paulgarlingtonhistory on Instagram

Paul Garlington

Battlefield Historian. Corporate & Connoisseur tours of the Western Front. “It’s not what you take on tour, it’s what you bring back.”

http://www.paulgarlington.com/

Report inappropriate content

Part 5 As the airfield at La Panne came into view, Aidan Liddell and Lt Peck knew the chances of making a safe landing in such a badly shot up plane were slim and these were narrowed still further by Aidan’s terrible injuries. With no throttle to control the engine, Aidan approached the runway at full speed and then switched off as soon as he touched the ground. It worked. The RE5 spluttered to a halt and ground crew immediately swarmed around the stricken aircraft, marshalled by Peck, who acquainted them of Aidan’s precarious state. The Belgian commander of the airfield marvelled at Aidan’s skill in pulling off a landing which should have been impossible considering the damage to the instrument panel and the wounds of the pilot. From the cockpit, Aidan called for a splint and applied a tourniquet to stem the bleeding, refusing to leave his seat until a doctor was present, so that further damage to his leg would not be inflicted. Quite by chance, a group of journalists and a photographer were visiting the airfield and they recorded Aidan’s story and rescue as it unfolded before them. As Aidan was finally lifted from the cockpit, he was laid on a stretcher and, given a cigarette by Peck, he turned with a smile and waved to them. (More to come) #ww1 #rugbyremembers #lewismoody7 #cwgc #cwgc100 #mons #somme #ypres #arras #landrover #aboveandbeyond #discovery #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #rovergroup #connoisseur #corporateevents #corporate #incentivetravel #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

1

Part 4 Bleeding profusely and in terrible agony, Aidan Liddell assessed the damage sustained by his RE5 plane during an attack by a German fighter. With the wheel control smashed in half and the throttle shot away, the plane would now be a nightmare to control. And there were his own injuries: his right thigh had been so badly hit that four inches of femur had been shot away and he was unable to move his leg. Peck insisted that Aidan should land, so that he could receive treatment, but that would mean that Peck would become a prisoner and Aidan would not countenance that. He would fly on, controlling the broken wheel with one hand and the rudder pedal with the other. The return flight would be, at best, precarious and, with a badly injured pilot, controls shot to pieces, heavy fire from the ground, and an aeroplane which was difficult to land even in the best of conditions, the odds suggested a calamitous conclusion. With 35 miles and a full half hour ahead of him, Aidan forged on and battled to keep his plane under control. They came under heavy fire crossing the lines, then, as the Belgian Flying Corps base at La Panne came into view, he now had to decide how to get his plane down without a throttle and with failing instruments. #ww1 #rugbyremembers #lewismoody7 #cwgc #cwgc100 #mons #somme #ypres #arras #landrover #discovery #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #rovergroup #connoisseur #corporateevents #corporate #incentivetravel #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

1

Part 3 On 31st July, Aidan’s next operation was to end in a quite breathtaking act of heroism. As he and his observer, Lt Peck, were patrolling and photographing the German lines, a fighter swooped in to attack and raked the RE5 with bullets, smashing controls in the cockpit and seriously wounding Aidan, whose right thigh was almost severed. He passed out and the RE5 plunged earthwards. Peck was not strapped in and he managed to hold on and save his machine gun as all other loose items, such as ammo drums, cascaded out of his cockpit. Peck, who was highly experienced and had apparently had several difficult encounters, saw Aidan slumped in his seat and must have thought he was now done for as the ground rushed up to meet them. Yet, after a dive of 3000 ft, the increased slipstream brought Aidan round and, somehow, with the delicate touch the RE5 demanded, he managed to pull the plane out of the dive. (More to follow) This incredible photo turned out to be a remarkable hoax ... #ww1 #rugbyremembers #lewismoody7 #cwgc #cwgc100 #mons #somme #ypres #arras #landrover #discovery #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #rovergroup #connoisseur #corporateevents #corporate #incentivetravel #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

1

Part 2 As the war grinded down to static positions, Aidan Liddell was wounded and sent home to recover, with the prospect that the seriousness of his injuries would prevent him from returning to active service. And indeed it did. Declared unfit for duty at the front, it seemed that for Aidan, the war was effectively over. But he still had an ace up his sleeve - he was a qualified pilot. Having trained before the outbreak of war at the Vickers School at Brooklands, Aidan was soon cleared for service with the Royal Flying Corps and he left for France to join No 7 Squadron on 24th July 1915. His aircraft would be the RE5, which required tremendous skill and judgement to handle, though he seems to have mastered the whims of his machine in a very short space of time. The RE5, with a top speed of 55 mph, was a tempting target for both ground fire and marauding fighters, which made every reconnaissance mission a test of mettle and courage for both pilot and observer. Aidan’s first sortie left him running on vapour with only 10 minutes of fuel left and the aircraft badly damaged by shrapnel and machine gun fire. (More to follow ...) #ww1 #rugbyremembers #lewismoody7 #cwgc #cwgc100 #mons #somme #ypres #arras #landrover #discovery #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #rovergroup #connoisseur #corporateevents #corporate #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

