Tyne Cot Cemetery (iii) The Memorial Wall

View towards Memorial Wall:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, View Towards Memorial Wall

The northern wall of Tyne Cot Cemetery is a sweeping curve. On it are engraved the names of those soldiers of the British Empire who died in the Ypres Salient after 15/8/1917 as it was found that on completion the Menin Gate was not large enough to contain all the names from the Ypres battles.

The Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing contains 33,783 names of soldiers of the UK forces, plus a further 1,176 New Zealanders (stitch of two photos):-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Memorial Wall

West End of Memorial Wall:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery West End of Memorial Wall

Cross of Sacrifice and Graves, with Memorial Wall to right:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Memorial Wall, Graves and Cross

A central apse in the main Memorial Wall is dedicated solely to soldiers from New Zealand:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Inset into Memorial Wall

New Zealanders Memorial Dedication:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, New Zealanders Memorial

Tyne Cot Cemetery (ii)

On the path from the car park to the cemetery lie three regimental memorials.

Bedfordshire Regiment:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Bedfordshire Regiment Memorial

King’s Own Light Yorkshire Infantry Memorial:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, King's Own Light Yorkshire Infantry Memorial

Sherwood Foresters Memorial:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Sherwood Foresters Memorial

These now peaceful fields lie across the road from the cemetery entrance. The gentle slope down towards Ypres and which gave the Germans an uninterrupted view of activity in and behind the British lines can just be discerned:-

View of Fields from Tyne Cot Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and graves:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Graves and Cross Of Sacrifice

Tyne Cot Cemetery (i)

The cemetery is in numbers of burials now the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. It is located 9 km north-east of Ypres (Ieper) town centre, on the Tynecotstraat, a road leading from the Zonnebeekseweg. Its name derives from the nickname (Tyne Cottage) given to a German blockhouse by the Northumberland Fusiliers.

11,962 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried or commemorated in Tyne Cot Cemetery. 8,374 are unidentified. In addition there are four German dead only one of whose identities is known.

Entrance:-

Entrance to Tyne Cot Cemetery

It was said to be the idea of King George V, who visited the cemetery in 1922, to erect the cross above the remains of a German pill box at the centre of the cemetery, a remnant of which was left uncovered by the white stone (centre here):-

Cross of Sacrifice and Blockhouse close

Remnant of pillbox. The inscription reads, “This was the Tyne Cot Blockhouse captured by the Australian Division 4th October 1917:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Remnant of Tyne Cottage Blockhouse

A further blockhouse incorporated into the cemetery is surrounded by graves:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery Graves and Remains of Blockhouse

Central area:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery Central Area

Cemetery from North-west corner:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery from North-west Corner

Graves containing the remains of several men:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Group Graves

A Jewish grave. It is unusual for a Commonwealth War Grave stone to indicate a religion:-

Tyne Cot Cemetery, Jewish grave

Reading Scotland 2020

35 Scottish books read this year, 18 by men, 16 by women, and 1 by both. Four non-fiction (one on football, three autobiography,) three with fantastical elements. Three (in bold) were on the 100 best Scottish Books list. (I’ve not got many to go now.)

Scar Culture by Toni Davidson
Lifted Over the Turnstiles by Steve Finan
The Finishing School by Muriel Spark
Voyageurs by Margaret Elphinstone
Ghost Moon by Ron Butlin
The Girl on the Stairs by Louise Welsh
The Coral Island by R M Ballantyne
The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd
Scottish Short Stories Edited by Theodora and J F Hendry
The Pure Land by Alan Spence
Where the Apple Ripens by Jessie Kesson
Crossriggs by Jane & Mary Findlater
Persian Dawns, Egyptian Nights by Lewis Grassic Gibbon
Death in Bordeaux by Allan Massie
Cloud Cuckoo Land by Naomi Mitchison
Crowdie and Cream by Finlay J MacDonald
The Rector and the Doctor’s Family by Mrs Oliphant
The Devil’s Footprints by John Burnside
Murdo, The Life and Works by Iain Crichton Smith
The Glorious Thing by Christine Orr
All the Rage by A L Kennedy
Scruffians! by Hal Duncan
Dark Summer in Bordeaux by Allan Massie
The Flight of the Heron by D K Broster
Crotal and White by Finlay J MacDonald
Queens’ Play by Dorothy Dunnett
The Brownie of Bodsbeck by James Hogg
After a Dead Dog by Colin Murray
Aiding and Abetting by Muriel Spark
Wild Harbour by Ian MacPherson
The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson
Cold Winter in Bordeaux by Allan Massie
The Dragon of Og by Rumer Godden
A Sense of Freedom by Jimmy Boyle
The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark

The Coral Island by R M Ballantyne

A Tale of the Pacific Ocean.

