My dear CADS,
I hope you are all well and coping with the sudden onset of Autumn – we had been so spoilt with warm weather for such a long time!. Well! Aren’t we in interesting times in UK politics? Since I last wrote this newsletter, we have had a carousel of prime ministers, cabinet appointments and resignations and re-appointments and
resignations…….and a dawning realization for Rishi that despite being proved right on his predictions on the previous administrations economic policies he now has a particularly horrendous task in dealing with the consequences! My goodness what a mess!
But not so for our lovely society which held its AGM on October 21 st . We are in good shape! Congratulations to Peter Valentine, Dee van Doorn and Nina Young who were re-elected to the Board and welcome and congratulations to Julia Heidstra who was appointed to the Board to replace John Milhado who has stepped down. Thank you so much to John for his many years of service on the board; but don’t worry he is still a full CADS member and I’m sure we’ll see him at many events to come. And finally, a big CADS welcome and congratulations to our new Patron, Imogen Barnes, the current British Vice Consul in the Netherlands.
Our November meeting is lunch on Friday November 18 th at our new permanent home, the K.I.G.C. in Amsterdam. Lunch will be from 12.30 and costs €60 p.p. Our speaker will be Quintin Jakobs, one of the winners of the Nuffic GNE Awards in English public speaking and writing. Quinten’s speech is titled Fight,
Flight or Freeze’ which related to the International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC): ‘Our real choices are made without us realising it”.
CADS Trip – IEPER & The SOMME – 30 th SEPTEMBER TO 2 ND OCTOBER 2022
A huge thank you to John Cameron-Webb, our expert guide for the weekend. We all know him as a long-time CADS member; former British Consul Amsterdam; Jokathon winner (2021) and talented musician, but many of us don’t know of his passion and detailed knowledge of World War I battlefield sites and military history. In total we were a group of nineteen people, comprising members of CADS, BRITSOC and a few friends, most of whom had never visited the areas around the Somme or Ieper before. Here are a few highlights of the trip.
Day 1. Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. CADS member Dee van Doorn was able to locate the name of her great uncle, who died in action.
The Canadian National Vimy Memorial honours all Canadians who served during the First World War. The Memorial bears the names of those who died in France with no known grave. It is located at the site of Canada’s victory during the Battle of Vimy Ridge. CADS member Mark Cunningham remembered his grandfather who had been a member of the Canadian military.
A visit to Serre Road No. 2 Cemetery allowed CADS member Louise Hunter to locate the gravestone of her grandfather’s uncle. Her grandfather joined his East Yorkshire regiment aged 17 in 1916, thankfully surviving and returning to his family at the end of the war. His uncle was killed in battle alongside three colleagues, leaving a young widow and children.
Day 2. We started our day with a visit to the Flanders Fields Museum in Ieper followed by a number of stops throughout the surrounding area of the Ieper Salient.
The Canadian Forces Memorial at Sint-Juliaan was erected in remembrance of the 2 000 dead of the First Canadian Division, who were killed in the fighting which
followed the German gas attack of 22 April 1915. It is also known as 'The Brooding Soldier' – a reference to the grieving Canadian warrior, his head bowed in sorrow and his hands resting on the butt of his upturned rifle.
In the grounds of Hoog Crater Museum where our expert leader John Cameron-Webb explained the devasting effects of shrapnel bombs. Much of the garden has been left untouched since the end of WWI, including a bomb crater, bunkers and trenches. Visitors can imagine all too clearly the horrifying conditions and dangers of trench living and fighting.
Every evening at 8pm precisely, the ‘Last Post’ has been sounded since 1928 under the imposing arches of the Menin Gate. This memorial shaped like a Roman triumphal arch displays the names of 54.896 soldiers of the then British empire who went missing in action. This memorial lists the names from the beginning of the war until 15 August 1917. The soldiers who went missing after 16 August 1917 until the end of the war, are mentioned on panels at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Passchendaele.
On Saturday evening Dee, Louise and Mark laid a wreath on behalf of CADS giving thanks to all those who have lost their lives in battle – they will not be forgotten.
We had the benefit of an extended ceremony as there were a number of other visiting groups taking part, including a choir from Amsterdam, a Dutch biker’s group and a contingent of Scottish clan members with their own piper. The haunting music of the lament by the piper was a very poignant reminder of the piper at the funeral of
Queen Elizabeth II. This beautiful ceremony will be remembered by all who watched and took part.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.”
Day 3. Tyne Cot Cemetery is the largest military cemetery of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Europe. This beautiful cemetery holds almost 12,000 gravestones of those killed in action. The impressive rear wall of the cemetery contains the names of 35,000 soldiers missing in action.