By the time you hit your mid-50s, you've done a lot of things many times over, you've promised yourself you'll do a host more – and never do them – and you've driven down so many roads, past so many landmarks that the memory of most has long since evaporated.

Most, but not all. Some stick.

That's how I came to this project, and why the idea of it simply wouldn't go away.

My fascination with the story of the Worcestershire Regiment in the First World War grew from my late teens with every bus ride past Gheluvelt Park.

That fascination found a natural outlet once a year when I worked at the Worcester Evening News, as it was then called.

My chief colleague in the chewing of this old story was John Phillpott, an Old Contemptible in spirit and mid-20th Century guise if ever there was one. 

The most frequent trigger for these conversations came when the time arrived to develop Remembrance Day features – although we didn't feel duty-bound to wait for early November every year to shoot the breeze. Any time would do. 

It was during these days that the idea for this documentary took root – driven by the belief that such a tumultuous event shouldn’t be allowed to pass its centenary without a new generation hearing what happened, and understanding how their history was changed on Saturday, October 31, 1914.

The Gheluvelt: The day the Worcesters saved civilisation audio documentary that you can listen to elsewhere on this website, is the consequence.

My deep interest in this kind of subject extends beyond the First World War. 

In 2000, after five years of research, my book Through Fire and Water was published. It tells the story of HMS Ardent, the Royal Navy frigate that was sunk by enemy action on Friday, May 21, 1982, defending the British landings in San Carlos Water during the Falklands War.

Ironically, it began as an idea for an alternative Remembrance Week feature. One thing led to another, and all that.

To date, I've been lucky enough to see its first two editions sell out and watch nudge the best-seller charts after release as an e-edition.

At some point, I hope you'll have the chance to immerse yourself in a second Falklands War book – 17: The life and death of Private Jason Burt – which tells the story of a 17-year-old Para killed in action in the Battle of Mount Longdon.

For now, I hope you find this website – and the documentary it delivers – introduces you to people and places whose names won't evaporate.

MARK HIGGITT

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