EriK Publishing, 2017, 239 p. First published 1858. One of the 100 best Scottish Books.

 The Coral Island cover

When I first saw this on the list of 100 best Scottish books I wondered if I had read it in my youth. Reading it now (which I would not have done were it not on the list) its contents struck absolutely no bells in my memory.

This is a tale narrated by Ralph Rover of three cheery lads; himself, the older Jack Martin and the younger Peterkin Gay, and their life after shipwreck on the coral island of the title, a place with bountiful food, not only cocoa-nuts, bread-fruit, yams, taro, plums and potatoes, but also pigs and ducks and of course fish. Their ingenuity and resourcefulness (not, what with all that bounty, do they really need them much) allow them to lead a happy life until it is disrupted first by the descent on their shores by South Sea natives at war with each other (one side whom our heroes naturally get the better of, the other side then becoming free to return to their home) then by pirates. Ralph falls into the latter’s hands and is transported across and around the Pacific islands before eventually finding his way back to rescue Mark and Peterkin.

The book is of course riddled with the cultural assumptions of the time in which it was written. A flavour of this is given when Peterkin asserts of potential black inhabitants, very early on when the three don’t know what exactly they will find, “‘Of course we’ll rise, naturally, to the top of affairs: white men always do in savage countries.’” (Those sensitively disposed should note the text contains one instance of the word “niggers” and that is put into the mouth of a pirate.)

Much play is made of this “savagery” and of the cannibalism of the region’s as yet unconverted natives as contrasted with Ralph’s intermittent piety (after he lost his Bible in the shipwreck.) To a man – and woman – the natives are redeemed, civilised and instantly ennobled by the adoption of Christianity. The more, though, that the text insisted that those tales of cannibalism and savagery are true the more I came to resist the thought. In any case, the savagery displayed was no more than the pirates are shown to be capable of.

Reunited, the three set off to aid one of the native women of the freed warring party whose chief Ralph had become aware was refusing to allow her to marry whom she pleased and now threatened to kill her. That chief is much displeased when they turn up and soon imprisons them. The book ends with an almost literal deus ex machina as the three are saved by the conversion of their captor by a missionary.

The Coral Island is not the shipwreck on a deserted island ur-text – that would be Robinson Crusoe – but with its depiction of pirates it clearly had an influence on Treasure Island and Peter Pan and its suffocating certainties apparently festered in William Golding’s head and led to its antithesis in Lord of the Flies. That it holds such a position is the only possible reason to include it in a list of 100 best books. In terms of literary merit or insight into the human condition it belongs nowhere near one.

Pedant’s corner:- Both the cover and the title page bear the words “with illustrations by the author.” None were to be found inside. Otherwise; contains mid-nineteenth century spellings – cocoa-nuts, sewed, etc. Otherwise; occasional omissions of commas before pieces of direct speech, ricochetting, (ricocheting,) maw (it’s not a mouth,) “signed to several of attendants” (of his attendants,) “seized Jack and Peterkin and violently by the collars” (doesn’t need that second ‘and’.)

100 Best Scottish Books (Maybe)

I came across this list a week or so ago. There are some odd choices in it. The Woolf and Orwell are surely pushing it a bit to qualify as in any way Scottish. And The King James Bible? Yes he was primarily a Scottish King but the endeavour was undertaken for reasons to do with his English realm.

Those in bold, I have read. There’s a lot I haven’t. Time to pull my socks up.

(Edited to add:- Those with a *I have now read.
Edited again to add:- I have added even more than these to the “have now read” list.)

