Mayor unveils revamped memorial to Worcestershire soldiers who died in First World War
The Mayor of Worcester has led the unveiling and rededication of a memorial in Belgium to Worcestershire soldiers who lost their lives in the Battle of Gheluvelt during the First World War.
Councillor Adrian Gregson led a Worcestershire delegation to Geluveld, Zonnebeke on Friday March 24 for the ceremony at the renovated and extended memorial to the 34 men of the 2nd Battalion The Worcestershire Regiment killed at Gheluvelt in October 1914.
The Mayor said: "This was a moving ceremony to remember the sacrifice of the men of the Worcestershire Regiment who fell defending our freedom more than 100 years ago. It is a matter of great pride for Worcester and Worcestershire that we were so strongly represented at the rededication of this memorial.
"The memorial in Geluveld was privately funded and we felt it needed renovation. The memorial now has two new panels and a brick surround, thanks to funding from the Worcestershire Ambassadors, the Mercian Regiment, Worcester City Council and the Worcestershire World War 100 project."
Cllr Gregson led a delegation of 20 people from Worcester and Worcestershire, including representatives from Worcestershire Ambassadors, the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regimental Association and the 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment.
On the evening of the same day, as the Last Post was played, the Mayor laid a wreath at the Menin Gate in Ypres, alongside Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Mark Jackson MBE, representing Mercian Regiment and Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Association, and Russell Walker of Attwell International, whose great-grandfather fought in the Battle of Gheluvelt, representing Worcestershire Ambassadors.
The Battle of Gheluvelt, after which Worcester's Gheluvelt Park is named, took place in October 1914. Around 400 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment fought at Gheluvelt. Their counterattack saved Ypres from capture and the British Army from defeat.
Weary from two months of hard marching and fighting, unshaven, unwashed and in torn uniforms but good spirits and with plenty of ammunition, they forced the young and inexperienced German enemy to withdraw and, with the few soldiers of the battalion of South Wales Borderers who had been left behind in the retreat, they cleared the area of enemy.
The heroic success of the 2nd Battalion's counterattack turned the course of the War, helping Allied forces to organise a more substantial defence against the Germans.