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Gone but not forgotten

April 9, 2017

The line of gravestones tell only half the story at the CWGC Faubourg d’Amiens cemetery in France.

These heroes never made it home from the opening skirmishes as British and Commonwealth forces burst out against the Germans in the Battle of Arras.

Today sees the memorial services to the first day of the battle – exactly 100 years ago.

Between April 9 and when the battle ended in stalemate five weeks later on May 16, the British registered 160,000 casualties.

My grandfather, Charlie Barton (1891-1972), will count himself among the lucky ones.

Sitting inside the ‘sardine can’ of his Mk II ‘Male’ British tank, my grandfather had already witnessed nearly three years of the frontline horrors of World War I.

His tank was hit at Arras and he was hospitalised for many months after suffering shocking leg injuries which left him walking on a cushion support under both feet arches for the rest of his life.

It didn’t stop him staying in the Army until the end of World War II.

For the fallen and those that lived to fight another day (all heroes) – let us remember.

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