0

The story of Aidan Liddell’s war service is remarkable - a word, perhaps a tad overused, but read on and you can judge for yourself. It might seem odd that Aidan chose to join the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who were based such a long way from his home in Hampshire, but this he did and he was attached to their 2nd Battalion as Captain in command of the machine gun section when they were ordered to France on 30th August 1914. Once in action, he served for forty-three consecutive days without relief and won the accolade of his men for his selfless leadership and courage, prompting Pte Alexander McCallum to say of Aidan, “We have a splendid officer in charge of the guns, one of those men who would give the faint-hearted confidence.” Aidan also saved the life of his Company Sergeant Major, S. Conroy who recounted, “On 21st October 1914, I was lying seriously wounded at a place called Fremalles, when Captain Liddell observed me. He at once helped me to the road and directed me to crawl back to the nearest field-dressing station. Knowing the seriousness of my wound, I knew I would have died had Captain Liddell not given me timely assistance.” Mentioned in dispatches, Aidan was also one of the first to receive the Military Cross, a new award instituted by George V. More to follow ... #ww1 #rugbyremembers #lewismoody7 #cwgc #cwgc100 #mons #somme #ypres #arras #landrover #discovery #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #rovergroup #connoisseur #corporateevents #corporate #incentivetravel #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

1

After the traditional, almost Napoleonic uniforms worn at the outset of war in 1914 had made French soldiers conspicuous targets on the battlefield, causing a staggeringly high casualty rate, a change was made to a horizon blue. The original colour was intended to be a blend of red, white and blue threads, representing the Tricolor, giving the cloth a purplish hue, but the red was manufactured in Germany and so impossible to source, leaving a blue and white mix instead. The colour of the new uniform resembled that of the cornflower and the cloth would fade with use, so that veterans with long service could be proudly identified. This made new recruits, “Les Bleuets” equally obvious, especially the draft of young conscripts who were sent to battle along the Chemin des Dames and the Aisne in 1915. As with the poppy in Britain, the cornflower has since been adopted in France as a symbol of remembrance. Here, poppies and the cornflowers grow alongside each other by the roadside at Carnoy, only a few metres from the #CWGC cemetery and only a mile or so from where the French and British armies joined on the Somme. #remembrance #cwgc #cwgc100 #somme100 #passchendaele100 #ypres #ww1 #rugbyremembers #lewismoody7 #nothinglikestandingonthespot #beingthere #incentivetravel #connoisseur #ypres #canon_official #canon7d #iPhone7+ #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #corporateevents #corporate #incentive #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

2

A little over a century ago, Driver Peter Stirrup, Royal Field Artillery, his leave over, came back home twice saying he’d missed the train. This was so uncharacteristic of Peter, an experienced soldier who had seen active service for over eighteen months and his family saw the truth in his eyes. They pleaded with Peter to get the next train: better to chance it in battle than to incur the wrath of military authority. He challenged them that they had no idea what it was like and, if he did go back, he was certain they would never see him again. His father accompanied him to the railway station, torn by the dilemma of wishing Peter to stay and knowing he should leave. The emotional strain of those minutes on the platform must have been palpable. As the train shunted in, the etiquette of the times dictated a stiff handshake and a clap on the arm as Peter boarded the train, with a final nod of assurance and a smile from Dad when Peter leaned out of the carriage window. The train pulled away and steam shrouded Peter from his tear-filled gaze. He was gone. The journey home for the father must have been a torment of fear and worry for his son, who, as he knew only too well, was entering the jaws of Hell once more - and hurried along by his own encouragement, too. Peter’s premonition was to become reality. They never saw him again. Badly wounded during the German Spring Offensive, Peter died on 29th March 1918. The inscription on his grave reads, “Never Forgotten. From Father & Mother.” He was my great-great uncle. And I visited him a century to the day of his death. @cwgc #SpringOffensive #OperationMichael #somme #ypres #arras #ww1 #landrover #discovery #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #rovergroup #connoisseur #corporateevents #corporate #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

2

3 - Booted and spurred, Oliver Cromwell stomped through the Stonyhurst main gate into the quadrangle and, as scouts brought information of troop movements nearby, he mounted the stairs, which have since been removed, into the main hall. Once inside the building, guards were posted on the door of the hall and Cromwell, having shed his heavy breast and back plates, spread plans and maps on the table. With his army camped on Dog Kennel Hill to the front right of the building, Cromwell spent the night in the main hall and slept on the table where he had earlier made his plans and written dispatches. He had big fish to fry on the morrow - a Scottish and Royalist force moving south to free Charles I. And what of the the Shireburns, owners of Stonyhurst, who were Roman Catholic recusants and Royalist sympathisers? The arrival of Cromwell with 9,000 Puritan veterans, convinced God was on their side and determined to purify the Church of all Catholic influences, must have brought terror and foreboding. They survived to tell the tale. They may well have watched from the Long Room as their visitor and his New Model Army left for battle at dawn. Cromwell had gone, but the table on which he slept remains to this day.