John Galt – Annals of the Parish* (1821) I’ve read The Member and The Radical. See my review here.
Aonghas Pàdraig Caimbeul – An Oidhche Mus Do Sheòl Sinn (2003) This is written in Gaelic and hence beyond my competence.
Kate Atkinson – Behind the Scenes at the Museum – (1995) I read this years ago.
Ian Rankin – Black and Blue* (1997) I’ve not read this Rankin but I have Knots and Crosses.
Laura Hird – Born Free* (1999)
Tom Nairn – The Break-Up of Britain: Crisis and Neo-Nationalism (1977) Non-fiction
Frederic Lindsay – Brond (1984)
Naomi Mitchison – The Bull Calves (1947) Not a Mitchison I’ve read but I’ll need to catch up with more of her work. (As of May 2016 on tbr pile.)
Anne Donovan – Buddha Da* (2003)
Matthew Fitt – But n Ben A-Go-Go (2000) Science Fiction in Scots! Brilliant stuff.
Patrick MacGill – Children of the Dead End (1914)
AJ Cronin -The Citadel (1937) Cronin was from Dumbarton. I’ll need to read him sometime.
Frank Kuppner – A Concussed History of Scotland (1990)
Robin Jenkins – The Cone-Gatherers* (1955)
Thomas De Quincey – Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822)
Iain Crichton Smith – Consider the Lilies* (1968)
R. M. Ballantyne – The Coral Island (1858) I may have read this as a child but I cannot actually remember doing so.
Louise Welsh – The Cutting Room (2002) (tbr pile)
Robert Alan Jamieson – A Day at the Office (1991)
Archie Hind – The Dear Green Place* (1966)
James Kelman – A Disaffection (1989) I read years ago. Kelman is essential.
RD Laing – The Divided Self (1960) non-fiction
William McIlvanney – Docherty (1975) Again read years ago. Again McIlvanney is essential reading.
David Hume – An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (1748) Philosophy. I haven’t read this.
Andrew Greig – Electric Brae (1997) A superb first novel. See my review here.
Tobias Smollett – The Expedition of Humphry Clinker* (1771) Smollet was from Renton, which is 2 miles from Dumbarton.
Violet Jacob – Flemington* (1911)
Agnes Owens – For the Love of Willie (1998) See my review here.
Ian Fleming – From Russia, With Love (1957) Fleming? Scottish? Only by extraction it seems.
Dorothy Dunnett – The Game of Kings (1961) (tbr pile)
Denise Mina – Garnethill (1998) (tbr pile)
James Frazer – The Golden Bough (1890)
Nancy Brysson Morrison – The Gowk Storm* (1933)
Bernard MacLaverty – Grace Notes (1997)
George Mackay Brown – Greenvoe* (1972)
Alistair MacLean – The Guns of Navarone (1957) I read this many years ago. Decent enough wartime thriller.
J.K. Rowling – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
Joseph Conrad – Heart of Darkness (1902) Conrad was the favourite author of the original Jack Deighton (my grandfather.) I’ve read The Secret Agent and always mean to get round to more. But… Wasn’t Conrad Polish?
John Prebble – The Highland Clearances (1963) Non-fiction
Ali Smith – Hotel World (2001) See my review here.
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902)
George Douglas Brown – The House with the Green Shutters (1901) A Scottish classic; see my review.
Willa Muir – Imagined Corners (1931) (tbr pile)
Luke Sutherland – Jelly Roll (1998)
Chaim Bermant – Jericho Sleep Alone (1964) is on the tbr pile.
James Robertson – Joseph Knight (2003) Robertson is another of those very good present day Scottish authors. My review of Joseph Knight.
Various – King James Bible: Authorised Version (1611) ???? See comments above.
Alasdair Gray – Lanark (1981) Absolutely superb stuff. More essential reading.
Ronald Frame – The Lantern Bearers (1999)
James Boswell – The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791)
Bella Bathurst – The Lighthouse Stevensons* (1999) Non-fiction. I bought this for the good lady and it’s another I keep meaning to read.
George MacDonald – Lilith (1895) The Scottish tradition is to write fantasy rather than SF. I’ll need to catch up with this.
