Some notes from John James’ speech on Remembrance Sunday:
‘World War 1 had its origins back in 1849 when Britain promised to help Belgium if it was ever invaded. This came to pass on 4th August 1918 when Germany invaded Belgium.
During the Battle of the Somme Britain lost 60,000 casualties, either killed, wounded or taken prisoner on the first day – including 20,000 killed on the first day.
John had also visited the Menin Gate where the names of 50,000 who fell with no Known grave are recorded. At Thiepval the memorial has the names of 73,000 with no known graves. John also walked in his grandfather’s footsteps at Mametz Wood, and said it was moving to see the Welsh Dragon monument as a tribute to Welsh involvement, being designed and made by Mr Peterson from Bancyfelin.
During WW1 about 9-10 million were killed altogether; 750,000 British, 62,000 Australians, 17,000 New Zealanders, 65,000 Canadians, 74,000 Indians, 58,000 Belgiums, 117,000 Americans, 1.4 million French and over 2 million Germans. Also some 9 million civilian casualties and countless horses and other wildlife.
The many cemeteries, memorials and gravestones are a great tribute to those with that responsibility.
Not forgetting those who died in other wars, especially WW11 when the sacrifice was local and personal involving a well respected local family. I refer to Mr James Edgar John Mason whose family are represented here today. Carol, Andrew and family, our thoughts are with you today in your time of reflection and remembrance.