0

2 - It seems to be a proud boast of many an establishment to be able to proclaim “Cromwell slept here” and it has been ventured that, had he found repose in all of them, he would have had little time left over to fight. But sleep at Stonyhurst he did. The modern Stonyhurst College is a Roman Catholic public school run by the Jesuits and lies in the heart of the Ribble Valley between Clitheroe and Whalley. Even during the torrents of the bleakest East Lancashire weather, it is a truly magnificent place. When Oliver Cromwell arrived at Stonyhurst on 16th August 1648, the building was only a miniature of its modern self and led to his disparaging approbation as the greatest “half house in Lancashire”. He was in no mood for pleasantries and with good reason. On the march westwards from Skipton his army had a rather unsuccessful spat with Royalists near Clitheroe. Scouts then directed him over the Higher Hodder Bridge (not the Lower Hodder Bridge, which now bears his name) and sent him up the precipitous slopes of Birdy Brow, which would have caused his heavily-burdened, weary troops considerable hardship. If I add that modern world class cyclists use Birdy Brow to train for the Tour de France, you will begin appreciate what lay before them. The magnificent view across the Ribble Valley towards Pendle Hill may well have been lost on Cromwell and his men when they finally created the rise at Kemple End, but a short push over Fell Side brought them onto the downward slope to be met by scouts who directed them to Stonyhurst Hall, two miles away.

1

1 - 17th - 19th August is the 370th anniversary of the Battle of Preston, which tolled out the death knell for Charles I and cemented Oliver Cromwell’s burgeoning reputation as an outstanding battlefield commander. The battle was fought over two days, but the outcome was sealed on the bridges south of Preston on the first day. Even by the standards of the time, the fighting was grim and bloody, with Cromwell’s forces bludgeoning a badly organised Scots and Royalist army southwards from Ribbleton Moor through the streets of the town along what is now the modern A6. The townsfolk suffered terribly and Parliament later ordered collections ‘for the maimed soldiers, and poor visited people of Lancashire’.

0

This is the Victoria Cross awarded to Lieutenant Maurice Dease, 4th Royal Fusiliers, brought under guard from the Tower of London to Stonyhurst College for the visit of The Princess Royal. I am honoured and delighted to have been asked to recount Maurice’s incredible story in the book “On Courage”. The book features inspirational tales of valour displayed by Victoria Cross and George Cross recipients – out 17 May 2018. Pre-order now bit.ly/OnCourageWaterstones @OnCourageBook. @WillGreenwood @CombatStress #OnCourage #VictoriaCross #GeorgeCross #ww1 #rugbyremembers #lewismoody7 #cwgc #cwgc100 #mons #somme #ypres #arras #landrover #discovery #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #rovergroup #connoisseur #corporateevents #corporate #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

1

1

1

Cold and crisp in the Ribble Valley today ... #lovelancashire #pendle #stonyhurst

1

0

A peaceful scene: a village nestles into the folds of the Picardy countryside. This view faced the 8th and 9th Devons in Mansell Copse who looked towards the German lines opposite, which ran across the edge of the field in the foreground. The village of Mametz was fully incorporated into the German defences, with the small, grey building in the cemetery in front of the church (the Shrine) being a particular strongpoint. Although Mametz would fall on the day of the attack, 1st July 1916, a machine gun placed here would play havoc with the Devons' advance.

0

Dochy Farm New British Cemetery sits on the side of the road between Langemark and Zonnebeke at the foot of the ridge which rises gently towards Passchendaele. Of the 1,500 or so burials here, two thirds are unidentified. #remembrance #cwgc #cwgc100 #somme100 #passchendaele100 #ypres #ww1 #rugbyremembers #lewismoody7 #nothinglikestandingonthespot #beingthere #theinstaretreat #connoisseur #ypres #canon_official #canon7d #iPhone7+ #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #corporateevents #corporate #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

2

The Cambrai Memorial - The Battle of Cambrai, which saw the first use of tanks in great numbers, began a century ago. Spectacular gains by the British were hailed back home by the ringing of church bells countrywide, but a salient had been created which would prove to be difficult to defend, especially as half of the 476 Mark IV tanks had been knocked out or had broken down. Skillful German counter-attacks would then reduce the British advance to virtually nothing. #cambrai100 #remembrance #cwgc #cwgc100 #somme100 #passchendaele100 #ypres #ww1 #rugbyremembers #lewismoody7 #nothinglikestandingonthespot #beingthere #theinstaretreat #connoisseur #ypres #canon_official #canon7d #iPhone7+ #jaguarlandrover #landroverdiscovery #corporateevents #corporate #teambuilding #paulgarlingtonbattlefieldhistorian #paulgarlington

0