The road to and from Gheluvelt

Warm, late autumn sunshine bathed Worcester's Gheluvelt Park as the commemorations to mark the hundredth anniversay of the battle were held.

This is how the Worcester News's James Connell recalled the event.

Centenary celebration of the Battle of Gheluvelt held today in Worcester

HUNDREDS gathered in a Worcester park to mark the 100th anniversary of a battle which helped turn the tide of the First World War during one of the British Army's darkest hours.

The honour fell to Julia Brotherton, the granddaughter of the man who led the daring counter attack, to unveil the memorial stone to the Worcestershire Regiment today (October 31), 100 years to the day after the Battle of Gheluvelt.

The commemoration ceremony took place in Gheluvelt Park, named and opened in 1922 in honour of those who fought and fell in the battle.

The drive to have the park as a permanent memorial was led by Sir Arthur Carlton, Mayor of Worcester during the war who lost his own son at Gallipoli.

Medals gleamed, swords flashed and shoes and buttons sparkled as soldiers past and present, the public, cadets and dignitaries paid their respects to the courage of those who fought, some of who paid the ultimate price.

The crowds clapped in time to music from the band of the Royal Logistics Corps during the march of the colours as they formed a circle around the memorial, flanked by two soldiers and covered by the Union flag.

The granite stone, removed from a quarry in Malvern, was dedicated by Bishop Christopher Mayfield and reads: "In memory of all the ranks of the Worcestershire Regiment who served their country at home and overseas."

Colonel David Sneath, of the Mercian Regiment, said it was a privilege and a pleasure to be at the commemoration.

He said the name of the Worcestershire Regiment was now preserved only in the formal title of the Mercian Regiment which came into being on the September 1, 2007.

He said: "My congratulations and thanks to all those who worked so hard to make this new memorial a reality."

During the engagement, 187 men, a third of the battalion's remaining strength, were killed or wounded.

Dignitaries to attend the ceremony included Worcester's MP Robin Walker, the Mayor of Worcester Alan Amos, the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Lt Col Patrick Holcroft, and Alderman Sabine Vanderhaeghen and Patrick Baert, representing the Major of Zonnebeke in Belgium, the area where the battle took place.

She she said was both amazed and surprised to to see how many people had attended.

After the unveiling ceremony, the crowds moved to the interpretative feature for the Battle of Gheluvelt in the park where the names of the 34 who died from Worcestershire were read out and wreathes were laid.

Battle of Gheluvelt commemoration in association with....

Worcester Warriors websiteThe audio documentary at the heart of this Battle of Gheluvelt commemorative project would not have been possible without the support of Worcester Warriors and The Duckworth Worcestershire Trust. Please click the logos for more details

Gheluvelt: The documentary

Worcetershire Regiment cap badge 1914Find out how the Gheluvelt documentary happened by following this link, and start reading the remarkable stories that didn't make the final cut.... 

The visit you ought to make

Gheluvelt 1914 detailLet's set you on your way so that you, too, can research your family connections to Gheluvelt, or visit the other battlefields of Flanders... and you should. 

Please tell us about your hero

Ypres cornflowerFamily or feedback? If you're related to a Gheluvelt hero, email intouch@battleofgheluvelt.co.uk and share his story with a grateful nation