Page 211 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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The tragedy at Guyzance on 17 January 1945
Members and a standard of the DLI Association travelled through blizzard conditions to be present once again for the 74th Commemoration of the Guyzance Tragedy; to remember the 10 trainee soldiers of the DLI and the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment who were washed over the weir at Guyzance on 17 January 1945 while training for river crossings in Europe as part of the Allied advance into Germany leading to the Allied victory in Europe in1945.
The service of commemoration was led by the Chaplain to the DLI Association Father Kenneth Crawford accompanied by Major Paul Wharton MM, Chairman of the Association, the Vice Chairman and Rifles Secretary (Durham) Maj Chris Lawton MBE DL. An introduction was given by the Association Secretary Lt Col John Heron TD. The names of the young soldiers killed were read by Major Chris Lawton MBE DL. After the Exhortation a wreath was laid by Major Paul Wharton MM to commem- orate the young soldiers who were drowned. Major Alasdair Watson TD reminded the congregation
of the work done by former local Cllr Vera Vaggs and the late Burnett Seyburn, a DLI Corporal stationed at Felton Camp in 1945, without whose work this tragedy would have disappeared from history. The bugle calls were sounded by Bugler Tony Longstaff, a musician of the former Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and later of the Cleveland Police Band. After the ceremony most adjourned to the Widdrington Inn for lunch. Clive and Mervyn Bowery of the Durham Branch were also present at the ceremony.
         Dinner at The Reserve Army Centre at Gilesgate
The Dinner which was organised by the Chairman of the 8/11th Bn DLI OCA Michael Langelier BEM and Secretary Sammy Suddes took place in the RAC Gilesgate and was supplemented by music from the Band & Bugles of the Durham Army Cadet Force. The Dinner provided by Edinburgh Caterers was of its usual excellent standard and was attended by those who are members and those attending the service at the Memorial and Retreat. Of course, the Band & Bugles were there to entertain which they certainly did. Band Serjeant Major Derek Corbett and some of his bandsmen played a jokey version of Post Horn Gallop crossed with Bagpipe music. A Raffle was held and prizes were donated by the OCA. The dinner is always extremely popular and this year was no exception. Two students of the College, Bryony Symes (President of the Student Representative Council) and Josh Hart (Vice President) had been invited to the Dinner to maintain the link between the College and the OCA. The event was well attended and greatly enjoyed.
Bryony Symes (President of the Students Representative Council) and Josh Hart (Vice President) were invited to the dinner
 Bugler Tony Longstaff sounds “Last Post” and “Reveille” at the location where 10 recruits lost their lives during their training in 1945
  Harry Oliver 100 years old
On 13 March 2019. Harry Oliver was born on   June 1945. They had 67 wonderful years of
 13th March 1919 in Coxhoe, County Durham. On leaving school at the age of 15 he began work for a local haulage company and then as a coal miner at Bowburn Colliery until the outbreak of war in September 1939.
Three months later he was a private in the British Army in the newly formed 10th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry. In May 1940 Harry was captured in France after volunteering to guard a bridge and endured a 250 mile march to Thorn in Poland where he was incarcerated and put to work in the salt mines. During his 5 years as a POW Harry escaped twice, was bayonetted by a prison guard and endured starvation. As the Allies advanced Harry and his fellow POWs were force marched 400 miles in 33 days to his freedom in 1945. During the latter he faithfully maintained a daily diary of events.
Harry married his beloved Margaret on 21st
marriage and two children David and Margaret. The following quote in Harry’s own words is reproduced from his book 7 Men to a Loaf:- “Human nature is to remember mostly the
good times and not the bad, of which there was plenty in those few years, but looking back now I think of all those wasted years. I think of the friends I made and lost. I think of the hunger and cold, the lack of clothing and the fear we had for ourselves and the safety of our families, for whom we could do nothing.
I think too of those terrible marches and the things I saw, but through it all the thought of my dear Margaret sustained me. I never doubted she would be there good and true and for that and for her love of more than seventy years I am truly blessed and eternally grateful.”
 Harry Oliver looks good at 100 years old. “Happy Birthday Harry”

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