John Burnside – Living Nowhere (2003)
Anne Fine – Madame Doubtfire (1987)
Alan Spence – The Magic Flute (1990) I’ve read his Way to Go.
Des Dillon – Me and Ma Gal* (1995)
Margaret Oliphant – Miss Marjoribanks (1866)
Alan Warner – Morvern Callar (1995) I think Warner’s most recent books The Worms can Carry me to Heaven and The Deadman’s Pedal are more successful.
George Friel – Mr Alfred, MA (1972) (tbr pile)
Neil Munro – The New Road (1914)
William Laughton Lorimer (trans.) – The New Testament in Scots (1983)
George Orwell – Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) I know it was written on Jura but Orwell? Scottish?
Alexander McArthur and H. Kingsley Long – No Mean City: A Story of the Glasgow Slums* (1935)
Alexander McCall Smith – The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (1998)
Christopher Brookmyre – One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night 1999) Brookmyre is a fun read – if a little too liberal with the violence. But this isn’t even his best book. See my review here.
Catherine Carswell – Open the Door!* (1920)
Andrew O’Hagan – Our Fathers (1999) I have yet to warm to O’Hagan. My review of this book.
A.L. Kennedy – Paradise (2004) Kennedy’s more recent Day and The Blue Book impressed me more.
Muriel Spark – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961) My review is here.
James Hogg – The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824) The quintessential Scots novel. The döppelganger tradition starts here.
Suhayl Saadi – Psychoraag (2004)
Nan Shepherd – The Quarry Wood* (1928)
Walter Scott – Rob Roy* (1818) Scott more or less invented the Scots historical novel but I can only remember reading Ivanhoe.
Thomas Carlyle – Sartor Resartus (1836) Anothe disgraceful omission on my part I fear.
Toni Davidson – Scar Culture (1999)
Margaret Elphinstone – The Sea Road (2000) I’ve read Elphinstone’s A Sparrow’s Flight and The Incomer; but not this. (tbr pile)
Jimmy Boyle – A Sense of Freedom (1977)
George Blake – The Shipbuilders (1935) (tbr pile)
Gordon Williams – The Siege of Trencher’s Farm (1969)
Neil M Gunn – The Silver Darlings* (1941) Of Gunn’s work I recently read The Well at the World’s End.
Ron Butlin – The Sound of My Voice (1987) I’ve not read his poetry but Butlin’s fiction is excellent. My review of The Sound of my Voice.
Robert Louis Stevenson – The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde* (1886) Following on the döppelganger tradition from Hogg. Again I can’t remember if I’ve read it or just watched adapatations on TV.
Jeff Torrington – Swing Hammer Swing! (1992)
Lewis Grassic Gibbon – Sunset Song (1932) A brilliant novel. Worth its status as a classic. See my thoughts here.
John Buchan – The Thirty-Nine Steps* (1915)
Virginia Woolf – To the Lighthouse (1927) (tbr pile)
Irvine Welsh – Trainspotting (1993)
Janice Galloway – The Trick is to Keep Breathing (1989) I fear Galloway is an acquired taste. See here.
Jackie Kay – Trumpet (1998) I read this last year.
Christopher Rush – A Twelvemonth and a Day* (1985)
Michel Faber – Under the Skin (2000)
David Lindsay – A Voyage to Arcturus (1920) In the Scots tradition of the fantastical but has a weirdness all its own.
Iain Banks – The Wasp Factory (1984) The much lauded Banks debut. I’ve come to think A Song of Stone may outrank it.
Adam Smith – The Wealth of Nations (1776) The foundation stone of Economics.
Compton Mackenzie – Whisky Galore (1947) (tbr pile)
Jessie Kesson – The White Bird Passes (1958) To be reviewed within the week!
Kenneth Grahame – The Wind in the Willows (1908) I may have read this as a child but can’t honestly remember.
Alexander Trocchi – Young Adam* (1954)
James Kennaway – Tunes of Glory (1956) (tbr pile)
John Gibson Lockhart – Adam Blair (1822) (tbr pile)

