It was the Worcester Daily Times that first brought news of the success and sacrifices at Gheluvelt to the people of the Faithful City in mid-November 1914.

Fitting, then, that the modern version of that great old title covered the centenary of the battle in equally colourful fashion.

This is how the Worcester News's James Connell reported on the events in Gheluvelt Park on Friday, October 31, 2014.

Grand-daughter of Gheluvelt hero speaks of pride at unveiling battle memorial 

THE granddaughter of the soldier who led the courageous counter-attack at the Battle of Gheluvelt has spoken of her pride in unveiling a monument to those who fought and fell. 

Julia Brotherton, granddaughter of Major Edward Hankey, pulled back the Union flag to reveal the regimental stone, made from Malvern granite, during the the commemoration of the battle today.

The ceremony was held at Gheluvelt Park in Barbourne, Worcester, which opened in 1922 and is named after the famous battle which left 187 dead or wounded.

Dressed in a bright red coat she cut a striking and distinguished figure with the regimental badge of the Worcestershire Regiment on her black hat.

The badge had originally been given by her grandfather to her grandmother and it has since come to her. Soldiers from the Mercian Regiment, which grew out of the Worcestershire Regiment, took part in the marching of the colour and were inspected by the Lord Lieutenant, Patrick Holcroft, before the unveiling of the stone.

A century ago today her grandfather, Major Hankey, who was also a veteran of the Boer War where he was wounded, led the counter attack by the 2nd Battalion the Worcestershire Regiment, then the last reserve of the British Army.

The solitary battalion moved alone towards the enemy with bayonets fixed, closing on the enemy at Gheluvelt Chateau where the South Wales Borderers had made a last stand, holding their ground.

Major Edward Hankey sent fighting patrols into the village to drive back snipers and take some prisoners.

Canon Paul Tongue said at the commemoration service: "The village was secured but it was not possible to hold it permanently. Nevertheless, the main force of the enemy had been driven out and the peril of a collapse of of the British defence about the Menin Road had been averted.

"The 2nd Battalion held firm on the ground which they had won. Behind them, General Fitzclarence reorganised his troops and made preparation for further resistance.

"It stands to the perpetual credit of the Regiment that, at the darkest hour of that great battle, when others around them were in retreat, our war-worn officers and men went forward unflinching to meet unknown odds and by their devotion, saved the day."

Mrs Brotherton, of Chippenham, in Wiltshire, lived with her grandfather in Cirencester after her house in Bath was bombed during the Second World War. Her grandfather died in 1959.

She said: "It is a bit overwhelming. It is so exciting to be here. I have been to the chateau but I have never been to Gheluvelt Park in Worcester. I have grown up with the picture on my wall (the painting by JP Beadle which depicts the meeting at Gheluvelt Chateau between the 2nd Worcestershires and the 1st Wales Borderers).

"He was a very modest man. He was a quiet man. He kept all the souvenirs of Gheluvelt and spoke about being made a Freeman of the City of Worcester.

"He didn't talk about the war. None of them did and who would want to? Two of our sons and three of our grandsons are also coming. I feel deeply honoured to be unveiling the memorial.

"I wear the badge (of the Worcestershire Regiment) with immense pride. To me he was just the grandfather who taught me to ride a horse."

She said after the ceremony: "It was very moving. I'm really rather speechless."

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

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