Saturday, 25 April 2020

ANZAC Day – 25 April

Railway Dugouts Cemetery

(Transport Farm)

Photograph: Creative Commons

On the 25th April 1917 the 1st Australian Tunnelling Coy, whilst at Hill 60, Belgium, suffered their biggest loss in one day during the war whilst testing detonators in a dugout. 

During this process there was an explosion in the dugout killing and burying the occupants. Ten men were killed in the incident. Eight lie buried in Railway Dugouts Cemetery close to Hill 60. Seven are buried together in plot IV, row C (pictured below) and one, Second Lieutenant Evans, in plot VII, row G.* The other two are buried in Poperinge New Military Cemetery next to each other in plot I, row E1.

Particularly poignant given the date.

May they rest in peace.

Words and photograph by Roger Steward, Ypres Battlefield Tours

Second Lieutenant





2nd Corporal












*Lieutenant Glyndwr David Evans was thirty-three when he died. He was the son of John and Martha Evans of Craigie Lea, Gilderthorpe Avenue, Randwick, New South Wales. The family was originally from Treorchy, Rhondda, Wales.

From Wales to New South Wales, a life cut short on 25 April 1917.

We will remember them.

Friday, 24 January 2020

Leicestershire in the Great War

First and only novel about Leicestershire Regiment in First World War launches in Leicestershire
The author signing copies of the book.
Photograph by Lynne Dyer (

Saturday 21 December 2019 saw the launch of ‘Don’t Be Late in the Morning’ – the first and only novel to be written about the Leicestershire Regiment in the First World War.

The two launch events were held at the Hub cafe in Syston in the morning, and the Carillon Tower and War Memorial Loughborough in the afternoon, where there was opportunity to speak to the author, Dr Karen Ette, buy a discounted and signed copy of the book and even sample a ‘rum ration’. The borough Carillonneur, Caroline Sharpe, played the clavier and familiar tunes, such as ‘Pack up your troubles’ ‘It’s a long way to Tipperary’ and ‘Keep the home fires burning’ rang out across Queens Park.

Set in Syston, and culminating at the Battle of Loos in October 1915, this flagship novel tells the previously untold story of David Adcock, a Leicester Tiger, who fights alongside friends from his hometown of Syston and other town and villages across our historic county.

Based on research carried out during her PhD at Loughborough University, this unique work of fiction uses exclusive private sources along with published accounts and Dr Ette weaves together truth and fiction to illuminate what has become a forgotten battle, fought by men from a town often overlooked in considerations of the Great War – Leicester.

Importantly, these unpublished primary sources reveal the human and personal cost of the conflict and this is very important to author, Dr Karen Ette who says:
“My intention is that writing a novel using original, previously unseen documents, and real people, will rightfully establish the second offensive of the Battle of Loos in literature as one of the recognised battles rather than a forgotten one.”

Publisher, Sarah Houldcroft ­– Goldcrest Books, also said:
My interest was piqued when Karen explained to me that her story was based on original letters and diaries. When I heard more about the content, how could I not want to get involved with the book! So many brave men lost their lives for us in that awful war. I don’t usually get emotional when typesetting a manuscript but when I saw and read the magazine articles included in the book it did bring tears to my eyes. It is a wonderful testimony to all those young men.

If you missed the launches, Dr Ette will be at Church View Nursery, Barkby’s Food and Craft Fair on Sunday, 23 February, where you will be able, once again, to enjoy discounted copies of the book plus the ‘rum ration’.

Available to buy from Amazon, the publisher, Charnwood Museum, plus a number of other local outlets, this exceptional novel is already receiving great reviews, Clive Curtis said:

“Very engaging and accessible. An excellent account of the life of ordinary people at the beginning of the twentieth century”.

"A well-researched, engaging book. The author has clearly worked hard to weave many sources of information together to produce this vivid account, and is to be applauded. Value for money - recommended."

"Coming from the area where this book was set, I found it extremely interesting. The details of the soldiers life during training and the in battle were sometimes funny and sometimes heartbreaking. It was also good to hear the stories of the families left at home while the young men of the village went off to war."

Synopsis of Don’t Be Late in the Morning.

David Adcock, grows up in the Leicestershire village of Syston. Popular and respected by his friends, they later become his pals on the Western Front where, as a ‘fighting Leicester Tiger’, he experiences one of the most catastrophic and overlooked battles of the First World War.
Emily Jane Wade, is the only girl in a family of five children who is sent to live with a cruel aunt and uncle after her mother’s death.
In 1911 David's widowed mother, Mary Adcock, and Emily's father, Alfred Wade, marry and they become step-brother and -sister. When war is declared in August 1914 David is working at the local shoe factory. After a village recruitment meeting he knows that at twenty he is old enough to serve abroad and volunteers to join the army, along with his pals, when there is still a sense of adventure and excitement about going to fight ‘the Hun’. 
Emily is in domestic service, but moves back home where she takes over the running of the village post office after her fiancĂ© is killed in action. Here she receives the ‘real’ letters from serving soldiers, which are shared with the vicar. 
Realising that he will be sent to the Front very soon, David comes home on leave and asks Emily to marry him and scandal shrouds their relationship.
 In March 1915 the theatre of war in France and Flanders is the setting. The 1/4 battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment are mobilised and strong bonds are formed between the ‘Leicester Lads’, culminating in the little-known battle: Loos, 13th October 1915. Many of David's pals are killed and he is left for dead in a cellar after being badly wounded, whilst Emily waits for news.
Don't Be Late in the Morning is written about real people from original, unpublished letters and diaries, filling a lacuna in British Great War fiction.