Tyneside (1)

Last week the good lady and I took ourselves off to North East England for a couple of days.

We’d meant to make the trip a couple of weeks ago but a certain news event there gave us pause.

We actually passed through Ponteland – which has a brick Art Deco town hall but there wasn’t an easy place to stop to photograph it – and saw signs for Rothbury. I can’t say I’d ever heard of either until early last month.

First stop was Newcastle (upon Tyne.)

Well, it was actually Gateshead where we parked adjacent to the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. This is the view from the west side of the building.

Baltic 1

And this is from the Millenium Bridge.

Baltic 2

The interior of the gallery is impressive – they’ve done a good job of converting the original flour mill but the contents left me cold.

One of the exhibits was art work by John Cage, more famous for musical compositions (or more accurately for 4 minutes 33 seconds of silence.) His pictures consisted of muddy daubs, streaks and circles. The good lady opined that he must be a genius; he can take the piss in two disciplines, music and art.

The Tomas Saraceno spider web left me cold (as did the fish tanks with spiders in them.) Cornelia Parker’s circle of squashed brass/silver instruments was quite effective – especially when viewed from the floor above.

I’ve enjoyed visits to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art on Belford Road, Edinburgh and its companion the Dean Gallery over the road so I’m not a complete philistine but this was distinctly underwhelming.

Then it was over the Millenium Bridge to Newcastle. The first picture is from the walkway just by the Gallery.

Millenium Bridge 1

The second is from the Newcastle side further up the river.

Millenium Bridge 2

I quite like modern bridges like this. The Clyde Arc (or Squinty Bridge) in Glasgow is another in similar vein.

Yet More Less Than Informative Names Of Scottish Football Teams

From the East of Scotland League:-
Civil Service Strollers, Craigroyston*, Lothian Thistle*, Spartans and Tynecastle* are all based in Edinburgh, as are the two University teams of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt*.
Whitehill Welfare (Rosewell, Midlothian) – named after a colliery.
Preston Athletic (Prestonpans.)
Gala Fairydean (Galashiels.)
Vale Of Leithen (Innerleithen.)

Hawick Royal Albert I mentioned in the first of these posts. They have now been involved in a suspect betting allegation!

The South of Scotland League:-
Abbey Vale* (New Abbey.)
Crichton* (Dumfries.)
Fleet Star* (Gatehouse Of Fleet.)
Heston Rovers* (Glencaple.)
Mid-Annandale* (Lockerbie.)
Nithsdale Wanderers* (Sanquhar.)
Threave Rovers (Castle Douglas.)
Lastly, St Cuthbert Wanderers (Kirkcudbright) – another Saint! – are named after Cuthbert of Lindisfarne.

Once again http://nonleaguescotland.co.uk/index.htm has pictures of the exotic grounds these clubs play on.

Not all East Of Scotland and South Of Scotland League clubs satisfy the conditions to play in the Scottish Cup. Teams I have marked with a * (along with others whose names are geographic) can only qualify by winning their respective top Divisions. Three amateur teams not in either of these two league systems but who do compete in the Cup are Girvan, Glasgow University and Burntisland Shipyard.

The three most recent entrants to the Highland League (Strathspey Thistle, Formartine Utd and Turriff Utd) did not compete in this season’s Scottish Cup tournament and may be subject to the same restriction*.

Poelcapelle War Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Poelcapelle is today spelled Poelkapelle. The village is a few miles north-east of Ypres (Ieper.) The British War Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) is by the N313 road from Bruges (Brugge) to Ypres.

Poelcapelle War Cemetery,  Belgium

I’ve been to Tyne Cot but nevertheless still gasped when I entered Poelcapelle Cemetery. There are nearly 7,500 burials here, the vast majority, 6,230, of which are “Known unto God”.

View of interior from entrance:-

Interior of Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Graves:-

Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Some of the unidentified soldiers of the Great War:-

War Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Lines of graves:-

Lines of Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Memorial to some of those whose earlier graves were destroyed in later battles:-

Memorial Stone, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

As usual the graves are beautifully kept. A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God and Private F J Patten, Hampshire Regiment, 4/10/17, aged 21:-

Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Two Soldiers of the Great War:-

More Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

There is one World War 2 grave at Poelcapelle. Private R E Mills, Royal Berkshire Regiment, 30/5/1940, aged 19:

WW 2 Grave, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance Closer View

Zonnebeeke War Memorial

Zonnebeeke is in Flanders, Belgium, just west-north-west of Ypres. We passed through it on the way to Tyne Cot and Langemark War Cemeteries.

I had stopped to photgraph a distinctive building in the town (more of which later) and this War Memorial was on the same crossroads.

I could only see the date 1940 on it but Belgian soldiers from Zonnebeeke certainly died in the Great War.

Zonnebeke War Memorial

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