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51st (Highland) Division Flagstaff at Beaumont Hamel, France

 
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DerekR
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 5:27 pm    Post subject: 51st (Highland) Division Flagstaff at Beaumont Hamel, France Reply with quote

http://www.wfascotlandnorth.org.uk/

This website link above reveals a link to the reinstatement of the 51st (Highland) Division Flagstaff at Beaumont Hamel on 13 November 2006, 90 years after the Division captured the village.
The original flagstaff became derelict and forlorn and through the tremendous effort of Derek Bird, WFA Scotland (North) Branch Chairman and Flagstaff Appeal Coordinator and many others, the flagstaff was renewed and once again the Lion Rampant flies over the village.



Pics courtesy of Derek Bird and the WFA Scotland (North) Branch.
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DerekR
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The original flagstaff was unveiled on Sunday 28th September, 1924 (before Marshal Foch unveiled the 51st Division memorial at Newfoundland Park).
Overlooking the road to Auchonvillers, on a site known as "Windy Corner" during the war, the 45-foot high flagpole was dedicated by Major General R.Bannatine Allason to the people of Beaumont Hamel, in commemoration of the recapture of the village by the 51st on 13th November, 1916.
He said:
"and we ask that, each year on 13 November, the anniversary of a glorious feat of arms by our soldiers at this spot, the Scottish Standard shall be flown in commemoration".
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2007 12:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a shocking photo of the flagpole but since we don't have any other photos of the plaque and it gives a little indication of the state of the plaque about four years ago i thought I'd post it.

This was pre-digital camera days for me and it was the last photo on my film but why I was so far out I don't know!



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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some close ups of the plaques on the flagpole and screen beind it. Thanks to Morag Sutherland of Brora for the photographs



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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 8:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The poem on the plaque was by Lt Ewen MacKintosh MC. It says it is part of his poem "Beaumont Hamel" but the one I have posted below is called "Beaumont Hamel" and it is not the same poem
(MacKintosh is more famous for his words on the Scots - American memorial in Edinburgh)

MacKintosh was at Beaumont Hamel with the 51st Division, serving in the 5th Bn Seaforth Highlanders in 152 Brigade. Many of the men he served with on 13th November 1916 are buried in the nearby Mailly Wood Cemetery.

In this poem he mentions the "North" several times. He could be referring to the Highlands as a whole but the unit he served in was the Territorial Infantry unit for the two northernmost mainland counties of Scotland - Caithness and Sutherland.

The battalion had been in France since May 1915 and by November 1916 it had suffered a large number of casualties but for the attack on Beaumont Hamel there was still a large contingent of men from the Far North.

From Wikisource:

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Beaumont-Hamel_(Three_Battles)

Beaumont Hamel

BUT the North shall arise
Yet again in its strength;
Blood calling for blood
Shall be feasted at length.
For the dead men that lie
Underneath the hard skies,
For battle, for vengeance
The North shall arise.

In the cold of the morning
A grey mist was drawn
Over the waves
That went up in the dawn,
Went up like the waves
Of the wild Northern sea;
For the North has arisen,
The North has broke free.

Ghosts of the heroes
That died in the wood,
Looked on the killing
And saw it was good.
Far over the hillsides
They saw in their dream
The kilted men charging,
The bayonets gleam.

By the cries we had heard,
By the things we had seen,
By the vengeance we took
In the bloody ravine,
By the men that we slew
In the mud and the rain,
The pride of the North
Has arisen again.


Last edited by Adam Brown on Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Adam Brown
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2010 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The poem above is called "Beaumont Hamel" but it is part of "Three Battles To the Fifty-First Division"

This is the poem "Beaumont Hamel". The last verse is used on the memorial

http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Beaumont-Hamel

Beaumont Hamel

DEAD men at Beaumont
In the mud and rain,
You that were so warm once,
Flesh and blood and brain,
You've made an end of dying,
Hurts and cold and crying,
And all but quiet lying
Easeful after pain.

2

Dead men at Beaumont,
Do you dream at all
When the leaves of summer
Ripen to their fall ?
Will you walk the heather,
Feel the Northern weather,
Wind and sun together,
Hear the grouse-cock call ?

3

Maybe in the night-time
A shepherd boy will see
Dead men, and ghastly,
Kilted to the knee,
Fresh from new blood-shedding,
With airy footsteps treading,
Hill and field and steading,
Where they used to be.

4

Nay, not so I see you,
Dead friends of mine ;
But like a dying pibroch
From the battle-line
I hear your laughter ringing,
And the sweet songs you're singing,
And the keen words winging
Across the smoke and wine.

5

So we still shall see you,
Be it peace or war,
Still in all adventures
You shall go before,
And our children dreaming,
Shall see your bayonets gleaming,
Scotland's warriors streaming
Forward evermore.
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DerekR
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was saddened to see that no Scottish standard was flying in early July 2010. It would attract passing battlefield tourists to examine the site but when no flag is flying it looks really forlorn.


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DerekR
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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DerekR
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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