Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Belgium : Flanders Unveiling Of The Dragon

Pilkim Ridge Langemark Belgium

Aaron was chosen to represent Wales on a trip to Belgium to commemorate the World War 1 there was a ceremony were a new Welsh  memorial commemorating all Welsh men and women who severed in the First World War, irrespective of Service or Regiment, the memorial was unveiled in  the presence of dignitaries from both the Belgium and British Governments. Gwent and Powys Army Cadet Force was invited to be part of this momentous event, the cadets will be accompanied by members of the Regular/ Reserve Armed Forces, as well as members of the MOD sponsored Tri Service Cadet Forces. Around eight Army Cadets have been chosen throughout Wales by the Major DJ Munro, so I am one proud mum.

Aaron centre left  (3rd one in from left )


Mametz Wood was the objective of the 38th Welsh Division during the First Battle of the Somme.
 The attack occurred in a northerly direction over a ridge. focusing on the German positions in the wood, between 7 July and the 12 July 1916.
On the 7 July the men were halted by machine gun fire before they reached the wood. Further attacks by the 17th Division on the 8 July failed to improve the position.
Infuriated by what he saw a distinct lack of "push" Sir Douglas Haig and Lt General Henry Rawlinson visited the HQ of the Welsh Division to make their displeasure known. Major General Ivor Phillips officer commanding the Welsh Division was subsequently relieved of his command.
Haig passed control of the Division to Major General Herbert Watts, commander of the 7th Division and told him to use it "as he saw fit". Watts planned a full scale attack for the 9 July but organising the attacking formations took some time and the attack was subsequently postponed until 10 July 1916. The operational order was blunt, stating that the Division would attack the wood with the aim of "capturing the whole of it".
The 10 July attack was a larger scale than had been attempted earlier. Despite heavy casualties the fringe of the wood was soon reached and some bayonet fighting took place before the wood was entered and a number of German machine guns silenced. Fighting in the wood was fierce with Germans giving ground stubbornly.
The 14th Swansea service Battalion the Welsh Regiment went into the attack with 676 men and after a day of hard fighting had lost almost 400 men killed or wounded before being relieved. Other battalions suffered similar losses. However by 12 July the wood was effectively cleared of the enemy.
The Welsh Division had lost about 4,000 men killed or wounded in this searing engagement. It would not be used in a massed attack again until 31 July 1917.

The Welsh Dragon being unveiled was actually built by a local firm Castle Fine Arts, in an ironic twist the man who actually built up and played a huge part in creating the dragon to be unveiled is our good friend and neighbour Andy.


Aaron described the scene`s to me as awesome. I am so proud of him after coming back from Belgium the army took Aaron straight up to Warcop Army Barracks in Yorkshire. He is now doing lots of training earning certificates and badges. His is on an expedition till this coming Friday doing adventure training. The cadets has offered Aaron so much opportunity to learn fantastic survival skill. He really enjoys his Army life. he is unsure weather or not he will join the army yet but wherever his life leads him in the future he will do extremely well. Many people ask me what I will do if he joins the army well I would back him 100% as it was what I wanted to do many years ago when I was his age but I wasn't allowed. Hoping he has a wonderful summer camp with the cadets he is back the end of August sure he will have many tales to tell. 

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