Page 213 - The Rifles Bugle Autumn 2019
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  The Gravenstafel Battle Commemoration
The Annual Gravenstafel Ridge Commemoration   Mr John Lethbridge, and the Principal of the
   took place on Saturday 27 April 2019 at the DLI Memorial on the lawns of the College of Hild Bede as it has done for some years. The Commemoration was led by the Chaplain of Hild-Bede College the Revd Timothy Ferguson and a group of college students and the Chairman of the 8th Bn Old Comrades Association Major Donald McDonald. The events of the 25-26th 1915 April, including the defence of the ridge by a heavily depleted Canadian battalion assisted by the 8th Bn DLI including the Bede Company of the 8th Bn, a group of students and former students for whom it was their first time in battle.
The commemoration was supported by the Band & Bugles of the Durham Army Cadet Force under their Director of Music Major Colin Miller. The Commemoration was attended by the Lord Lieutenant Mrs Sue Snowdon, the Mayor of Durham
College Mrs Jan Clarke. Also present were Deputy Lieutenants Col Arthur Charlton TD and Major Chris Lawton MBE DL, as well as a group of invited guests including leaders of the of the 8th/11th DLI Old Comrades, Association Chairman Mr Michael Langelier BEM and Secretary Mr Sammy Suddes
As is well known the British and Canadians were unable to hold onto the ridge and after an extended period retreated before a strong German assault. In the end the 8 Bn suffered 574 killed NCOs and men including the loss of 19 Officers. A number of Bede-men were killed and others taken into captivity and 8th Bn was for a while taken out of the line.
After the service a Retreat was played by the ACF Band & Bugles in the Caedmon Hall of the College ending with ‘Sunset’ before everyone retired to refreshments in the college.
The annual service took place on a wet evening of 27 April 19 at the Memorial in the grounds of St Hild & St Bede College
    Children get first hand experience of army life
Children have been learning about the real lives of soldiers from the region during a special day at school. The Working together Group of the DLI Friends visited St Steven’s C of E School in Willington to show them what soldiers’ lives were like during the Great War and were able to do some drill with Wilf Proctor and Naomi Beeley leaders of the Working Together Group. Andrea Dobson who works in the school office said” It’s important that they know what happened way back then and they ask what their great grandads have gone through and what their grandmas had to do.” They also visited a monument in the village to local hero George Burdon McKean VC, erected last year, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery in WW1.
    Wilf Proctor and Naomi Beeley from the “Working together Group” and DLI Friends gave the children a “look at life” experience in the Army

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