Welcome to this blog which is intended to accompany a website on how Suffolk was defended during the Second War. The blog will describe my trips out and about looking for the remains of the Second War defences while the Website will concentrate on putting these into context.

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Friday, 9 November 2012

11 November 2012 - Remembering: "The Silent Cities"

The first of two posts to remember the fallen in the Great War and all subsequent conflicts. The first of these two posts was inspired by Sydney C. Hurst's book, "The Silent Cities". After the Great War, Sydney Hurst was working for the Imperial War Graves Commission, but in his spare time was working on a project to photograph the cemeteries and memorials to the missing in France and Flanders. So impressed was Maj-Gen Sir Fabian Ware (Vice-Chairman of the Imperial War Graves Commission) with this work, that Sydney Hurst was given special leave by the Commission to complete this work - the result his book, "The Silent Cities" (the phrase "Silent Cities" originated from Rudyard Kipling).

The book was intended  to satisfy two demands of the time - the first a photograph of the general appearance of each cemetery and, the second, to give clear indications of the situation of each cemetery as would enable its geographical surroundings to be some extent visualized and a visit easily undertaken or planned. In addition, in his forward to "Silent Cities", Maj-Gen Sir Fabian wrote: "But I hope that {Silent Cities}will also get into the hands of many who have no association of kinship with these cemeteries and memorials, but for whom the claims of national brotherhood fall on ears not deaf to the sounds of a past fading into the distance or on hearts not yet unmoved by gratitude for a sacrifice on which their present rests secure" - i.e. it was hoped that the book would also be an act of remembrance.

So I thought for this post, a few photos of cemeteries, visited during our October trip, compared with photos taken by Sydney Hurst all those years ago would be my way of remembering.

Warlencourt British Cemetery, 3 miles SW of Bapaume Sta, on Albert-Bapaume road, N. of Butte de Warlencourt. Scene of fierce fighting by 47th (London), 51st (Highland) and 42nd (E.Lancs.) Divs. in 1916 and 1918. Records 2,765 U.K., 461 Aust., 126 S.A., 79 N.Z., 4 Can., and 2 French burials and 71 special memorials.

Hibers Trench Cemetery, Wancourt. 4 1/2 miles SE. of Arras Sta., 1/2 mile NW. of village. Captured by Brit. April 12th 1917, Wancourt Tower taken by 50th (Northumbrian) Div. on 13th. Finally secured by Can. Corps Aug 26th 1918. Records 133 U.K., 3 Can., burials and 2 special memorials.

Guemappe British Cemetery, Wancourt. 6 miles SE. of Arras, 5 miles N. of Croisilles Sta., W of village, S. of road to Wancourt. Wancourt lay in the Hindenburg Line and was taken by assault April 12th 1917. Records 170 U.K. burials.

Tank Cemetery, Guemappe, 6 miles SE. of Arras, 5 miles N. of Croisilles Sta., NW. of village and W. of road to Monchy-le-Preux. Majority of casualties fell in heavy fighting for Hindenburg Line April 23rd-28th 1917 during Battle of Arras. Records 218 U.K. and 1 Newfld. burials.

Sunken Road Cemetery, Fampoux. 4 1/2 miles E. of Arras, at summit of sunken road to Bailleul. Captured by 4th Div. April 9th 1917. Cem. made by fighting units April 1917-Jan 1918. Records 196 U.K. burials and 16 special memorials.

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