PTE Anthony Devlin’s Boer War medal & London’s centennial Remembrance Parade 2018 ~ UPDATE

Yesterday I received an the email (below) from Kieron Graham of Carlisle, Cumbria in the north-east of England.  Kieron and son Jacob are direct descendants of 6359 Pte. Anthony Devlin, East Lancashire Regiment who fought in both the Boer War and First World War. 

Kieron was the recipient of Pte. Devlin’s Queen’s South Africa medal that had been found in the Hokianga some years ago, and which we researched and located Kieron via the local newspaper Editor – a link to the original story is shown at the end of this post.

Kieron and his son Jacob recently invited to attend London’s “Armistice 100” parade in London; Kieron writes:

March 07, 2019

Hello Ian,

I hope you’re fit and well….  Jacob and I were luckily chosen to be part of the Peoples March for the Armistice 100 Remembrance Parade in London on 11 November 2018, our national Remembrance event and one which is broadcast annually. It not only has current and past armed forces taking part, our PM and other leaders there as well, but also royalty. In total there were around 10,000 members of the public chosen, each after completing details of why they wished to participate, i.e. family connection, ex-soldiers, etc.
 
Jacob proudly wore Anthony’s medal, along with medals that his 17 year old Great-Great Grandfather James Wright earned in WW1. His Great Great Grandfather was very lucky to survive WW1 after fighting in the Battle of Bligny for the 4th King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, a battle (and previous few days) that decimated his battalion. I managed to find a photo of him aged 17, sitting front left holding a cigarette.

Private James Wright, Croix de Guerre avec Palme [Fr] (front left with cigarette) with other survivors of “A” Company, 4th King’s Shropshire Light Infantry (a TF battalion) after they successful stormed Bligny Hill under very heavy fire, near Rheims France on 6 June 1918.                                                                  

Note:  The Battle of Bligny took place in the French sector of the line, and the grateful French awarded the whole battalion the Croix de Guerre avec Palme.  This was the highest level of the Croix de Guerre that can be given to a whole unit.  It was given to acknowledge an astonishing, and militarily important achievement under exceptional circumstances.  When the battalion arrived in France in July 1917 it comprised 1,100 men, but had been reduced to just 200 men when it launched its attack, led by a Lieutenant, on Bligny Hill.  By the end of the day only 60 remained!  Unfortunately many casualties were caused by allied artillery which bombarded the hill unaware the Shropshires had taken it.  Only one other unit in the British Army had the Croix de Guerre avec Palme awarded to the whole unit through the four year long war, a battalion of the Devon and Dorsets.     

I have attached some photographs of the London Cenotaph march to mark its centenary – the panoramic photo which was taken on The Mall really doesn’t do the size of the event justice, it was jam packed from Admiralty Arch to Buckingham Palace. Whilst we visited London Jacob also went to visit the Imperial War Museum, which featured the last display of the ‘weeping window’ Poppies that have toured the UK over the last couple of years. I have attached a photo of some poppies cascading out of the museum and, last summer, one when a larger number were at the castle in our home town of Carlisle.

Once again, many thanks for your work in returning Anthony’s medal back to England and making this possible.
 
Kindest regards, Kieron
 

Jacob wearing Pte. Wright’s medals and Pte. Devlin’s medal.

Ready for the Parade; Buckingham Palace in rear.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pte. James Wright’s medals – Top left to right: WW1 – British War Medal 1914-18 & Victory Medal, WW2 – Defence Medal, WW1 – Croix de Guerre avec Palme, Bottom left: Imperial Service Medal; Pte. Anthony Devlin’s Queen’s South Africa medal – Anglo-Boer War, 1899-1902.

Looking back down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace.

Parade looking up The Mall towards Admiralty Arch. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through Admiralty Arch.

Parade passes Nelson’s Column near Trafalgar Square.

Parade passes the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

‘Weeping Poppy’ display at Carlisle Castle.

‘Weeping Poppy’ display at the Imperial War Museum.

Near Parliament, Winston Churchill in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANTHONY DEVLIN ~ EAST LANCS. REGT & WEST YORKS. REGT – Hokianga Boer War medal goes home to Carlisle.