as well not be here.” You said it Mister!
Ann Winterton declared that it was “insult to our armed forces”.
“To hold a debate on this day does suggest a calculated insult …” said Dr Julian Lewis.
10 MPs attended – I will publish the honours and shame list as soon as Hansard publishes.
To read the debate at Hansard CLICK HERE
For the debate on The British Economy at one stage The Labour benches were EMPTY the sole attendees were The Treasury Minister and a representative of the unelected and reveilled Peter Mandelson (Business Manager for The Government) – An Economics debate whilst The Chancellor was too busy to attend as he was desparately trying to balance his expenses before being fired!
Astonishingly the vote today for our real Government, since 75%+ of all Law enacted through Westminster is imposed without any meaningfull democracy by The unlawfull, ilegal and dishonest centralised EU committee dictatorship of the EU – which has less mandate to Govern Britain than has even Gordon Brown.
Yet today it would seem that well over 60% of the British electorate refused to give a vote for the EU and with those like myself who wrote on our ballot ‘LEAVE THE EU’ well over 60% and MAYBE as high as 70% of our peoples have granted absolutely no mandate to continue with the EU experiment.
Interestingly I phones several of my media contacts but Newspaper Editors are not remotely interested in NEWS they are however willing to pay good money for ANY story that involves BIG BROTHER!!!
That said – if you have such a story phone a friend of mine and do quote my name as an intro CLICK HERE