The Welsh Dragon to guard the Pilckem Ridge?
Those of us who regularly visit the Ypres Salient will be familiar with the various memorials to the different nations who served in the area. The Passchendaele Society has now suggested there should be a memorial to the Welsh who fought in the area. The Society and the Langemark Commune have joined forces and purchased a piece of ground near Iron Cross on the Pilckem Ridge. Planning permission has been granted and all that needs to be done now is to raise £80,000 for the building and transport of stone from Wales to complete the project!
It is totally appropriate this location has been chosen, as it was the area in 1917 where there was a very strong ‘Welsh’ involvement; 38th (Welsh) Division with all three Welsh Regiments represented, the 29th Division with the 2nd South Wales Borderers and the 2nd Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment and the Welsh Guards in the Guards Division. However the memorial will honour all Welshmen serving in many other Welsh units throughout the Salient from 1914 onwards and in a multitude of non-Welsh units, and in artillery, medical, supply and Tunnelling Companies, amongst others.
As a ‘nation’, Wales lost more men per capita than any other nation involved in the conflict.
In Wales a committee, (what else?) has been set up to raise our share of the costs and already interest has been shown by ‘important’ personalities.
I will be doing my bit, but my request to you, my fellow guides, is to do what you can to raise the profile of the proposed memorial project amongst your clients, especially when visiting Hedd Wynn’s memorial plaque and Artillery Wood Cemetery.
The current proposals are to erect a Welsh slate ‘cromlech’ surmounted by a dragon on the site, quite unlike the ‘dragon’ at Mametz, which of course is dedicated to the 38th Welsh Division. The aim is to have the memorial in place before May 2014.
Anyone wishing to contribute towards the project can pay direct into a Lloyds/TSB account under Sort Code 30-93-53 and make cheques out to ‘Welsh memorial in Flanders campaign’.
For any other information don’t hesitate to contact me direct. I look forward to being amongst the Guides at the unveiling.