Sidmouth soldiers who died at Battle of Passchendaele remembered
PUBLISHED: 12:30 03 August 2017
The nine Sidmouth soldiers who ‘died in a hell called Passchendaele’ were remembered in a service at the town’s war memorial on Sunday.
Alan Fowler and his wife Janet marked the centenary of the outbreak of the Battle of Passchendaele by visiting Ypres to place poppies on graves and memorials.
The couple were also there to remember Alan’s great uncles, Alfred Thomas Quelch, who died on January 3, 1918, and Charles James Quelch, who died on April 2, 1918.
Their memorials are at Tyne Cot and Pozieres, respectively.
The Battle of Passchendaele was started on the ground, but 10 days before the attack started, 3,000 artillery guns laid down fire on the German positions, firing more than four million shells.
The battle started on July 30, 1917, and would last more than three months.
Members of the Royal British Legion (RBL) and the Royal Naval Association came together in Sidmouth to pay their respects to the estimated 310,000 British soldiers who were either killed or reported missing, and the 260,000 German soldiers who died.
Sidmouth RBL chairman Dave O’Connor said the service went ‘extremely well’.
He thanked Father Robert Chavner for leading the service and Sidmouth Town Band musical director Adrian Harvey for playing the Last Post.
William Cox, a private in the 2nd Battalion the Wiltshire Regiment, was the first Sidmouth man to lose his life in the Battle of Passchendaele, on August 3, 1917.
Corporal Frank Carnell died on August 11 at the age of 37, and the following day 27-year-old Gunner Edward Ralph Clode was killed.
Married Private Tekoa Sidney Carnell died on August 22 and Private John William Barrett on September 20.
William Robert John Sparkes, a rifleman, was killed three days later and another gunner, Victor Henry Tucker, died on October 3.
Maurice Randall Fishwick, who was married in April 1916, died on October 26 at the age of 26.
Sergeant Thomas Stanley Gibbs, of the 8th Battalion the Devonshire Regiment, died the same day – just a month after he married Winifred Dora Gibbs.
Four of the men have no known grave but are honoured on memorials elsewhere.
An estimated 310,000 British soldiers were either killed or reported missing, and some 260,000 German soldiers died.
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