April on The Somme - Soldiers Refound, Anzacs, POWs, Diaries and Cycles
Posted on 30th April 2023 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.
April, come she will, when streams are ripe and swelled with rain….so the song lyric goes. And there has certainly been rain and winds, a chill in the air and not a very Spring-like April. We feel we are on the cusp of more settled weather though and the showers and chill wind hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of either our guests or ourselves. It has been another busy month here, with never a dull moment. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
Through the month the farmers have been seeding, spraying, and feeding crops and by month end most fields have crop in them, tiny seedlings through to rape seed – also known as colza or canola depending on where you are – bursting into its bright yellow coat. Amongst the green fields the yellow is one of the first changes to the colour of the landscape. And with the April rain everything is lush, full and bursting into life as the days lengthen and the promise of better weather is whispering.
There has been plenty to not only occupy our bodies in April, but our thoughts as well. There have been a number of rededications at cemeteries in France this month. A rededication is where a grave that was marked as unknown has had a case proven and accepted by CWGC that it is definitely a named soldier in that grave. This is usually after extensive research by someone and once accepted, the headstone is changed to bear the correct name, and there is a rededication with military honours, a chaplin, prayers, readings, wreaths and the Last Post. We attended one such rededication in London Road Cemetery near High Wood for Private Douglas Dickson and our guests attended another in Le Cateau for Corporal Thomas Stannage.
It was at the rededication that this poem resonated with us: