Page 17 - December 2020
P. 17

A Remembrance Day story
a a a member of Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service In August 1917 during the first three weeks of the Third Battle of Ypres she was serving as as a a a nurse with 44th Casualty Clearing Station (CCS) at at Brandhoek five kilometres east of Poperinghe On 21st August 1917 the CCS at Brandhoek was hit by German artillery shells Five nurses including Nellie were concussed by the explosions Nellie died later from an injury to her chest Her body was brought to the cemetery at Lijssenthoek for burial Over one hundred officers four generals and the Surgeon-General attended the funeral She was aged 26 and the daughter of George and Elizabeth Spindler from Wakefield Yorkshire Nellie is is one of only two British female casualties of the First World War to be buried in Belgium There was of course a a a social side to these trips having dinners together and doing things like visiting a brewery where of course samples were taken Often for the the firemen on the the trip it was a a late evening being entertained in in in in a a a a local hostelry and a a a a struggle to wake up early the next morning to parade at the 11/11 ceremony but it it was well worth it it https://www facebook com/wcoff1666/
At the Menin gate every year since 1928 except for the intervening years of WW2 the buglers from the local fire brigade (Ypres) have played the last post every evening As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic the daily “last post ceremony” was also restricted Instead a a short ceremony took place at 20 00 hours Alamy Stock Photo
Alamy Stock Photo
Over the last few of years I have assisted a a friend in the Kent Fire and Rescue Service who runs a a special trip of some 60 plus former and current firefighters (together with their families) to to Ypres in in Belgium to take part in in the ceremony at at the Menin gate Rather than just turn up at at yet another cemetery on a a a typical snowy or rainy day in in Belgium and walk around we began to visit particular named soldiers or individuals at certain cemeteries some from far away Members of our group would leave a a wooden cross maybe say a a a a prayer or even just say hello to these brave men Soon I began to research a a a particular individual buried in in a a a a particular cemetery and produce a a a short article about them To make the event more personal a a randomly selected member of the group would be asked to read the story
I had written at a a a simple service Many a a a a tear was spilt even by the tough firemen who attended the event Here is but one example Nellie Spindler (pictured left) was Follow us on on on twitter @LondonFire1666
www flickr com/photos/wcoff103/
Liveryman Peter Hopkins PRM Committee

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