100 years ago tomorrow

My grandfather Philip’s orders for Passchendaele.

Sergeant Campbell survived and kept this and the orders for the particular action in a file in his desk drawer until he died in 1965.

We’ve done some detective work on this and have narrowed his location on the 4th of November down to a square kilometre or so of Flemish farmland. 04.30 in November in Belgium is grim in peacetime – what it would have been like in a sea of churned clay with the smell of death, gas and explosives is beyond my imagining.

Philip was Mentioned in Dispatches for his work in this action and awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 1919 for his diligence and ability as an NCO and Signaller. His mention in Dispatches was written and signed by the Officer Commanding 4th Army, Major General Louis Lipsett.

Louis didn’t survive the war – he was shot through the throat in October of the following year whilst planning an assault. Greatly respected by his men they felt his loss keenly and his funeral was attended by dozens of his fellow officers at what is now the quiet little Communal Cemetery at Quéant just south of Arras where my grandfather had this picture taken of himself and his Section in a trench in the summer of 1917.

10 metres from Louis at Quéant is the grave of Sergeant Norman Petty, a Signaller like Philip who served with the Manitoba Regiment. He was killed by shellfire going up to the line the month before Louis.

Norman is my wife’s great grandfather.

Posted on: 13th June 2018 by Ivor Campbell

Into his fourth decade of search Ivor has a voice with stories to tell, observations to make and the odd picture to share. Mostly related to the day job.

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